Critics' Picks: Transmission with Jake Rudh, Big Audio Dynamite, and more

Mick Jones's Big Audio Dynamite is back
courtesy of the artists

Big Audio Dynamite

First Avenue on Sunday 8.7

Two pieces of the puzzle of the end of the Clash are now readily available in the Internet era: the amazing unreleased original version of 1982's Combat Rock, mixed by guitarist Mick Jones under the working title Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg; and demos for 1985's Cut the Crap, the Clash-in-name-only final album without Jones or drummer Topper Headon. Emerging from these recordings is the fact that Jones was, among other things, the Clash's uncredited producer: Crap began with kernels of brilliance, but sounds flat, while that same year's debut by Jones's Big Audio Dynamite (reissued in deluxe format last year by Columbia/Legacy) is a timeless work of rock and dance atmosphere. Jones recruited Don Letts, who'd filmed the Clash's embrace of hip hop in New York, to contribute samples of Spaghetti Westerns and other media to a fusion of electro, reggae, and Prince that sounds like the prettier stretches of Rat Patrol/Combat Rock extended into a beatbox trance. The idea found echoes in big beat, grime, and M.I.A., but Jones's Western/surf guitar lyricism and willowy singing on hooks of steel set the sound apart. And the original lineup—which stuck together through 1989's peak-of-sampling pastiche Megatop Phoenix—kept trying things. (Go-go-ska, anyone?) Bigger hits followed with subsequent lineups, but the '80s B.A.D. was best, and that's the one that reunited for this tour. With Chain Gang of 1974. 18+. $30. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes

Béla Fleck & the Flecktones

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater on Wednesday 8.3

The new album Rocket Science and current tour mark the full-fledged reunion of the original Flecktones lineup after nearly 20 years. When saxophonist Jeff Coffin left to join Dave Matthews, pianist and harmonica ace Howard Levy re-upped with banjo visionary Béla Fleck, bassist Victor Wooten, and percussionist Roy "Futureman" Wooten. As expected, Levy has a profound influence on the Tones' sound, just beginning with his Chicago blues harmonica licks and stride piano passage on "Prickly Pear." Of course, the ever-inventive Tones venture way further afield there and throughout RS as the quartet pursues its casually astounding, time-signature leaping, uncatagorizable summit of bluegrass, jazz, classical, funk, and world music. From exquisite lyricism to interstellar breakdowns and funk-tinged escapades to Bulgaria, the Middle East, and Jamaica, it's all rocket science that the Flecktones have mastered like no other. All ages. $40. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Rick Mason


Triple Rock Social Club on Thursday 8.4

The story of Iceage's ascent is, even for a bauble-obsessed culture, a pretty amazing thing. The teenagers in this Danish four-piece write punk rock, play anarchic basements (or did), have a combative and stoic stage presence, incorporate pseudo-Masonic imagery, and have released exactly one 24-minute-long record. It's basically the perfect recipe for a cathartically starved generation of young folk; there's zero posturing here. The group's sound, a witch's brew of post-punk, hardcore, meditative drone, and implacable frustration, is perfectly familiar and surprisingly fresh by virtue of its instruments—four focused and restless kids who have obviously studied the history of musical aggression very, very carefully. The intent and believable sound of punk is something best left to the kids—and these kids are some of the best. With Safewords. 18+. $8. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Andrew Flanagan

C.J. Ramone

Station 4 on Thursday 8.4

Former Ramones bassist C.J. Ramone (Christopher Joseph Ward) was a jolt of youth for the band's late period, keeping them vital from '89 until the end in '96, and suggesting the cover of Tom Waits's "I Don't Wanna Grow Up." You can take a wild guess what his solo music sounds like. But the surprise is how good it is, partly a measure of his singing voice, partly what a Ramone can attract in New York talent. Expect a revival heavy on familiar punk classics with some new songs thrown in. With Invasion Earth, the Jandals, Virgin Whores, and Trim Reaper. 16+. $10/$12 at the door. 7 p.m. 201 E. Fourth St., St. Paul; 651.298.0173. —Peter S. Scholtes

