Critics' Picks

 

WEDNESDAY 7.02

Drive-By Truckers

First Avenue

The Drive-By Truckers have been in the forefront of the movement by bands south of the Mason-Dixon to document the fading beauty, pungent decay, and ruinous desperation that defy the forces of homogenization associated with the New South. Southern rocker descendants of Skynyrd by inclination, Southern gothic sons and daughter of Flannery O'Connor via unavoidably wise bloodlines, the Truckers continue to explore the desiccated fortunes of those who basically had no luck to run out of on their latest, Brighter Than Creation's Dark (New West). Except the plight of these Southern sots, SOBs, losers, and tragi-comic creepers is roughly equivalent to the rest of the country's angst: haunted Iraqi war vets, people out of options, crystal meth zombies, all trying to stay on "The Righteous Path" in the face of overwhelming odds. BTCD is a splendid discourse on unpleasant times, evidence of the Truckers emerging stronger from their own melodrama, which included the departure of guitarist/songwriter Jason Isbell and the emergence of his ex-wife Shonna Tucker as an impressive songwriter. Opener Dead Confederate, a quintet out of Augusta, Georgia, play a dark, intense, squally brand of neo-psychedelic Southern rock on their forthcoming debut, Wrecking Ball. 18+. $20. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612.332.1775. —Rick Mason

Fuck Yeah Fest

Triple Rock Social Club

Let's face it—one of rock's strongest allures is that sexy, "cool guy" thing. But once the bald spots widen and paunches waggle over tight pants, the romance is over, and gold records get hawked for 99 cents on eBay. You know the one shtick that doesn't get old? Being batshit crazy. So thank god for Israel's Monotonix for putting the fear back into rock 'n' roll. In my brief encounters with this band, I have seen singer Ami Shalev light his acid-orange pants on fire, drink liquor out of a shoe, dance on top of a bar, and dump the contents of a bathroom trash receptacle onto his drummer. Oh, and he once stuck his head in the rotating blades of a ceiling fan. And while Shalev is of undetermined age (we do know his curly 'do with bangs reeks of hair metal's glory days), openers Team Robespierre sing like they wish they could be teenagers forever. Fuck Yeah Fest? Fuck yes. All Ages. $8. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ace. Minneapolis; 612.333.7499. Erin Roof

THURSDAY 7.03

Gay Witch Abortion

7th St. Entry

On whatever day God created music, it may well have been Gay Witch Abortion pealing across those celestial skies. Don't take this the wrong way. They're no choir of angels. The name alone tells you they might not have immediately been on God's best side. ("Oh, you GUYS," God said to them with a smile.) You can just sort of imagine—amidst all the fires and cesspools and amoebas—the Minneapolis two-man band's unadulterated, minimalist sound. Theirs is a world before bass and vocals and handclaps and whatnot—so prehistoric they might even be from the future. God might actually want to book them for the apocalypse, too. Guys? Openers will further please the ex-punk, punk, and post-punk crowd, including Todd Trainer's resurrected solo act Brick Layer Cake. Also with Condo$, Kill to Kill, and Badgermen. 18+. $6. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. Jessica Chapman

FRIDAY 7.04

Independent's Day

Turf Club

Not only is Toki Wright an amazing rapper, he is also a great organizer and a driving force on the local hip-hop scene, from his work with local youth with the nonprofit organization Yo! The Movement to his involvement with the annual Twin Cities Celebration of Hip Hop and Conference, which quickly has become a major event since its inception seven years ago. (It'll be back this August.) Tonight's "Independent's Day" event showcases some of the area's best and brightest, along with Wright's own amazing catalog. This bill is incredibly tight—from the supreme awesomeness that is Maria Isa to the super-skills of M.anifest, Doomtree's Sims, and Trama, straight off his talent-heavy Barack Otrama mixtape. I can speculate with relative certainty that this gig will be packed to the gills in hip-hop solidarity. If there are fireworks visible from St. Paul, don't be surprised if they're coming from this show—it will be just as inspired, possibly more so than the city-funded pyrotechnic shows that will be dotting the horizons. 21+. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W, St. Paul; 651.647.0486. Jen Paulson

