Green Day, Cage, and more

WEDNESDAY 7.8

Cage

Triple Rock Social Club

Damaged-goods rapper Cage famously claimed Eminem ripped off his style, has his own 8 Mile in the dream pipeline (with longtime fan Shia LaBeouf hoping to play him), and a new album that you could call his anti-Relapse—with Cage's entertainingly frank autobiography contrasting with Eminem's increasingly desperate agit-poop. But the more telling point of comparison is punk-rap from the Beasties to P.O.S., which Cage one-ups on Depart from Me by finding a new balance: "Fat Kids Need an Anthem" sounds less like hip hop than like Mike Muir sputtering through Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized" over a Big Black beat ("I went from fantasizing about women to fantasizing about food I can't eat anymore"), while "Kick Rocks" could make Le Tigre fans dance. At this point, a harrowing Hollywood biopic would be an anticlimax. With Yak Ballz. 18+. $15. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Peter S. Scholtes

THURSDAY 7.9

Josh Ritter

Varsity Theater

Josh Ritter is frequently tagged with the descriptor "Dylanesque," an adjective that is usually too broad to mean much of anything. Does that reference folkie Dylan, plugged-in iconoclast Dylan, religious zealot Dylan, or frog-voiced elder Dylan? But the comparison is actually suitable for Ritter, a singer-songwriter who amped up his sound on his latest album, 2007's The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. That excellent disc still shows off Ritter's quiet side, as well as the incredible facility with metaphor and wordplay that has earned him the comparison to the demigod of all troubadours, on gentler tunes like "Naked As a Window" and in particular the lyrically dense ballad "The Temptation of Adam." ("What five letters spell apocalypse, she asked me," Ritter croons, before answering his own riddle, "WWIII.") But it's the jolting, band-backed tracks that drive the record, from the rapid-fire "To the Dogs or Whomever," which indelibly invokes the verbal blitzkrieg of "Subterranean Homesick Blues," to the percussive gunfighter's lament "Mind's Eye" to the wry "Next to the Last Romantic." Ritter's show at the Varsity will include his full band, which should guarantee a lively performance. Of course, the only true way to follow in the footsteps of Dylan is to be an ever-evolving artist with a sound all your own. Ritter certainly has that—and what a sound it is. With Joe Pug. 18+. $20. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Bryan Miller

FRIDAY 7.10

Brutal Becomings

501 Club

Brutal Becomings navigate their handcrafted maelstrom with the ease of seasoned caped crusaders. Whether they are using their powers for help or havoc is yet to be determined. Their battle never ceases, as the brand of their sound morphs with every snippet. At certain moments the locals try on an Eno-like ambience, minus the bells and whistles. During others they plummet into Hendrix-esque disarray. Whether it's drippy blues or warped squealing, Brutal Becomings never layer too much or too little. So far the band has shied away from the public, some preferring to wear the costume of the everyman and some diddling with hip hop and Heiruspecs. But at their CD-release show, the masks will fall away and there may be no innocent bystanders. With Lookbook and Aaron and the Sea. 21+. Free. 501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.3848. Erin Roof

Black Francis

Triple Rock Social Club

Black Francis hardly needs an introduction. Whether using his Pixies moniker or going by his real name, Frank Black, under a solo project, Black has proven himself as one of the most significant players in the ever-developing genre of rock. With the Pixies, Black pioneered an incomparable style of jagged, frenetic rock and invented a loud-quiet-loud formula that so many bands have since attempted to recreate. And solo he has demonstrated a seemingly innate ability for songwriting, incorporating pop hooks into his gritty, soul-baring, stripped-down punk. His latest tour is in support of a new project with his wife, Violet Clark, known as Grand Duchy, but Black's stop in Minneapolis will be a rare solo performance. Expect songs spanning his entire career, from Black Francis to Frank Black and back again. 18+. $20. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Andrea Swensson

SATURDAY 7.11

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Turf Club

Chicago's Owen Ashworth (a.k.a. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone) will stop in the Twin Cities in the middle of a 30-date tour in support of his two most recent releases, Vs. Children and Advance Base Battery Life (a collection of 7-inch singles released between 2004 and 2007). Now more than a decade into his career, Ashworth has employed his delicate vocals and melancholy electronics to earn a reputation as a unique indie-pop storyteller. His ability to complement his gentle voice with the sounds of his understated, moody arrangements gives his songs a warm sensibility that is rare among knob-tweakers. Ashworth typically takes a very personal approach to his songwriting, and the lyrics on Vs. Children offer a refreshing perspective, with many of the songs revolving around bleak stories about remorseful criminals. The entire package is powerful, and the listening experience is amplified in the live setting. With Cryptacize, Best Friends Forever, and the Danforths. 21+. $7. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. Chris DeLine

