The xx, the King Khan & BBQ Show, and more

WEDNESDAY 11.25

The Big Pink

7th St. Entry

It's important to note that breaking London band the Big Pink worship at the altar of Jesus...or rather the Jesus and Mary Chain. But unlike other shoe-gaze acolytes, the duo of Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell aren't afraid to spike their giant, reverb-heavy songs with bits of glitchy electronics or pop hooks that aren't buried under blankets of white noise. Case in point: massive single "Dominos," an obscenely catchy mix of chunky drums, sneering dismissal, and Pulp-y Britpop. A weeklong Current feature on the band gave those hooks a chance to sink pretty deep into Twin Cities music lovers; the show has already sold out. Even if you can't scrounge up a spare ticket on Craigslist, the Big Pink's sound is so huge that you might be able to stand across the street and soak some of it up. If that's not an option, there's always next time (in the Mainroom, hopefully). With Crystal Antlers and Claps. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Trass

FRIDAY 11.27

Nitzer Ebb

Varsity Theater

If New Order are the lovelorn elders of the British synth-rock hierarchy and Depeche Mode are their politically inclined fraternal twins, then Nitzer Ebb is the angry younger sibling, the one with black combat boots and an inclination to set things on fire. A viciousness is built into the genetic code of their lockstep drum-machine workouts that has been passed down through generations; when Nine Inch Nails was born, it had Nitzer Ebb's nose (Pretty Hate Machine owes a debt to NE's Belief that it can't possibly repay). The band occupies a role as a venerable influence, but since their "hits" are shouty underground dance classics instead of popular fare for '80s compilations, this tour (hell, any tour) has an air of "for the fans" rather than "for the money." Yes, there is an abundance of reunion/comeback tours these days, but none of them come with both the pedigree and sheer attitude of Nitzer Ebb. Miss this at your own risk. With Dissociate and DJ TK1. 18+. $20. 8 pm. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Ian Trass

SATURDAY 11.28

Leo Kottke

State Theatre

Among the premier fingerstyle acoustic guitarists on the planet, Leo Kottke is perhaps one of the most eccentric too. Not only does he harbor a surrealistic, bone-dry, often self-deprecating sense of humor, his highly distinctive, especially percussive picking style encompasses elements of jazz, classical, and pop, as well as multiple roots that only begin with folk. Most of his performances are solo and primarily instrumental, although he does sing on occasion, having contributed notable versions of Tom T. Hall's "Pamela Brown" and the Byrds' "Eight Miles High" that defy his own infamous description of sounding like "geese farts on a muggy day." Fortuitously—maybe—it's rarely muggy here around Thanksgiving, when Kottke makes his annual trek from the western suburbs. The last few years, these post-turkey trots have expanded beyond simply Kottke in his lonesome glory. Sitting in this year will be Nick Urata and Tom Hagerman of DeVotchKa, whose idiosyncratic alt-global pop should make for some fascinating, utterly original collaborations with Kottke. $30-$42. 8 p.m. 824 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Eye of the Great Protector

501 Club

This is spook music at its finest. The disembodied vocals, ritualistic percussion, and otherworldly bleating make a loosely defined plot in a rambling ghost story. Take "Temple of the Protector," a 10-minute-plus meditation on noise and minimalism. Comparisons range from Brian Eno to John Cage to Lightning Bolt, but each only partly sums up the feeling of this song—jarring the senses to the point of raising goose flesh. "Creeps We Are" is a further excursion into the outer rim, where the last strains of connectivity exist between "music" and "sound." Sparse guitar plucking tickles misfit rhythms, which occasionally ponder becoming friends. But Eye of the Great Protector inhabit a playground of outcasts. Each musical part becomes a pleasurable whole in its own right, forging together only to create isolating tension. This is why their feat is so respectable. It takes special skill to orchestrate chaos—and trained ears to appreciate its beauty. With Military Special, Bouncer Fighter, and Sharp Teeth. 21+. 10 p.m. Free. 501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.3848. Erin Roof

SUNDAY 11.29

Zachary Richard

Dakota Jazz Club

Zachary Richard launched his career on the cusp of the Cajun renaissance in the early '70s, but even then was a renegade. He picked up Cajun accordion along with an education in the roots music of southwest Louisiana, but mixed it all up with raging rock 'n' roll, slivers of pop, country, stuff out of New Orleans, and basically whatever struck his fancy. His French-language songs strongly advocating preservation of French North American heritage soon made him a hero in French Canada, leading to a curiously split career between there and the states with virtually no overlap. A series of U.S. releases for the likes of Rounder and A&M in the '80s was sandwiched between extensive stretches almost exclusively in Canada. This year's Last Kiss (Artist Garage) is his first English-language album in 17 years, and it's a good one, riding a rootsy Americana ambience strongly influenced by Daniel Lanois, referencing the Cajun experience while drawing on blues, gospel, and folk. This will be Richard's first local appearance in decades. He'll be accompanied by New Orleans pianist David Torkanowsky and guitarist Shane Theriot. $25 at 7 p.m., $20 at 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

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