Critics' Picks: The Supersuckers, Los Campesinos!, and more

Love united: The neon-tinted intensity of Los Campesinos! at Varsity Theater
jon bergman

Los Campesinos!

Varsity Theater, Sunday 1.29

The transformation of Los Campesinos! from a sprightly indie-pop group into something far more wicked and weird has been a gradual one, but thankfully the band haven't lost their penchant for writing catchy, clever songs. The prodigious, Cardiff-based band is touring in support of an excellent new album, Hello Sadness. As the title indicates, these new songs are darker and more introspective than the group's exuberant earlier work. But the band's consistently dynamic live show should give these somewhat despondent new tracks a vibrant buoyancy. Los Campesinos! have amassed quite an impressive back catalog in a short amount of time, and should draw on a full complement of songs both new and old. 18+, $15-17, 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Erik Thompson

Pert Near Sandstone

Cedar Cultural Center, Friday 1.27 and Saturday 1.28

Strings'll be the thing at this annual two-day assembly of pickers and fiddlers intent on chasing the bleak midwinter with fiery forays into vintage folk, country, and grasses blue and new. Hosts Pert Near Sandstone are still riding high on the recent release of their fifth album, Paradise Hop, which finds the Pert boys musing on such contemporary issues as the regenerative wonders of caffeine and the 35-W bridge collapse via their trademark new old-timey perspective. Pert Near's guest Friday will be Colorado's Head for the Hills, a maverick string quartet that pairs traditional bluegrass with jazz-tinged improvisation. H4TH's eponymous 2009 album sports the klezmer-riddled "Chupchik," the progressive rock-patterned epic "Nooks and Crannies" (featuring an heroic electric Mandoblaster solo), and a striking bluegrass arrangement of the R&B nugget "Unchain My Heart." Up first on Saturday will be Chicago's Henhouse Prowlers, who also peck at modern concerns in their original lyrics while rooted to Bill Monroe's acoustic tradition. Actually, the Prowlers have a prominent Flatt & Scruggs aura, thanks to Ben Wright's use of Earl Scruggs's three-finger roll technique on banjo. Their vocal harmonies, meanwhile, are firmly rooted in the Kentucky turf, while sometimes cultivating a modern, edgy irony on their latest, Verses, Chapters, Rhymes. $12-$15 per night, $20-24 for both nights, 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

J.D. Souther

Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, Sunday 1.29

Among the key architects of the country-rock sound that came out of Southern California in the early '70s, John David Souther wrote or co-wrote a series of tunes that became hits for the likes of the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, and subsequently standards of the genre. Souther's songs mostly examine the melancholy laments of "hopeless romantics" and perpetually broken "restless hearts," found within "New Kid in Town." On Natural History (eOne), his second album after a quarter-century recording and performance hiatus, Souther, his high tenor in prime form, revisits many of his familiar classics, imbuing them with an appropriate, wee-hours glow. The arrangements are lean, usually anchored to piano or acoustic guitar, and only parenthetically country, instead having an evocative jazz vibe etched by a superb cast of musicians. They range from Dobro ace Jerry Douglas to jazz hounds Rod McGaha (whose trumpet echoes Miles Davis on "The Sad Café") and Jeff Coffin (whose alto sax slithers through the Ronstadt hit "Prisoner in Disguise"), plus versatile John Jorgenson, whose classical Spanish guitar gives a touch of Segovia to "New Kid." Coming apart at the seams never sounded so sweet. $25, 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra

Cedar Cultural Center, Sunday 1.29

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra have undergone many shifts in sound (and names) over their decade-plus career. The Canadian band's sprawling, churning songs have grown to reflect the inherent musical unrest of their ever-changing members, especially Godspeed You Black Emperor's Efrim Menuck. Each protracted number reflects a fitful search for a hard-earned truth, as their songs frequently swell in dissonance as they reach toward a lofty emotional impact. Their riveting live shows are a study in both restraint and release, and will certainly have the walls of the Cedar shaking at some point. Boisterous local openers the Cloak Ox will add to the experimental sonic nature of the evening. $15, 7:30 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Erik Thompson

From the Back of the Room

Bryant Lake Bowl, Monday 1.30 and Tuesday 1.31

Punk rock cuts a wide swath. Rebellion, anti-consumerism, and the do-it-yourself community are among the most widely covered aspects, but the scene often isn't as egalitarian as it espouses to be. With camera in hand, filmmaker Amy Oden sought to change this. Her documentary From the Back of the Room tackles gender issues from a number of angles. For the project, which is partly a chronicle of feminist achievement and partly a call to arms, Oden invested four years and threw countless fundraisers to explore the counterculture and open a dialogue on the differences between genders. Her film includes many notable faces, including locals from the Soviettes, Profane Existence, Faggot, and Detestation, who voice opinions on sexuality, motherhood, and community. From the Back of the Room will be screened for two nights on a sliding scale admission. $5-10, 7 p.m. 810 Lake St. W., Minneapolis; 612.825.8949. —Loren Green

The Supersuckers

7th St. Entry, Tuesday 1.31

The Supersuckers are a guaranteed good time live. Their untamed (and awesomely named) frontman Eddie Spaghetti will see to that. While the group's lineup has changed a bit over the past 20 years, their hard-charging, country-tinged garage-punk sound has remained consistent, and is sure to get their longtime fans moving once again. Their recorded output has been rather spotty, but the Supersuckers earned their acclaim through dynamic, rowdy live shows. It has been years since they have rolled through Minneapolis, so everyone best come out and gets down to these evil sounds. 18+, $15, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Erik Thompson

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The Varsity Theater

1308 4th St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414


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