The Flaming Lips, School Of Seven Bells, and more

WEDNESDAY 9.15

Hot Hot Heat

7th St. Entry

It seems like a big deal when major labels pick up an indie-favorite band; the fans who have been there since the beginning (rightly) start to wonder if they'll recognize the group when they emerge on the other side of an image-and-marketing machine. But what happens when the majors lose interest? Ask Hot Hot Heat—a debut full of youthful synth rock led to a relationship with Warner Bros., but after two albums with the majors, the honeymoon is over and HHH have been left to their own devices. It isn't necessarily a bad thing. Without Big Brother watching the boards and over-polishing their 2010 effort, Future Breeds, the band has been able to get back to some of the breathless promise of their first record—though it also means that HHH's profile has come down a bit, now headlining the cozy 7th St. Entry instead of a much larger club. The marquee may not be as big, but a return to basics has pumped life back into the band. With Hey Rosetta! and 22-20s. 18+. $13/$15 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

THURSDAY 9.16

Male Bonding

Triple Rock Social Club

"I know you're disappointed/I see your disappointment in" isn't exactly Yeats or Auden, let alone Bon Iver. But Male Bonding make no claims to profundity; the U.K. foursome rock like a pogo-pop hit parade through the speakers of a disintegrating jalopy. On Nothing Hurts, they smash corn-syrupy chords together like cymbals, discovering sweet deliverance from life's imperfections in fist-pumping choruses and quivery jolts of feedback. There's no shortage of bands working this particular angle right now, and Male Bonding can only walk this agony-as-ecstasy tightrope for so long. (Unless they've got Michael Cera-like luck on their side.) Right now, though, they're the perfect tonic for bidding adieu to weeks when the world won't seem to stop kicking you in the teeth. With Best Coast. 18+. $14. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Ray Cummings

The Jazz Crusaders

Dakota Jazz Club

Originating in a Houston high-school marching band in the 1950s, the Jazz Crusaders came up with an innovative blend of hard bop and Texas R&B, meeting with modest commercial success. Then around 1970, shortening their name to the Crusaders and stirring in elements of pop, funk, and rock, the band scored a slew of hits throughout the decade, including "Put It Where You Want It," and "Street Life." Although a lot of musicians have played under the Crusaders' moniker over the years, the essential band remains pianist Joe Sample, tenor sax/bassist Wilton Felder, drummer Stix Hooper, and trombonist Wayne Henderson. Sample, who has had a successful solo career, and Henderson, who left the group to concentrate on production, have both led variations of the band, but haven't played together under the Crusaders' name for more than three decades. Until now. Although still highly anticipated, the reunion shows lack Hooper, who has given up professional music, and Felder, who reportedly began rehearsals with the reunited group but has experienced partial paralysis due to growths on his spine. The lineup at the Dakota will be Sample, Henderson, saxophonist Gerald Albright, bassist Reggie Sullivan, and drummer Moyes Lucas, who also plays in Sample's trio. $45-$65. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Friday —Rick Mason

FRIDAY 9.17

Titus Andronicus

7th St. Entry

Concept-album schomcept-album: Titus Andronicus's sophomore long-player with fiddle and readings from Walt Whitman and William Lloyd Garrison, the broken-romance-as-Civil-War-epic punk opera The Monitor, wouldn't mean squat if it didn't foist such an appealing variety of guitar textures on you at once. As with the band's 2008 debut, The Airing Of Grievances, the sound is two parts crushed jangle, one part mutant fuzztone, and a pinch of surf-scratch gone lyrical, all blanketing junk vocals more Paul Westerberg than Conor Oberst—too angry and/or bashful to approach the latter's theatrical sob. The cheerful pop references are also very Dillinger Four, and these New Jersey boys are Clashy too, if the Clash had been more into the Band and eight-minute song sagas. Can't wait for them to go pop. All ages. $14. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Peter S. Scholtes

SATURDAY 9.18

Railroad Earth

Cedar Cultural Center

Fundamentally a bluegrass band from an unlikely origin (New Jersey, the blacktopgrass state?), Railroad Earth long has stretched its bounds much farther afield. The vast panoply of Americana has become RRE's playground, sometimes even sliding jamgrassward. Except lead singer/guitarist Todd Sheaffer is a particularly sharp songwriter with a strong sense of historical context, musically and otherwise, suggesting an affinity with the Band. His songs on the RRE's forthcoming album, simply dubbed Railroad Earth, for instance, reference the Civil War, the first transcontinental railroad, and Native American classic Black Elk Speaks, all with contemporary allusions. The new one also attempts to tap into the rock 'n' roll intensity RRE often conjures up live, a touch of aggression that surfaces most notably in the flowing instrumental "Spring-Heeled Jack." Throughout, as usual, RRE's ensemble work is immaculate and daring, and the group's vocal harmonies approach the richness of prime Crosby, Stills & Nash. Opening will be the idiosyncratic Asheville, N.C., quintet Toubab Krewe, which parlays a sometimes ferocious, consistently convincing fusion of American rock 'n' roll (favoring surf guitar) and West African music (including its rhythms and instrumentation) into swirling psycherootsy maelstroms. All ages. $20/$22 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

SUNDAY 9.19

School of Seven Bells

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