Sunny Day Real Estate, D12, and Dan Wilson

Did you really expect a serious photo from a band named fun.?
courtesy of the artists


Sunny Day Real Estate

First Avenue

For good or ill, Sunny Day Real Estate pretty much invented the genre known as emo. When Sub Pop released Diary in 1994, the album seemed a logical evolution from Nirvana, albeit introducing an ethereal, pretty quality to the vocals, which dove into despair rather than anger. Yet in a case of creative interruptus that would become a leitmotif for the band, Sunny Day self-immolated after singer Jeremy Enigk converted to militant Christianity. The band phoned in an album of previously released material, but couldn't be bothered even to pick album art (hence LP2, a.k.a. "the pink album"). All looked lost until September 1998, when Sunny Day reunited to release its magnum opus, How It Feels to Be Something On. They held together long enough to put out one more solid effort that couldn't possibly hope to live up to its predecessor, then called it quits. For 10 years, Sunny Day has lived in legend while lesser bands named for days of the week (Thursday, Taking Back Sunday) reaped the financial rewards. Now Enigk has gotten the band back together for a tour coming to First Ave. Miss it at your peril—you may not get another chance. All ages. $20. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Kevin Hoffman


The Rock Nightclub

Despite indications to the contrary, the Detroit-based rap collective D12 remains a going concern. Since breaking the platinum certification barrier—twice—with 2001's Devil's Night, the crew has weathered various career highs and lows: Eminem's rise to massive international stardom, spiral into drug addiction, and long, hard road to recovery; Kon Artis's blossoming as a producer; Proof's 2006 shooting death; Swifty's incarceration the same year. Yet they've soldiered on together, even as non-Eminem solo releases fail to catch chart fire and critics revile D12's generally puerile, horrorcore subject matter (Bizarre, for example, more than lives up or down to his handle). But for every couple of twisted mindfucks (i.e. "Purple Pills"), D12 slip in something unexpectedly poignant (see "How Come," from 2004's D12 World) that suggests that there's more to this spawn of one of America's most beleaguered cities than vividly foul-mouthed gross outs. $12/$15 at the door. 7 p.m. 2029 Woodlynn Ave., Maplewood; 651.770.7822. —Ray Cummings


Dan Wilson

Acadia Café

Tonight's cozy gig at the Acadia is one of several smaller-scale shows this week by Dan Wilson, who is advertising his mini-tour of the Twin Cities as a "Staycation." Wilson will present his slick, catchy folk-pop in a variety of settings. On Wednesday, Wilson will venture to Excelsior to play the 318 Café; Thursdays's ballads will be presented in the coffee-shop confines of the relocated Acadia Café on the West Bank; and on Friday and Saturday night Wilson will take over the upscale Dakota Jazz Club (joined by Ben Kyle of Americana band Romantica). Regardless of the venue, this week's shows are sure to be intimate, personal affairs—Wilson seems to perform best when he is given plenty of room for meandering, and he enjoys bookending his songs with storytelling and casual candor. Expect lots of solo material, returns to favorite Semisonic songs, and a fair share of surprises. All ages. $20. 7 p.m. 329 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.874.8702. Also Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday —Andrea Swensson



Triple Rock Social Club

Fun. hail from NYC, are a trio, and make swollen, pompous pop-rock their self-amused métier. Just what everybody needs now, right? It just may be, after all: Seriously, you shrug off their gleeful roadhouse pianos and Queen-y stadium gestures and genial AM manners and crowd-pleasing string overtures at your peril. I say this because, if all things are equal, fun.—and yep, that name wreaks havoc on word-processing system capitalization and grammar settings even as it doubles as a too-easy characterization of what these boys so ably pull off—possess the tunes, moxie, and utter likeability to barnstorm the limitless-platform media apparatus if given a quarter of a chance. Plus, they're obviously huge Ben Folds fans. All ages. $10/$12 at the door. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Ray Cummings


Os Mutantes

The Cedar

Somehow "Bat Macumba," from Os Mutantes' self-titled 1968 debut, remains as funny and surprising as ever: It sounds like Latin psychedelic kids' music gone haywire—an exuberantly Muppetational response to Brazil's military dictatorship. The first Os Mutantes album in three decades, Haih or Amortecedor, is amazingly of a piece with that funky loopiness of old, especially given the mostly new lineup: Founding guitarist Sérgio Dias Baptista crafted the striking new music in collaboration with early-'70s Mutantes drummer Ronaldo "Dinho" Leme and an otherwise freshly recruited band, co-writing many songs with tropicália legend Tom Zé. The results span bossa nova to acid rock without sounding much like anything besides the Mutantes, with the common thread of giddy harmonies and a streak of political satire even non-Portuguese-speakers can dig ("Baghdad Blues," "Samba Do Fidel"). With Minyeshu. $18/$20 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Peter S. Scholtes

