Critics' Picks: Big Trouble and more


Big Trouble

Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater

To celebrate the release of their cleverly titled EP, Crescent Moon Is in Big Trouble, the local all-star group of Twin Cities musical staples Big Trouble bowls through Bryant-Lake on Thursday, giving anyone who likes music a chance to satisfy her craving for it. Too broad for you? Sorry, but it's hard not to recommend Big Trouble to anyone at all, what with members deriving from TC staples such as Heiruspecs, Martin Devaney, and Joanna James, with enticing guests always a possibility, and with a musical vocabulary that runs the gamut of shit you're likely to hear on the Current (and that's mostly a compliment). As an extra tasty icing on this four-layer cake, MC Crescent Moon lends his formidable vocal presence to the release and show. Let's review then: a group of maestros with an eclectic and far-reaching repertoire? Check. A killer on the mic? Check. Smiles on the faces of everyone from hippie-dippies and hipsters to backpackers and knapsackers, all uniting in harmony under the banner of good music? Check please, I'm there. $9. 9:30 p.m. 810 W. Lake St.; Minneapolis; 612.825.3737. —Jordan Selbo

Big Head Todd & the Monsters

The Ying Yang Twins in an ATL Community Players production of Rashomon
The Ying Yang Twins in an ATL Community Players production of Rashomon

First Avenue

Big Head Todd & the Monsters keep company with Crash Test Dummies and Blind Melon as the deposed monarchs of the non-confrontational, melodic pop that kept the mid-'90s in a powerful sleeper hold. Sure, some of the fans that made Sister Sweetly a platinum seller in 1993 have long since tapped out, but, like Chris Benoit, Big Head Todd doesn't let go just because you go limp. You might have been unconscious for it, but the Monsters have spent the last decade keeping up the rigorous touring regimen that first earned them a cult following in the late '80s, keeping their tirelessly devoted fans happy with a brand of blues rock that borrows a cup of salt from the jazzman down the hall. So what if Sister Sweetly is best known in the 21st century for its saturation of Cheapo's "Recent Arrivals" racks? At least it sold once. With Paul Kelley. 18+. $23/$25 at the door. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —David Hansen


Consolation Champ CD-release show

400 Bar

Modesty has always been a cornerstone of acoustic folk music, but these local folkies definitely undersell themselves in their band name. Far from musical also-rans, Consolation Champ have an everyman earnestness that is at once endearing and challenging. Theirs is a free-range sound that can take them from simple, sincere claw-hammer folk to an impassioned, detuned strum that evokes Jeff Magnum at his most plaintive. As Magnum proved, a sour note here and there never hurt anyone, and Consolation Champ's songs are often strengthened by running sharp. Lobos Pattern, their forthcoming new CD, drops tonight at the 400 Bar right before a month-and-a-half-long tour to the Mojave, a place where many a life lesson has been taught by many a spectral half-nude Indian. Here's hoping Consolation Champ leave their "aw shucks" humility in the desert. Hey, it worked for Jim Morrison. With the Builders and the Butchers.18+. $5/$8 at the door. 8 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.332.2903. —David Hansen


Gutter Twins

First Avenue

Greg Dulli, of Afghan Whigs fame, seems to be in a nostalgic mood lately. Last year, his old band was the subject of a retrospective, and to mark the occasion, the Whigs reconvened to record two new tracks for inclusion on the album. This year, Dulli has returned to the label that launched his former band's career, rejoining the Sub Pop stable as one half of the Gutter Twins. The group features not one but two '90s alt-rock luminaries, the other being former Screaming Tree and current serial collaborator Mark Lanegan. The duo's debut record, Saturnalia, delivers the dark, smoldering torch songs you would expect, albeit perhaps not in the way you would expect. Guitars are replaced by foreboding string arrangements that prove quite the complement to Dulli and Lanegan's whiskey-soaked, back-alley tales. This is certainly familiar terrain for Dulli, but fortunately, nostalgia and novelty are not mutually exclusive. With Great Northern. 18+. $12/$15 at the door. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Jonathan Garrett

Ying Yang Twins


Don't front—if you really went to a rap show to hear intricate lyrics full of subtle metaphor and internal rhyme structures, you'd bring your headphones and crash in the corner. For the rest of us, dropping 25 duckets for the live version is a chance to reenact some sweaty bedroom gyrations and get funky in public (although it's usually dark in da club, mercifully); if you're real lucky, you might just get sardined against a dime piece with some class, or at least a decent bump. Swinging over to us from a stop in Wisconsin's frigid wasteland (devoid of all things hip-hoppy), the Ying Yang's "Spring Break Concert" is the ideal venue to work off all that cabin-fever dead-skin build-up. I suspect that in this classy venue, the Twins will be even more raucous than usual, leaving me to do the easy part—chant along to their stupid choruses, twerk to the booty beats, and ice grill every sucker who dares step on my 10-dollar sneakers. With J Kwon, Meech, and Mike Page. 18+. $25. 8 p.m. 107 Third Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.465.0440. —Jordan Selbo

Murzik CD-release show

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