Gnarls Barkley and more

Anti-Flag (pictured), Michael Franti, Matisyahu, I Self Devine, and more rally at Ripple Effect



Eight Is Enough

Turf Club

The right gets Sammy Hagar. The left gets Low, Dosh, POS, and a streamlined Tapes 'n Tapes. Call it an early landslide. And in the Turf Club, of all places, our very own hidey-hole, in which the disenfranchised can congregate in all their conspiratorial, beer-soaked glory. Partisan politics mix with music like cheap vodka and limeade—which is to say there's a bitter smack, but it'll do in a pinch. But this is the very best kind of benefit show—one that comes with a lineup so potent that it will make even the noblest political pretense seem like a pleasant afterthought. That the proceeds go to fund Obama's bid for the presidency is a magnificent bonus. But by the time Skoal Kodiak illuminates the stage well into the predawn hours, politics will be the last thing on anyone's mind. At the zero hour of the RNC, a little late-night forgetfulness can't hurt. With Kill the Vultures, STNNNG. 21+. $20. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —David Hansen

Gnarls Barkley

Minnesota State Fair Amphitheater

Sure, "Crazy" was one of those rare ubiquitous hits that never lost its luster after its hundredth spin, but after a couple go-throughs of 2006's uneven St. Elsewhere this critic really started to miss the Goodie Mob incarnation of Cee-Lo—or at least the one who crooned raspy but rich Al Greenisms over Pharrell beats on his last solo record. Then Gnarls Barkley dropped their second album earlier this year, and it actually clicked: There's no feel-good summer jam here, but the craft put into this record supersedes any gimmick-supergroup accusations their debut might have spurred. The Odd Couple is melancholy soul-rock done right, with Danger Mouse's '60s fixations dialed back from pop-art whimsy to nostalgia-immune modernism and Cee-Lo's neuroses delivered artfully by a singer who knows how to make them relatable. It's what rock 'n' roll would've sounded like if it had leapfrogged all its metal/punk/grunge/indie mutations and landed directly in the middle of the hip-hop generation. All ages. $31. 7:30 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 651.642.2262. —Nate Patrin



The Floorbirds

Turf Club

It goes without saying that a good Thursday night bill at the Turf Club is the best way to start a weekend early. Put together by locally based music blog, tonight's roster is filled to the brim with quite the combination of harmonies and characters. The gorgeous rootsy folk of the Floorbirds is enough to whisk a person to the backcountry '40s in a shiny futuristic time machine, as their sound still resonates with a modern freshness. Joining in the festivities are the bluesy, foot-stompin' rowdies of A Night in the Box, the mischievously quirky pop-folk of Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, and the jangly and jaunty guitars and peppy pop keys of Skirt. 21+. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W, St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Jen Paulson



The Root of All Evil Memorial Metal Massacre

First Avenue

Benefit names don't get any better than this. Earl Root was the gold standard of individuality, and his memory deserves a hundred nights of music like this. It was an overwhelmingly sad day for the large music community of Minneapolis when the host of KFAI's long-running Root of All Evil show and all around metal-scene godfather, Earl Root, passed away after a lengthy battle with Hodgkin's in May. So, in Root's honor, First Avenue is to be completely overtaken by hordes of metal fans and metal bands from early afternoon to bar close, just like it should be—filling the 7th St. Entry and Mainroom with bands such as Impaler and Roots' own former band Aesma Daeva. The lineup promises a night abounding in devil horns, remembrances, and, most of all, the battle cry for all those who love the genre like Root himself did: "METAAAAAAAAAL!!!" No matter how somber such a fondly remembered man's passing can be, chances are this show will be anything but. With Missing Man Formation, Cold Colours, Demonicon, many more. All ages (18+ after 9:30 p.m.). 4:30 p.m. $10/$12 at the door. 701 First Ave. N, Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Jen Paulson



Black Keys

Minnesota State Fair Amphitheater

Always a spine-throttling live act, Akron power duo the Black Keys are touring behind the album of their careers: a multi-hued blues-rock-based song set produced by Gnarls Barkley maestro Danger Mouse, who'd originally asked the Keys to write songs for an album by Ike Turner and collaborated from there. After Turner's death, the unused R&B workouts and ballads became unwitting vehicles for the heretofore under-tested soul inflections of Keys vocalist Dan Auerbach, whose distinctly everyhuman quaver is closer in spirit and effect to the pained cry of fellow Ohioans Heartless Bastards than to the opaque, attitudinal mouth-noise-making of Jack White. Fans of both of the above should not miss this. Opening for the Black Crowes. All Ages. $37. 7:30 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 651.642.2262. —Peter S. Scholtes

Private Dancer

Turf Club

Somewhere, deep in John Nash's most private journals, lies an arcane equation. It's lost on the layman, but it reduces all the variable thrills of attending a show to the pints of sweat that must be mopped from the stage afterward. In the deepest cloisters of the mathematical community, this is known as the Private Dancer Formula. Named for the Minneapolis rock five-piece, the equation is finding applications outside the world of advanced trigonometry—it comments effectively on the lopsided ratio of hands in pockets to hands in air, increased beer sales during their performances, and the undeniable catchiness that propels the band and their spectators into a dance-y free-for-all that would make even the most bespectacled chaos mathematician shut his notebook. Even if you flunked freshman algebra, Private Dancer's debut EP, dropping tonight at the Turf, rings with a sincere pop jingle that is too grand to be contained in a lowly integer. 21+. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —David Hansen



Ripple Effect

Minnesota State Capitol

Ripple Effect, a free gathering of progressive music, education, and community on the State Capitol lawn, could've easily extended its tagline, "Beyond the Convention, Beyond Partisanship" to include the blunter "Beyond the Bullshit." So while McCain and co.'s ugly mugs flood the corporate airwaves, Ripple Effect will try to prove that even though the revolution will not be televised, it may very well have a killer drum pattern. The day features performances by activist/artist hybrid staples Michael Franti, Anti-Flag, and Dead Prez, along with talks from global warming activist Will Steger and Native American activist and environmentalist Winona LaDuke, as well as the wicked stylings of DJ K-Salaam as the main-stage DJ. I imagine this event, looming in the shadows of the RNC's grandeur, will have the feel of a gang of naive but stubborn hobbits camped out on the side of Mount Doom as the Eye of Mordor glows red hot. Only less geeky. With Wookiefoot, Matisyahu. All ages. Free. 12 p.m. 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul; 651.296.2881. —Jordan Selbo



Rage Against the Machine

Target Center

It's not really fair that Rage Against the Machine played a free (FREE!) show just last week in Denver during the Democratic National Convention and now they come here and play during our convention and expect us to fork over $60 to see them. What's up with that? We're just, like, caught in the political crosshairs, man. Even though it feels sort of like punishment, let's just give them the benefit of the doubt, shall we? It's going to be pretty awesome. Go for the nostalgia. You could pretend it's your last chance to see the politically passionate, confrontation-friendly rockers. This might actually be true since the band hasn't released an album in nearly a decade, reuniting last year supposedly only for a few shows. Or go for the spectacle. When the band played at the DNC in 2000, fans got tear-gassed. Or think of it like you're buying the band dinner. If given the chance, you'd totally want to buy Zack de la Rocha dinner, wouldn't you? Thought so. With Anti-Flag. $60. 7:30 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. —Jessica Chapman

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