Spoek Mathambo, Global Dance Festival, Beirut, and more

There's something in the air when Spoek Mathambo comes to town
Nico Krijno

Spoek Mathambo

Cedar Cultural Center, Thursday 7.19

The eclectic maelstrom that South African singer/rapper/producer Spoek Mathambo (aka Soweto native Nthato Mokgata) stirs up has been variously referred to as Township tech (his own term), Afro-futurism, and experimental rap. Previously involved in the electro-rap projects Sweat X and Playdoe, Mathambo has since ventured into a turbulent vortex where African roots swirl amidst a skein of electronica, rock, dub, and funk punctuated by laser darts from the dance floor, avant garde, and urban jungle. Percussive electronic bleeps vie with shredded guitar, vocals ranging from woozy neo-soul to machine-gun rap, teeth-rattling beats, shadowy bits of Afrobeat and mbaqanga, and funhouse-mirror atmospherics. The indie rock label Sub Pop put out Mathambo's latest, Father Creeper, where his cutting edge mélange is matched by hard-edged lyrics inspired by the socio-political turmoil of contemporary South Africa. The local dub trio Sound System Sabotage opens. $15, 8 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

Global Dance Festival

The Brick, Wednesday 7.18 + Thursday 7.19 + Friday 7.20

Three nights, 27 acts, and two stages are the ingredients for the Global Dance Festival at the Brick. Among the headliners are Australian electro/dubstep duo Knife Party, who recently released the Rage Valley EP. The title track is a murderous dose of bass drops mixed with a majestic spirit that carries over from members Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen's other, more rock-oriented act, Pendulum. 12th Planet, Dillon Francis, Above & Beyond, and Wolfgang Gartner are also among the national DJs assembled in for the event. 18+, $30-40 advance, $45 doors, and $90 for three-day pass, 8 p.m. 111 5th St. N., Minneapolis; 612.333.3422. —Reed Fischer

Bhi Bhiman / Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes

Turf Club, Thursday 7.19

There's plenty extraordinary about Bhi Bhiman besides the sharp juxtaposition between his family's origins (his parents emigrated from Sri Lanka) and his embrace of Americana roots. For one, he has an astonishing voice that evokes everyone from Bill Withers to Nina Simone, yet remains totally his own: a sometimes twangy, sometimes throaty, powerful instrument of odd but compelling timbre, complicated by operatic inclinations, the dusty whine of a Midwestern drifter, and a touch of classic soul. Bhiman's folkie guitar picking suggests a contemporary Woody Guthrie, but his arrangements have subtle international touches; both Afropop and Caribbean steel drums on "Time Heals," for instance. His songs are treasure troves of memorable characters, vibrant wordplay, and wry references to a wide array of cultural artifacts, from the Temptations to Wal-Mart to the cheating lover who's "cattin' 'round like a harlot in a Shakespearean play." Opening will be former Carolina Chocolate Drop Justin Robinson and the four piece Mary Annettes. Their 2011 debut, Bones For Tinder, is an idiosyncratic mix of jagged contemporary music extracts, classical, Appalachian, and blues played mostly on acoustic instruments running from banjo and lap steel to viola. $10, 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. — Rick Mason

Bill Kirchen

Lee's Liquor Lounge, Friday 7.20

Bill Kirchen permanently secured his spot among the guitar gods way back in the 1970s, when his high-octane Telecaster was a searing beacon in the hazy ozone traversed by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, an ahead-of-its-time outfit that fired up a smokin' blend of rockabilly, country, Western swing, and blues. Kirchen's juicy, twangy licks in particular ignited the Airmen's 12-cylinder joyride through their hit version of "Hot Rod Lincoln." His Airmen credentials and a series of ruckus-raising solo albums earned Kirchen such titles as Titan of the Telecaster and King of Dieselbilly. He also collaborated with the likes of Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Maria Muldaur, Dan Hicks, and Paul Carrack, all of whom appear on his last album, 2010's Word to the Wise, along with the Commander himself, George Frayne. Forty years on, when Kirchen jams that pedal to the metal, his Telecaster still jumps into overdrive. So either hop aboard or get out of the way. The Erik Koskinen Band opens. $15, 9 p.m. 101 Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis; 612.338.9491. — Rick Mason

