O'Shaughnessy Auditorium

After maintaining a low profile for some time, former 10,000 Maniacs singer Natalie Merchant is back with the eye-opening Leave Your Sleep, her first studio album in seven years. The two-disc, 26-track, highly eclectic, meticulously researched, hugely ambitious project is stunning in its scope and realization, succeeding on its charm and vivid arrangements of music ranging from folk to jazz, reggae, Celtic, Appalachian, Chinese, and touches of classical along with folk rock. Merchant wrote all the music to accompany poetry by writers equally acclaimed (Ogden Nash, e.e. cummings, Robert Louis Stevenson) and obscure, their work united by acute senses of wonderment, whimsy, eccentricity, and surrealism, since many were written for children. Mother Goose is present, but it's far from a kids' record, rather embracing the breadth of human innocence and experience, defying age. The range of Merchant's contributors is equally broad: The Wynton Marsalis Quartet makes Nathalia Crane's "The Janitor's Boy" into a trad jazz jaunt, Albert Bigelow Paine's "The Dancing Bear" becomes a klezmer romp at the hands of the Klezmatics, and the Fairfield Four and Hazmat Modine douse Arthur Macy's "The Peppery Man" with gospel and blues. All the while Merchant's distinctly textured voice and sly phrasing seep into each tune, at once a unifying force but also adapting to her surroundings in chameleon-like fashion. On tour Merchant will be accompanied by an eight-piece band that leans toward chamber folk. $47-$57. 8 p.m. 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651.690.6700. —Rick Mason




English rockers Squeeze return to play the Zoo
courtesy of the artist
English rockers Squeeze return to play the Zoo

Location Info


Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater

13000 Zoo Blvd.
Apple Valley, MN 55124

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Apple Valley

Them a mad over King Yellow, especially back in the early '80s when his verbal dexterity overcame the social stigma of being an albino and set him atop the Jamaican dancehall scene. Yellowman's popularity was due in part to the blatant raunchiness of his sexual boasts, but his verbal exploits often were as witty as they were rhythmically agile. He was a groundbreaking toaster and a huge influence on the generations that followed. After several serious health scares in the '90s, Yellowman shifted to a more socially conscious variety of reggae with far more topical concerns. The once prolific Yellowman has been barely heard from since 2003's New York, so it's difficult to say what shape he's in or what he's up to while noting that the King has a substantial catalogue to draw from. Innocent, the local reggae roots-rock band, opens. 18+. $15/$17 at the door. 9 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. —Rick Mason


The Gaslight Anthem

First Avenue

To Brian Fallon, frontman for Jersey boys the Gaslight Anthem, icons like Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer aren't dead and buried—they're living a busy second life as an integral part of his world, where classic cars and old movies never go out of style. Early on, the band seemed to pine for eras they were born well after, but on this year's American Slang, Fallon has focused in on a more familiar past, referencing ex-wives instead of Marilyn Monroe. The effect isn't really modernizing, since the group has taken great pains to internalize everything that screams "classic," but it makes clear that Fallon considers his idols a part of his family, a blueprint rather than an influence. The material ranges from bluesy torch songs to punkish heartland homages the Boss would be proud of, but even if Springsteen wasn't popular with the indie set at the moment, Fallon and company would still be masters at crafting the same nostalgia-steeped rock that's landed them so much attention—it's in their blood. With Chamberlain and Tim Barry. 18+. $20/ $22 at the door. 7:30 pm. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas


Blitzen Trapper

First Avenue

Oregon's Blitzen Trapper apparently listened to the striking but too-mild country rock of their fourth album, 2008's Furr, and decided it was missing something—maybe the more pronounced influence of Yes and Queen? So they've turned up the guitars and come back with more chords and grooves on Destroyer of the Void, their new one for Sub Pop, but fewer tunes as immediately memorable as "Furr," "Black River Killer," or "God & Suicide"—whose melody they recycle for "The Tree," a bad sign. Then again, Eric Earley has the plain, unstrained talent to sustain interest through slower-burn material, including the understated piano-orchestral number "Heaven and Earth," which might even turn out to be his best. And a growing legion of fans have nothing but slack to cut. With Avi Buffalo. 18+. $15/$18 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes

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