The Weakerthans


Triple Rock Social Club

Given the tender folk-rock leanings of the Weakerthans, it's a little hard to imagine that founder and lead singer John K. Samson spent years as a part of Canadian thrash-core outfit Propagandhi, buttressing the punk riffs and leftist politics with a pronounced sense of melody. But, even though Samson has now abandoned a rough sound for one more polished and intricate, his lyrical talent has remained sharp, breathing life into vivid, heartbreaking character sketches. Over the course of four albums, the Weakerthans have shifted from fragile acoustic numbers to more expansive, muscular rock, but Samson's bookish leanings remain the cornerstone on which the band is built. But, for both potential and long-time fans, the window in which to see them live is rather small (they don't tour often, and when they do, the schedule is limited), so to miss this opportunity would be a mistake. With Rock Plaza Central. 18+. $17/$19 at the door. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Ian Traas


A Tribute to Lester Young

Capri Theater

To launch its new season, the Twin Cities Jazz Society will celebrate the centennial of saxophone great Lester Young's birth with a tribute featuring some of the area's premier jazz musicians in a variety of settings. On tap will be the JAZZAX Saxophone Quartet, the Laura Caviani Trio, saxophonist Dave Karr, and singer Charmin Michelle. JAZZAX comprises David Milne, Michael Walk, Pete Whitman, and Greg Keel, all formidable players who appear in multiple contexts around town as well as being influential educators. Pianist Caviani's trio includes in-demand local stalwarts Gordy Johnson on bass and drummer Phil Hey. Karr also has essentially played with everyone in town in addition to leading his own quartet. Michelle's vocal savvy and ability to conjure the knowing intimacy of Billie Holiday make her a natural to cover material on which Lady Day and Young collaborated. Tenor sax ace Young, dubbed "Prez" by Holiday, influenced generations of sax players and was a star in Count Basie's band during the '30s and '40s. This concert will feature fresh arrangements of tunes associated with Young as well as compositions he inspired. $20. 3 p.m. 2027 W. Broadway, Minneapolis; 612.643.2000. —Rick Mason

Son Volt

First Avenue

When Jay Farrar revived Son Volt in 2005, he initially opted for the snarly electric guitars and dusty, haunted spirit at the core of alt-country on Okemah, then sharply expanded the band's palette on The Search with a more experimental array of studio tricks and instrumentation. On this summer's American Central Dust, however, Farrar and his again revamped company not only arrive on a genuine roots label (Rounder), but also with a winnowed sound that draws much of its considerable power from Farrar's arid, almost plaintive drone, a voice that's the aural equivalent of squinting into wind whipping across the prairie. Meanwhile the band, now including guitarist Chris Masterson and former Blood Orange steel player/keyboardist Mark Spencer, echoes that lean landscape with a pared down, often acoustic-oriented, ambling sound punctuated by abundant steel guitar and occasional keening fiddle from guest Eleanor Whitmore. And setting the bittersweet, edging-toward-epic tone is Farrar's outstanding collection of new songs, which grapple with the shredded American dream ("When the Wheels Don't Move"), alienation ("Exiles"), disaster on the water (the historical drama "Sultana"), mortality via the curious context of Keith Richards ("Cocaine and Ashes"), as well as love ("Dynamite") and salvation ("Jukebox of Steel"). With Sera Cahoone. 18+. $20. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rick Mason


Kings of Leon

Target Center

Now that they've graduated to arenas and consequently confronted questions of artistic integrity, as well as become tabloid fodder, Kings of Leon's Followill clan—three Tennessee sons of a Pentecostal preacher and their cousin—would appear primed for a contemporary version of Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood. There are the Kings' lingering Southern gothic roots and the whole fundamentalist/secular thing, seen from both religious and music-purist perspectives. But such is the stuff of dissertations. The band has been touring behind Only By the Night for a year now, riding high on the nearly ubiquitous singles "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody," and achieving a kind of rock grandeur legitimately compared to U2, with Caleb as Bono. Night often rocks hard with anthemic pretensions, but the band throws in sufficient artistic twists to suggest there's no need to worry yet about its integrity, or soul. Opening will be the London trio White Lies, who this year hit the top of the U.K. charts with their debut album, To Lose My Life..., itself rife with delusions of grandeur, but this with a moody, if melodic synth-rock vibe apparently influenced by the likes of Joy Division and packed with bloody meditations on murder, anomie, love, and other fatal endeavors. All ages. $46. 7 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. —Rick Mason


Sea Wolf


7th St. Entry

Despite what a new crop of musical pranksters may have you believe, earnestness in indie rock has not been beaten dead by a troop of day-glo soldiers on their way to the disco—not if Alex Church has anything to say about it. A founding member of New York band Irving, Church formed Sea Wolf as an outlet for songs that didn't quite gel with his primary band's style. Sea Wolf explores avenues of string-laden chamber-pop and pastoral folk, pairing them with honest, personal lyrics. Now the side project threatens to overshadow Church's other band, partially the result of an affecting (but nonthreatening) debut album produced by Phil Ek, whose work with Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes catapulted those bands into the limelight. With earnest indie still forging ahead, can Sea Wolf generate a live performance stirring enough to catch up to the buzz of their peers? With Port O'Brien and Sara Lov. 18+. $11. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

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