Dre Day, Bassgasm, and more

WEDNESDAY 2.17

Wild Beasts; Still Life Still

7th St. Entry

At the heart of Wild Beasts' minimalist art-pop is Hayden Thorpe's lascivious falsetto. His theatrical hoots and howls raise the Leeds-based quartet's slinking, techno-infused music to a level of unhinged sexual decadence. Thorpe delivers unflinching tales of romantic intrigue, lust, and gang rape with an eerie sophistication that is both alluring and threatening, not least because of the pleasure his characters take in their reckless pursuits. Tom Flemming's deep, menacing vocals add another layer to Wild Beasts' brooding chic, which was refined by the austerity of last year's Two Dancers, an album that established the band among the most prominent members of Britain's re-emergent indie scene. Still Life Still's shambling indie rock may seem to be of another ilk, following as it does in the aesthetic footsteps of fellow Torontonians Broken Social Scene, but one needs look no further than the title of their debut full-length, Girls Come Too, to understand the rationale behind their appearance on this bill. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Jeff Gage

THURSDAY 2.18

Dre Day

Wild Beasts know why the caged band sings
Tom Beard
Wild Beasts know why the caged band sings

Triple Rock Social Club

Though your place of employment may not recognize it (yet), February 18 is a holiday way more important than President's Day, more raucous than New Year's, and responsible for lighting up more trees than Christmas. It's the birthday of Dr. Dre, West Coast beatsmith and rapper extraordinaire, and it's the seventh year in a row that the Triple Rock and Burlesque of North America have hosted festivities commemorating his entrance into the world (no word on whether his mom was a virgin). No, Dre himself probably won't be there, but there's plenty to hold your attention, from rappers to DJs to a photo booth immortalizing the best-dressed partygoers. As evidenced by the West Bank's BOMP! events, the Burlesque guys know how to party, so you can be sure that this year will follow in the grand tradition of Dre Day by providing you with a good time and enough 40s to give you one hell of a Friday hangover. Now, where's that Compton hat? With Trama, Carnage, Felipe, Jimmy2Times, and King Otto. 21+. 8 p.m. $10. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Ian Traas

Killswitch Engage

First Avenue

There's so much middle ground in metal right now that you can mix and match styles, arrange your favorite mixture of heavy sounds, and be pretty sure that there's a band out there that caters to your particular brand of darkness. If you feel that anthems and ferocity shouldn't be mutually exclusive, you can take your pick of bands that dot the expansive landscape of aggressive music, but metalcore staples Killswitch Engage pull off the combo with a gleaming accessibility, giving fans with varied tastes a little something to hold on to. It's thanks in part to Howard Jones's vocals, alternately scorching and soaring, but the stacks of massive riffs and melodic breakdowns also seem calculated for maximum crossover appeal. They're easy to like, and while that may not sit well with those who like their rock pitch-black, the band's popularity signals that they've hit a certain sweet spot, which will ensure that First Ave will be filled with both the curious and the faithful. With the Devil Wears Prada and Dark Tranquility. All ages. $27.50-$30. 5 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

FRIDAY 2.19

Bassgasm

First Avenue

Leave it to local techno stalwart Woody McBride to coordinate something like Bassgasm—a big, gushing love letter to dance music and First Ave, written in smacking kick drums and loads of ribcage-rattling low end. Everything about it promises to be on a giant scale; the Mainroom, Entry, and VIP Room will all have scores of DJs and electronic acts from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., with crossover between rooms encouraged and extra sound packed into every available corner. If you're not impressed with the setup alone, consider that McBride is calling in a little outside help in the forms of drum 'n' bass favorite Dieselboy and house music legend Derrick Carter. Top it all off with some of the best local talent that the Twin Cities have to offer, and you've got an event that will draw dance music fans of every stripe from all over the metro area. It's a whole lot of aural pleasure that's sure to leave you sweaty and spent. With MC Messinian, Attack People, DJ Spree & MC ADB, Soviet Panda, and more. 18+. $14/$20 at the door. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

SATURDAY 2.20

Retribution Gospel Choir

Triple Rock Social Club

Duluth's Retribution Gospel Choir aren't really a choir, but a tendency to preach—albeit in cryptic riddles—underlies the trio's rough, ready rock action. Singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk is blessed with the kind of commanding, J. Robbins-reminiscent roar that draws authoritative depth from ringing, titanic guitar chords and tight rhythm-section grit courtesy of drummer Eric Pollard and bassist Steve Garrington. On 2, this particular choir are a one-stop stylistic shop: nitro-charged shred clinics ("'68 Comeback"); trembling-in-place calamity ("Something's Gonna Break"); slow-building, country-electric fury ("Electric Guitar"); and hook-hemorrhaging barnburners ("Hide It Away"). Best of all, Retribution Gospel Choir make the whole second-person testifying, disheveled indie-rock up-and-comers thing look easy—no mean feat. With Andrew Broder. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Ray Cummings

B.B. King and Buddy Guy

Orpheum Theatre

These two legends need no introduction. For over five decades, B.B. King and Buddy Guy have been among the most revered blues musicians, their influences extending far beyond the genre. King's sophisticated, uptown style—relying on his impassioned voice and the saccharine tones of his beloved guitar, Lucille—earned him the broadest-reaching appeal of any blues singer and an unequivocal place in the annals of American music. Guy, with his high-energy guitar slinging, histrionic singing, and explosive, sometimes Jekyll-and-Hyde performances, was long overlooked beyond a devoted group of followers including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. It was only fairly recently, with a string of Grammys beginning in the early '90s, that he also earned the recognition his work deserves. Now both elder statesmen, King and Guy making this appearance together offers a rare chance to see two giants from an increasingly scarce, and all the more precious, generation. $58.50-$78.50. 8 p.m. 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Jeff Gage

MONDAY 2.22

Rickie Lee Jones

Fitzgerald Theater

It turns out the Duchess of Coolsville reigns over turf far more diverse than the boho ghetto she initially roamed with Chuck E. In a career now spanning 30 years, Jones has been among only a handful of artists who have consistently defied expectations, following her muse in an intriguingly convoluted path from cool jazz to noir pop to standards to vintage R&B and, lately, to excoriating Bushies and quoting Jesus (but in an anti-evangelical context). Her singular trek continues on last fall's Balm in Gilead, an exquisite collection of intensely personal songs with an intimate feel that doesn't prevent them from shape-shifting among vivid pastiches of blues, gospel, country, jazz, and R&B. Opening with "Wild Child," a dose of gossamer R&B addressed to her about-to-turn-21 daughter, Balm in Gilead (the title taken from an African-American spiritual) moves into the soulful, horn-licked "Old Enough" (a vocal duet with Ben Harper), and the aching country lament "Remember Me" (Alison Krauss's weepy fiddle echoing a bittersweet duet between Jones and the late, much-missed Vic Chesnutt). Jones evokes Billie Holiday alongside John Reynolds's mellow, Django-esque guitar on "The Moon Is Made of Gold," a charming jazz ballad written by her father in the early '50s. Wistfulness also envelops the atmospheric "His Jeweled Floor" (Victoria Williams joining Jones and Chesnutt) and "Eucalyptus Trail" (elegantly etched by Bill Frisell's distinctive guitar). It's a sneakily powerful album, its myriad threads coalescing around Jones's wild vision. $34-$42. 7:30 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651.290.1220. —Rick Mason

TUESDAY 2.23

Taken By Trees and El Perro del Mar

The Cedar

Seeking exotic sounds to add to the atmospheric Scandinavian alt-pop of her solo project Taken By Trees, former Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman made a perilous journey to Lahore, Pakistan, to collaborate with local Sufi musicians. The resulting synthesis, East of Eden, matches her languid melodies and fellow Swede Andreas Soderstrom's sparsely elegant, conspiratorial guitar work with tabla-induced Pakistani rhythms, serpentine flutes, keening vocals, and assorted street sounds. Bergsman's whispery but resolute vocals etch enigmatic original lyrics, as well as covering an effervescent version of Animal Collective's "My Girls" (gender bent into "My Boys"). Fellow Swede Sarah Assbring, who goes by El Perro Del Mar on stage, also fashions a Nordic brand of atmospheric pop, but hers is informed by the likes of Brian Wilson. Her latest, Love Is Not Pop, displays an infusion of relatively hushed techno pop and subtle dance rhythms, thanks to the influence of collaborator Rasmus Hägg. But El Perro's warm, organic vibe remains, while Assbring's ethereal voice waxes—mostly painfully—about love. $12/$15 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

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