Bruce Springsteen, the Magnetic Fields, Big Boi, and more

We love to watch Menahan Street Band leave
Kisha Bari

Menahan Street Band

7th St. Entry, Tuesday 11.13

The nexus of horn-driven funk from the Daptone and Truth and Soul labels deserves its own chapter in Brooklyn music history. After all, bands like Antibalas, the El Michels Affair, the Budos Band, and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings have thrived doing their own thing while micro-scenes around them rise and fall in a month. The Menahan Street Band draws members from all four of these crews, and their 2006 7-inch "Make the Road by Walking" put the supergroup on the map when Jay-Z sampled it for American Gangster victory lap "Roc Boys (And the Winner Is...)" the following year. Make the Road by Walking dropped shortly afterward, in 2008, wrapping its sinuous instrumental hooks around everything from summery exotica ("Tired of Fighting") to the Rocky score ("Going the Distance"), while the just-released The Crossing maintains their all-star pedigree with a fistful of songs that sound equally at home scoring spaghetti westerns, outer-borough crime stories, or late-night smoking sessions. 18+, $15, 9:30 p.m. 701 First Ave., Minneapolis, 612.332.1775. —Nate Patrin


Triple Rock Social Club, Wednesday 11.7

You can always count on Propagandhi to deliver a thought-out, political diatribe or three — either onstage or on record. With the Canadian band set to play on the night after the election, one can only imagine what the tone will be. What is certain is that it will be critical and in tune with their catalog of lefty political pop-punk. After releasing their own records in the early 2000s, the band are putting their new album, Failed States, out with SoCal heavyweight Epitaph. It carries the metal-punk stamp that has defined their last few albums since they became a four-piece. With Off With Their Heads and the Menzingers. 18+, $18-$20, 7:30 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Loren GReen

The Helio Sequence

The Turf Club, Thursday 11.8

Negotiations, the long-awaited fourth album from Portland duo the Helio Sequence, is a slinky and shadowy record, ultimately more interested in hypnotizing its audience than in rocking their socks off. While vocalist/guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer/keyboardist Benjamin Weikel can crank out earworm-worthy hooks and soaring choruses when they feel like it — "October" ranks as one of 2012's catchiest — they prefer to spend the majority of Negotiations exploring more meditative and somber sonic terrain. While the shift toward subtle dreaminess makes for a record less instantly ingratiating than its excellent 2008 predecessor, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, Negotiations is ultimately a more richly rewarding record over the long haul. With Ramona Falls. 21+, $15, 8 p.m., 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Rob Van Alstyne

Big Boi

Epic, Friday 11.9

Stankonia deep cut "Red Velvet" holds one of those telling lines that goes a long way toward explaining the modus operandi of Big Boi: "Ball if you want to, but do it with some class, G." The man who's been misleadingly depicted as the less outlandish half of OutKast only looks that way next to a once-in-a-decade visionary like Andre 3000. In his own context, and in the world of veteran-status big-name hip hop, he's ruthlessly creative and beholden to nobody's terms but his own. 2010's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty became notorious not only as a repeatedly delayed casualty of an industry that had no idea what to do with his avant-club-rap vision, but as one of those rare records to survive that contemporary major-label gauntlet to emerge as a bona fide classic. The upcoming Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors promises to be even more wide-ranging: The ATL icon has tuned his ears to indie-friendly collaborators like Little Dragon and Phantogram's Sarah Barthel, while still keeping Dirty South mainstays like Big K.R.I.T. and UGK in the collaborative mix. Expect at least a few verses from the long string of LPs that made OutKast immortal. 18+, $30-$45, 9 p.m., 110 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.968.6636. —Nate Patrin

Robbie Fulks

Triple Rock Social Club, Saturday 11.10

Robbie Fulks has spent his career defying expectations. He first drew notice as the clown prince of the alt-country scene with such anthems as "Fuck This Town" (i.e. Nashville) and "She Took a Lot of Pills (and Died)." But after securing a contract with Geffen, Fulks released a sporadically brilliant album, Let's Kill Saturday Night, largely devoid of shtick-kicking twang — which promptly ended his major-label career. In the ensuing years he's produced an eclectic array of projects: Johnny Paycheck and Michael Jackson tribute albums, a genre-hopping 50-song digital compilation, and an album of classic country covers. That eclecticism has undoubtedly bewildered his fan base at times, but Fulks is a crackerjack guitar player and first-rate stage wit in concert. 18+, $10, 9 p.m., 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Paul Demko

