Bone Thugs, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and more

Bone Thugs re-emerge for a trip down memory lane
Travis Shin


Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

First Avenue

Fifteen years ago, you had to watch MTV for all of about 10 seconds before seeing the video for "The Crossroads," with its angel-of-death-visits-Compton concept (complete with a creepy mountainside procession of souls presided over by a massive, godlike Eazy E). Currently, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and their brand of singsong gangsta rap aren't as high-profile, hindered for years by label problems and stays in the state penitentiary. But now that everyone's out of prison and a one-time onstage appearance by the whole group has generated a bit of buzz, the Thugs have decided to parlay that trace of hype into a reunion album (Uni-5, slated for April) and tour, which starts off right here in Minneapolis. Longtime followers will have mixed feelings about the group's new, more polished sound (check "Rebirth"), but a chance to hear some of the old hits should be enough to bring in both rap fans and those who are chasing some mid-'90s nostalgia—so, y'know, you won't be lonely. 18+. $22. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas


Eliza Blue

(CD-release show)

The Cedar

Eliza Blue's music radiates a rare, ethereal beauty. Her earthy voice is almost inadvertently the dominant component of her songs, its delicacy and vulnerability so elegant as to be irresistibly charming. Influenced by the works of Gillian Welch and Leonard Cohen, the classically trained Blue enhances the bounty of her natural gifts with plaintive, poetic songwriting and simple instrumentation, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, banjo, and violin in a manner that hearkens to Appalachia. Yet recording her new album on a single microphone in her attic was more a matter of shyness than it was an aesthetic decision. Fortunately, as the melancholy "Ask Me to Dance" amply demonstrates, it just so happens that such an aesthetic is the perfect means with which to unlock the full grace of Blue's music. With Aby Wolf joining her tonight to celebrate the release of the new record, entitled The Road Home, such beauty and grace should be doubly on display. All ages. $8/$10 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Jeff Gage



Sauce Spirits and Soundbar

Cincinnati's Wussy play loud and lonesome indie rock, sometimes out of tune or time, but with a level of conviction that makes things sound more let-loose than tossed-off. The four-piece is co-led by Lisa Walker and Chuck Cleaver, the latter once of Ass Ponys, the very fine, largely neglected purveyors of near-Southern rock. On last year's Wussy, Walker sings with an almost formal grace befitting her careful lyrics, while Cleaver still snarls and drawls, except, as on "Magic Words," when he sings a bit like Michael Stipe singing a bit like Nico. That chimey song sounds happy but isn't; the rest of the album sounds sad but is closer to despairing, though it's an often ingenious and funny kind of despair, full of lines that linger like dirty snow. "We hung around for better days and unimpressive light displays," goes one of Walker's; another, from Cleaver: "Tramping through the brambles till our pants were all torn/Searching for a paper bag of mildewy porn." With Gospel Gossip, Zoo Animal, and Maudlin. 21+. $5. 9:30 p.m. 3001 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.822.6000. —Dylan Hicks

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

First Avenue

When this trio dropped its self-titled debut 10 years ago, their throwback sludge was ahead of its time. With big, swampy guitars, bad-boy rock-star posturing, and white-noise Anglophilia, BRMC brought, as much as anything, an attitude that had been largely missing since the height of the Madchester scene. As garage rock and shoegaze revivals exploded in subsequent years, the Los Angeles band, however prescient, were nonetheless rather limited conceptually, and as they were overtaken by those who followed it was perhaps predictable that they opted to branch out and explore their folk roots. Their latest album, Beat the Devil's Tattoo, has been billed as the great convergence of all their previous work, bolstered by the addition of former Raveonettes drummer Leah Shapiro. At this point, BRMC isn't likely to bring anything new to the table; instead, tonight's show will rely on their considerable and unwavering ability to play lacerating rock 'n' roll. With Band of Skulls. 18+. $18/$20 at the door. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Jeff Gage


Gil Scott-Heron

Dakota Jazz Club

Often called the Godfather of Rap these days, Gil Scott-Heron in fact emerged as a fiercely eloquent voice from the urban wilderness in the early 1970s, mercilessly skewering political and social forces that had disenfranchised huge swaths of the population and were leading the world down a treacherous path. A writer first and an admirer of Langston Hughes, Scott-Heron eventually fused his own poetry with a potent dose of jazz laced with blues and R&B, railing against complacent media, an oblivious mainstream America, runaway consumerism, racism, venal politicians, and drug abuse. Pieces like "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," "Winter in America," "Johannesburg," and "Home Is Where the Hatred Is" hit like lightning bolts, both electrifying and enlightening. The rise of hip hop was clearly indebted to Scott-Heron, who has been sampled and referenced by the likes of Kanye West and Common. Silent for a decade and a half—during which he reportedly battled health, addiction, financial, and legal problems—Scott-Heron, 60, recently re-emerged with I'm New Here, a stark, riveting portrait of the artist as weathered scribe, more personally analytical than of the wayward world that once drew his searing scrutiny. In place of jazz is hard-edged post-industrial blues laced with ragged beats as he covers Robert Johnson's "Me and the Devil," Bobby Blue Bland's "I'll Take Care of You," and Smog, in the title track's tale of arid alienation. It's like hearing a voice from the other side of the apocalypse, but unmistakably that of a survivor. $45 at 7 p.m.; $25 at 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason


The Cedar

Currently marking a quarter-century as one of the world's premier traditional Celtic bands, Altan may be based in Ireland, but they have a strong Minnesota connection as well. Not only have they played regularly here over the years, helping forge their sterling reputation, the Twin Cities also is the longtime home of Altan guitarist and Derry native Daíthí Sproule, a renowned innovator in adapting old Gaelic songs for the guitar. The group's roots go back to the dynamic and delightful duo of Belfast flutist Frankie Kennedy and Donegal fiddler and singer Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh. Joining distinct traditions and adding new material, coalescing around Ní Mhaonaigh's marvelous, ethereal voice, Altan gradually grew into a band, then survived the devastation of Kennedy's death from cancer in 1994. Altan's 25th Anniversary Celebration is a new tack. The group revisited classics from its catalog in tandem with the RTE Concert Orchestra, with smart orchestrations from Irish composer Fiachra Trench, who had previously done string quartet arrangements for the band. None of that here, just the fire-and-ice, splendid romps, and melancholy of pure Altan jigs, reels, and songs. All ages. $24. 7:30 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason


The Depreciation Guild

7th St. Entry

Though the Pains of Being Pure at Heart may be better known, the Depreciation Guild is no moonlight gig for Kurt Feldman and Christoph Hochheim. In fact, their more renowned project was formed almost two years after the Depreciation Guild. Both groups, unsurprisingly, share influences, but more interesting is where they diverge. While Pains tend toward more classic indie pop with shoegaze accents, the Depreciation Guild prefer to downplay the preciousness, opting for full-bodied paeans to My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. The difference is immediately evident on "Dream About Me," the lead single from their forthcoming sophomore effort, Spirit Youth, which bears all the hallmarks—heavy layers of feedback, breathy vocals, and padded drumming. Much has been made of the Guild's use of vintage NES sounds, but the digital loops are barely audible throughout most of Spirit Youth. And that's just as well—nostalgia this pure needs no gimmicky distractions. Opening for Serena Maneesh. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Jonathan Garrett

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First Avenue

701 1st Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403


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