Gaslight Anthem, Lookbook, Tapes 'n Tapes, and more

Springsteen-loving Jersey Boys the Gaslight Anthem
Lisa Johnson


Manic Street Preachers

Varsity Theater

Unfortunately, for every Coldplay or Radiohead, there is a Manic Street Preachers—a band that enjoys commercial success and recognition in the U.K., but can't seem to translate in the U.S. And few bands have illustrated how many miles the Atlantic actually spans more than the Manics, who have scored eight top-10 albums and 15 top-10 singles over the course of their 23-year career in the U.K., but are lucky to get their albums filed under their own name at U.S. record stores. The band's increasingly mannered pop following 1999's proggy This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours suggested that the Manics had given up on courting a Stateside audience altogether, which makes the just-released Journal for Plague Lovers especially confounding. More than any album since 1994's The Holy Bible, Journal seems, if not exactly American, then awfully interested in sounding like it could be. The band recorded the entire thing in Chicago with famed engineer Steve Albini, who has applied his distinctive non-gloss to American Gen X classics like Nirvana's In Utero and the Jesus Lizard's Liar, and are touring the U.S. for the first time in a decade. Who knows how long any of this renewed commitment will last, but best catch them before they have another change of heart. With Nico Vega. 18+. $20. 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Jonathan Garrett

Living Colour

Fine Line Music Café

Less with the catchy-but-annoying 1988 hit "Cult of Personality" than with deep tracks from the same album (the brightly Afropoppy "The Glamour Boys") and subsequent ones (1990's "Pride," '93's "Bi," 2003's "A ? of When"), Living Colour perfected a brash combination of crunchy metal, agile funk, and soulfully operatic message-music that was a new wrinkle in hard rock even apart from their once-novel iconography as African American rockers. The worldly chops of guitarist Vernon Reid, muscular wail of singer Corey Glover, and Chic-worthy thwack of Will Calhoun remain an Aerosmith-sized pleasure on The Chair in the Doorway, their first album in six years after a '90s breakup and '00s reunion, with all three members (and '92-on bassist Doug Wimbish) firing on all cylinders behind "Bless Those" and "Taught Me"—to my ears, their best anthems yet. 18+. $25-$60. 9 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Peter S. Scholtes


Tapes 'n Tapes

7th St. Entry

For better or worse, musicians are often measured by their ability to quiet things down a bit and go acoustic. It's a funny little anomaly within a creative outlet that often rewards and encourages deafening noise, but an important one. It suggests—and, truthfully, indicates—how diverse and talented a band is. Tapes 'n Tapes are the latest band to brave the gauntlet, but it doesn't seem like stripping down is going to be much of a challenge for them. In many ways a lot of their material seems like loud acoustic songs, anyway. For a band who claims they didn't really know what they were doing during the recording of their first album, they have carved out was has thus far proven to be a pretty impressive career. But the question remains: Can they pull off an intimate, acoustic show at a small club? All signs point to yes, and judging by the hype that's been surrounding this event (yes, we're calling it an event), the signs aren't wrong. We had the 'Mats and we had Hüsker Dü, but they never really seemed as interested in giving back to the city that birthed them as they seemed stuck here. TNT seems more outwardly proud to be from our goofy Midwestern burg, and this three-night mini-tour of the Twin Cities is a hell of a way to do right by it. With Lookbook and Mystery Palace. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Also Friday at the Music Box and Saturday at the Turf Club —Pat O'Brien



Roy Wilkins Auditorium

The August Spin Wilco cover story by former City Pages music editor Jon Dolan shows a damaged bandleader grown healthily and fruitfully boring—a warning sign for this fair-weather fan of "Box Full of Letters" and "California Stars" (and not of 2002's masterpiece-by-reputation, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). But a good life equals good music on Wilco (The Album), with Jeff Tweedy making as bright, lush, and (sometimes) catchy use of happiness as Bruce Springsteen or David Byrne in their realms, at his best taking a left turn into crime horror with "Bull Black Nova"—where the narrator is covered in blood and fleeing the scene, but knows "I'm not going far." With Liam Finn. All ages. $36. 7:30 p.m. 175 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul; 651.989.5151. —Peter S. Scholtes


The Cedar

Call it a passive-aggressive reflex: Snark-bash post-rockers long and hard enough, and eventually, they will strike back, and hard. So maybe that's why Beacons of Ancestorship, Tortoise's sixth studio album and first in a half-decade, resolutely asks no quarter, and gives none. Along with xylophones, tambourines, keyboards, and pretty much every other instrument you can think of, synthesizers have always been a key piece of weaponry in Tortoise's arsenal, as the quintet fold jazz, krautrock, and fusion into smooth, speckled shapes. Never before, though, have their synths bristled and bulged so, bludgeoning and bashing forth with ill will unbecoming dudes with For Carnation and Eleventh Dream Day lineage. Beacons is impressive the way a class-five hurricane is impressive: At a distance, you'll admire it, but up close it's all a bit too much. In live performance, thankfully, Tortoise scale back their intensity—so what's off-putting on aluminum may prove more palatable onstage. With Pit Er Pat. $18/$20 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Ray Cummings