Green Day

Target Center

Developed out of a childhood friendship between guitarist and singer Billy Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt, Green Day went from a group of slumming teenagers playing punk to global successes while still in their early 20s. Falling out of commercial grace (which is relative, considering they still maintained sales figures and a solid following that most bands would kill for) with subsequent releases, they again rose to prominence with the 2004's rock opera (of sorts), American Idiot. Selling some 14 million albums worldwide, AI re-launched the band into the mainstream's consciousness; the album was revered by many critics as one of, if not the, best of the year. Now returning with another thematically inspired recording, Green Day have again propelled themselves atop the charts with 21st Century Breakdown. The band's collage of fear and loathing in the new America is a melting pot of punk-inspired riffs and classic-rock dramatics. Already having showcased their new material on the Today Show, the Tonight Show and, well, any outlet that would have them (which is to say, just about all of them), the band are now taking to the road for a massive 39-date North American tour. Expect theatrics, expect the grandiose, and expect to see a band do their best to live up to tremendous hype. With the Bravery. $25-$49.50. 7 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. —Chris DeLine

SUNDAY 7.12

Graham Parker

Brit's Pub

Brit's Pub again celebrates Bastille Day (approximately) with a free performance on the bowling green by the brilliantly acerbic, erstwhile pub rocker Graham Parker and assorted other entertainments, including a performance of Shakespeare's 37 plays in 97 minutes, necessarily abridged so the three guys in tights onstage don't have to prattle on like auctioneers. Never mind that Bastille Day is a French holiday, Will's probably doing contortions in his grave, and Parker long ago swapped London's East End for a home deep in U.S. suburbia. The always-entertaining Parker achieved a peculiar cult status as a singer-songwriter some three decades after his old band, the Rumour, regularly spewed venomously clever, lacerating rock across clubs far and wide. Parker harbored a punkish literary streak even then, and in the intervening decades has honed it into a reliable source of wickedly pointed songs packed with bilious commentary on the sorry state of the world, albeit now usually accompanied by acoustic guitar. Parker's last conventional release was 2007's Don't Tell Columbus, which picked on Dubya, dumb voters, and pop culture. But his own Up Yours label puts out a steady stream of curiosities, including just lately Carp Fishing on Valium, a collection of tunes recorded in his bathroom around 2000, written to accompany a promotional tour of his book of the same name. Some songs ("Chloroform," "Blue Horizon") turned up in different forms on subsequent records. Expect a decades-spanning set. Free. 6 p.m. 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.3908. —Rick Mason

Meat Puppets

7th St. Entry

While the history of the Meat Puppets is unusual, what's even more rare is that they lived to tell about it. The band started out punk, but eventually moved toward a more balanced rock sound as they worked their way through the '80s. Surviving a tumultuous first decade together, they found their greatest success in 1994 when Kurt Cobain requested that they join Nirvana for their MTV Unplugged appearance. Brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood sat in for three songs from their 1984 release, Meat Puppets II, including the brilliant "Lake of Fire." They released their most successful album, Too High to Die, later that year, which spawned the group's biggest commercial hit ("Backwater") and sold over 500,000 copies. The band soon collapsed, however, as Cris's disastrous drug abuse led to the band's first breakup in 1996. The brothers' well-documented history of having a large appetite for a life less legal carried them for another decade, with a three-year reunion sprouting up along the way. Meat Puppets reunited again in 2006, and their 12th studio album, Sewn Together, has received critical acclaim. The band will be wrapping up the current tour in Minnesota, and six local performances are lined up, including a pair of in-store gigs at Minneapolis's Electric Fetus and this show at the Entry. With Retribution Gospel Choir. 21+. $15. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Chris DeLine

MONDAY 7.13

Lura

Dakota Jazz Club

Alluring Lura Criola has a gloriously rich, sensuous voice that's equally evocative sighing dramatically in the expression of saudade, the Lusitanian concept of exquisite melancholy, or frenetically dancing on the percolating Afrocentric rhythms that define the music of her ancestral homeland. Although she was born in Lisbon, Lura's family is from Santiago, the most African-influenced of the Cape Verde Islands, and she has immersed herself in its sounds, which generally are far more feverish than the better-known, fundamentally sad Cape Verdean style called morna. Lura's music has hints of Brazilian and the Caribbean as well as pop, made sophisticated by thick veins of global colors. On her wonderful new album, Eclipse, the latter surfaces on "Quebród Nem Djosa," which combines modified reggae rhythms, sly horns, and contemporary R&B-influenced vocals. Her adventurousness surfaces on the sublime "Canta Um Tango," an avant-garde interpretation of traditional tango done in collaboration with the group Kantango. Elsewhere, Lura's band matches the suppleness of her voice, steaming things up with accordion-driven funanas and incisive coladeras, as they'll undoubtedly manage again at the Dakota. $25 at 7 p.m.; $20 at 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

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