Janelle Monae, Matt & Kim, and more


Matt & Kim

First Avenue

For a scrappy DIY pop duo, Matt and Kim have enjoyed some pretty substantial success.  Partially thanks to inescapable breakout hit "Daylight" (and partially thanks to a whole lot of web exposure), the pair are everywhere right now—being featured in TV shows and commercials, getting some radio love, and playing at music festivals all over the world. Onstage, they sometimes seem a little baffled by their own popularity, but the confusion only serves to add to the pair's already considerable charm. Their songs are fizzy and sweet, and almost all of them are relentlessly catchy; your brain will have a hard time picking out which chorus it wants to get stuck on. Adding in an impressively long and diverse repertoire of covers would seem like crowd-pleasing overkill if it weren't for the band's instantly disarming likability. It's obvious they're having a blast, and it makes for a live show that promises a gigantic grin with every ticket sold. With So So Glos and Birthday Suits. All ages. $15/$18 at the door. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775 —Ian Traas


Let loose with Matt & Kim in the Mainroom
Let loose with Matt & Kim in the Mainroom

Location Info


First Avenue

701 1st Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

7th St. Entry

Suuns hail from Montreal, but the starched, pensive sound the quartet showcases on debut EP Zeroes—pinched synthesizers, metronomic drumbeats, electronic textures, gristly yet mannered guitar pyrotechnics—feel distinctly cosmopolitan, an unlikely composite of influences that succeeds despite its obviousness. (Think Radiohead cross-pollinated with Walking With Thee-era Clinic and vintage Krautrock.) While singer/guitarist Ben Shemie, guitarist/bassist Joe Yarmush, drummer Liam O'Neill, and keyboardist Max Henry hold a strong melodic hand, they refuse to place all their cards on the table at once, instead feeding out conceptual strips and streamers that focus the attention more than a compositional full-court press might. There's a nocturnal intimacy and honesty to Suuns' bleak pulsations; the band gives voice and shape to the magical desperation so common to the twilight hours, when emotions seem, impossibly, capable of making anything happen. If they take the stage after 11:52 p.m., watch out. With Land of Talk. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ray Cummings



Varsity Theater

As an off-the-wall solo artist, beardo-pop oddball Quinn Walker was doing pretty well for himself prior to launching Suckers a few years back with some pals; his 2008 double album Laughter's An Asshole/Lion Land was promising, even if it was a couple acid freaks short of a Burning Man Festival. Debut Wild Smile, which saw release this past summer, builds on the template the foursome established on last year's eponymous EP: twisty-turvy pop-rock that's hard enough to escape the "whimsical indie-rock" tag but weird enough that it probably won't pop up in a national advertising campaign anytime soon. In other words: Come for the Romper Room toy-piano hooks and post-Darkness falsetto quailing, stay for the stolid melodic girding that supports those elements. Opening for Menomena. 18+. $15. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Ray Cummings

Janelle Monáe

First Avenue

Janelle Monáe's Eraserhead hairdo and gracefully peppy retro-soul hit "Tightrope" (with Big Boi) turned out to be mere tickets to the amusement park that is her debut album, The ArchAndroid, an Afro-Futurist psychedelic pop opera that doesn't live up to its ambitions because nothing ever could. As attuned to Kate Bush as to Lauryn Hill, to Funkadelic as to Lily Allen, the 24-year-old Atlanta R&B diva has made such a rich new funk—from the ragga-like "Dance or Die" to the School of Seven Bells-like "Wondaland"—that she was a natural to cover Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," with Prince in the audience, at this summer's BET Awards. The album has too many orchestral digressions and aimless shows of modulation (think Stereolab! The Musical), but expect them to fall away live, where she's fantastic, paying tribute to James Brown with dance moves as way-out as everything else about her. Opening for Of Montreal. All ages. $25. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes


Global Roots Festival: Meklit Hadero and M.anifest

Cedar Cultural Center

Friday's finale of the Cedar's Global Roots Festival will feature a pair of U.S.-based artists with African roots. San Francisco singer/songwriter Meklit Hadero was born in Ethiopia and raised in Brooklyn. Her rangy, glowing voice suggests an enchanting cross among Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, and Joan Armatrading, while her music is an infectious jazz/folk/blues/classical hybrid that also ties in influences from around the world. On On A Day Like This, she follows a knockout version of the Anthony Newley show standard "Feeling Good" with a lovely traditional Ethiopian tune and her own blazing funk-jazz workout "Soleil Soleil." Rapper M.anifest, a.k.a. Kwame Tsikata, is a native of Ghana who has made a name for himself on the Twin Cities hip-hop scene with a polished style and multi-cultural references that, as he says, "represent African with a spectacular street vernacular." All ages. $20. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason


John Prine

Opheum Theatre

If John Prine had never released another album after the now-classic pair that kicked off his career in the early 1970s, contemporary artists would still be scrambling to cover his songs, wired as they are with sharply perceptive and enduring social commentary, wicked humor, and withering cynicism. So the current Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows gathers the likes of Conor Oberst, My Morning Jacket, Lambchop, Deer Lick, the Drive-By Truckers, and the Avett Brothers (whose "Spanish Pipedream" has been all over the radio) covering prime Prine nuggets with appropriately gritty, reverent irreverence. Prine, in fact, has been a prolific songwriter (although issuing no new songs since 2005's Fair & Square), turning out multiple gems through the years. And now the genuine arty-fact is touring hard on the heels of In Person & On Stage, on which he runs down more than a dozen of the classics with assistance from friends such as Emmylou Harris, Iris DeMent, and Sara Watkins. Bassist Dave Jacques and guitar ace Jason Wilber will be along with Prine as usual. $52-$61.50. 8 p.m. 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Laura Veirs & the Hall of Flames

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