What a difference a decade can make. A Fire Inside initially formed in 1991, but disbanded shortly thereafter as core members enrolled in separate colleges. Over the next few years the band would reunite and record their first two full-length albums, but by 1998—which saw the release of both A Fire Inside EP and Black Sails in the Sunset—the original lineup had all but turned over, with the exception of vocalist Davey Havok. It was during this year, and over the course of those two albums, that the band's sound shifted away from its East Bay hardcore beginnings and toward a darker, gothic punk; this is where the modern version of the band began. In the following years AFI would release their first album to chart on the Billboard 200, The Art of Drowning, and would go on to sign with Dreamworks for their 2003 release, Sing the Sorrow. Sorrow remains the band's most commercially successful release and has gone on to reach platinum status in the U.S. The shift from the brainchild of some high school punks who couldn't play their instruments to one of the biggest underground success stories of the past 10 years is something that dreams are made of. Again—what a difference a decade can make. AFI is touring in support of their new album, Crash Love, and will be joined by the Gallows. All ages. $25.50-$27. 7 p.m. 110 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.3742. —Chris DeLine


Lookbook (CD-release)

Kitty Cat Klub

Arguably one of the most popular music acts in the Twin Cities, City Pages-nominated "Best New Band" Lookbook will cement their status as local band-done-good this weekend when they release their first full-length album, Wild at Heart. For those who have seen the electro duo of Grant Cutler and Maggie Morrison perform live (and if you're the type to seek out live music in the Cities, chances are you have, as they have been gigging heavily for over a year), the songs on Wild at Heart will be mostly familiar fare. "Yesterday's Company," "The Only Ones," and a personal favorite, "True to Form," are immediate highlights, and the tracks that have been played fewer times live are nestled in like treasures for more well-versed fans. Overall, there are no huge surprises on the CD—the songs sound just as good recorded as they do live—but Wild at Heart provides a timely snapshot of two bandmates who are continuing to hone their unique sound and expound on the ideas presented on last year's breakout EP. With Zoo Animal and Shahs. $5. 9 p.m. 315 14th Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 612.331.9800. —Andrea Swensson

The Gaslight Anthem/Frank Turner


Although the four members of the Gaslight Anthem claim a punk lineage and hail from New Brunswick, a few miles inland from the Jersey Shore, splinters from Asbury Park's boardwalk riddle the band's sound along with an anthemic quality and thematic similarities to another character who lurks beneath that dirty wood. Brian Fallon's lead vocals indeed sport a muscular grit akin to Springsteen's, and the band's influences—along with the E Street's—run to vintage rock and R&B, albeit often with whip-like punkish urgency. You can dissect the abundant Springsteen/Gaslight parallels on TGA's 2008 album The '59 Sound ad nauseam. But even a tune like "Meet Me By the River's Edge," which could win a contest for most Bruce-isms per line, has sufficient ingratiating honesty and spirit to suggest the shared ethos is more a matter of common musical roots and growing up on Jersey's greasy boulevards than strict imitation. Anyway, TGA are an extremely likable band operating with a fistful of adrenalin, and seemingly born to run. Opening will be English punk-folkie Frank Turner, survivor of the hardcore band Million Dead, whose discovery of folk's murderous roots and the incendiary qualities of a well-turned phrase have transformed him into a worthy successor to the likes of Graham Parker and Billy Bragg. His terrific new album, Poetry of the Deed, is packed with rabble-rousing anthems amid astute references to Kerouac, Boadicea, and Odysseus. With Murder By Death and the Loved Ones. 18+. $15/$17 at the door. 7:30 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. —Rick Mason


Wanda Jackson


Medina Entertainment Center

If Elvis Presley forever will be the king of rock 'n' roll, his queen has got to be Wanda Jackson. She was a teenage heartbreaker in the mid-'50s when, with Elvis's personal encouragement, she made the transformation from country singer to the first legitimate female star of rockabilly and rock 'n' roll. Earlier, honky-tonker Hank Thompson had heard Jackson singing on an Oklahoma radio program and asked her to join his Brazos Valley Boys. When Jackson subsequently went on tour in 1955 with a package of artists, one was Presley, then just on the cusp of phenomenal success. He convinced a skeptical Jackson to try the new style, and she was a natural, the sultry edge in her voice earning her hits ("Fujiyama Mama," "Let's Have a Party"), breaking ground for generations of female rockers, and still largely intact more than a half-century later. Jackson spent a long time doing strictly country and gospel until returning to her rockabilly roots with the encouragement of Rosie Flores, among others. Her last studio album was 2006's I Remember Elvis, featuring sharp covers of tunes associated with her mentor and onetime boyfriend, a dynamite band including Blondie drummer Clem Burke, an autobiographical new song ("I Wore Elvis' Ring"), a charming spoken reminiscence, vintage photos of the king and queen, and enthusiastic liner notes by another Elvis (Costello). Also on this bill will be Sherwin Linton and the Cotton Kings, rockabilly and country royalty from right here in the Twin Cities. $17. 2 p.m. 500 Hwy. 55, Hamel; 763.478.6661. —Rick Mason


Stanley Clarke Trio

Dakota Jazz Club

Just a few weeks after appearing at the Dakota with Return to Forever colleagues Chick Corea and Lenny White, bass maestro Stanley Clarke is back, fronting a stellar acoustic trio that also includes drummer White and young piano sensation Hiromi. In May the trio released Jazz in the Garden, Clarke's first acoustic jazz trio recording as leader, an adventurous set that taps the eclectic talents of all three musicians, running the gamut from standards to originals and even a cover of Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge" (which evolves from a lyrical statement of the melody to a wild Hiromi solo). For Clarke, a pioneer of jazz fusion with RTF and innovator on electric bass, the acoustic turn marks a return to his early days as an in-demand sideman for the likes of Dexter Gordon, Horace Silver, and Joe Henderson. In fact, Garden features a great new version of Henderson's "Isotope," a tune Clarke and White used to play with the sax great, and which now Hiromi invigorates with her characteristic forays across the jazz spectrum. $28-$50. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Sunday —Rick Mason

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