Gaslight Anthem, Lookbook, Tapes 'n Tapes, and more

WEDNESDAY 9.30

Manic Street Preachers

Varsity Theater

Unfortunately, for every Coldplay or Radiohead, there is a Manic Street Preachers—a band that enjoys commercial success and recognition in the U.K., but can't seem to translate in the U.S. And few bands have illustrated how many miles the Atlantic actually spans more than the Manics, who have scored eight top-10 albums and 15 top-10 singles over the course of their 23-year career in the U.K., but are lucky to get their albums filed under their own name at U.S. record stores. The band's increasingly mannered pop following 1999's proggy This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours suggested that the Manics had given up on courting a Stateside audience altogether, which makes the just-released Journal for Plague Lovers especially confounding. More than any album since 1994's The Holy Bible, Journal seems, if not exactly American, then awfully interested in sounding like it could be. The band recorded the entire thing in Chicago with famed engineer Steve Albini, who has applied his distinctive non-gloss to American Gen X classics like Nirvana's In Utero and the Jesus Lizard's Liar, and are touring the U.S. for the first time in a decade. Who knows how long any of this renewed commitment will last, but best catch them before they have another change of heart. With Nico Vega. 18+. $20. 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Jonathan Garrett

Living Colour

Springsteen-loving Jersey Boys the Gaslight Anthem
Lisa Johnson
Springsteen-loving Jersey Boys the Gaslight Anthem

Fine Line Music Café

Less with the catchy-but-annoying 1988 hit "Cult of Personality" than with deep tracks from the same album (the brightly Afropoppy "The Glamour Boys") and subsequent ones (1990's "Pride," '93's "Bi," 2003's "A ? of When"), Living Colour perfected a brash combination of crunchy metal, agile funk, and soulfully operatic message-music that was a new wrinkle in hard rock even apart from their once-novel iconography as African American rockers. The worldly chops of guitarist Vernon Reid, muscular wail of singer Corey Glover, and Chic-worthy thwack of Will Calhoun remain an Aerosmith-sized pleasure on The Chair in the Doorway, their first album in six years after a '90s breakup and '00s reunion, with all three members (and '92-on bassist Doug Wimbish) firing on all cylinders behind "Bless Those" and "Taught Me"—to my ears, their best anthems yet. 18+. $25-$60. 9 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Peter S. Scholtes

THURSDAY 10.1

Tapes 'n Tapes

7th St. Entry

For better or worse, musicians are often measured by their ability to quiet things down a bit and go acoustic. It's a funny little anomaly within a creative outlet that often rewards and encourages deafening noise, but an important one. It suggests—and, truthfully, indicates—how diverse and talented a band is. Tapes 'n Tapes are the latest band to brave the gauntlet, but it doesn't seem like stripping down is going to be much of a challenge for them. In many ways a lot of their material seems like loud acoustic songs, anyway. For a band who claims they didn't really know what they were doing during the recording of their first album, they have carved out was has thus far proven to be a pretty impressive career. But the question remains: Can they pull off an intimate, acoustic show at a small club? All signs point to yes, and judging by the hype that's been surrounding this event (yes, we're calling it an event), the signs aren't wrong. We had the 'Mats and we had Hüsker Dü, but they never really seemed as interested in giving back to the city that birthed them as they seemed stuck here. TNT seems more outwardly proud to be from our goofy Midwestern burg, and this three-night mini-tour of the Twin Cities is a hell of a way to do right by it. With Lookbook and Mystery Palace. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Also Friday at the Music Box and Saturday at the Turf Club —Pat O'Brien

FRIDAY 10.2

Wilco

Roy Wilkins Auditorium

The August Spin Wilco cover story by former City Pages music editor Jon Dolan shows a damaged bandleader grown healthily and fruitfully boring—a warning sign for this fair-weather fan of "Box Full of Letters" and "California Stars" (and not of 2002's masterpiece-by-reputation, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). But a good life equals good music on Wilco (The Album), with Jeff Tweedy making as bright, lush, and (sometimes) catchy use of happiness as Bruce Springsteen or David Byrne in their realms, at his best taking a left turn into crime horror with "Bull Black Nova"—where the narrator is covered in blood and fleeing the scene, but knows "I'm not going far." With Liam Finn. All ages. $36. 7:30 p.m. 175 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul; 651.989.5151. —Peter S. Scholtes

Tortoise

The Cedar

Call it a passive-aggressive reflex: Snark-bash post-rockers long and hard enough, and eventually, they will strike back, and hard. So maybe that's why Beacons of Ancestorship, Tortoise's sixth studio album and first in a half-decade, resolutely asks no quarter, and gives none. Along with xylophones, tambourines, keyboards, and pretty much every other instrument you can think of, synthesizers have always been a key piece of weaponry in Tortoise's arsenal, as the quintet fold jazz, krautrock, and fusion into smooth, speckled shapes. Never before, though, have their synths bristled and bulged so, bludgeoning and bashing forth with ill will unbecoming dudes with For Carnation and Eleventh Dream Day lineage. Beacons is impressive the way a class-five hurricane is impressive: At a distance, you'll admire it, but up close it's all a bit too much. In live performance, thankfully, Tortoise scale back their intensity—so what's off-putting on aluminum may prove more palatable onstage. With Pit Er Pat. $18/$20 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Ray Cummings

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