This exhibition of corporate Nashville at its most commercially potent sports three acts that have mastered amiable hit-making. Not surprisingly, they've also racked up massive sales and a slew of awards, including the 2012 country album of the year Grammy for Lady Antebellum's Own the Night, making it two in a row (following 2011's Need You Now). Own the Night is dominated by MOR pop ballads in which Charles Kelley and Hilary Scott trade romantic utterings with modest hooks. A bit of spunk surfaces on "Friday Night," and there are brief appearances of dobro and fiddle as reminders that this is supposed to be country. Thompson Square—the married duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson—rock out more than Lady Antebellum, but creep only marginally closer to actual country on their eponymous debut, which hasn't discouraged nominations for a variety of country awards, mostly for the single "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not." Darius Rucker also was familiar with putting competently fashioned pop up the charts as lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, a strategy he's continued in his country-leaning solo career. His likable baritone addresses country standbys whiskey and the southern state of mind on his latest, 2010's Charleston, SC 1966, featuring more steel guitar on one track than his tourmates' entire albums. $29.50-$54.50. 7 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.1600. —Rick Mason

Balkan Beat Box

First Avenue Mainroom, Sunday 3.11

courtesy of the artist

Location Info


7th St. Entry

701 1st Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403-1327

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Balkan Beat Box drive people crazy worldwide with their sinuous horns and percussion and socio-politically driven Gypsy rock, reggae, and dancehall songs. Bursting out of New York City's underground music scene in 2005, the Israeli-born expats Ori Kaplan (ex-Gogol Bordello), Tamir Muskat (ex-Firewater), and Tomer Yosef as frontman have cultivated wild onstage energy via an amalgam of Greek, Arab, Balkan, and Bulgarian music. With the new release Give, they expand beyond Mediterranean borders to infuse African, Asian, and South American electronic club-music influences into their already potent sound. With Palenke and Soul Tribe. 18+, $2, 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Cyn Collins


7th St. Entry, Tuesday 3.13

Pop manufacture has never been an easy task, but leave it to the young to figure out a fresh take. The 23-year-old Grimes has already assembled three synth-tickled albums, and the latest, Visions, is one of 2012's catchiest thus far. With lead single "Genesis" showing her playfulness with a barrage of different vocal effects, and "Oblivion" cutting as sharp as the Knife did a few years back, this is pixie-ish fun that could foster dance-like movements from the audience. Fun fact: Grimes (real name Claire Boucher) attempted to sail a houseboat down the Mississippi River, Huckleberry Finn-style. Not so fun fact: Subsequent engine trouble, and the Minneapolis Police Department, kept it from happening. With Born Gold, and Elite Gymnastics. 18+, SOLD OUT, 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Reed Fischer

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