DETROIT PLAY THE 400 every Wednesday, but tonight is a special CD release gig. Usually any band that attempts this sort of silly funk rock farce either (a) can't really play, or (b) is really well paid. Detroit suffers neither affliction, and from their amiably schticky live act to the lovely packaging of their new self-titled CD, one can tell that these clowns take care in what they do. I dig the disc's '80s synth affectations and the Barbara Cohen cameo. There's also a hidden track featuring the 38-minute epic, "Hugo's Ball," that's headed straight for your "Fairly Strange Music" file. The Joint Chiefs start it off at 9:30 p.m. $2. 400 Bar, 400 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls.; 332-2903.
The Glenrustles are already out with a second CD, In Stone--a noticeable refinement of the last one, though still recorded in Rich Mattson's basement. Over the years, the boys have grown, on record, into an introspective roots band. Live, Mattson's more poignant moments can be obscured by the smokes-and-drinks environment, plus the band's tendency to tear off the roof, Stones-style. But this is a bar band of commitment and integrity if there ever was one. Openers include the Buck-Fifty Boys, Frances Gumm, and Flunked (featuring an ex-member of the late great noisemakers, Salbando). $5. Saturday, 8 p.m. 7th Street Entry, 701 First Ave. N. Mpls.; 338-8388.
Lastly, local HORDE-style groovers Mango Jam celebrate Flux, their new release on Shanachie, a longtime national supporter of all things worldbeat. The party starts with Eight Head, and The Twist Offs play the middle. $4. Thursday, 9 p.m. 7th Street Entry, 701 First Ave. N. Mpls.; 338-8388...
And if you missed Low's CD release gigs at Bryant Lake Bowl a couple of weeks back, you can catch them on Thursday, in a free in-store performance at Let It Be Records, which is shaping up to be one of the more happening performance spaces in town. So what about some chill-out parties in the basement DJ room? 7 p.m. 10th and Nicollet Ave., Mpls.; 339-7439. (Groebner/Hermes)
FAIR PLAY, ETC.
Yes, it's time to gear up your bowels and stock up on Lecithin crystals, for the Minnesota State Fair kicks off this Thursday with its time-tested mix of music, mammalia, wild rides, and saturated fats. Grandstand events are the usual mix of commercial country and pop, though things begin with the retro-alternarock double bill of Goo Goo Dolls and Gin Blossoms. People always slag the Dolls for being Replacements wannabes, but the influence is equally apparent in the Gin Blossoms' effervescent (albeit less raucous) power pop riffs, wry humor, and narrative lyrics. The difference may be that, after the success of the power ballad "Name," the Dolls are perceived as getting wimpier (translation: more melodic). Meanwhile, the Blossoms have slowly but surely turned up the intensity, even as they maintain a cleanly cynical attitude that could be described as suburban cool. Live, both bands give their fans their money's worth (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., $18). Looking ahead is country hunk and bad moustache poster boy Alan Jackson with newbie Wade Hayes (Friday, 7:30, bleacher seats $9), country hunks and bad haircut poster boys Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart (Monday, 7:30 p.m., $17), Brooks & Dunn and Kathy Mattea (Sunday, 7:30 p.m., bleacher seats $9), and the show we're most excited about, Willie Nelson & Family with opener Sammy Kershaw (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., $17). Willie's new record, Spirits (Island), is a sparse and elegant set of originals, and the last time I caught him and his band of septuagenarians, they moved from the hillbilly soul to urban soul with grace and flair. It happens at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 642-2227.
On other fronts, The Gufs are a Milwaukee quintet of mainstream rockers without pretension, who keep their Beatles/REM influences on straight, with just the slightest trace of alternarock ruffles. After three or four local releases, their self-titled Atlantic debut sounds seasoned and fresh. Also on the bill are Vancouver punk-poppers Pluto, whose upcoming self-titled Virgin debut recalls The Undertones and The Buzzcocks with extra sugar on top (appropriately enough, as their producer Neill King worked with both those acts back in the day). Should be a nifty little gig. Larkspurs open. Friday. $5. 8 p.m. 7th St. Entry, 701 First Ave. N., Mpls.; 338-8388. (Robson/Hermes)
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