WEDNESDAY 10.27

Stars

First Avenue

Stars have spent most of their time as a band exploring the million ways you can get your heart broken and then pieced back together again. They're experts at crafting emotionally moving character sketches, and if you've ever loved and lost, they have at least one song that will knock you flat with a wave of old feelings and familiar regrets. In the past, the band heightened the melodrama with syrupy orchestral flourishes, but recently they've largely abandoned the strings for chilly synthesizers, balancing their theatrics with danceable pop gems. That Stars can slip between styles so convincingly is due to the strength of its individual members—Amy Millan's voice is both iron-strong and feather-light, while Torquil Campbell remains a consummate storyteller, reveling in the details of failed relationships. Though they're touring behind a new album, the group doesn't lean too heavily on recent material; longtime fans will be happy to know that songs from across their catalogue show up in concert, and that "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" absolutely kills live. 18+. $20. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

The Vaselines

Varsity Theater

Pulled single-handedly from obscurity by Kurt Cobain during the heyday of the grunge era, Glaswegian band the Vaselines became famous roughly eight years after forming and two years after they broke up. They had two EPs (both of which Cobain later mined for cover songs on two of Nirvana's releases), and Dum-Dum was released in 1989. Since then they've had their entire body of work released in compilation form on two separate occasions, and in 2006 mainstays Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee performed together again for the first time in 16 years. That reunion culminated in the release of this year's Sex With An X, which feels like a grown-up version of Dum-Dum; there's more introspection and less wink-wink, nudge-nudge vulgarity in Sex With An X (despite it's title), while it loses not one ounce of the humor that has always been at the core of their songs. While it seems most bands that reform after a long hiatus are simply after the money, it's refreshing to see a band like the Vaselines get back together and still have something relevant to say. 18+. $18. 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Pat O'Brien

Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys

Dakota Jazz Club

Just past her 20th birthday, Amanda Shaw is a wily music biz vet who has been a household name in Louisiana for a dozen years. She's a cultural ambassador of sorts, among other things, appearing in films on behalf of the state's beleaguered wetlands, and adorning the cover of the 2010 Official Louisiana Tour Guide wielding her claim to fame: her fiddle. A classically trained child prodigy, Shaw played with the Baton Rouge Symphony when she was eight years old. Shortly after, she discovered the rich heritage of Cajun fiddling while residing in southwest Louisiana and was hooked, following in the revered footsteps of Dennis McGee and Canray Fontenot, and appearing regularly at major events like New Orleans's JazzFest. Earlier protests aside (she titled one album I'm Not A Bubblegum Pop Princess), Shaw's fourth album, Good Southern Girl, marks her emergence as an adult artist, and is incidentally the first release on Irvin Mayfield's new Poorman Mayfield label. It is also characteristically eclectic, with convincing forays into country, pop, and rock, as well as a forgettable rap song. The title track could be a contemporary country hit, and she goes on to cover Skynyrd, Norah Jones, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Starship (the latter Papa John Creach's fiddle workout "Git Fiddler"). All are distinguished by Shaw's lively fiddling and arrangements built around prominent Cajun roots, which are also honored with rousing covers of McGee and Clifton Chenier. As a vocalist, Shaw sometimes suggests Dolly Parton, sometimes Edie Brickell with a touch of Loretta Lynn, and she even muscles up a measure of grit on Janis's "One Night Stand." Her Cute Guys are veteran musicians Mike Barras (drums), Ronnie Falgout (bass), and guitarist Tim Robertson. $20. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

THURSDAY 10.28

The Dandy Warhols

Fine Line Music Café

Even if you think you haven't heard of the Dandy Warhols, you have. The rock outfit from Portland, Oregon, have been a staple of movie and TV soundtracks for the last decade and a half; they provided the theme songs to two hip-but-canceled-too-soon TV shows, Undeclared ("Solid") and Veronica Mars ("We Used To Be Friends"), and their most popular tune, "Bohemian Like You," has been featured in Chuck, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Six Feet Under, and Igby Goes Down, among a slew of others. They've even starred in their own film, the stellar 2004 rock documentary Dig!, which charted their rise to fame and testy relationship with contemporaries the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The Dandies come to the Fine Line in support of their recently released greatest hits album, The Capitol Years: 1995-2007, which includes a murderer's row of spectacular, acid-tinged rock songs, including "Godless," "Get Off," and several other tracks from their high water mark, Thirteen Tales of Urban Bohemia. The disc also includes a new recording, "This Is the Tide," which is, well, pretty fucking dandy. With Blue Giant. 18+. $20. 8 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. Bryan Miller

Los Amigos Invisibles

Cedar Cultural Center

Conceived on the Caracas club scene in the early '90s, Venezuela's Los Amigos Invisibles essentially launched a Latin-fueled global dance party that's never waned. In fact, the sextet's latest, Commercial, which won a Latin Grammy for Best Alternative Album, lives up to its name by arguably being its most accessible record, oozing irresistibly funky grooves liberally peppered with fiery spices and doused with melody. There are sleek soul-funk ballads (including one sung in English: the lightweight "In Luv With U"), sly updates of disco, and raging workouts where P-Funk meets Prince south of the border. But Los Amigos aren't quite so obvious, harboring a judiciously subversive nature that injects spiraling doses of acid jazz, noirish keyboards, edgy guitars, and subtle touches like guest Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade, whose sultry vocals add another dimension to "Viviré Para Ti." An eclectic array of South American and Caribbean roots surface too, including soca, dub, samba, and merengue, allowing Los Amigos to give their infectious rhythms even more intriguing angles. Local Latin-influenced singer/guitarist Matt Jennings will open. All ages. $15/$18 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

