Sage Francis, the Fleshtones, and more

Flanagan, Andrew

WEDNESDAY 5.19

The Twilight Sad

Triple Rock Social Club

If My Bloody Valentine is the loudest live band, the Twilight Sad may be the most intense, thanks to their brooding frontman, James Graham. Though Graham rarely engages the audience, preferring to sing while staring off to one side, he's nonetheless a commanding presence and provides a much-needed visual anchor for the band's ominous squalls. A Scottish brogue as thick as his might be distracting with sparer arrangements, but when backed by guitarist Andy MacFarlane's molten feedback, his accent actually serves as a welcome folksy counterpoint. Last year's Forget the Night Ahead lacks its predecessor's volcanic peaks, but what it sacrifices in scale it gains in power: Songs like "Made to Disappear" and "The Neighbors Can't Breathe" find the rhythm section adding their own driving, assertive stamp. No one would describe the Twilight Sad as controlled, but Night certainly proves them capable of tightening their grip. Opening for Japanese instrumental rockers Mono. 18+. $12/$15 at the door. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Jonathan Garrett

THURSDAY 5.20

The Fleshtones

Lee's Liquor Lounge

Almost 35 years since starting out in the wilds of Queens and soon after landing on the wild stage of CBGB, the Fleshtones are still out in the garage thrashing out raw, perhaps surprisingly vital rock 'n' roll ensnared in a serious time warp. The Fleshtones' world is fast, short, and exuberant, the party-hearty hooks hitched to Keith Streng's snarly, fuzzed-out guitar, muscular propulsion from drummer Bill Milhizer and newcomer (well, early '90s) bassist Ken Fox, and raucous yowls—plus the odd Farfisa organ workout—from Peter Zaremba. The Tones' patented, self-described Super Rock contains virtually nothing post-1967, but plenty of juicy stuff from before, running from Lee Dorsey to the Rascals to the Kingsmen, MC5, Mitch Ryder, and Paul Revere and the Raiders. Decades after they should have burned out, the Fleshtones are still an adrenalin rush showing no signs of abating. Catch 'em in the Flesh at Lee's. With the Anonymus and Fuck Knights. 21+. $10/$12 at the door. 9 p.m. 101 Glenwood Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.9491. —Rick Mason

FRIDAY 5.21

Sage Francis

First Avenue

No one MC defines indie hip hop better than Sage Francis. The unlikeliest of natives from Providence, Rhode Island, he owns his own label (Strange Famous), his fans are mostly urban white kids, and, most importantly, he walks the line lyrically between indie and mainstream, boasting about a conquest here but then getting all touchy-feely and maybe even tossing in a goofy pun or two there, all the while delivering his thoughts, whims, and proclamations in a stoned, poetry-slam-like tone. And right there—which is admittedly right about at the beginning—is where people diverge. There is the camp who think he's an extremely lucky pothead/knucklehead and those who think he's playing the role of extremely lucky pothead/knucklehead, while in reality Francis is a canny, whip-smart, lyrically gifted MC who can spit rhymes with the best of the best of them. He's in town on the heels of his latest release, Li(f)e, and while it's not as strong as his other works, it's still interesting and might have a long payoff. Now it's up to you to decide if the naysayers had it right all along, or if this is an album that nobody will understand until the next one. With Free Moral Agents and B. Dolan. 18+. $17/$18 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775.—Pat O'Brien

SATURDAY 5.22

Josiah Wolf

7th St. Entry

Delivered by a man, "My apartment smells like divorce" is hardly an objective sentiment. It could suggest olfactory presences or absences as easily as it might transcend that sort of literalism. Surfacing halfway through Jet Lag, the shaken-not-stirring debut from Why? member Josiah Wolf, that plainspoken lyric is little more than an encapsulation of what the album is about. Jet Lag doesn't so much swagger in its olly-olly-oxen-free as it drags its Chucks through aftermath remorse, a wallow of acoustic dither and total-recall regret, of telling pre-splitsville moments re-examined. Wolf's songwriting mein mirrors that of his brother, Yoni, so: more run-on sentences than verses proper, more confessional than fitted to chordal strictures that are purposefully elastic anyway in a questing Silver Jews/Mountain Goats style. Wolf isn't lobbying for pity votes here; he's just rooting through the wreckage, trying to figure out what caused his life to crash and burn. With Dark Dark Dark. 18+. $8. 9 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ray Cummings

SUNDAY 5.23

The Tallest Man on Earth

Varsity Theater

Let's get the silly stuff out of the way first: Kristian Mattson (a.k.a. the Tallest Man on Earth) isn't really all that tall. But his majestic songs are indeed colossal, even if they are performed solely by a man and his battered guitar. Mattson's music is striking in its simplicity, and the unvarnished nature of his sound only serves to add to its appeal. The Swedish singer is touring behind his recently released gem The Wild Hunt, which should (in a just world) end up on many year-end 'Best Of' lists. And while his stellar recording output is enough to make a lasting impression on music fans everywhere, it's performing live where Mattson truly shines and his stately songs take flight. Though the Dylan comparisons continue to shadow him, Mattson wears the burden like a badge, even cheekily name-checking "Boots of Spanish Leather" on his excellent new single, "King of Spain." The plush confines of the Varsity Theater should be the perfect setting to witness one of the best songwriters in modern music spinning his searching tales of love and loss. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Erik Thompson