Saint Motel

7th St. Entry, Friday 7.20

Buzzy Los Angeles quartet Saint Motel have mounted numerous visually intensive live shows across the country with titles like "Kaleidoscopic Mind Explosion in 3-D" for years before ever releasing a proper album. Their long awaited full-length debut, Voyeur, is a highly polished slab of glam-rock with pomp to spare. While the bursting-at-the-seams sound is occasionally a little too full for its own good, high points like "Puzzle Pieces" blend modern booty-shaking indie-rock riffs with Queen-indebted '70s sass to tremendous effect. Front man A.J. Jackson has the sort of exceedingly rare-in-rock tenor dexterous enough to make good on his band's clearly grand ambitions. With Races and Wiping Out Thousands. 18+, $8-$10, 8 p.m., 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612.332.1775. —Rob Van Alstyne


Cabooze outdoor Plaza, Saturday 7.21

After captivating a First Avenue audience back in December, Beirut continue their extensive tour supporting The Rip Tide with an outdoor show at the Cabooze Plaza. Frontman Zach Condon's wistful vocals and the band's buoyant, worldly arrangements should soar underneath the Minneapolis summer sky, as the horns and strings of the talented group provide an elegant soundtrack that will allow fans a brief escape from the clutches of the city for a few hours. Condon originally hails from Santa Fe, New Mexico, but his expansive, evocative music has consistently been all over the map throughout his burgeoning career. He boldly uses influences, instruments, and styles from all over the world to richly color his songs, while making them intensely personal as well. With Little Scream. All ages, $25, 6 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. —Erik Thompson

Electric Guest

Triple Rock Social Club, Saturday 7.21

Danger Mouse superfans still holding their breath for a third Gnarls Barkley album — allegedly one's coming out later this year — would do well to exhale and breathe in the similarly skilled sounds of neo-soul duo Electric Guest. The group's Danger Mouse-produced debut, Mondo, is a sublimely strange mélange of Outkast-copping R&B (handclap-happy first single "This Head I Hold") and stoned acoustic reveries boasting surprisingly lithe bottom ends ("American Daydream"). Originally conceived as a studio-only project, the band has since morphed into a live entity featuring two additional players and strikes an impressive balance between live instrumentation and skillful sampling in concert. With BNLX and Crisis Line. 18+, $10, 8 p.m., 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.333.7399. —Rob Van Alstyne

Jeremy Messersmith / Night Moves / Greycoats

First Avenue, Saturday 7.21

A stellar trio of local acts are poised to take over the Mainroom at First Avenue, as arty area songwriter Jeremy Messersmith, burgeoning psych-pop outfit Night Moves, and the melodic dream-pop of Greycoats form a stirring triple-bill. Messersmith is still riding the waves of adulation that followed the release of 2010's The Reluctant Graveyard, and his live show has only grown more impassioned and intoxicating over the years, no matter how he tinkers or tweaks arrangements. Night Moves have just put the finishing touches on their long-awaited debut for Domino Records, and this show should serve to highlight their absorbing songs while building on their local fan base, while Greycoats will complement the others with an opening set sure to feature songs from their excellent new EP, Helicline. 18+, $10-$12, 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —erik Thompson

Smokers Club Tour featuring Juicy J

First Avenue, Sunday 7.22

A large contingent of brash rap stars are set to descend on First Avenue for the second edition of the Smokers Club Tour, headlined this time around by Three 6 Mafia member Juicy J. This current installment of the massive hip-hop tour is called One Hazy Summer, and also features the talents of Harlem MC Smoke DZA, Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$, Fat Trel, Paypa, Cashius Green with Pheo, Short Stop, Corner Boy P, and Shiest Bubz, along with DJ Lee Bannon providing beats throughout the festivities. This show should give local hip-hop fans a true taste of the style and flow of modern rap music from across the States, and should give these young guns a chance to make their own distinct mark on the scene. 18+, $18-$20, 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. — Erik Thompson

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >