Loud & Rich, Dark Dark Dark, and more

WEDNESDAY 4.14

Loudon Wainwright III & Richard Thompson

Fitzgerald Theater

One standard line about these balding folkies is that they've never won the success their talents merit, and thus the world isn't fair. The world isn't fair, as Thompson's and Wainwright's songs remind us, but hey, the two have paid the rent for a combined 80-odd years making sometimes transcendent, infrequently commercial music, which suggests that the world is sometimes fair-ish. Wainwright's songs have chronicled his own and other bourgeois-bohemian lives with heart, wit, and often bold candor. He'll make you laugh, cry, and squirm, sometimes in the same song—he's a master of a seemingly impossible hybrid genre: emotionally affecting novelty songs. Last year's High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project is one of his best and least characteristic albums, a double CD of world-weary but life-drunk songs either about or made popular by the great country-music pioneer. Thompson is one of history's few legit folk-rockers—that is to say, he can do both with complete conviction. You won't get to hear him lead a band through one of his slashing electric-guitar solos here, but he's just as impressive stripped down; the guy can write and sing beautifully, can make one acoustic guitar sound like two, can spout clever remarks between songs, can do four or five things extremely well whereas most of us can't do one thing half- or even quarter-assed. Oh, Christ, the world's not fair. $37/$39 at the door. 7:30 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651.290.1220. Dylan Hicks

THURSDAY 4.15

Dark Dark Dark (CD-release show)

Dark Dark Dark unveil a new EP
Cameron Wittig
Dark Dark Dark unveil a new EP

The Cedar

Minneapolis's very own music collective, Dark Dark Dark—with members hailing from as far off as New York and New Orleans—forgo maximalism for an austere, nuanced sound. Nona Marie Invie's saccharine vocals, which mix the cooing coyness of Leslie Feist with the deep, dark tones of Victoria Legrand, are the soulful core around which Dark Dark Dark wrap their solemn cabaret tunes. Drawing on European musical traditions, they mix shades of violin, piano, and accordion into a breathy blend of woozy melodies and plaintive dirges that can build into chilling choral harmonies. The new Bright Bright Bright EP reflects the full grandeur of their music, having been recorded live in a converted church under the guidance of Low producer Tom Herbers. Hot off tour, Dark Dark Dark are returning home to give the record its official release, but it may not be long before their worldliness whisks them permanently away from our fair Cities. With Spirit of the Red City and Brett Bullion. All ages. $8/$10 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. Jeff Gage

FRIDAY 4.16

Chick Corea and Gary Burton

Dakota Jazz Club

Pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton first collaborated as a duo in 1972 at the suggestion of ECM label founder and producer Manfred Eicher. Both had substantial jazz résumés, and Corea's supergroup, Return to Forever, was flying high. But the album the pair recorded that year in Oslo, Crystal Silence, became a jazz touchstone and led to many more Corea-Burton duet projects in subsequent years, including the current tour bringing them to the Dakota. Among the album's innovations were playing jazz in a chamber-music context (along with its classical and avant-garde implications), the blossoming of Burton's pianist technique on the vibes (creating extraordinary symmetries and textures with Corea's piano), and Eicher's crystalline production. Also extraordinary to this day is the exquisite interplay between the two, spawning improvisations that anticipate one another's moves while finding fresh avenues of expression. Corea and Burton celebrated the 35th anniversary of the original album by releasing in 2008 The New Crystal Silence, which vividly revisits some of the same material on two discs, one performed with the Sydney Symphony in Australia, the other a live duo set recorded in Norway and the Canary Islands. Last year ECM re-released Crystal Silence as part of a neat four-disc box also containing the Grammy Award-winning Corea-Burton albums Duet (1978) and In Concert, Zurich (1979). $50-$90. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

The Alpha Centauri

Varsity Theater

The Alpha Centauri have looked far and wide, searching for just the right tones to craft their iconic clinks and whooshes. Singer Lance Conrad uses his warbly, soulful croon to beckon Matthew Bellamy of Muse. But just before he can be tagged and labeled, a background of electronic flourishes makes his melancholia sound like it's escaping a bluesman visiting from the future. Leaping across the spectrum, Conrad approaches his guitar solos with the mind of a mathematician, nodding to Trans Am's linear repetitiveness. But the hidden genius of the group is Evan Beaumont, whose samples and synths hold all the pieces together. Beaumont funnels his sounds into the arena of '90s psych-poppers Mercury Rev, creating atmospherics that flow from spacious to sparse, wormholing from one end to the next with hyperkinetic crescendos. Though their inspirations seem as endless as they are varied, the quartet have sewn the best of their influences into something wholly new. When the sweat hits the floor, the band members are deft, teeming with talent, and infinitely weird. Opening for Dearling Physique (see our profile on p. 47), with Xavier Marquis and No Bird Sing. 18+. 8:30 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. S.E., Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Erin Roof

SATURDAY 4.17

Storyhill (CD-release show)

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