Critic's Picks: British Sea Power and more


Plies and Flo Rida

Myth Nightclub

As a lifelong rap head, I don't know whether I should revel in or disguise the fact that I've never heard even one song from either Floridian rapper Plies or Flo Rida. On the one hand, my credibility amongst purists of the backpack variety will undoubtedly go up a notch; on the other, it indicates that I'm not willing to sacrifice my ears for my craft, or worse, that I'm some sort of rap snob (the kind who listens to stuff like Aesop Rock and never dances...uuuggghh). But from a cursory glance at the peer group these two keep in the industry, I'm confident making a blanket indictment of both of them, dismissing both as epitomes of the equally comic and tragic hyper-consumptive/gangsta/nihilist/flossy cotton-candy rap that (I can only assume) is so pervasive on the airwaves (I don't actually tune into) today. Make ya money, shake that ass, I ain't mad at cha. All ages. $40/$50 at the door. 6 p.m. 3090 Southlawn Dr.; Maplewood; 651.779.6984. —Jordan Selbo

Avril Lavigne

Target Center

Canadian Business magazine's seventh most powerful Canadian in Hollywood brings the teenage rampage back to Minnesota in support of her third album, The Best Damn Thing. Between that appellation and more than 30 million units moved, she's more or less immune to snark on an aesthetic level, so I'll say this: Does anyone else identify with her villains? From the poor ballet girl of "Sk8ter Boi" to the dispatched rival inamorata of "Girlfriend," the Avril character has stomped on some sweet, undeserving faces in her time. She is "the motherfucking princess;" is it all an exposé of the prerogatives of rulership in our increasingly royalist age? When will this reign of terror end? During the ballads, that's when! Things are always going wrong in those—all that intra-gender neck breaking and all she gets are dudes who break her heart three songs later. The system is broken! Vote for change! $29.50-$39.50. 6 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. —Geoff Cannon


Turf Club

Your average rock outfit peppers its catchy rapture with gnarly rupture. The grisly no-wave of NYC trio Sightings, on the other hand, is almost all disorienting, volcanic rupture: a post-atomic tangle of instrumentation and seething vocal fury. Sometimes Jonathan Lockie, Mark Morgan, and Richard Hoffman sound like jaws-of-life apparatuses ripping apart crashed cars; sometimes they sound like crippled Transformers bashing broken appendages together in a desperate stab at Morse Code; sometimes their noise is almost suspiciously minimalist (see 2004's Arrived in Gold). Admittedly, on last year's Andrew W.K.-produced Through the Panama, Sightings held their extremist tendencies at bay in an effort to green the scorched-to-the-roots garden they tend. But even with much of the scraping, jutting noise stripped away, Sightings remain too uncompromising for prime time and perfect for an underground that thrives on inscrutable, convoluted confusion and that sweet, sweet rupture. With Gay Witch Abortion. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Ray Cummings

Muja Messiah CD-release show

7th St. Entry

The self-proclaimed "b-boy d-boy" Muja Messiah has been a prominent figure in the local scene longer than you've been potty trained, but with some recent moves making noise outside of our claustrophobic borders, he may soon head for greener pastures. This show celebrates the release of his mixtape MPLS Murder, a loose collection of bangers (featuring Web favorites like "Amy Winehouse" and the I Self Devine-assisted "Patriot Act") preceding a proper summer release that'll be louder than a bomb. The disc is free with admission, so if you still don't download, that's a hell of a deal. He also has the goodwill to bring friends like up-and-comers M.anifest and Maria Isa to the party, making this a very late Christmas present. 18+. $7. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Jordan Selbo

Les Claypool

First Avenue

You either love or hate Les Claypool—there's no real middle ground. He plays his bass in a mixture of flamenco, slap, and finger-tapping styles, which is either extremely off-putting or pure divinity depending on who you are. Claypool's voice, while universally acknowledged as "original," is so nasal it might drive even Minnesotans to cringe. All that said, when Claypool was helming Primus, he was the driving force behind the accumulation of a beyond-rabid fan base that would gleefully declare "Primus sucks!" when asked (think extreme sarcasm here). Since Primus's demise in 2000, Claypool has fronted less commercially successful (but no less inventive) projects like Oysterhead and Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade. He has also added novelist (2006's South of the Pumphouse was compared to the work of Hunter S. Thompson) and filmmaker (he wrote and directed 2006's Electric Apricot) to an ever-growing résumé. 6 p.m. 18+. $25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Pat O'Brien

FRIDAY 3.21.