Transmission: Friday Night Videos

First Avenue on Friday 8.5

Minneapolis hearts Jake Rudh. He's been voted the city's best DJ multiple times, his Transmission club night is among the most popular weekly events in the city, and he just landed a show on the Current (they aren't exactly giving those away). The Transmission 10-year anniversary event at First Ave was a massive success thanks to the following that Rudh has cultivated over the course of a decade, and now the club is looking for a repeat performance by hosting Friday Night Videos, yet another chance for Jake to share the music that he loves with the city that loves him. 18+. $5/$8 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

Red House Barnfest

Hobgoblin Music on Saturday 8.6

The demise of Red House Records' Summerfolk festival left a significant hole in the annual music calendar. But that's being rectified with the St. Paul label's new roots-oriented Barnfest, whose third incarnation again will take place outside at Hobgoblin Music near Red Wing. This year's solid lineup, as expected, emphasizes artists with strong Red House connections. Headliners will be the Pines, the fine, folk-country-blues-rooted, Iowa-bred duo of Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt. There'll be a pair of superb singer-songwriter-instrumentalists who have spent decades on the circuit: Michigan's Claudia Schmidt, who roams from folk to jazz on guitar and dulcimer, and Iowa's Dave Moore, master of guitar, harmonica, and accordion. Also on hand will be fingerstyle guitarist extraordinaire and Prairie Home stalwart Pat Donohue, Boston singer-songwriter Meg Hutchinson, local singer-songwriter Andra Suchy, as well as two Twin Cities bands: the expansive folk-rock of Romantica and old-timey oriented the Roe Family Singers. Plus there'll be an entire afternoon of kids' activities. All ages. $25/$30 at the door. 1-7:30 p.m. 920 State Hwy. 19, Red Wing; 877.866.3936. —Rick Mason

Wanda Jackson and Justin Townes Earle

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater on Saturday 8.6

The female pioneer of rock 'n' roll and rockabilly in the mid-'50s, Wanda Jackson dated Elvis while her sultry growl fueled such hits as "Fujiyama Mama" and "Let's Have a Party." Decades of relatively sedate country and gospel followed, but Jackson reconciled with her rock roots at the urging of the likes of Rosie Flores and issued charmers like 2006's I Remember Elvis. But on last winter's high-profile The Party Ain't Over, Jack White nearly swamped Jackson with over-aggressive guitars and horns on '50s standards like "Shakin' All Over" and questionable covers like Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good." Count on Jackson to more than hold her own in concert, however. Speaking of the rehab-prone, son of Steve and namesake of Van Zandt Justin Townes Earle apparently is hale, hearty, and thriving in the wake of his best album to date, Harlem River Blues, which adeptly establishes a distinctive JTE style effortlessly spanning rockabilly, country, folk, R&B, and gospel. All ages. $33. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Rick Mason

Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater on Tuesday 8.9

After appearing days apart at the zoo last summer, Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys again will be sharing the stage in a reprise of their Brotherhood tour from a few years back. Together, these terrific bands should be among the summer's highlights. For some four decades Los Lobos have been cultivating a uniquely potent American roots sound centered around rock, blues, and traditional Mexican music. Last year's Tin Can Trust ventured into cumbia and norteño when not contemplating hard times exemplified by David Hidalgo's moodily powerful guitar. Los Lonely's Garza brothers continue adding new dimensions to the core elements—bracing three-part harmonies and Henry's searing guitar—of their trademark Texican blues-rock on the new Rockpango. Both lyrics and arrangements are more sophisticated without compromising a playful, all-out rocking spirit that continues to slyly tap psychedelia, Santana, Stevie Ray, and Hendrix. All ages. $52. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Rick Mason

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