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Heiroglyphics and more

Gabriela and Rodrigo want you to hang ten and rock out
Tina Korhonen

 

WEDNESDAY 8.13

Hieroglyphics

First Avenue

If the Wu-Tang Clan's form-like-Voltron rap supergroup approach has any equivalent on the left coast, it's probably the Bay Area's eight-man squad Hieroglyphics. And while they've only released two albums—1998's 3rd Eye Vision and 2003's Full Circle (as well as a 2005 DVD centered on the latter album's tour)—their rep as a lyrical powerhouse has been steadily and sturdily built with a constant string of singles, collaborations, solo joints and touring. Founder Del tha Funkee Homosapien is probably the best-known member of the group (don't be surprised if you hear cuts from this year's long-awaited The 11th Hour), but he's not alone: With Domino, Casual, Pep Love and the four-man crew Souls of Mischief (of "93 'Til Infinity" fame) completing the set, there's more than enough anthemic battle-rap skills to knock your third eye open. With Blue Scholars, Knobody, Musab, Prince Ali, Tanya Morgan. 18+. $12/$14. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N, Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Nate Patrin

James Hunter

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater

Who says the British Empire has fallen? James Hunter, who follows in Eric Clapton's sandal tracks like a lemming over the cliffs of Dover, is here to prove that perhaps there are a few more unspoiled paradises where the natives will salute the Union Jack. He's gotten some precious metal out of the mine—Hunter's version of American blues is the kind for which kindly old men issue little gold statues. His debut album People Gonna Talk shows off remarkable guitar work and an approach to the genre that will have many a critic reaching for their annotated copy of Heart of Darkness. Hunter is opening for Chris Isaak. Whether punching far above his weight (a roll in the beach sand with Helena Christensen) or far below it (debasing himself as a D-list buffoon on Showtime), Isaak's voice and his messages never fail to sooth the suburban beast, and are as pleasing to the palate as a fat-free pudding pop (vanilla, natch). $55. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —David Hansen

 

THURSDAY 8.14

Nomo

7th St. Entry

Yeah, Vampire Weekend have gotten a lot of attention for messing around with Congolese music, but this year's boom in Afro-pop—both its originators and its offshoots—has gone a lot deeper: Soundway's Nigeria Special compilations and Analog Africa's excellent African Scream Contest have unearthed countless amazing nuggets from the past, while Seun Kuti has dropped a fantastic debut, Many Things, that picks up right where his father Fela left off. But one of the best current practitioners of Afro-soul hybridization is a band from Ann Arbor, of all places, and with their recent album Ghost Rock, Nomo have spread out into wider-spanning turf. Not content to simply Xerox the sounds of the Afro-beat pioneers of the '70s, they sprawl out into Miles-in-'72 acid-fusion jams, astral funk, lock-tight Krautrock and just about anything else with a pliable, propulsive rhythmic pulse. With Maps of Norway. 18+. $8. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N, Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Nate Patrin

 

FRIDAY 8.15

Black Blondie

Triple Rock Social Club

The Triple Rock is a venue that most commonly spells its name with double frame bikes, Black Label vests, and 2-4-1 vomiting marathons. But tonight's line-up, which adventures like a curious hitchhiker from door open to last call, wraps its brass knuckles in a velvet sleeve. From Black Blondie, who keep their steely grooves licking with reggae inflection, to Roma Di Luna, who ease a complex rap sublimity into beats that lumber and creak like an old rowboat, to Aby Wolf, whose electric acoustic shines with whispered confessions and road poetry, it's a night where the insight and the intellect flow as freely as the whiskey from the bar gun. The punches are still haymakers, and the jumbo Czechvars still pop like magnums of cheap champagne, but it's a show that engages far more id than ego. Don't forget to bring your brain and your butt—they're both going to get a work out. 21+. $8. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —David Hansen

Handsome Furs

7th St. Entry

Handsome Furs' harrowing electronics cut to the bone, stripping down the muscle and the meat to draw out faded sketches of emotions and conjure visceral visions. The music is as much about the mood as anything—the vivid landscapes duo Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry paint on the backs of your eyelids, the walls of your studio apartment, the space hanging right in front of you. Sparse fields of lonely machines. Snow drifts and bleak metallics. Sad highway overpasses. Handsome Furs live in a jumbled trench of technology, a futuristic world they hate the existence of. Instead of fighting back, they hang white lights and emote a decadent vacancy as cold as the ice crystals of their Montreal home. In "Sing! Captain" off of 2007's Plague Park, Boeckner sings above the warbling static: "Feed them wine, feed them chrome/We hate this place here/It's our home, it's our home." But deep down inside the barrel of this machinery is a rusty locket filled with a hope and maybe a secret dream. With D*R*I. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erin Roof

Morris Day & the Time

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater

For this particular Friday, which just so happens to be this writer's birthday, I can't think of a better way to celebrate than seeing the legendary electrofunk R&B prowess of Morris Day & the Time live in the great outdoor setting of the zoo's amphitheater. For some, the Time is a reflection back on the days when Minneapolis's funk scene was hotter than First Avenue in August with the AC on the fritz; for others they are simply part of the pop culture phenomena that anyone who's seen Purple Rain can attest to. But from their rip-roaringly awesome showing on the 2008 Grammy Telecast to their performance of "The Bird" on Leno last month, they have proven they still have the goods and are all about a no-BS good time—including ass-shaking and slow-jam smooth grooves. With Alex Rossi, Root City. $39. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Jen Paulson

 

SATURDAY 8.16

Joe Bonamassa

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater

This modern day bluesman's talents rely heavily on his scorching guitar solos, along with his compellingly strong and unique voice. Incredibly reminiscent of the classic rock sound that was pioneered by the British blues-bred legends of the '60s like Jeff Beck and fellow Yardbirds alum Jimmy Page, he draws even stronger and more passionate comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Having said that, Bonamassa's long solos and extended jams are nothing short of electrifying to the true believers, of which there are plenty. He might not be a household name, but he's got more than enough cred in the guitar world to make many Best Guitarist lists and be just as lauded by critics as he is by his peers. Summon your best rock face as you take in the guitar god glory of this immensely talented musician. With Papa Mali. $25. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Jen Paulson

 

MONDAY 8.18

Rodrigo y Gabriela

First Avenue

Take one pair of Mexican heavy-metal rockers, transplant them to Ireland, hand them a couple of acoustic guitars, and see what they come up with; that's the recipe for Rodrigo y Gabriela, a duo whose blazing fingers and tightly interwoven arrangements alternate between laconic ear-tickling and a hectic energy more likely to be found in punk rock than in an acoustic ensemble. They hunch over their instruments with the intensity of pinball wizards, Rodrigo Sanchez's left hand spiraling up and down his fretboard, laying out lush melodies, while Gabriela Quintero's right hand works in a blurred arc, simultaneously strumming and tapping out subdivided rhythms on the body of her guitar. Heavy-metallurgists are famous for their mathematically layered scales and arpeggios, and RyG have brought that etudinal mindset to their acoustic endeavors. But de-electrified and undistorted, the flood of notes carries more impact for its clarity, especially in lovingly performed covers of Metallica's "Orion" and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." Seeing the pair live, it might seem, is less about enjoying a flashy stage show and more about proving to one's self that such sound could be produced by only two little boxes of wood. With Lovers Duo. 18+. $28/$30 at the door. 7:30 p.m 701 1st Ave. N, Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ward Rubrecht


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