Critics' Picks: KT Tunstall and more

Stasiu's Place

In the last six months, Vampire Hands have done more touring than a Georgia O'Keefe exhibit, and they have the nicks and scrapes to show for it. Banged up but exhilarated by their most recent coast-to-coast sojourn (vocalist Colin Johnson broke his pinky toe on the last show of the tour), expect the Teutonic psych-out faves to be hitting their spots with the kind of haughty flourishes that only a month on the road can develop. With their new full-length Me and You Cherry Red glowing like a Chernobyl sunset, your chances to see these luminaries in a venue of Stasiu's size may start getting fewer and farther between. The fact that Call Me Lightning, Wisconsin's own punk-party acid trip, share the bill means that some pretty vestigial lobes of the old gray matter will be getting a decent workout tonight, no matter how much Old Style you douse yourself with. With Landing Gear and the Nice Outfit. 21+. $5. 9 p.m. 2500 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.788.2529. —David Hansen

SATURDAY 5.17

England Swings VII

Triple Rock Social Club

KT Tunstall prepares to unplug
KT Tunstall prepares to unplug

Anglophiles unite! The brainchild of longtime local musician Raven (a.k.a. the Duke of Dark) and emceed this year by HowWasTheShow.com kingpin David de Young, England Swings has grown from a curiosity into one of the most sought-after tickets of the year. Local (and some out-of-town) bands take the stage to perform a selection of their favorite songs by Brit-born musicians. The choices are always interesting and sometimes outright awe-inspiring (the Alarmists doing Bowie and cementing their reputation as hot-shit badasses last year, anyone?). This year Aviette, Coyotes, So It Goes, Maudlin, and several others will be covering their chosen Brit-pop, Brit-rock, and if we're lucky, maybe some grime or 2-step as well. This year's "who's covering who" seems to be shrouded in a bit of mystery—which only adds allure to the night. Stuff a cockney dictionary in your pocket next to a hip flask full of gin, pick a favorite football team, remember that the Sex Pistols started punk (not the Ramones), and you'll be well on your way to having a grand old time with your bird or chap. 21+. $7. 7 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7499. —Pat O'Brien

TUESDAY 5.20

Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers

Cedar Cultural Center

From Mofro to the Drive By Truckers, Southern Culture on the Skids and these Shack*Shakers, there's a trend for bands from south of the Mason-Dixon to celebrate the region's genuine, often inherently bizarre customs and traditions, now endangered by urbanization and the so-called sophistication of the New South. Virtually all drip with moss-covered irony and varying degrees of defiance, pride, or self-parody. Or all three in the case of chief Shaker "Col." J.D. Wilkes, who, armed with a studio arts degree, produces comics strongly influenced by Zap! classics and writes equally cartoonish, fractured Southern gothic fairy tales for his band. Like some Pappy Yocum gone intellectual, Wilkes exults in the absurdity of it all, as he and his fellow Shakers careen through a dicey Dixie maelstrom of raging rockabilly, swamp-gas blues, grizzly gospel, blasphemous bluegrass, felonious folk, and preposterous punk. Wilkes has also ventured into filmmaking—preceding the Shakers' performance will be a showing of his hour-long Seven Signs, a documentary-style attempt, according to his website, "to prove that the older, stranger South still exists in all of its eerie, time-worn, & gothic glory." $12/$15 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

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