Nas and Damian Marley, Weird Al, and B-Girl Be Carnival
Weird Al Yankovic
State Fair Grandstand
Let's face it: You owned a bunch of Weird Al albums in junior high and knew all the words, but then felt, well, weird about it when you started high school, so you swapped them at Cheapo. But now that you're older and more secure (right?) you're not ashamed to say you still accidentally sing the lyrics to "Yoda" sometimes when the Kinks come on the radio. No worries; the undisputed king of the parody song is one of the coolest uncool guys around. He's best known for warping the words of classics by Michael Jackson and Nirvana to create pop-culture pastiche, but dig his ability to convincingly ape the styles of just about anyone in original tunes, from the spot-on David Byrne whooping on the insidiously catchy "Dog Eat Dog" to his recent turn as a growling Jim Morrison on "Craigslist." Let your geek flag fly when the Frank Sinatra of nerds comes to the fair this year. Quoth Homer Simpson: "He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life." All ages. $22. 8 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 651.642.2262. —Bryan Miller
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Being a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fan hasn't been much fun for the past couple NASCAR seasons; despite crew chief switcheroos and sponsorship shifts, the Intimidator's most celebrated progeny hasn't been able to make much racing magic happen. Being a Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. fan, on the other hand, is proving a bit more satisfying; this lawsuit-baiting Detroit outfit is making a borrowed name for itself with florid, bucolic synth-pop that sashays, iridescent, like a herd of irradiated mutant peacocks wandering hither and yon through sunstroke hallucinations. The group's debut EP, Horse Power, is the kind of blissful, ladies-and-gentleman-we-are-floating-in-methadone shot-across-the-bow that's guaranteed to blow a whole slew of minds without breaking a sweat. And if three hazy, tropical originals plus the sweetheart cover of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" aren't enough to sate you, take heart: A full-length is due sometime this fall. With Athletes in Slacks. 18+. $5. 8 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.332.2903.—Ray Cummings
The windshield-rattling bass lines of most Excision tracks sound like Bernie Worrell's bottomed-out Minimoog from Parliament pumped through the UFO sound system in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It's a buzz so momentous and melodic, it doesn't need rap vocals to be menacing or interesting, though the young Canadian dubstep DJ has dabbled in hip-hop remixing with collaborator Datsik (on last year's Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture Vol. 2: Enter the Dubstep). Fans of M.I.A.'s chopped up Sleigh Bells riff on "Meds and Feds" might notice a similarly metal heaviness here dipping into dub, though Excision can as easily whip his guitar crunch into a drum-'n'-bass frenzy—it's all gangster to him. With Vaski, Nick Wishard, Bogtrotter, and Smilodon & Toffler. 18+. $15. 8 p.m. 711 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.6100.
—Peter S. Scholtes
New Labor 7" release
In an age when many bands have their first demo recorded before they've even played a show, New Labor, formed in 2008, have taken nearly two years before creating a record. "Songwriting has been a main priority over the last couple years," vocalist Andy Bauer explains. "Also, we all have pretty busy lives outside of the world of rock." Their self-titled, self-released debut is a beautiful slab of clear vinyl with a run of 300, 100 of which have screen-printed covers. The band's short-attention-span punk is peppered with surf and jazz elements, and the short-play record covers a wealth of ground. Rarely does a single song hold just one tempo, as their spastic songs will jump from minimal, spoken-word bits into intense screaming and back to crooning with little warning. Joining them for the release are the Yoleus, the Undesirables, and Teddy & the Turks. 21+. Free. 9 p.m. 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.722.3454. —Loren Green
B-Girl Be Carnival! Block Party
Part park-party revival by females, part bring-your-daughter-to-hip-hop day, this recurring, one-of-a-kind celebration of women in rap, graffiti, and hip-hop dance is so much fun that its uplift can feel like a bonus. DJ Pam the Funkstress of Oakland rap greats the Coup headlines with witty New York rapper Amanda Diva opening, but the highlights are all around: live aerosol murals going up over the walls, b-girls from around the world, an MC "battle to the death" with male and female participants, an art marketplace, workshops, films, an interactive art exhibit, and other related dance performances inside with separate (though cheap) admission: Beat Contortionists at 2 p.m., and Decipher This at 10 p.m. Inspiring for girls, invigorating for everyone, this is one of the few multi-medium hip-hop parties left. Noon to 10 p.m. Sliding donation until 6 p.m., $5 to $10; $10 starting at 6 p.m. For a full schedule of related B-Girl Be events (including many on other days and at other locations), visit intermediaarts.org. 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis; 612.871.4444. —Peter S. Scholtes
Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
The lineage of New Zealand's Finn clan as perfect pure pop purveyors can be traced back to Split Enz, which was launched in the early '70s by Tim Finn and later welcomed little brother Neil into the fold. Neil split to form Crowded House, whose decade-long reign yielded such hits as "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong," shining with Neil's cunning pop craftsmanship. Various Finn projects ensued after the House divided in the mid-'90s, alongside the emergence of Neil's son, Liam. In 2007, sparked by the death of original drummer Paul Hester, Crowded House re-emerged with Time On Earth, reflective in the wake of Hester's demise, but also showing off the resurgent pop instincts of Neil, original bassist Nick Seymour, keyboardist/guitarist Mark Hart, and new drummer Matt Sherrod. The House's new Intriguer is still relatively ruminative but rife with sly pop conceits and deft touches, including Liam's psychedelic guitar break in the middle of "Falling Dove" and Lisa Germano's violin on "Archer's Arrows." There're also splashes of effervescent power pop, such as the opening "Saturday Sun." Opening will be fellow New Zealanders Lawrence Arabia, led by singer/songwriter and poly-instrumentalist James Milne. His own crafty pop permutations pick up on some of the same '60s influences as Crowded House, but are more eccentric/experimental, even while shifting between Beatle-isms and some of Brian Wilson's more gossamer Beach Boys work. All ages. $47. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Rick Mason
Nas and Damian Marley
Whether it's Busy Signal absorbing Chalie Boy or M.I.A. absorbing both, fertility along the rap-reggae border is eternal and very 2010. Yet nobody quite expected Queens hip-hop lifer Nas and toasting Jamaican scion Damian Marley, both living up to legends bigger than their present-day selves, to sound as good as they do together. The conceptual link is Africa, diasporic connections as specific as sampling Ethiopian internationalist Mulatu Astatke—on their irrepressible summer jam "As We Enter"—or as universalist as Nas pointing out, near the end of the Def Jam album Distant Relatives, that to be human is to have common, African family. If that sentiment seems too easy, the ingenious funk reggae of "Africa" and "Tribal War" (both featuring K'naan, not coincidentally) is persuasion enough, swinging elegantly between synthesizers and strings on the strength of a live rhythm section you should see. That beat and the voices—one cool and quick, one tender and cracking—are all that power "Count Your Blessings" past corn into a resilient optimism that's about the best Obama could hope for at this point. 18+. $42.50. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes
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