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

7th St. Entry

For those keeping a running tally, you might find that the shoegaze genre has more students now than it did in the early '90s. Film School and the Depreciation Guild both attend the University of My Bloody Valentine, but the bands have different ideas about how to write their master's theses on reverb. Film School leans heavily on the atmospherics, dropping opportunities for anthems but paying considerable homage to their forebears, while the Depreciation Guild skews progressive by incorporating melodies lifted from '80s soft rock and cheeky eight-bit synths. Still, they're both offshoots of a very specific sound, and you can hear requirement boxes being checked one by one: leagues of echo, crushing distortion, aching beauty. Purists might scoff (if they still exist), but newcomers to the genre will find much to enjoy here, as both bands can rev up the tempos to inspire a bit more movement than a name like shoegaze implies. Maybe they don't make 'em quite like they used to, but the new models go faster. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

MONDAY 10.11

JP, Chrissie & the Fairground Boys

Varsity Theater

JP is Welsh singer-songwriter JP Jones, who once had a band called Grace. The Fairground Boys are friends of his. Chrissie is longtime, iconic leader of the Pretenders Chrissie Hynde, whose dusky vibrato is one of rock's great voices. The pair's drunken meeting at a London bar led to a musical and romantic partnership, the latter doomed by Hynde's nearly three-decade seniority over Jones. But the impossible relationship was also prime fodder for the songs that appear on their collaborative album, Fidelity!, the title a sly commentary on both their love affair and the place they wrote the material (Fidel Castro's Cuba). Adeptly exploiting the bittersweet tension in their amorous conundrum, Hynde and Jones create music that squirms and twists and sizzles with frustrated passion, the band appropriately ragged and intrepid as poignancy translates into full-kilter rock 'n' roll ("If You Let Me") and ballads riddled with regret. Hardly mournful, there are streaks of humor and moments of exquisitely melodic pop-rock ("Australia," with its remarkably effervescent pronunciation of the title). Jones's raspy voice is a fine match for Hynde, who has rarely sounded better (which is saying a lot), and her blend of grit and vulnerability on a single line—"Meanwhile, I'll be the only one"—may be among her finest ever. As they dissect and negotiate their ties throughout Fidelity!, Hynde and Jones join a select club of couples who memorably did the same on record, notably including George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and Richard and Linda Thompson. Opening will be Amy Correia, a Massachusetts native who suggests a female John Hiatt, writing smart, edgy, story-songs with particular points on her latest, You Go Your Way. Also like Hiatt, she taps blues, gospel, and other Americana roots while harboring an inclination to rock out. 18+. $25-$28. 7:30 p.m. 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rick Mason

TUESDAY 10.12

Guided By Voices

First Avenue

From their '90s breakthrough to their 2004 breakup, Dayton, Ohio's Guided by Voices were one of the great perennial live bands to play First Avenue, a setting that rendered controversy about their recording aesthetic (whether ostentatiously crude or slick) moot while concentrating their vast, uneven, some might say compulsively accumulated song catalog into a timeless hit-list. Their beauty always lay in sounding like a rusty machine cranking into high gear—The Beatles as forever old—and that mixture of resignation and cheer seemed built into Robert Pollard's clarion voice, the chords shifting uneasily under the anthemic weight of his deceptively simple melodies. The peaks, give or take a few missing favorites and alternate versions, are collected with vim and flow on 2003's Human Amusements at Hourly Rates: The Best of Guided by Voices, but this touring reunion of the "classic" '92–'96 lineup is the place to hear them. With Times New Viking. 18+. $25/$30 at the door. 7 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes

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