Pixies, TV on the Radio, Rusko, and more

TV on the Radio

First Avenue on Saturday 4.23 and Sunday 4.24

TV on the Radio have put a positive spin on our dark times on their splendid new record, Nine Types of Light, and their current U.S. tour finds the innovative and dynamic Brooklyn band stopping by First Avenue for another generous two-night stint. They have shifted their lyrical focus a bit more toward love and positivity on their new batch of songs, but while the tone is a bit more understated, the sonic textures and creative nuances are far more pronounced on what is their lushest-sounding album yet. And as towering as those new numbers sound on the album, their live shows are always where their bold, expressive sound is finally able to expand to its intended dimensions. It will be interesting to hear how the subtle but striking new songs mesh with TVotR's explosive older material in a live setting, but with the types of volatile and vibrant songs the band keep in their ever expanding arsenal, these performances are bound to be real show-stoppers. With Glasser. 18+. $21. 6 p.m. Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Erik Thompson

Rusko

TV on the Radio bring Nine Types of Light to First Avenue
TV on the Radio bring Nine Types of Light to First Avenue

First Avenue on Wednesday 4.20

Christopher Mercer, better known as dubstep purveyor Rusko, isn't really interested in drawing connections between electronic beats and the spaced-out sounds of Jamaican dub—he wants to party. His take on the rapidly expanding genre is closer to the intersection of trunk-rattling bass music and pop, a concoction mixed for the hips rather than the head. Rusko's half-step rhythms are offset by huge retro synths and a playfulness that lends a spastic energy to his tracks, so this isn't the best soundtrack to spending your 4/20 blunted in your living room—it's hands-in-the-air dance-floor madness with the low end turned up past 11. With Doorly, Woody McBride a.k.a. DJ ESP, and Strangelove. 18+. $20. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

The Mighty Sparrow and Calypso Rose

Dakota Jazz Club on Thursday 4.21

The Mighty Sparrow and Calypso Rose are unrivaled icons of calypso whose effervescent rhythms and scintillating lyrics originated on the island on Trinidad over a century ago. Together, they represent calypso nobility of the highest order: Each has reigned repeatedly as king or queen, both winning unprecedented numbers of calypso competitions for their agile tongues and highly infectious music. Each is responsible for dozens of calypso anthems, ranging from political commentary to risqué tales laced with humorous wordplay. Sparrow's first was about streetwalkers (1956's "Jean and Dinah"); Rose debuted with her now-standard "Fire in Me Wire" in 1966. A few years later Bonnie Raitt covered Rose's "Wah She Go Do." Backed by a West Indies-oriented band, Sparrow and Rose should reign over a raucous Caribbean party at the Dakota. $45. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

Scala & Kolacny Brothers

First Avenue on Friday 4.22

If the idea of "choir music" has you struggling to keep your eyes open as you recall Sunday-morning hymnals, it might be time to retool your preconceptions. Scala & Kolacny Brothers are an honest-to-god girls' choir hailing from Belgium, but rather than focus their attention on soul-saving, these ladies take their cues from the Billboard charts, reinterpreting hits from U2, Radiohead, and Bjork, among others. You can forget Glee; there's nothing tongue-in-cheek about their picks. It's as though their mission is to peel back the dirty layers of common pop to transform it into something unexpected, virginal, and strikingly beautiful. 18+. $22/$25 at the door. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

Tony Allen

Cedar Cultural Center on Saturday 4.23

Afrobeat exploded out of Nigeria around 1970, a bristling, aggressive, horn-heavy blend of traditional African music, Nigerian highlife, and American jazz, R&B, and funk. The chief instigators were bandleader, singer, and political incendiary Fela Anikulapo Kuti and percussionist Tony Allen, who, as they say, put the beat in Afrobeat. A Lagos native, Allen taught himself jazz, gravitated to highlife, and with Fela conjured Afrobeat, driven by Allen's innovative drum-kit rhythms, particularly his double-clutch bass patterns. Allen and the late Fela were together for 15 years, Allen subsequently working with juju pioneer Sunny Ade and as a session musician while releasing a series of solo albums. His latest, 2009's Secret Agent, is a glorious, blistering set of classic Afrobeat. In his local debut, Allen will lead an international nine-piece band. All ages. $30/$35 at the door. 8 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

Pixies

Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Sunday 4.24

Bask in the incandescent weirdness of "I Bleed" or "Break My Body" or "Velouria" now, and you might wonder how one of the great bands could say so little. But in the late '80s and early '90s, at least, the Pixies' exuberant kinkiness and vocal gender-play—with the boy sometimes singing higher than the girl—said plenty. They were part of the liberatory air. And their odd pop proposition—screaming abrasiveness plus declamatory tunefulness with a wishful studio sheen and Salvador Dali surf-punk guitars—said more. Since reuniting at the Fine Line in 2004, they've toured steadily, their chemistry relaxed and intact. So where's the reunion album? All ages. $40. 7:30 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.989.5151. Peter S. Scholtes

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