Solid Gold, Big Head Todd, and more

Jam-band circuit mainstays Umphrey's McGee

Jam-band circuit mainstays Umphrey's McGee


Solid Gold

Uptown Bar & Cafe

You've probably heard the name Solid Gold kicked around a lot lately, and for good reason. Aside from making the cover of City Pages' Year in Music issue, the band has recently found itself topping many a local best-of list. While Solid Gold's debut, Bodies of Water, hit shelves late in '08, the band made quick work of its rivals thanks to frenetic live shows, ubiquitous local radio presence for the über-danceable "Get Over It," and the inescapable fact that the combo's synth-drenched pop sculptures are just plain good. That the album was long fussed over and painstakingly crafted—Solid Gold ditched two albums worth of material before making Bodies—is evident. That the record has gone over so well is a testament to the perks of remaining loyal to one's artistic compass. 21+. $5. 9 p.m. 3018 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.823.4719. —Will McClain



Big Head Todd and the Monsters

First Avenue

Originally founded as a trio in 1986, Big Head Todd and the Monsters have since proven to be one of the longest tenured workhorses in independent music. Despite not having a single chart-topper in more than a decade, the blues-influenced rockers continue to achieve tremendous success on the road, heavily leaning on the idea that they are first and foremost a touring band. Firm evidence of this came with the release of 2007's All the Love You Need, when the band mailed some 25,000 copies to fans at no cost, in addition to offering the album as a free download via their website. "We want to get our new music out to as many people as possible," said the band in a statement following the album's release. No wonder it has gained such an extensive fan base, despite little conventional commercial success in the past 10-plus years. With Former Sun 60 vocalist Joan Jones. 18+. $23/$25 at the door. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Chris DeLine



Umphrey's McGee

First Avenue

Reigning for the past decade, the present, and perhaps far into the future on the jam-band circuit, Chicago's Umphrey's McGee arrive for their latest three-night residency at First Avenue with something genuinely new and out of the ordinary: an entire album of new material untested on the road save for the first three Colorado dates on this tour. Mantis, released on inauguration day, took nearly three years for the band to put together, and although there's plenty of room for UM's trademark improvisation, the album has the feel of an epic statement, its free-flowing moments carefully plotted for maximum effect, echoing the prime of such progressive rock mammoths as King Crimson, Yes, and Pink Floyd. Clocking in at a relatively tight 54 minutes, Mantis nevertheless is rife with sprawling pieces full of shifting dynamics and textures, spatial odysseys that bloom into searing guitar forays from Jake Cinninger and Brendan Bayliss, psychedelic clouds of harmonizing vocals, metal runs that melt into Joel Cummins's piano, and Zappaesque rock-classical-jazz convolutions. In other words, it's prime UM high-concept stuff played with characteristic UM panache. 18+. $20. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Also Saturday and Sunday —Rick Mason



The Guystorm

Hexagon Bar

The Guystorm are set to host a release show for their debut 7-inch vinyl EP, The Dark Album, this Saturday. Since the group formed more than a year ago, their undeniable energy and frustratingly distorted post-punk, cast behind Angelo V. Pennacchio's flamboyant gasps and oft-politically focused wails, have made them worthy of the "next in line" label among the Cities' best young bands. The majority of the EP's songs have been works in progress for the majority of the band's tenure together, which means two things: The Dark Album is going to be packed with crafted, well-rounded songs, as opposed to hastily tossed-together train wrecks; and as the Guystorm's recent studio set for KFAI's Radio Revolucion showcased, the release show is going to be explosive. Joining the band will be Lookbook, Haunted House, and DJ Twin Tower$. 21+. Free. 9 p.m. 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.722.3454. —Chris DeLine

Vic Chestnutt

400 Bar

Songwriter Vic Chestnutt's online bio reads like a cross between free-verse poetry and a grocery list. Its simplicity makes its poignant moments more striking: "adopted," "age 17 meets Johnny Cash," "hands and legs go numb," "meets Joni Mitchell." So it is with Chestnutt's lyrics, propelled and nourished by Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. The songwriter distills the observations of a man paralyzed at age 18 into deceivingly simple sentiments such as, "My blue ribbon gumption is gone/All my gravy must have soaked into something." Though Michael Stipe discovered Chestnutt in Athens in the late '80s, the mainstream caught wind of him with 1996's Sweet Relief II: The Gravity of the Situation, a haunting all-star covers album of his songs. Chestnutt's repertoire is deep, wide, and perfect for exploration in an intimate setting. With Elf Power and Yer Cronies. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.332.2903. —Will McClain

Scott Weiland

Pantages Theatre

Let's now consider inelegant grifter Scott Weiland. This rock demigod can be relied upon to spew out hackneyed, over-emoted nonsense, to kick substance abuse and then relapse, to rack up DUIs, to boomerang nomadically from project to project, to alienate everyone who works with him to one extent or another. Weiland, then, exemplifies a persona that's quickly dying out in the music world: the addled, totally unpredictable dude-as-diva, with all the adherent rights and responsibilities that title carries with it. You never know what the guy's gonna do next. Will the Stone Temple Pilots reunion—he's their frontman, remember—remain afloat, grinding out reheated grunge hits on the touring trail? Will he and the other members of Velvet Revolver eventually kiss and make up? Will Happy, his upcoming album, be as fuzzed-out, deranged, electronic, and downright enjoyable as his 1998 solo debut, 12 Bar Blues? No way to tell—which is more than one can say about the likes of Ozzy, Axl, or Chris Cornell these days. In case you hadn't gathered as much, Weiland's foxy to us; is he foxy to you? All ages. $35. 8 p.m. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Ray Cummings



Yo! Majesty

Triple Rock Social Club

In a genre that's much too fond of references to bitches to hos, Yo! Majesty's sex-positive cunt references are refreshing. These women are proud of their lady parts. ("Kryptonite Pussy," anyone?) Though it's doubtful that Jwl. B and Shunda K consider becoming burgeoning feminist and lesbian icons as much as they do their ability to manufacture dripping-hot club beats, they win in both categories. But sometimes girls just wanna have fun. Bangers such as "Club Action," with its punchy and foul-mouthed chorus, help people forget (for the night) about the labels they drag around and focus on getting sweaty in as many ways as possible. Unfortunately, Jwl. B will be unable to make the show due to "personal reasons making it impossible for her to travel." Still, half of a one-two sucker punch can nonetheless leave you raw. With Natalie Stewart. 18+. $12. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7499. —Erin Roof




Station 4

Nine Inch Nails, you say? KMFDM, kinda? Wumpscut? Ministry? Late-era White Zombie? Rammstein, perhaps? Yeah, more or less. Combichrist traffic in the same sort of danceable industrial electronic bile, catchy hatred, and beat-saturated nihilism—difference is, they're Norwegians who moved to the United States. It's pop with a fuck-you serrated edge that celebrates the endorphin rush of pain. Samples bleed in and out of the mix, filtered synths boomerang about, and frontman Andy LaPlegua oozes a palpable disgust. When you're a young'un, this sort of syncopated noise acts as something cathartic; to listen is to be empowered, to vanquish foes and authority figures without actually shedding blood, damaging property, or brooding in a jail cell. When you've grown up a bit, it's ambient adrenaline to propel you from that first or third cup of coffee to when it's time to head home. Either way, everyone wins, and we're glad this strain of throbbing disdain isn't showing any signs of going out of style. With Black Light Burns and Desillusion. 16+. $15/$18 at the door. 7 p.m. 201 E. Fourth St., St. Paul; 651.298.0173. —Ray Cummings