Crystal Castles, Cold War Kids, and more

Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Marcia Ball

Guthrie Theatre on Monday 3.14

New Orleans's iconic Preservation Hall Jazz Band's latest jaunt upriver promises to be extraordinary in every sense. With phenomenal Louisiana-Texas pianist Marcia Ball in tow, this unique, once-only performance at the new Guthrie will commemorate the original PHJB's 1964 concert at the old Guthrie with pianist/singer Sweet Emma Barrett, which was recorded for an album that's still in print. Ball, well-schooled in the pianistic eccentricities of the Crescent City, will re-create the rollicking style of Barrett, who was a charismatic presence on St. Peter Street even after a paralyzing stroke forced her to play one-handed. She would hunch over the keyboard like a vulture, while her music soared. This year is the 50th anniversary of Preservation Hall's founding by Allan Jaffe, and the venerable institution has thrived of late with a fresh, maverick spirit under the leadership of his son Ben. This collaboration with Ball is one example, as is PHJB's upcoming recording with bluegrass master Del McCoury. Ball, incidentally, has a new album of her own, Roadside Attractions, due imminently. This show will include previously unseen footage of the '64 event, plus trad jazz clarinetist Tommy Sancton, who will read passages from his memoir about Barrett and Preservation Hall in the '60s. All ages. $38-$40. 7:30 p.m. 818 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis; 612.377.2224. —Rick Mason

Carrie Elkin

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band celebrates its 50th anniversary
Clint Maedgen
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band celebrates its 50th anniversary

Aster Café on Wednesday 3.9

Austin, Texas, singer-songwriter Carrie Elkin is armed with the rare kind of voice that doesn't grab your attention with flash, just sinks its subtle hooks into your soul and hangs on for eternity. It's a little husky, veined with dark colors, with a sly vibrato that seems to seep out of the soil, its gentle authority likewise rising from an organic soulfulness rooted somewhere between West Texas and Appalachia. Think Emmylou, leavened with doses of Nanci Griffith, Lucinda, and maybe Rickie Lee Jones. On Call It My Garden, her third album and first for St. Paul's Red House Records, Elkin wraps distinctive originals around a riveting cover of Dar Willams's "Iowa." Elkin's own songs wrestle with finding meaning in earthy values, grown in a fertile mixture of folk, country, and string-band music. With Mother Banjo. All ages. $8. 9 p.m. 125 Main St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.379.3138. —Rick Mason

Cold War Kids

First Avenue on Thursday 3.10

Long Beach's Cold War Kids have been taking something of a critical beating since the January release of their third album, Mine Is Yours. In an all too familiar scenario, erstwhile indie heroes supposedly betray their loyalists by filing off the rough edges and going mainstream. In the Kids' case, producer Jacquire King of Modest Mouse and Kings of Leon fame was hired to coax the band's sound arena-ward, at least according to conspiracy theorists. Mine's bad news is that some of the Kids' quirks, particularly the jagged, desert-like emotional landscapes and punky skittishness, have indeed been smoothed over. What's good is that King has deftly polished what's left, introduced fresh sonic facets that make the sound punchier—and hookier and shinier—while not seriously compromising the band's inherent swagger. It's definitely a new direction, but still worthwhile. With A Lull. 18+. $16. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rick Mason

Crystal Castles

First Avenue on Friday 3.11

The explosive Toronto duo Crystal Castles craft an experimental maelstrom that is as engaging as it is sonically abrasive. But if you give in to the dynamic, forceful rhythms generated by Ethan Kath and the piercing vocals of the boundlessly energetic Alice Glass, their hypnotic songs are bound to take you somewhere special. Their live shows are typically incendiary, vibrant affairs, as the booming beats consume everything in their path, while the enthralling spirit of Glass is bound to get everyone moving right along with her. Touring behind their second self-titled full-length, Crystal Castles are sure to deliver a bold, aggressive set that should leave the sold-out First Avenue audience stunned and satisfied. With Teengirl Fantasy. 18+. $22. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Erik Thompson

Elephant Six Holiday Surprise Show

Varsity Theater on Monday 3.14

Imagine that you, an irrationally fixated Elephant 6 fan, could wander into a rambling mid-century house in Athens, Georgia, and hang out with your favorite Elephant 6 Collective members. That you could play cards with Jeff Mangum, discuss art theory with Will Cullen Hart, quiz Heather McIntosh about what it was like to be a touring bass and cello player with Lil Wayne and Gnarls Barkley. None of that will probably ever happen, but the Elephant 6 Holiday Tour will allow you to witness, in a controlled, not-as-intimate-as-ideal setting, all of these incestuous retro-pop revivalist outfits—you know, Circulatory System, Elf Power, Music Tapes, Olivia Tremor Control, et al.—perform one another's songs, trade off on instruments, and so forth. There will be short films. The audience will get to participate. And maybe, just maybe, you'll have a chance to ask Bill Doss why he went around calling himself "The Bill Doss" for a couple of years there. 18+. $15. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Ray Cummings

Mark Kozelek

Cedar Cultural Center on Monday 3.14

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