Rodrigo y Gabriela

Pantages Theatre

When I say that Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero's shredding will melt your face, bear two things in mind. First, said shredding consists of inconceivably fast classical and flamenco picking on acoustic guitars—no heavily distorted, thunderbolt-shaped custom axes here. Second, your face: It's gonna be in a puddle on the floor. The pair have roots in death metal back in their hometown of Mexico City, but since they moved to Dublin, Ireland, they've cultivated a musical style all their own, blending their rock beginnings with more traditional sounds. Unlike a lot of virtuoso guitarists, they don't get bogged down in navel-gazing improvisation; their music is designed from the ground up to get your hips wiggling and your toes tapping. The pair's new album, 11:11, makes tentative steps into alternative instrumentation, featuring a bit of high-flying electric guitar and piano backup on some tracks, but all indications are that their live show remains unchanged: the pair onstage with nothing but their guitars, a couple of microphones, and a healthy dose of awesome. $32-$36. 8 p.m. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Ward Rubrecht

Ghostland Observatory

Smoldering soul singer Ruthie Foster
Smoldering soul singer Ruthie Foster


As a band, hailing from Austin, Texas, means coming up in a hotbed of musical activity that makes artistic evolution possible in the same way that a deep-sea volcano nurtures natural mutation—only the weird survive. But maybe even the ocean floor never created anything as freaky as Ghostland Observatory. A two-man team stitching together scraps of electro, funk, and hair metal to form some kind of beat-hungry glam monster, Ghostland Observatory have one foot in the indie/dance crossover territory that has been steadily gaining in popularity since the early 2000s. However, the other foot is planted firmly in the bizarre, cemented there by singer Aaron Behrens's man-on-fire shrieks and the duo's playfully unhinged live show. A word of advice: Be wary of the electronic thump pulling you toward the dance floor; you might not realize you're in the band's jaws until it's too late. 18+. $22. 8:30 pm. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. —Ian Traas

SUNDAY 10.18

Meshell Ndegeocello

Dakota Jazz Club

As sinisterly ambiguous as its title, the primary theme of Meshell Ndegeocello's brand new album, Devil's Halo, is the treachery of love, which in her nearly unremittingly grim view leads to groveling, bitterness, even death. The lovers she describes are distraught with stark need, yet poison for one another. In "Blood on the Curb," they're caught in an evil web, one captivated by another who is also drawn in but ultimately feels nothing. Halo's sound is equally ambiguous. Compared to the complex eclecticism of recent Ndegeocello albums, including her 2007 tour de force, The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams, Halo relies on a relatively lean mix, the musicians mostly pared down to a quartet while Ndegeocello alternates funk pieces laced with pop hooks and soulful ballads. But as always with Ndegeocello, things are not that straightforward; the seemingly simple arrangements are full of quirky nuance. Even when she sings sweetly of love in a whispery passage, chances are that close behind is a bristling fusillade from the band and ominous portents of doom, as in opening track "Slaughter." $35 at 7 p.m.; $25 at 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. ­—Rick Mason

MONDAY 10.19

Maria Muldaur's Garden of Joy Jug Band

Dakota Jazz Club

When Maria Muldaur leapt into the general consciousness in 1973 with her debut album, which included the sultry, chart-climbing charmer "Midnight at the Oasis," she seemed to appear out of nowhere, artistically fully formed. In fact, the native New Yorker had spent years immersing herself in a broad swath of Americana with a distinctly Southern exposure: blues, Appalachian folk, country, gospel, jazz. It's territory she continues exploring today, and she has a string of marvelous albums stretching back several decades to prove it. Pre-"Oasis," while hanging out on the Greenwich Village folk scene, she joined the Even Dozen Jug Band, which included the likes of John Sebastian and David Grisman, and when they broke up, Boston's Jim Kweskin Jug Band, which included her future (and long ago ex-) husband, Geoff Muldaur. Lo these many eons later, Muldaur has returned to her roots, formed her own jug band, and issued a delightful album, Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy, which roots around in a cornucopia of ripe jug-band standards, with help from Sebastian, Grisman, Taj Mahal, and Dan Hicks. Her six-piece touring outfit will clutter the Dakota stage with all the proper accoutrements, including fiddles, mandolins, washtubs, kazoos, banjos, and, of course, jugs. $25 at 7 p.m.; $20 at 9:30 p.m.1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. ­—Rick Mason


The Dodos

Turf Club

For a buzz band with mountains of hype surrounding them, the Dodos have a sound that is mysteriously lacking in certain areas. No distortion. No synthesizers. No bass. But what the Dodos do have is a vast reserve of frenetic, crackling energy, infusing what would otherwise be pleasant folk tunes with a whiplash-inducing speed. Logan Kroeber's drums are bracingly wild, hammering out a foundation on which to base Meric Long's acoustic guitar, which is sometimes strummed so intensely that it's a wonder his pick doesn't disintegrate or burst into flames. This energy would be wasted if the songs themselves didn't hold up, but the hooks on last year's Visiter proved so effective that they netted the band a ton of positive press (and a beer commercial). Though the reception of their newest album, Time to Die, has been less enthusiastic than that of their '08 breakthrough, the Dodos' live performance could be enough to transform the tepid into the triumphant. With Ruby Suns. 21+. $12. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Ian Traas

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