THURSDAY 4.23

Seymore Saves the World

Bryant-Lake Bowl

Seymore Saves the World wield an unabashedly positive demeanor. Theirs is a universe where the Crayola sun is always shining from the corner of the construction-paper landscape, and every stick figure sports a shit-eating grin. The local trio plays infectiously cheery power pop, with nasally vocals more cutesy than snotty and soft keyboard breakdowns that could tempt even the most sullen goth kid to tap a Doc Martin with childish glee. The music is definitely aimed at the teenybopper crowd, locking in on that era before listeners rack up enough heartbreaks and "this is what the real world feels like" tragedies to dive into their Joy Division phase. But Seymore Saves the World's verse-chorus-verse tunes are so effectively catchy that legal-agers would be wise to recognize it as the latest guilty pleasure. With The David Harris Show. $10. 6 p.m. 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.825.3737. Erin Roof

David Allan Coe

Mercurial Rage take part in the fashionista fun fest at Voltage
Nicholas Marshall Photography
Mercurial Rage take part in the fashionista fun fest at Voltage

Cabooze

Bemoaning the death of candor and edge in country music has become a bemoanable cliché all its own. One need not worry about indulging such shopworn complaints when dealing with iconoclastic singer/songwriter David Allan Coe, one of the original gangstas of outlaw country. The fact that he penned the classic Johnny Paycheck tune "Take This Job and Shove It" is enough to secure him a lifetime of dirt-road cred, yet Coe is perhaps best known for singing what the ditty's very own lyrics describe as the perfect country and western song, "You Never Even Call Me by My Name," a classic written by Steve Goodman and John Prine. But honesty and tradition come with rough edges. Coe's best songs are often pumped up on rebel spirit and laced with dark humor, but even the most jaded fan of shock comedy has to wince at some of the songs on Coe's über-vulgar novelty albums of the late '70s and early '80s, Nothing Sacred and Underground Album, which include cringe-inducing tracks like "Nigger Fucker." Coe's gag tune "Fuck Anita Bryant" is a takedown of homophobia's poster bitch, yet the song is dominated by cheap gay jokes. Where exactly does Coe stand? Even in his later years Coe remains difficult to pin down. Come see him at Cabooze and witness one of the last stalwarts of a bygone era—with all the thrills, contradictions, and complications that encompasses. 21+. $22/$24 at the door. 8 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. Bryan Miller

Sole and the Skyrider Band

Red Sea

It's been 10 years since Sole released Deep Puddle Dynamics, recorded here in Minneapolis with Rhymesayers and other friends, and Anticon: Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop, his various-artists set announcing the Bay Area label of that title. These were touchstones of alternative rap, yet in some ways Sole has advanced out of hip hop rather than pushing it forward. Now based in rocky Flagstaff, Arizona, after a couple of years abroad, he released his new album, Sole and the Skyrider Band, on his own Black Canyon imprint through Revolver, and with music that must be some kind of first: Sole handed his 2007 lo-fi art-rap-with-live-band album of the same title (that one on Anticon) over to an array of remixers, including the Twin Cities' Dosh and Andrew Broder, who tweaked the tracks to blippy, wacky, often poppy perfection. It's his most accessible music yet. He co-headlines this tour with L.A.'s Awol One, who has his own new album of electronics-drenched hip hop forthcoming, executive-produced by Xzibit. With Ceschi Ramos (New Haven), Factor (Saskatchewan), Icon the Mic King (Philadelphia), Cainam and Scotty Six-O of Imaginary Friends (Arlington, Texas), and Kristoff Krane (Twin Cities). 18+. $10. 9 p.m. 320 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.1644. Peter S. Scholtes

FRIDAY 4.24

Voltage: Fashion Amplified

First Avenue

The fifth installment of this annual event promises to be just as fresh as the first, making Voltage look less and less like a novelty with each passing year and more like a testament to the creative talent teeming in Minneapolis. Unequivocally Minnesota's premiere fashion event, Voltage: Fashion Amplified combines homespun, sometimes-edgy fashion with an eclectic mix of live music to keep the night interesting. This year the music lineup includes Mercurial Rage, Maria Isa, Gospel Gossip, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, and First Communion Afterparty—who all have their own senses of style musically and otherwise, and are from disparate genres, which will keep Voltage from looking like a one-trick pony. The fashion ranges from Max Lohrbach's hand-painted fabrics to 2709's architectural/geometrical-inspired work, with everything you can imagine in between. If nothing else, Voltage: Fashion Amplified proves that Chicago isn't the only Midwestern town the rest of the country should be looking to for inspiration and fashion cues. Despite what the country at large may think, Minneapolis understands that up-to-date fashion is much more than just putting on a new Carhartt jacket and clean John Deere cap. $25/$30 at the door. 21+. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Pat O'Brien

