Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Afrika Bambaataa, and more

Cuddle up with the ever-lovable Dave King
Cameron Wittig


Patches & Gretchen (CD-release show)

Varsity Theater

Part train wreck, part artistic genius, Patches & Gretchen is a performative force that must be seen to be believed. Whether she's haphazardly digging through a suitcase of outrageous hats, swaggering her way through a line of forgotten lyrics, or singing deeply and passionately with a throaty moan, singer Gretchen Seichrist seems—almost accidentally—to channel the spirit and irreverence of so many late '60s and early '70s rock icons. Her sophomore album, Sugar Head Pie, is further proof that Seichrist is a talented and prolific songwriter, teetering expertly between mayhem and poignancy without an ounce of irony or pretentiousness. At a time when rock 'n' roll is trying to laugh its way back to something serious, Patches & Gretchen is the real deal, a welcome whiskey-breath of fresh air in a crowd of cheap knock-offs. With Kevin Bowe and the Okemah Prophets, Liminal Phase (featuring Adam Levy), Dan Israel, and host Magic Marc. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Andrea Swensson


King for Two Days: A Dave King Celebration

Walker Art Center

Drummer, thy name is Ubiquitous. It sounds a bit like Greek tragedy. The drummer's name is actually Dave King, although it may as well be the other thing because he's all over the damn place, both here in his hometown and in far-flung places where his bands—most notably the Bad Plus—grab more and more attention. Thus, a veritable cornucopia of King things over two days at the Walker, showcasing a percussionist and composer who's not only ridiculously prolific but pretty much honing his own cutting edge. The King bands slated for Friday's concert will be Buffalo Collision, an improvisation-oriented quartet with pianist Ethan Iverson, saxophonist Tim Berne, and cellist Hank Roberts (the last two veteran icons of the avant-jazz scene); the Bad Plus, essentially a jazz band that plays with a rock perspective, with Iverson and bassist Reid Anderson; Happy Apple, essentially a rock band with a jazz perspective, with saxophonist Michael Lewis and bassist Erik Fratzke; and the Bad Apple, which fuses the last two. Saturday's show will feature two debuts: Golden Valley Is Now is supposed to emphasize electronics and jazz improv, with Anderson and keyboardist Craig Taborn. The Dave King Trucking Company, meanwhile, will be a mix of roots and the avant-garde, with Fratzke on guitar, saxophonist Chris Speed (another New York downtown stalwart), and bassist Adam Linz. The finale of the two-day King-a-thon will be all the musicians from both days coming together on a cover of the cheesy 1975 trucker anthem "Convoy," although Roger Miller's "King of the Road" would've done the job just as well. 8 p.m., $25; $40 for both shows. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.375.7600. Also Saturday —Rick Mason

Sasha Maria (CD-release show)

Fine Line Music Café

It's been a long time coming for local artist Sasha Maria. The classically trained songstress's jazzy, piano-driven ballads and sultry voice echo Fiona Apple and Norah Jones, but for the past nine years she's mostly been a go-to opener for an array of popular Clear Channel performers. Such gigs have taken her to Duluth and Chicago, allowing her to share bills with the likes of the Jonas Brothers and Josh Kelly while gaining steady recognition for her own intimate performances along the way. Now Sasha is finally taking the big step into the limelight with the release of her eponymous debut full-length, which has been five years in the making. With a backing band that includes Mason Jennings's guitarist Jacob Hanson and Nate Perbix of "Nate on Drums" fame, tonight's coming-out party should prove well worth the wait. With Six Shot Love, Citizen Sage, and Stealing Seconds. 21+. $6. 8 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Jeff Gage


