Bassgasm 2, Gaslight Anthem, Squeeze, and more

THURSDAY 7.22

Squeeze

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater

"We haven't been to Minneapolis for a few years, I'm quite looking forward to it," says Squeeze's Chris Difford. "A friend who makes my guitars lives there." Difford and his songwriting partner Glenn Tilbrook have been the only consistent members of the seminal new-wave band, though former members come, go, and come back again. Aside from Pet Shop Boys and Madness, you'd be hard pressed to find a more English band. "I think you're absolutely right we are very English; that's always been the case. We've always been mentioned in the same breath as the Kinks, and that's all fine, I don't mind," Difford says. The band hasn't recorded a new album in a dozen years, but after a U.K. tour in the fall that will change. The songwriting methodology may also be different. "In my solo stuff I write about stuff that affects me," Difford explains, "and stuff that's more personal and autobiographical. I'm looking forward to writing with Glenn again and seeing where it takes us." In the meantime, the group will release Spot the Difference, a reworking of their classic numbers, on August 3. The live show, too, features all of their well-known tracks. "Every hit you can get into an hour-and-15-minute set." With the English Beat. All ages. $38. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. P.F. Wilson

Built to Spill

First Avenue

Right now the term "indie rock" has a nebulous definition, encapsulating a wider spectrum of music than it ever has before, so it might be hard to believe that it once stood for a particular sound. And, once upon a time, Built to Spill reigned as kings of that sound, where perfectly imperfect vocals and vast expanses of guitar met to create something heartfelt, something that couldn't posture if it tried. There's no irony to be found here (in their facial hair or otherwise), so it's no wonder that the newest incarnation of indie has marginalized one of the most talented bands in the Midwest. They've made only minimal changes to their sound since crafting genre-defining masterpieces Keep It Like a Secret and Perfect From Now On, and while they may be short on evolution, the band has classic songs and guitar chops to spare. Good ol' indie rock might not be as hip as it used to be, but in Built to Spill's case, it's still long on quality. With Fauxbois. 18+. $20. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

FRIDAY 7.23

Bassgasm 2

First Avenue

February saw First Ave bursting at the seams with all the party people who came out for Bassgasm, techno chieftain Woody McBride's mash note to Twin Cities dance fans. For an evening, petty infighting was drowned out by low-end throbbing from speakers stacked 12 feet high, while a few thousand sneakers danced on the grave of anything that didn't look like a good time. Now, as with all blockbusters, the sequel is upon us, making us wonder if anything can stand up to the first installment. Mr. McBride is once again bringing us a mix of notable locals, up-and-coming DJs, and old-school rave heavies like remixer-to-the-stars Tommie Sunshine and acid king Terry Mullan, a combo that's sure to bring in another massive crowd. But will it have that same special quality, the sense that the event is somehow bigger than the sum of its parts? Here's to Part Two cultivating the same unforgettable vibe—but with double the explosions this time. With Hulk, HeavyGrinder, Mike G, and more. 18+. $15 /$20 at the door. 5 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

FRIDAY 7.23

Ben Sidran

Dakota Jazz Club

Ben Sidran is a polymath who holds a doctorate in American studies, has written several books, hosted and produced numerous radio and TV programs, and produced dozens of albums for artists as diverse as Diana Ross, Jon Hendricks, Van Morrison, and Rickie Lee Jones. The Wisconsin native (still Madison-based) is also a singer, keyboardist, vibraphonist, and songwriter with some 30 solo albums to his credit. Plus—drum roll—he co-wrote "Space Cowboy" (among other tunes) when he played with fellow Badger Steve Miller in his band of renown. Despite his legitimate rock legacy (including sessions with the Stones and Clapton), Sidran basically is a jazz hound from the hipster school of Mose Allison, or, as he once titled an album, on the cool side. Bringing it all back home on his latest album, Dylan Different, Sidran shines a brilliant new light on a dozen early Bob Dylan classics with jazzy arrangements that slyly incorporate simmering elements of funk, rock, and gospel. Meanwhile, Sidran's arid, Allison-style vocal delivery—once called "existential jazz rap"—compels us to pay close attention to vintage Dylan lyrics that were initially seized upon as phenomenal and revolutionary. Although long consigned to relative indifference by familiarity, the lyrics regain their luster thanks to Sidran's cool treatment, even "Blowin' in the Wind." On his way to Tokyo, Sidran will stop in for two nights at the Dakota with what he calls a "super hot" band: son Leo on drums (who also produced the album), trumpeter Mike Leonhart, reed player Bob Malach (who all played on it), plus the Twin Cities' own longtime Sidran associate Billy Peterson on bass. $25. 7:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Saturday —Rick Mason

SATURDAY 7.24

Natalie Merchant

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