The Funeral and the Twilight

Memory Lanes

Beneath a thick hide of melodic overtones hangs the Funeral and the Twilight's monster. It emits guttural yells and otherworldly howls, and lies in wait to sink its fangs into your precious girlfriend's pink belly. Singer Benjamin Jones mixes the gothic vibrato of Dead Science's Sam Mickens with over-the-top swooning à la Morissey, but fixes the effect without the snobbery. This is topped with music that manages to be both raw and elegant, modern and near-Gregorian. Ever moving through the Sturm und Drang, the turbulent sounds are frighteningly emotional and bitterly beautiful. Listening to the wafting creations is an experience that can shake listeners to their cores and threaten to shake free their own ghosts. 21+. Free. 10 p.m. 2520 26th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.721.6211. —Erin Roof

SATURDAY 4.25

M. Ward

First Avenue

In his 2006 single, "Chinese Translation," M. Ward asked, "What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart?" And through his collaborative album with Zooey Deschanel as She & Him and his recent Hold Time release, it appears that surrounding yourself with the best friends you can find seems to be the answer to the question. Though the physical presence of Hold Time's contributors—DeVotchKa's Tom Hagerman, Lucinda Williams, Grandaddy's Jason Lytle—might not be represented when Ward returns to the Twin Cities, the spirit of the music remains intact through Ward's talented touring band. Generally well-suited for smaller venues, Ward's songs are gentle in nature, with his voice rarely raising above a calculated purr, but in keeping with the theme of the album, the more friends the merrier, and hopefully the crowd at this show's larger venue responds by helping Ward mend that broken heart. With the Watson Twins. 18+. $16/$18 at the door. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Chris DeLine

SUNDAY 4.26

Neko Case

State Theatre

Neko Case's animal instincts are all over her new album, Middle Cyclone, much as they were on 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. It's almost as if each track were doused in a bestiary of feral scents, her siren's voice purring and howling with the grace of an Appalachian cougar (on whose automotive equivalent she crouches in the cover photo) while she assumes the identity of a succession of critters. The orca on "People Got a Lotta Nerve" sings a lethally catchy chorus: "I'm a man, man, man eater" (leaving potential lovers quavering in their boots), her phrasing as tart as Paul Rigby's McGuinn-like ringing guitar. Case also channels an elephant and a magpie before simply declaring, "I'm an animal," giving in to her primal tendencies, which subsequently surface in a different form on the noirish nightmare "Prison Girls." On "This Tornado Loves You," meanwhile, she morphs into an amorous whirlwind turned deadly by desire. Natural forces carve Case's songs as surely as they did the Grand Canyon, leaving spectacular erosion behind, Case grappling with urges and sounds both alluring and dangerous. Often sounding like a 21st-century Patsy Cline, she doesn't fall to pieces, but arranges them in unsettling patterns, caressed by her resilient voice, her whip-smart band weaving elegant Americana textures. Crooked Fingers, essentially the alter ego of former Archer of Loaf and frequent Case associate Eric Bachmann, will open. All ages. $29.50. 7:30 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

MONDAY 4.27

Nanci Griffith

Guthrie Theatre

Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, and Larry McMurtry have been as influential on Texas singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith as Woody Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt, and Johnny Cash. Straddling the line between country and folk, occasionally straying into pop, her best albums, including the early classics on Philo, tend to be plotted like novels, and her best songs, including the Kathy Mattea hit "Love at the Five and Dime," have the character development and vivid details of short stories. And she's a fine interpreter of others' songs. Her version of Julie Gold's "From a Distance" far outstripped Bette Midler's. On her last album, 2006's string-slathered Ruby's Torch, Griffith played the torch singer to the hilt. Now she arrives at the Guthrie a couple of months before her 19th album, The Loving Kind, hits the streets. The advance word is that the collection is dominated by originals, and many are political and factually based. One, "Not Innocent Enough," deals with the execution of a convicted murderer despite new evidence proving his innocence. The title track, already making its rounds on the internet, is about interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving, whose 1960s marriage ran afoul of Virginia law, leading to a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. All ages. $38.50. 7:30 p.m. 818 South Second St., Minneapolis; 612.377.2224. —Rick Mason

TUESDAY 4.28

Franz Ferdinand

First Avenue

Somewhere between the release of 2004's self-titled debut and Tonight..., Glasgow, Scotland's Franz Ferdinand made the decision—whether consciously or not—to steer away from the bisexual dance-rock pop that defined them early on. Thank god for that; as much fun as "Take Me Out" was at the time, the band's Joseph K./Interpol/Strokes-inspired cad pop came with a short shelf life. On Tonight..., a residual boys-will-be-boys rudeness and Studio 54-ish melodic touches remain in play, but the album is grounded by introspective, Beatles-esque passages, a rueful vibe, and an underlying rhythmic weight that invites you to shake your stuff under hot lights without demanding that you do so. It's the sound of assholes trying their hardest to grow up without growing dull, and it may be Franz Ferdinand at their best. With Born Ruffians. 18+. $30. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ray Cummings

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