MONDAY 5.24

Buzzcocks

Fine Line Music Café

There are people of a certain age who still hold tight to the "Manchester Scene": the Smiths, the Fall, Oasis, the list goes on and on. But there would be no Manchester scene, or its later incarnation, the drug-fueled "Madchester," without (curiously, Bristol natives) the Buzzcocks. Like any band from a tertiary city, they caused a bright light to be shone onto it for years afterward, and their musical output, not to mention the fact that a large portion of it has stood the test of time, is nothing short of amazing. The Buzzcocks craft pop songs with a punk mentality (or vice versa, perhaps) and that formula, though incredibly simple, results in a timelessness that really can't be accurately described in words. It's as if they are still making music in 1978 and releasing it in the present, or are making it from some utopian future that we have yet to catch up to. Any way you want to dress it up, the bottom line is this: The Buzzcocks sit on a list somewhere that's stocked with heavy hitters labeled "Most Influential of All Time." With the Dollyrots. 18+. $20. 7 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Pat O'Brien

TUESDAY 5.25

Midlake

The Cedar

Midlake have never been a band in a big hurry to get where they're going, with their hushed, leisurely songs often taking a while to fully sink in before gradually delivering a full reveal. The Denton, Texas, quintet have crafted an exquisite new record, The Courage of Others, whose distinguished songs will surely be showcased throughout their performance at the Cedar, as well as those from their 2006 breakthrough, The Trials of Van Occupanther. Their new songs seem to be a bit divisive to those who don't have the patience for Midlake's slow-burning sound, but for fans of the band's sedate manner, the new record proves to be an assertive continuation of the group's strong songwriting and understated, proficient musicianship. Their evocative lyrics transport listeners to the mystical woodlands that frontman Tim Smith sings fondly of; just allow your restless thoughts to cease and let the tranquil sounds of the band carry you away. Also on the bill is Jason Lytle (of Grandaddy), whose solo shows have proved not only how gifted a songwriter he is, but also how much his former band is truly missed, while former Czars frontman John Grant opens the show with a new set of songs he's been working on with Midlake's assistance. All ages. $13/$15 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Erik Thompson

James Taylor & Carole King

Xcel Energy Center

If you were putting together a soundtrack of the 1970s, you'd have to reserve prominent roles for James Taylor and Carole King. The albums each released at the dawn of that decade—King's Tapestry, Taylor's Sweet Baby James—yielded numerous hits that became virtually ubiquitous yet never wore out their welcome, tributes to both the quality of their songwriting and performances. So it was no coincidence that King and Taylor essentially became prototypes for subsequent generations of singer-songwriters. They first co-headlined L.A.'s Troubadour club in 1970, then again in 1971, while Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and "Sweet Baby James," and King's "It's Too Late" and "I Feel the Earth Move" permeated the airwaves. On the Troubadour's 50th anniversary in 2007, Taylor and King returned with the same musicians who had been on hand all those years earlier: guitarist Danny Kortchmar, bassist Leland Sklar, and drummer Russ Kunkel. That performance has just been released on CD/DVD as Live at the Troubadour, and is the inspiration for their current Troubadour Reunion tour, featuring the same band. Collaborating throughout, King and Taylor play all the essentials (including a few that King and first husband Gerry Goffin wrote as Brill Building stalwarts in the '60s: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" for the Shirelles and "Up on the Roof" for the Drifters). The atmosphere is warm, congenial, and packed wall-to-wall with nuggets, while Taylor and King play these old favorites with a sublime freshness that belies their vintage. $67-$97. 8 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.726.8240. —Rick Mason

Screaming Females

7th St. Entry

Screaming Females are an honest-to-goodness grassroots success story: from studiously booking their own tours in punk-house basements across the country summer after summer for years, DIY everything all along the way, to supporting the Dead Weather on their summer tour last year (going from awkwardly passing a hat to a $30 door must be vindicating) and receiving transcontinental hosannas from The Village Voice and Rolling Stone. I was there for what I'm fairly certain was the band's first show in the Cities, a weekday night at Big V's four or five years ago with maybe six people in the bar, and all six would say the same: "I don't know who or what...but something just happened." They were, of course, right. That something is singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster, a diminutive guitar demon who consistently leaves crowds smiling with furrowed brow, re-avowed that rock can't really die; it's too lovely a virus. Let the Screamales prove it. With Tenement. 18+. $7/$8 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775.

Show Pages
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Minnesota Concert Tickets

Concert Calendar

  • September
  • Tue
    30
  • Wed
    1
  • Thu
    2
  • Fri
    3
  • Sat
    4
  • Sun
    5
  • Mon
    6
Loading...