Jamie Lidell, Ra Ra Riot and more

THURSDAY 10.7

Ra Ra Riot

Varsity Theater

As a young band gunning for some exposure, it certainly wouldn't hurt to count the guys in Vampire Weekend as a few of your close friends. But of all the bands that could use the help, Ra Ra Riot doesn't need nepotism to reach the spotlight. The Syracuse, New York, combo piles on the strings and uses lavish arrangements to elevate their winsome pop music past the point of indie charity case, positioning themselves as a hugely talented group that makes the most of their strengths. If you've heard them, you know not to expect anything resembling raw aggression; the music is well-mannered enough to make even the Ivy Leaguers in VWs feel like badass outlaws. But, even with all the good humor, the band never comes off as overly twee or toothless, thanks mostly to their closeness to subjects like death and depression—there are sins to atone for and losses to grieve. They may not be angels, but they're trying hard to sound like it. With Chikita Violenta and We Barbarians. 18+. $15. 8 p.m. 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Ian Traas

Anat Cohen Quartet

Former lovers, current bandmates Chrissie Hynde and JP Jones at the Varsity and Guided by Voices
Former lovers, current bandmates Chrissie Hynde and JP Jones at the Varsity and Guided by Voices

Dakota Jazz Club

When burgeoning clarinet titan Anat Cohen first appeared at the Dakota last spring, she led an all-star quartet in a repertoire inspired, logically enough, by clarinet icon Benny Goodman. As wonderful as that was, neither the King of Swing nor his particular jazz niche have ever been Cohen's primary focus. Her style is a post-modern, multi-dimensional mix of old and new influences from widely diverse sources. In fact, the Israeli-born New Yorker, who also plays multiple other reeds, is astoundingly prolific and eclectic, playing traditional, modern, and big band jazz; chamber music; and a wide array of Latin styles, especially choro, samba, tango, and Afro-Cuban. Whatever she's playing, she does it with particular soul and passion, whether conjuring a lovely, ethereal delicacy on John Coltrane's ballad "After the Rain," launching agile scrambles across the scales, or wailing with ferocious intensity. On the heels of winning yet another Clarinetist of the Year award from the Jazz Journalists Association, Cohen will return with her own working quartet: pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Daniel Freedman. $25 at 7 p.m.; $20 at 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

The Tannahill Weavers

Cedar Cultural Center

Scotland's Tannahill Weavers adopted their name from Scottish poet Robert Tannahill and the traditional industry of the band's hometown of Paisley, and for three and a half decades has forged its own sparkling legacy as one of Scotland's premier traditional bands. The Tannies play the rousing jigs and reels of the Highlands and Lowlands with virtuoso technique and renowned spirit, firing up the old melodies with driving rhythms and rock-like intensity, chiefly via Roy Gullane's furious guitar. The Tannies' other trademark is spine-tingling vocal harmonies, led by Gullane's fine-grained tenor, on the ancient and modern ballads that round out their repertoire. Phil Smillie's ethereal flute and whistles vividly evoke the craggy mists, deftly weaving gorgeous musical tartans together with Colin Melville's stirring pipes and John Martin's fiddle and various other strings. The Tannies' latest, characteristically accomplished album is 2007's Live & In Session, their first for Compass after decades at Green Linnet. All ages. $18/$20 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

FRIDAY 10.8

Jamie Lidell

Cedar Cultural Center

If you're only familiar with Jamie Lidell as a sexy soul crooner, you're in for a surprise.  True, he has a great voice, and when he started to get picked up on the indie radar, the music he was releasing made it easy to lump him in with the rash of other artists looking to hit it big in the neo-soul sweepstakes. But Lidell is like Dr. Detroit—a scientist playing a pimp, a geeky brainiac with the tools to fool everyone into thinking he's a smooth operator. With this year's Compass, the singer/producer is exposing more of his experimental side, which has reared its head mostly during live shows. Onstage, Lidell's process is laid bare as he uses a pile of electronics to interlock fragments of beatboxing and singing into full-on compositions consisting entirely of his voice...but only after he's through wooing you with a few torch songs. With so much talent in one place, it seems like the man would have to try not to be impressive. With Zeus. All ages. $15/$16 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Ian Traas

SATURDAY 10.9

Bobby Bare, Jr.

400 Bar

With a drawling quaver that's part Paul Westerberg, part Jolie Holland, Bobby Bare, Jr., is an arresting enough vocal presence to let clever, slow-burn lyrics ("What's making you smile is making me sad," "The moon is shining on the water, and the water is all over you") sink in amid amiable alt-pop along a Springsteen-Strummer continuum, steeped in the absorbed influences of his native Nashville. The title of his latest album, A Storm, a Tree, My Mother's Head, was inspired by a real-life collision of those three things two years ago, while the recent Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein pays homage to his late friend—who wrote "A Boy Named Sue" as well as "The Giving Tree"—by enlisting newer ones, including My Morning Jacket and Frank Black and Joey Santiago of the Pixies. The album also brings him full circle with his first hit, "Daddy What If," which he sang with Bare, Sr., when he was five years old, and now sings with his four-year-old daughter, Bella. The man is as fascinating covering The Smiths as he is collaborating with Will Oldham, and if he seems to have made peace with his roots, he shows no signs of growing comfortable or predictable. With Blue Giant. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.332.2903. Peter S. Scholtes

SUNDAY 10.10

Film School/The Depreciation Guild

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