Zac Brown Band

Target Center, Saturday 11.10


The surprising Zac Brown juggernaut rolls on with this summer's release of Uncaged, crisscrossing genres and filling arenas with its tasty Southern-fried concoction. Assembled from Allmans' Southern rock, bluegrass, a wide of swath of rural and urban country, James Taylor-like folk-rock, and savvy pop, the band's sound manages to appeal to a broad spectrum of music fans without condescension. Uncaged again shows off the band's diversity amid deep country harmonies and jam-like excursions. Besides the raucous Southern-rock title track, there's a touch of reggae ("Island Song"), and Trombone Shorty adds a bit of funk to the soulful "Overnight," Amos Lee joins in on the Americana anthem "Day That I Die," and Jason Mraz co-wrote the effervescent Jimmy Buffett-like Caribbean cruise "Jump Right In." With Blackberry Smoke and Levi Lowery. $29.50-$67.50. 7 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 800.745.3000. —Rick Mason


Walker Art Center, Saturday 11.10

Formerly half of the experimental collage-pop duo the Books, Nick Zammuto leads a new quartet that goes by his surname and takes the fundamental elements of the Books to a new dimension. Many of the tracks on last spring's eponymous debut are more songlike than the Books' material, built around vocals — albeit often electronically altered — and less fragmented. Although thoroughly eccentric, unlikely pop hooks lurk in the whimsy, angling through a surprisingly organic array of samples, electronics, and regular instrumentation, densely layered like "Weird Ceiling," pointillistic like "YAY," or at large in a funky robotic funhouse like "Zebra Butt." Eluvium is Matthew Cooper, whose ambient electronic compositions can morph from symphonic to static, conjuring evocative atmospheres that shift on textural and melodic cues somehow tied to pop. $20, 8 p.m. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.375.7600. —Rick Mason

Bruce Springsteen

Xcel Energy Center, Sunday 11.11 + Monday 11.12

The tenor of Bruce Springsteen's post-election arrival in St. Paul could either be celebratory release if Obama wins, or a desperate search for meaning if Romney seizes power. Stumping for Obama through the fall while segments of his "Land of Hope and Dreams" accompanied the Giants' delirious run to World Series victory, Springsteen embodied the spirit and underlying theme of virtually his entire body of work. Glimmers of inspiration lurk amid the wreckage on those backstreets, reject the forces of darkness (on the edge of town), and forge ahead to the promised land. That, of course, is reflected in the band's always evolving set lists, which lately have been peppered with rousing anthems like "No Surrender" and a smattering of the hard-times songs off this year's Wrecking Ball along with nuggets as far back as "Spirit in the Night." The late saxophonist Clarence Clemons's spot has been filled — reportedly admirably — by nephew Jake Clemons, part of a five-horn contingent of E Streeters, who still prove it all night. $70-$100, 7:30 p.m. 199 West Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 800.745.3000. —Rick Mason

Bettye LaVette

Dakota, Monday 11.12 + Tuesday 11.13

Despite scoring a couple of hits on the R&B charts when she was a teenager in the early '60s, Bettye LaVette was barely even a rumor for the next four decades. She finally burst on the scene with the 2005 Anti release I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, and she's been living up to the title's claim ever since, astonishing with her soulful pipes and her ability to wring every iota of emotion out of a lyric. After thoroughly reinventing the British invasion songbook last time out and releasing an autobiography (A Woman Like Me), LaVette is celebrating 50 years in show biz by touring behind her latest collection of blues, gospel, and soul-drenched covers, Thankful N' Thoughtful. Besides the Sly Stone title track, standouts include a gritty New Orleans blues run through Tom Waits's "Yesterday Is Here," a tough ramble into Neil Young's "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," and two versions of Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town" rewritten to reflect her native Detroit: one nostalgic but bitter, the other languid and full of sadness. $45, 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.5299. —Rick Mason

The Magnetic Fields

First Avenue, Tuesday 11.13

On Love At the Bottom of the Sea, the Magnetic Fields dusted off synthesizers for the first time in a dozen years, returning to the synth-pop sound that carried the band through the 1990s as well as to the band's old label, Merge. Despite numerous side projects, leader Stephin Merritt seems most at home in the quintessential pop haze set adrift by those ABBA-dappled synths, toying with words and trying to crack cosmic jokes. Bottom, for example, kicks off with "God Wants Us to Wait," the narrator suddenly uttering Michele Bachmann inanities when things have progressed to a certain urgency. Next there's "Andrew in Drag," a catchy ditty about the oddly unattainable "only girl I'll ever love." The laughs, puns, and non-sequiturs continue to fly, "mariachi" somehow rhyming with "Liberace," along with comic irritations, infatuations, and gyrations all bathed in synth emanations just clever enough not to be cheesy. 18+, $30, 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Rick Mason

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