While grunge was taking over everything in the mid-'90s, Minneapolis's Arcwelder chose a slightly different path. Less pop-friendly, more abrasive, and ultimately more sincere than much of what was happening nationally (on the popular front, at least), brothers Rob and Bill Graber along with Scott MacDonald crafted a volatile mix of post-punk and hardcore, putting a nice shine on it to make it enticing to a larger crowd. By rights they should have sold millions, but had the misfortune of being from the Midwest and not the gloomy Northwest. Luckily for us, they're still around, and while they haven't released any new material in more than a decade due mostly to non-band (read: real-life) commitments, they still play out every so often, and this is your chance to make things right. One night with this band will have you pitching your Melvins albums into the alley, ready to replace them not with something that mattered, but that matters still—and not in that nostalgic "They were so great when I was 16" sort of way, either. Arcwelder's live show is a stunning, tinnitus-inducing study in catharsis and is not to be missed. With Safewords, Red Pens. 18+. (Photo by David McNeary)
Fri., Dec. 23, 9 p.m., 2011
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