Afrika Bambaataa


"Looking for the Perfect Beat," "Planet Rock," "Renegades of Funk," James Brown team-up "Unity"—there's a lot of stuff you could point to if you ever wanted to pick out the definitive Afrika Bambaataa record. But 1983's Death Mix Live, a lo-fi, unauthorized recording of a Bambaataa/Jazzy Jay DJ set recorded in the Bronx's James Monroe High School, is a top candidate in its own right. Its fusion of disco, funk, and electro personified hip hop in its pre-Run DMC epoch, and in the digital-minded, neon-glow state of hip hop circa 2010 it sounds miles more prescient than it did 20 years ago. The Zulu Nation leader and hip-hop pioneer has only accelerated with age; one memorable aughts show at the late, lamented Foundation kept on going well into the night until curfew rules pulled the plug. And in a field where having released a single in the late '90s makes you an elder statesman, Bambaataa's enduring ability to bridge old-school blueprints with the flashing-lights future of hip hop is something to be celebrated. 18+. $10/$15 at the door. 10 p.m. 110 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.3742. —Nate Patrin


Joe Henry

Dakota Jazz Club

Quietly but inexorably, Joe Henry has built a sterling reputation as a sensitive and resourceful producer, particularly working with those with rootsy inclinations. New projects are in the works with Mose Allison and Harry Belafonte, and he was responsible for a couple of landmark, Grammy-nominated 2009 albums: Allen Toussaint's The Bright Mississippi and Ramblin' Jack Elliott's A Stranger Here (which won one). All of which shouldn't overshadow his own albums, which particularly of late have been idiosyncratic gems. His 11th and latest, Blood from Stars, is rooted in vintage blues, jazz, and gospel, but those are really only starting points for a sound that seems to stretch across decades, eras, and genres as casually as if they were mere blips. There are evocations of pre-war Back o' Town New Orleans with dirty coronet lines, fleeting bits of ragtime, country blues, early bop and pop, Django, avant-garde rock, and jazz. Most of the songs are melancholy ruminations strewn across spacious arrangements elegantly etched by a stellar cast of musicians including guitarist Marc Ribot, bassist David Piltch, drummer Jay Bellerose, Henry's son Levon on sax and clarinet, plus a guest shot from pianist Jason Moran. But a lot of the album's character is derived from whatever lurks in those spaces—"a ghost from my dreams," shadows of anger and tears, weariness and shame—as Henry's grainy croon slips past, contemplating enigmas. Bellerose and Piltch will accompany Henry at the Dakota. $30. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason


Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

First Avenue

In many ways, Ted Leo is a throwback to a bygone era. Since his early days fronting D.C. trio Chisel, Leo's progressive songwriting always had an unabashedly populist bent, while his energetic hooks have remained true to their punk and hardcore roots. Since he forged a solo career with the Pharmacists early last decade, the sincerity of those convictions and the sharpness of the lyrics have, if anything, only been enhanced. What's more, in the tradition of another beloved rocker to call New Jersey home, Leo's no-frills style and all-or-nothing delivery provide the perfect recipe for one of the most exciting live shows in the country. His last record, 2007's Living with the Living, was admittedly the Pharmacists' most uneven, but the band's new effort, The Brutalist Bricks, comes with newfound stability after they signed with Merge. On the strength of single "Even Heroes Have to Die" alone, things appear right back where they ought to be in the world of Ted Leo. With Title Tracks and the Dynamiters. 18+. $13/$15 at the door. 7:30 pm. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Jeff Gage


The Appleseed Cast

Triple Rock Social Club

So it's Tuesday afternoon. There's no end in sight to the workweek, and you've got a nasty case the cubicle sweats. Fear not, office drones. Today the world is letting you have a good time and be in bed early enough that you won't need to prop your eyelids open through the morning commute. During the Appleseed Cast's early show, the Kansas-based post-rockers will revisit their 2001 sister albums, Low Level Owl Volume One and Two, performing them in their entirety. While the albums have the bones of the Appleseed Cast's other releases, such as intricate drumbeats and spotlighted synths, they are the band's furthest excursions into experimentalism. While conventional songwriting is not altogether pushed aside, the albums are better thought of as progressions of musical thought, seamlessly weaving found sounds and undulating rhythms into a collective two hours of unwinding that's worth sneaking out of the office early to hear live. With Dreamend. All ages. $12/$15 at the door. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Erin Roof

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The Varsity Theater

1308 4th St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414


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