Nine Inch Nails, AC/DC, and more

THURSDAY 11.20

Ladyhawk

Turf Club

Vancouver's Ladyhawk play fuzzed-out, indie noise-rock worthy of a hundred hair-flinging freak outs. Honestly, I prefer their description of themselves via their Myspace: "Rock/Rock/Rock." Lead singer Duffy Driediger's almost mystifying Lou Barlow-meets-J. Mascis (in a fateful dark alley) voice is an angsty Canadian revelation. It's been a busy time for this band: They released their second full-length record, Shots (Jagjaguwar), in April, along with a documentary of the making of that record called Let Me Be Fictional, which has been making film festival rounds over the past year. Then they took a tour of Europe over the summer—and it's definitely time they bring their full-on sangria-fueled musical assault to the states. With Shots, their sound got tighter and grew exponentially in terms of fullness and raw depth. Truth is, regardless of whether there are 5 or 500 people at this Thursday-night show, it should be a sight and sound to behold. With the Small Cities. 21+. $8. 8 p.m.1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. Jen Paulson

 

FRIDAY 11.21

Dance Band

Cedar Cultural Center

It's hard to say what's more odd: the fact that Dance Band will be celebrating the release of their new funkadelic electro album, Geekadelic, at the normally quiet and reserved Cedar, or the fact that I'm still surprised by anything Dance Band does. A unique force in the realm of live local music, Dance Band should be commended for achieving the ultimate task—getting all the cool, nonchalant hipsters out onto the dance floor for serious booty shaking and the occasional synchronized zombie impersonation. If their new EP is any indication, Dance Band's tempos show no sign of slowing down. Come on, fashionistas! Paint on another pair of gold lamé tights, order up another microbrew, and get ready to wiggle until the lights come up. Did I mention they have a new song about dancing robots? Divine. With City Pages Picked to Click 2008 grand champions Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles. All ages. $8/$10 at the door. 8 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. Andrea Swensson

Grampall Jookabox

Nomad World Pub

Indianapolis's David Adamson seems like the kind of guy who has an awesome record—or at least mp3—collection. Ropechain, his latest album under the rather unfortunate nom-de-rock Grampall Jookabox, atom-smashes concepts and genres together into a post-nuclear house party. He segues easily from one savvy vocal impression to another—Prince, Korn's Jonathan Davis, Jimi Hendrix, even the late Brad Nowell, of stoner-ska outfit Sublime—confident in his ability to find homes for each and every one in the most unlikely of musical backdrops: R&B langour for "I Will Save Young Michael," skeletal funk for "The Girl Ain't Preggers," Negro spiritual-cum-folk for "I'm Absolutely Freaked Out." Anxious, inventive, and not beholden to any one path, Adamson's like Beck Hansen's slightly daft little brother—and that's no bad thing at all. With Murzik and Pale Young Gentlemen. 21+. $5. 9 p.m. 501 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis; 612.338.6424. Ray Cummings

 

SATURDAY 11.22

School of Seven Bells

Triple Rock Social Club

Sometimes hyperbole's not only called for, but demanded, and School of Seven Bells is such a case. Solely composed of indie-rock refugees—multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Curtis used to be in Secret Machines, and you may remember vocalists/twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza from On! Air! Library!—this School's got psychedelic, swirled-current instruction on offer. Debut full-length Alpinisms (Ghostly International) goes heavy on the shoegaze-y textures and electronically digested beats, but the Dehezas' swelling, processes harmonies push this trio into a decidedly accessible Madonna/I Am the World Trade Center/Cranberries realm where pop-star wattage breaks bread with acid-techno anonymity. Get yourself a voucher and transfer, already. Opening for M83. 21+. $15. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Ray Cummings

Calexico

Fine Line Music Café

The town of Calexico takes its name from the state and country on whose border it lies: California and Mexico. You might guess that the band took their name from their hometown, but the rockers hail from Tucson. Instead, the town is a metaphor for their sound, which bow-leggedly straddles the line between country and mariachi, between American folk and tango. It's not all in their famously eclectic musical influences, either. The lyrics of their tune "Across the Wire" draw on the image of an eagle perched on a cactus to compare the border crossing of illegal immigrants with the Aztecs' search for Tenochtitlan; "Ballad of Cable Hogue" is a sun-soaked, sideways retelling of a Sam Peckinpah Western. What catapults Calexico far above their peers is their ability to harness the schizophrenic array of sounds and images into a unity: a sort of Southwestern snow globe, where desert sand and loneliness swirl around the scorpions and snakes. With the Acorn. 18+. $17/$20 at the door. 8 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Ward Rubrecht

 

SUNDAY 11.23

AC/DC

Xcel Energy Center

If you need to be reminded that AC/DC is a rock 'n' roll band in one of its purest forms, you have a problem and should seek medical attention from your local rock doctor. And while their output of the last 15 years has been mostly satisfactory, with a smattering of occasionally awesome singles, they never fail to bring unbridled enthusiasm to the stage, while giving their rather thick catalog the royal treatment as even the most basic of fans convulse with unadulterated excitement. The legendary sound is covered in sex and grime and that bluesy, rock-meets-metal guitar genius of Angus Young, which has made him a tried-and-true legend. Young, his brother Malcolm—who is just as much of a legend, however overlooked—and the long-lasting Brian Johnson make up a seemingly easygoing bunch who sweat, breathe, and ingest the form of popular music that they embody. Let there be rock, indeed. It still lives and breathes and inspires you to pump that fist in the air until your arm almost comes out of its socket. $98. 7:30 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651.726.8240. —Jen Paulson

 

MONDAY 11.24

Ahmad Jamal

Dakota Jazz Club

Influential jazz piano icon Ahmad Jamal continues showing off his impeccable technique and exploring fresh facets of his inimitable style on his latest recording, It's Magic (Dreyfus). But most of all he seems to be having lots of fun, showing off profound joy and impish humor in his abrupt shifts in rhythm and dynamics, and eruptions from spacious melodies into furious flourishes of notes—both Jamal trademarks. Odd bits of "Eleanor Rigby," "Old Man River," and less identifiable quotes stray into his pieces, which include jaunty covers of the Sesame Street ditty "Sing" and the Sammy Kahn/Jules Styne title track, and a more contemplative run through the standard "The Way You Look Tonight." With percussionist Manolo Badrena joining longstanding Jamal collaborators James Cammack (bass) and Idris Muhammad (drums), Jamal's "Back to the Island" sizzles on an array of Caribbean rhythms boiling atop Muhammad's New Orleans shuffle. Badrena also gives added dimension to Jamal's lushly melodic "Swahililand" and a dynamic new composition, "Fitnah." Cammack and Badrena will join Jamal at the Dakota, along with drummer James Johnson III. $40 at 7 p.m.; $25 at 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Tuesday and Wednesday. —Rick Mason

 

TUESDAY 11.25

Nine Inch Nails

Target Center

Doctor's orders prevented Trent Reznor from taking the stage to play in Minneapolis this past summer, but Nine Inch Nails will attempt to make good as they return to the Target Center, playing a rescheduled show with Japanese drone-rockers Boris. It's increasingly difficult to know what to expect from Reznor and crew, but recent reviews suggest that concertgoers are in for one of the most visually stunning stage shows that any band has ever produced. Coupled with roughly two hours of music spanning the past two decades, including tracks from the band's five discs released this year alone, and a booming set from Boris, who will be returning to town three days later to play the Triple Rock Social Club, fans are sure to be in for a night that they won't soon forget. $39.50-$47.50. 6:30 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. Chris DeLine

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