Critics Picks: St. Vincent and More

WEDNESDAY 2.20

Matt White

Varsity Theater

After numerous postponements, Matt White finally arrives in town, still surfing the hype from his hook-heavy, radio-friendly debut album, Best Days (Geffen). If you haven't heard his songs about the most obvious ups and downs of love on TV shows like Laguna Beach or One Tree Hill, think James Blunt without the shadows or John Mayer without the blues streaks. For a guy who grew up in Jersey idolizing Springsteen, went to school in Madison (Wisconsin, not Jersey) and busked around Lower Manhattan, you'd think he'd have a little more grit, a few more demons. The best he can manage is "New York girls are crazy." Okay. Days is pleasant enough, with its confectionary melodies, carefully crafted tracks, and puppy-love angst. Still, the few genuine emotions he puts into play are shallow, and the entire package seems ephemeral. Opening will be Zox, a pop-rock outfit formed at Brown University in 2002 that sometimes gets up a promising head of steam on its new Line in the Sand (SideOneDummy)—but don't look for political implications. All ages. $8/$10 at the door. 6 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rick Mason

The Toasters

Triple Rock Social Club

For many people, ska died in the late '90s, around the time it graced the opening credits of the Daisy Fuentes-hosted incarnation of America's Funniest Home Videos. Fortunately, not everybody got the message. Arguably responsible for popularizing Two-Tone ska in the U.S., third-wave originators the Toasters have been plying their brand of infectious, up-tempo, horn-fueled exhilaration for almost a quarter of a century. Band founder Robert "Bucket" Hingley is the only original Toaster to be found on 2007's One More Bullet, but the 21st-century version of the band clearly carries the Two-Tone torch. Besides, even if Bucket were performing solo, with nary a horn in sight, he'd still be the Toasters. That's excuse enough to break out those checkered creepers and brush up on your skanking technique. All ages. $12/$14 at the door. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Nicholas L. Hall

FRIDAY 2.22

Homegrown's Rock 'n' Roll Funeral

Turf Club

Since October 29, 1996, when Mei Young spun a lone song from a local artist in the radio-nowhere of two o'clock Sunday morning, this city listened as Homegrown blossomed into an institution. Through time-slot changes, a small army of co-hosts, and a jump from KQRS to Drive 105, the show soldiered on, unfazed. The program was a torchlight leading the way through the vast cavern of local music, illuminating what was relevant. More importantly, it highlighted what Young and company enjoyed listening to themselves—even if what they enjoyed wasn't necessarily conducive to propping up the bottom line of the radio station. When Drive 105 became Love 105, the show got the boot, and this time, the wound proved fatal. Though tonight is touted as a funeral for Homegrown, the mood should hardly be somber, as this also serves as the CD-release party for Silage: Foreclosure & Eviction, the second volume of live recordings from the show, including one from the very last broadcast that aired May 6, 2007. Homegrown is sorely missed, but this should ease us into the grieving process. With Haley Bonar, A Night in the Box, Dan Israel & the Cultivators, Ben Connelly, Big Trouble, and special guests TBA. $6. 10 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. Pat O'Brien

St. Vincent

Cedar Cultural Center

Having previously performed in the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens's touring band, multi-instrumentalist St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark, grandly stepped into the spotlight last July with her acclaimed debut, Marry Me. With wit in her pen and sweetly hushed soprano vocals on top of layered and challenging arrangements, this wide-eyed songstress manages to curl the lips in nearly every song. Supporting St. Vincent are California-based quartet Foreign Born, recently signed to indie label Dim Mak. Shine up your dark-rimmed specs and don your thrift-store sweaters, as this show is primed to boost your Current listening cred. With Foreign Born. All ages. $12. 8 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. John Henry

SATURDAY 2.23

Miranda Lambert

Mystic Lake Casino

A finalist on Nashville Star and winner of the Cover Girl Fresh Face of Country Music Award, Miranda Lambert has a résumé that reads like the instructions on a bag of Maruchan Smack Ramen. It's clear that she was launched from the same bottomless box of blank ammo that spawned the impotent, lucrative careers of LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood. But bushwhack through those dubious honors and discover a talent that is re-purposing the powers of this musical munitions factory to push modernizing ideas on an industry plagued by as much misogyny as a 2 Live Crew tour. Unlike her hive-mind cohorts, she writes the majority of her own songs, and that freedom does not go unflexed. Seek out "Gunpowder and Lead" to hear her exult in the righteous glory of confronting an abusive boyfriend with a shotgun. Don't be blinded by Lambert's prefab stardom; her talent and her vision were hand-built brick by brick. $32/$39 at the door. 8:00 p.m. 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake; 952.445.9000. David Hansen

Royalty, Etc. 2-Year Anniversary Bash

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