SATURDAY 7.05

Atomic Flea

Bryant-Lake Bowl

With everyone trying so hard to carve out a brand-new place for themselves in the world, Atomic Flea seem to have discovered plenty of room in the old spaces and set up shop on Babadebaba, the release of which they will be celebrating tonight. The ghosts of the Byrds and the Beatles—with just a smidge of They Might Be Giants—shake the dust off their chains and haunt these songs for a new generation, not to explicitly remind anyone of a particular band so much as a particular time. Atomic Flea don't sound overtly nostalgic themselves, but certainly possess the ability to trigger nostalgic feelings within the listener for the simpler time in your life when things like a job, bills, mortgages, and the like were adult concerns and all you had to worry about was the level of air in the tires of your bicycle and the occasional math problem. Well, now you're an adult with all the crappy, boring responsibilities that go along with it. Hopefully, though, your sense of wonder and ability to a have guilt-free, careless good time have not left you. If not, prepare for a euphoric night out; if so, may God save your soul. With the Humbugs. $8/$10 at the door. 9:30 p.m. 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, 612.825.3737. Pat O'Brien

SUNDAY 7.06

The Zombies

Harriet Island

"Who the hell are the Zombies?" you wonder. "I mean, have I ever heard even one Zombies song?" Time for a brief education: In the 1960s, the Zombies were one of many post-Beatlemania groups attempting to ride the coattails of the so-called British Invasion alongside hopefuls whose impact was at least good for a handful of singles (Herman's Hermits) and others who only collectors remember now (Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch). Guided by Colin Blumstone's interior-monologue expressions of melancholy and Rod Argent's depressive melodics, they scored a pair of singles that continue to dominate classic-rock radio to this day: "Tell Her No" and "She's Not There," both from 1965. (Vinyl-bin hound Quentin Tarantino cherry-picked the latter for the soundtrack to 2004's Kill Bill 2.) But 1968's dynamite "Time of the Season" is the Zombies' immortal trump card, a rare display of macho swagger—"What's your name? Who's your daddy? Is he rich like me?"—from an outfit that spent much of its time agonizing over its chick trouble or lack thereof. With Eddie Money. All ages. Free. 7 p.m. Across the Robert Street Bridge from downtown, St. Paul; 651.266.6400. Ray Cummings

MONDAY 7.07

The Dodos

Triple Rock Social Club

Don't be disappointed when you don't see twirling batons and elephants parading behind the Dodos next Tuesday. Just hang on. I know you've loved the circus since you were a kid and blah blah blah. But acrobats or no, these dudes can hold their own. The San Francisco duo and Pitchfork faves are touring on the heels of their sophomore release, Visiter. Their hyperactive and gamelan-esque instrumentation thrum under velvety, atmospheric vocals. They sound a lot like Panda Bear, actually. Visiter was released on Frenchkiss Records, former and/or current home of Twin Cities acts such as Plastic Constellations, Sean Na Na, and the Hold Steady. For Pitchfork-ophiles: The site describes the band's live act as "astounding." With the Absent Arch and Sin Horses. All ages. $12.50. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7499. —Jessica Chapman

George Michael

Xcel Energy Center

Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Neil Diamond, oh my! This latest season of American Idol—which culminated in a dispiritingly predictable David vs. David showdown, remember—was reliably heavy on star power. Yet the only memorable performance arrived during the season finale, when a dapper, subdued George Michael emerged for a few precious moments to make Paula Abdul weep and remind America why, exactly, we used to worship him. Foregoing his big pop hits—the bodacious, scandalous "I Want Your Sex," say, or the subsequently mangled-by-Fred Durst "Faith"—the British crooner brought down the house with a rendition of his 1990 ballad "Praying for Time" that effortlessly put everyone who'd taken the same stage before him to shame. Don't believe me? YouTube it en route to buying your ticket. $52-$177. 8 p.m. 175 W Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.726.8240. —Ray Cummings

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