Two Door Cinema Club

7th St. Entry

Two Door Cinema Club aren't the first band to combine sharp post-punk guitars with a disco backbeat and glistening pop melodies (they're not even the 100th), but they have plenty that sets them apart, not the least of which is their unrelenting optimism. Perpetually overcast Ireland doesn't seem like the ideal place to cultivate such a chipper attitude, but the cheer feels like a reaction, not only to their native land's gray skies, but to the jaded disillusionment of their peers. Where other young bands play up a feigned sense of world-weariness, TDCC look on the bright side, a peppy "you can do it!" smile pasted across every track. It's a shift in emphasis that highlights the warmth of their songs, wonderfully catchy earworms anchored by brisk, enthusiastic drum work. It's a charming combination, and it goes a long way toward establishing TDCC as a buzz band worth your attention. If you show them a little Minnesota Nice, they'll give you some sunshine just when you need it the most. With Bad Veins. 18+. $12.50/$14 at the door. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

FRIDAY 10.29

Mumford & Sons

First Avenue

Synthesizer backlash is in full effect. After almost a decade of robbing the cocaine-sprinkled plastic coffin of the '80s, the artifice of the sound started rubbing those who were paying attention the wrong way. So it's no wonder that a group like Mumford & Sons has started to interest the music-conscious populace; the band of Brits has a sound that places a high value on sincerity and simplicity, aiming their lyrics directly at that place between your heart and your gut. But don't let their all-acoustic setup lead you to believe this is a retread of some languid, tired folk. You can tell from massive single "Little Lion Man" alone that the band has a knack for not only surging energy, but also memorable melodies and group harmonies that hit like an old-world boxer. Mumford & Sons can play beautifully mellow and slow, but their best material has a restless stomp to it because, at its core, it's still pop, and the kids still want to dance. With Cadillac Sky and King Charles. 18+. $20. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

Dar Williams

Guthrie Theater

One of the premier latter-day folkies, Dar Williams meets the 21st century head-on with rapier dissections of society's foibles and fractures, juxtaposed with introspective musings. Her musical contexts shift from trad folk through sharply melodic pop-folk variations to stuff on the edge of the folk-rock continuum. Williams is a superior storyteller, clearly reflecting key influences Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, often invoking sly humor whose barbs are uncomfortably sharp, such as the dysfunctional family gathering depicted in "The Christians and the Pagans." After seven albums spread over 17 years, Williams just issued a unique two-disc retrospective, Many Great Companions. One disc collects 20 fan favorites. The other sports a dozen tunes—including six overlaps—in new, stripped-down arrangements featuring only acoustic guitars and vocals. Produced by the Jayhawks' Gary Louris, who joins Williams on many tracks, the new recordings both showcase the probing, analytical nature of Williams's songcraft in addition to placing the songs firmly in the folk canon. Sitting in besides Louris are Sara and Sean Watkins, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Larkin, and the vocal trio Motherlode. At the Guthrie, Williams will be accompanied by keyboardist Bryn Roberts. $45. 7:30 p.m. 818 Second St. S., Minneapolis; 612.377.2224. Also Saturday —Rick Mason

SATURDAY 10.30

New Orleans Halloween Party

Roy Wilkins Auditorium

The Crescent City is notorious for using anything—or nothing at all—as an excuse for a party. All the better if masquerading is involved. So aside from the Bacchanalian splendor of Mardi Gras, there is, of course, Halloween. Even if it is happening 1,400 miles upriver on the brink of the tundra, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival's ghoulish get-together will have a decidedly New Orleans flavor thanks to the presence of a couple of down-river stalwarts: the Joe Krown Trio and the Charmaine Neville Band. Krown, who spent many years as Gatemouth Brown's keyboardist, is steeped in the storied New Orleans piano tradition and does killer work on the B3 organ too. His trio, one of several permutations in which he performs, is essentially an all-star affair: Guitar ace Walter "Wolfman" (a nice bit of symmetry for Halloween) Washington is a bandleader himself whose NOLA funk, blues, and R&B stylings earned him long stints with Lee Dorsey and Johnny Adams. Drummer Russell Batiste Jr. of the famed Batiste musical clan has long conjured the rhythms for the Funky Meters. The daughter of saxophonist Charles Neville, the irrepressible Charmaine Neville, like her dad and uncles in the iconic Neville Brothers, covers the gamut of New Orleans second-line funk, jazz, R&B, and carnival classics, embodying the city's raucous spirit. Leading her band is another great NOLA pianist, Amasa Miller. Prizes are promised for the best costumes. And in honor of the season, there'll even be a ghastly component: the Klondike Kates open things up. $20. 7 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.989.5151. —Rick Mason

SUNDAY 11.1

Purling Hiss

Roy Wilkins Auditorium

Sorry, kids; there will probably never be a special Purling Hiss Guitar Hero edition. It isn't that the band—a solo project, essentially, from Birds of Maya member Mike Pollize—doesn't deserve that honor, but rather that the frenzied, thermite-trail leads and effects-pedal-fried, low-hanging feedback that Pollize wrests from his guitar would scramble the mental circuits of any able-bodied 15-year-old daring enough to attempt to emulate him. Track titles like "White Noise Machine" and "Gypsy" may dot the Purling Hiss repertoire, but albums like Public Service Announcement aren't wholly No Fun Fest, no-fi pop, or post-A Place To Bury Strangers fare. They often effectively do for blazing '70s butt-rock soloing what Lightning Bolt did for technically dazzling speed-metal interludes: force listeners to acknowledge that pyrotechnic showboating can be awesome when it's willing to explore self-indulgent extremes. Opening for the Soft Pack and Kurt Vile and the Violators. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Ray Cummings

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