GWAR, All The Pretty Horses, and more

 

THURSDAY 10.30

Yeasayer

Triple Rock Social Club

Brooklyn's Yeasayer has so much madness happening in its chameleonic music that it's almost illicit. Was their 2007 debut, All Hour Cymbals (We Are Free), the unlikely future of freak-folk? Sting-friendly world-pop? Avant-garde posturing? Twisted Americana? The nth stoned coming of Brian Wilson? White tribalism run amuck? The answer's probably something like "all of the above," which makes it difficult to settle on a definitive, ultimate opinion of Yeasayer. From song to song—and sometimes from movement to movement—it's a different band, as if a propensity for perpetual identity crises were a key facet of the quartet's DNA. What's for sure: These guys aren't your run-of-the-mill indie-outsider weirdoes. They're on to something, even if exactly what that something is remains unclear. With Chairlift. $16. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Ray Cummings

OneRepublic

Myth

Some anecdotal evidence that OneRepublic is 2008-quality huge, even if it isn't moving U2 units: Both my wife and my mother-in-law have "Apologize" ringtones. Like peers the Fray, this Colorado-based band blow bumper-sticker sized emotions and clichés up into billboard-width anthems: Electric and acoustic guitars are lacquered within an inch of their lives, pianos and keyboards enable universalized anthems and stadium-ready hooks. Having photogenic Ryan Tedder front and center as lead singer doesn't hurt matters; he projects a passionate blandness that's difficult to resist, in a Daniel Powter/Coldplay sense. So OneRepublic—God, even its name suggests a meaningless utopian otherverse that doubles as an all-encompassing Starbucks outlet, or something—numb, narcotize, placate. And if you're honest with yourself, you'll accept that they'll probably never be any more famous than they are right now; a thousand comers in the same Adult Contemp Lite vein are waiting in the wings, just waiting to snare an MOR crown that never gathers dust. With Augustana, the Spill Canvas, and the Hush Sound. $27.50-$30. 5 p.m. 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood; 651.779.6984. —Ray Cummings

 

FRIDAY 10.31

All The Pretty Horses

331 Club

Venus DeMars's stage clothes consist of those kinky corsets that usually sit dusty in our closets until 3 a.m. rolls around. And damn if those 30 hooks and eyes aren't tough to manipulate with boozy double vision. But Venus reminds us we that ought to unleash our inner fetishists more often. And what better time to liberate our fishnets and (fake) leather boots than Hallo-freakin'-ween whilst watching Venus and All the Pretty Horses' Placebo-meets-Bauhaus rock 'n' roll? As if we needed more incentive, sharing the bill are those spazzy noise folks from Gay Witch Abortion. And it's free! Remember to take it slow so we don't throw up. Oh, screw it. Another round! With the Funeral and the Twilight. 21+. Free. 9 p.m. 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.331.1746. Erin Roof

 

SATURDAY 11.01

GWAR

First Avenue

Everyone's idea of what is cool and fun differs from time to time, right? For some this Halloween weekend, it involves gallons upon gallons of fake blood hosing down the First Avenue crowd, among many other feigned bodily fluids, as GWAR and their leader Oderus Urungus unleash their brand of visceral and hilarious sci-fi-horror-themed thrash metal to the soon-to-be soaked masses. It's an insane spectacle that needs to be seen at least once, if not multiple times. First-timers should be warned to stay away from the pit unless they know the drill—make sure to wear your crappiest clothes and prepare for it to rain all sorts of fake nasty and to take in a stage show that is honestly second only to Alice Cooper's live theatrics of yore. Yeah, it's inappropriate for children, not for the faint of heart, and absolutely gross. But it's awesomely gross. With Kingdom of Sorrow, Toxic Holocaust. All ages. $18/$21 at the door. 5 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Jen Paulson

 

SUNDAY 11.02

Atmosphere

First Avenue

Figures that Atmosphere would deliver their best album in time to become a self-contained phenomenon. Despite festivals, late-night appearances, sell-out tours, and a slow-week debut in the Billboard Top 10, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold (Rhymesayers) is a three-stars-now, four-stars-later fan record that will one day be pried from its status as a treasured secret. Meanwhile, Atmosphere shows at First Avenue have become parties for people who go to Atmosphere shows at First Avenue. Yet there's so much here for the curious walk-up crowd: slide guitar, flutes, electro synths, Tunde Adebimpe backup vocals—Ant makes them all sound like blues under Slug's husky vocals, which have never sounded more at ease with the power of a perfectly put couplet. He raps about those cravings for love and oblivion where we all began and will end, about the people we can't help caring about—the larger circle you call "family" when you're in a charitable mood. His honesty is shocking, at a time when honesty is about the only thing left in hip hop that can shock us. And Lemons turns this compassionate mercilessness on fictional characters, though you can hear autobiography in his cigarettes-as-pimps song, his galactic-hangover-as-disillusionment one, and in the little girl being rocked to sleep by hip hop to drown out her fighting parents. "Daddies drive around, mommies work night shift" isn't his debut as singer, but it's the first Atmosphere song where you can imagine Mary J. Blige picking up the melody, and her audience should find this. With Abstract Rude, Blueprint, DJ Rare Groove. All ages. $20. 5 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Peter S. Scholtes

 

TUESDAY 11.04

Bob Dylan

Northrop Auditorium

Even by the unparalleled standards of an icon such as Dylan, this show has the potential to be something extraordinary. It has all the makings of being "special" in ways far more specific than the "special" Pulitzer Prize he received earlier this year: not for music, not for poetry, but for being an influential, apparently amorphous cultural phenomenon. Anyway, this is widely touted as the first time Dylan will have ever performed on the University of Minnesota campus, even though he went to school there briefly and launched his career in nearby Dinkytown on the cusp of the 1960s. Also, the concert is scheduled to start at the same time the local polls close in one of the most important elections in the nation's history. Will Dylan, an enthusiastic Obama supporter, select an appropriate repertoire as the results come in? Will the times really be a-changin', or will a simple twist of fate mean that it's all over now (baby blue) and we'll have to deal with masters of war for another four years? If last summer's shows are any indication, Dylan and his band will likely juggle lots of classics (some radically reshaped) with more recent stuff. That will probably include tunes from the recently released Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 (Columbia), a sprawling, endlessly intriguing assortment of rare and unreleased tracks dating from 1989-2006. $66-$86. 8 p.m. 84 Church Street S.E., Minneapolis; 612-624-2345. —Rick Mason

Gang Gang Dance

7th St. Entry

Brooklyn's Gang Gang Dance aren't beholden to any particular style or scene; this foursome brew their own inimitable sonic pilsner. Into the (world) musical crock-pot go Middle Eastern themes, acid techno, cracked synth-pad and guitar-struck runoff, and frontwoman Liz Bougatsos's exotic yelp. New album Saint Dymphna (Social Registry) shrugs off those barely-on-the-leash fractal spasms previous releases like Revival of the Shittest and God's Money led listeners to expect. The under moored, reverb-drenched pulsations of old have been replaced by a slicker, poppier sound one could actually imagine folks who aren't hipsters/Wire readers/free spirits giving a second listen and getting down to. Last year's disappointing RAWWAR EP offered hints that GGD might be going in this direction, but Dymphna does a much better job of forging a connection to the band's earlier material. Plus, they brought in a rapper, and the resulting collabo works. With Marnie Stern. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ray Cummings

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