Ray Davies, Culture Cry Wolf, and more

Banner Pilot celebrate their second release on Fat Wreck Chords
Tony Nelson

Banner Pilot (CD-release show)

Turf Club on Saturday 11.5

Sure, you may not see Banner Pilot on Jimmy Kimmel or Letterman, but the Minneapolis band has a loyal following, both at home and abroad. Celebrating their third full-length and second with NOFX's Fat Wreck Chords, Banner Pilot will take over the Turf Club for a night of pop sensibilities contrasted with lyrics of cynicism, disappointment, and debauchery. Heart Beats Pacific is playfully described by the band as "a step backward," so expect a familiar sound, albeit with the nuances that separate Banner Pilot from their three-chord peers. Featuring current and former members of such bands as Rivethead and the Gateway District. 21+. $8. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Loren Green

The Blind Boys of Alabama with Sara & Sean Watkins

Cedar Cultural Center on Thursday 11.3

The venerable Blind Boys have grown increasingly ecumenical as they edge toward three-quarters of a century as a group, collaborating with lots of musicians outside gospel and even applying their splendid harmonies to material that strays into the secular realm. Teaming up with siblings Sara and Sean Watkins of the bluegrass-country band Nickel Creek (now on indefinite hiatus) for this show is a natural outgrowth of the Boys' latest album, Take the High Road, where gospel and country find common ground. The gospel harmonies and country vocals from guests Willie Nelson, Lee Ann Womack, Vince Gill, and the Oak Ridge Boys entwine organically, as do the arrangements, which lean heavily country with touches of pedal steel, fiddle, and dobro. The only track that doesn't work is "Have Thine Own Way, Lord," because trad country upstart James Johnson (who co-produced) mumbles distractedly all the way through. On the other hand, Hank Williams Jr. growls convincingly through a smart version of his dad's "I Saw the Light" despite his recent vision apparently being obscured by Nazis. All ages. $30/$35 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

Culture Cry Wolf

Fine Line Music Cafe on Saturday 11.5

This Saturday at the Fine Line, the genre-juggling Culture Cry Wolf drop their official debut album, Dia de los Muertos, expanding their sound since their first effort, The Wesley Opus Sessions. While most live-band hip-hop acts center on funk or jazz as their sonic roots, CCW are all over the map, pulling in everything from cumbia to doo-wop to ska and punk. Botzy's raps and Mike Daly's crooning keep the varied vibe centered, matching the raucous trumpet, guitars, and percussion with upbeat tales of drunken revelry and torrid love affairs. In concert, the six-piece band whips up a wholly unique energy that is hard to define and harder to resist, and this CD-release show should find them at their peak. With 9Tomorrows, Sheeped, Audio Perm, and special guests. 18+. $8/$10 at the door. 8 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Jack Spencer

Medeski Martin & Wood

First Avenue on Saturday 11.5

Ferocious improvisers who ply a wild, uncategorizable sound that twitches, bristles, and sometimes erupts through wickedly convoluted dimensions, keyboardist John Medeski, bassist Chris Wood, and drummer Billy Martin have been on the iconoclastic prowl for two decades. Jazz, funk, rock, and the avant-garde all collide under the trio's ministrations, picking up dozens of stray genres in the process, while Martin drives the proceedings with rhythms borrowed from swing, P-Funk, second-liners, Brazil, and even farther afield. Blues and gospel roots fume, meanwhile, on Medeski's piano, coalescing as irresistible hooks that Wood in turn flays with his mercurial bass. To celebrate their 20th anniversary, MMW have issued a double album of sizzling, live collaborations with fellow jazz/eclectic guitarist John Scofield (In Case the World Changes Its Mind, which shows a clear debt to New Orleans's Meters) plus a feature-length film touted as an intimate portrait of the band, directed by Martin. In addition, the first set of each show on the current tour will consist of songs requested in advance by fans in each city. 18+. 6:30 p.m. $25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Rick Mason


Turf Club on Monday 11.7

It's hard to believe that this will only be Poliça's third performance in the Twin Cities. The sometimes hazy, sometimes harrowing electro-R&B act have already played sold-out shows on the East Coast opening for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, garnered positive accolades at CMJ, and placed second in our Picked to Click best-new-bands poll. And though they've released only three songs to the public, they're already in heavy rotation on stations like the Current. This fast track to success isn't necessarily surprising given the popularity of the band members' previous projects (singer Channy Casselle was in Roma di Luna and bassist Chris Bierden is from Vampire Hands, while producer Ryan Olson created Gayngs), but what's most remarkable is how quickly they've gelled into a powerful live act, with dual drummers Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu propelling the band forward with pace-quickening, industrious beats. The balance the band achieves live is astounding, too, with Beirden's agile bass lines sharing the spotlight with Casselle's clarion voice. If the band's packed show at the Kitty Cat Klub last month is any indication, you may want to arrive early to reserve your spot in front of the stage. 21+. $8. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Andrea Swensson

Ray Davies

Fitzgerald Theater on Tuesday 11.8

Kinks mastermind and master songwriter Ray Davies created one of the most enduring bodies of work of the British Invasion. His broad palette encompassed bittersweet meditations on the lonely desperation of post-empire England, raging garage anthems, English music hall echoes, aching nostalgia, and wry commentaries on the times. The post-Kinkian Davies's relatively recent solo career retains the quirky charms that have inspired Kinks kultists for decades, including last year's See My Friends on which Davies adeptly revisits Kinks klassics with an array of those friends. Standouts include a surreal "Lola" with Paloma Faith; a shimmery, celebratory "Til the End of the Day" with Alex Chilton; a bluesy, rollicking "Dead End Street" with Amy Macdonald; and a gospel-like "Long Way From Home" with Lucinda Williams. Here, Davies will be backed by the 88, the L.A. band he's been using stateside of late. And he promises a full set of those Kinks klassics, upon which the sun will never set. All ages. $44.50-$46.50. 6:30 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651.290.1200. —Rick Mason

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Turf Club

1601 University Ave. W.
St. Paul, MN 55104



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