British Sea Power

Triple Rock Social Club

Do You Like Rock Music? charts the latest step in the evolution that took British Sea Power from post-punk-flavored debut The Decline of British Sea Power to slicker sophomore disc Open Season. For record number three, BSP enlisted three producers, including former Arcade Fire drummer Howard Bilerman—notable because this album is Neon Bible for people who do, in fact, like rock music. "Canvey Island" is cut from the same melodic cloth as Bible's "Intervention," with a warmer texture. "Down on the Ground," the kind of track that sets BSP apart, sounds like Ian Hunter playing indie rock. If Arcade Fire merely tease, British Sea Power hit you in the mouth; Rock Music is moody but lacks debilitating melodrama. Similar bands like Doves and Arcade Fire seem to be playing from some higher plane, but British Sea Power's sound rises from a subterranean morass of soil, blood, and distortion, enabling them to connect with their audience on a truly visceral level. 10/$12 at the door. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Chris Henderson




X are a band with a collective persona so perfect it's like they stepped out of a novel: There's the blank and scary name, the high-velocity romanticism built out of junk-shop rockabilly and left-coast hardcore. There's Exene and John Doe's mournful indifference to formal harmony, and the carefully sketched California gothic, all sun-baked twang and monochrome desperate glamour (see, they're easy to write about). Since the white-hot '80s, X's members have been involved in a number of variously roots-y projects, but they still gather intermittently to tour, and here they are, red in tooth and claw, at Minneapolis's crunchy Cabooze. It makes perfect sense: X helped reattach punk's severed limb back onto the corpus of American rock. And of course, for all the deadly gloominess, the beating heart of the initial run of X albums is love, married love: maddening, sustaining, enervating, enduring...for a while, anyway. With Skybombers. $20/$22 at the door. 8 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. —Geoff Cannon

Retribution Gospel Choir CD-release show

Turf Club

Low's Alan Sparhawk brings a lot of dark magic to Retribution Gospel Choir's full-length debut. In reworking "Breaker," Low's single from the 2007 hit Drums and Guns, Sparhawk and Co. pass the song through a meat grinder. Gone are the sparse handclaps—the sound now is thick with rumbling guitars and It-Came-From-The-'90s rock 'n' roll. Their tour EPs and other tracks streaming from producer Matt Kozalek's Caldo Verde Records back it up: For a night of dirty rock and grunge reminiscences from a Minnesota visionary, church is the Turf Club, and you're there for the Retribution Gospel Choir. With His Mischief. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Carl Swanson


The Boredoms

First Avenue

Japan's Boredoms started off 20 or so years ago as a clattery way to prove your avant-garde mettle (and chase off pesky officemates). But over dozens of side projects, the Super Roots EPs, and the brilliant, century-concluding albums Super Are and Vision Creation Newsun, the band have proved themselves inspirational in every sense of the word. They have big spirits, wide-ranging tastes, and are absolutely fearless in their musical explorations. The early 2000s seemed quiet for the band, but the last couple of years have brought treasures: 2005's propulsive, meditative Seadrum/House of Sun and this year's Super Roots 9 (Thrill Jockey)—a marvelous 2004 Christmas Eve show that showcases a 24-voice chorus playing wordless vocals off frontman Yamantaka Eye's turntablism. This summer, they gathered 77 drummers together in New York City to celebrate 7/7/07. The First Avenue performance promises a trio of drummers, the band playing in the round, and a seven-necked guitar called, natch, Sevena. TiVo the whole rest of your life if you have to, but get there. With Human Bell. 18+. $12/$15 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Cecile Cloutier

Gary Louris

Pantages Theatre

Longtime Jayhawk Gary Louris returns home in the middle of a tour marking the release of his first solo album, Vagabond (Ryko). Unsurprisingly, the disc is reminiscent of the Jayhawks' trademark arid country-rock and echoes some of the pop elements that had crept into the 'Hawks' sound before they went into hiatus about three years ago. But the album's also distinctly Louris's, and he comes across as a seeker for answers that are elusive and ambiguous, opening his kit bag to reveal troubled musings that are philosophical and nowhere near resolution. Even the sage advice in "True Blue," "Strip it down to what you can believe in," remains unfulfilled. This intimacy is also reflected in Vagabond's gorgeously crafted sound, where Louris's often-brooding voice is given sparkling dimension by Josh Grange's pedal steel. $21.50-$26.50. 7:30 p.m. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason



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