Critics' Picks: Foo Fighters and more

Big V's

Kazutaka Nomura is probably not a guy you want to solicit for small-talk or pickup tips. He goes by the stage name PWRFL Power (a handle that inadvertently brings to mind Northeast whimsy-merchants Little Wings, who released an album titled Soft Pow'r last year) and bangs away solo on acoustic guitars while babbling on about self-actualization, pets, girls, and how one is never too old to learn how to play the drums. To the world at large, Nomura's broken-English, man-child folk shtick will register as buffoonery or mental instability; to the K Records faithful and fellow travelers, it might as well be PCP-laced catnip. Actually, if you can embrace or look beyond rhetoric like "Let me teach you how to hold chopsticks/My dad used to beat me up because I was holding them wrong/And I don't wanna beat you up because you're so pretty," his searching, lithe fretwork figures are their own graceful, delicate, callused-fingertips reward. Self-Evident headlines. With Capillary Action and the Yoleus. $6. 9:00 p.m. 1567 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.645.8472. Ray Cummings

SUNDAY 3.02

Altas Sound

Triple Rock Social Club

Experiencing Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, the debut CD from Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox's Atlas Sound project, is a lot like wandering into a benignly psychedelic Candy Land blizzard or tumbling down an illuminated, kaleidoscopic mineshaft with no bottom. All control is relinquished to Cox's immersive, often outré armada of treated sonics, fluffed vocalisms, and a delightfully overcarbonated atmosphere. Sounds sorta similar to Deerhunter, but on his lonesome, Cox cuts out much of the dance-y pound and ornamental, Jolly Rancher noise that characterized Fluorescent Gray and Cryptograms; in their place is a floaty, almost Eno sense of amazement, as if these deep-soaking songs were as stunned by beauty as listeners can't help but be. "Gone are the days of wine and roses/They just make me nauseous now," he moans over the chugging, cavernous pulse of "Ativan"; in all likelihood, he spoke a few years too soon. With White Rainbow and Valet. $10. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Ray Cummings

MONDAY 3.03

Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars

Guthrie Theater

Although the musicians of Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars endured a hell unimaginable to most of us, they now create heavenly music whose fundamental message is the unbeatable troika of peace, love, and understanding. Most of the band's members met in a refugee camp in Guinea, having been forced into exile by a decade-long civil war at home. When peace was restored, the group returned to Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, and were reunited with lead singer and songwriter Reuben Koroma's former band, the Emperors, and together recorded their debut album, Living Like a Refugee (Anti-). Although obviously informed by their horrendous experience, Refugee transcends bitterness, riding a buoyant blend of roots reggae, traditional Sierra Leonean music, and bits of regional Afro-pop such as juju and highlife. Irrepressible joy flows through the Stars' warm, percolating rhythms and effervescent vocals, tied to a uplifting spirit that has made them worldwide ambassadors for peace and reconciliation. $22.50. 7:30 p.m. 818 Second St. S., Minneapolis; 612.377.2224. —Rick Mason

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