The best Twin Cities concerts: 5/29-6/4

The best Twin Cities concerts: 5/29-6/4

Believe it or not, June is less than a week away. Cedar Cultural Center welcomes the Howlin' Brothers Wednesday and Brooklyn duo Savoir Adore the next day. Devendra Banhart celebrates his birthday at Mill City Nights Thursday, while LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy plays the First Avenue Mainroom. Friday, the Varsity Theater hosts alt-country band Night Beds while Twin Shadow returns to Minneapolis to play the First Avenue Mainroom. Lastly, Atlas Genius plays a sold out show at the Fine Line, Tuesday. Wednesday 5.29.2013

The Howlin' Brothers 
Cedar Cultural Center
At first glance, the Howlin' Brothers -- who do actually howl sometimes midsong -- seems like a family band who grew up pickin' the local musical vernacular deep in the southern Appalachians. They are, in fact, a string band adept at pickin' all the traditional stuff, but Ian Craft, Jared Green, and Ben Plasse hail from New York, Wisconsin, and Nova Scotia, respectively, aren't related, and played in Ithaca College studios instead of the holler. And they like to mess with tradition, venturing from bluegrass all over the Americana map to rock 'n' roll, making it all work with playful, gritty spirit. The trio hooked up with Brendan Benson of the Raconteurs fame to produce their first national release, this spring's Howl, a rousing romp of originals and scattered covers by the likes of John Hartford. "The Tennessee Blues" is a bluesy shuffle. "Tell Me That You Love Me" lays wailing fiddles over blues-rock. "Just Like You" is country blues. "Take This Hammer" is an Earl Scruggs-like breakdown. "Mama Don't You Tell Me" is laced with gospel. And "Delta Queen" incorporates New Orleans traditional jazz and is driven by a funky NOLA second line beat. Opening will be the Boys 'n the Barrels, a local outfit with an expansive definition of bluegrass. --Rick Mason
AA, $12-$15, 7:30 PM

Fuck Knights with Sküll Wizard, Sonic J and Rodeo Night
7th Street Entry
Hipshaking Rhythms
18+, $7, 8 PM

Thursday 5.30.2013

Kings of the Mic Tour 
Target Center
The four acts assembled for the Kings of the Mic tour are golden-age hip-hop star power, and a cross-section of everything rap had begun to encompass by the late '80s. Headliner LL Cool J arrives supporting a multiplatinum catalog that stretches from the just-released Authentic to his iconic 1985 debut, Radio, and covers everything from R&B crossover jams for the ladies ("I Need Love," "Hey Lover") to some of the most devastating, career-ending dis tracks ever recorded ("Mama Said Knock You Out," "The Ripper Strikes Back"). Fellow Def Jam legends Public Enemy, who continue to release incendiary albums 25 years after the revolutionary It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, represent hip hop's social agitation in a country where even their oldest work is still relevant. Ice Cube, whose legacy of observant gangsta-steeped rage is one of the most influential in rap, represents the West Coast's early superpower status. And De La Soul are one of the crucial cornerstones of the Native Tongues movement, infusing the conscious-rap pantheon with one of its biggest doses of surreal humor and everyman humility. In 1993, this could've been the greatest hip-hop package tour of all time. In 2013? Actually, it's probably still up there, even with a glow of old-head nostalgia. --Nate Patrin
AA, $49.50-$75, 7:30 PM

Devandra Banhart with Rodrigo Amarante
Mill City Nights
Quirky Folk
18+, $23/$25, 8 PM

Lizzy Herder EP Release with American Youth and San Telmo
7th Street Entry
Soul-filled Songwriting
18+, $7, 7:30 PM

Savoir Adore 
Cedar Cultural Center
Brooklyn indie-pop duo Savoir Adore sound simultaneously dreamy and danceable on their excellent third album, Our Nature, soon to be given wider release by Nettwerk Records. Coming across like a younger and more persistently up-tempo version of sophisti-pop icons Stars, the group's core combo of Paul Hammer and Deidre Muro share songwriting and lead vocal duties on all of Savoir's material and incessantly swap instrumental roles. Though a two-piece in the studio, the band expands live into a well-oiled quintet who prove that danceable indie-pop doesn't have to forgo rock 'n' roll ferocity. With headliners Sea Wolf.--Rob Van Alstyne
AA, $13, 7:30 PM

Hitsville 331
331 Club
Spinning Classic Motown 
21+, FREE, 10 PM

Reba Fritz and Friends: feat. Jim Ruiz, The Hang Ups, One Set, Stephanie Says and Mountain Singers
Turf Club
Rock n' Roll Reunions
21+, FREE, 9 PM

James Murphy
First Avenue Mainroom
LCD Sound System
18+, $20, 9 PM

Friday 5.31.2013

The Lumineers with Cold War Kids, J. Roddy Walston and the Business
Target Center

The unlikely ascendency to arena status of two folky guys from Jersey and a classical cellist is more than enough testament to the virulence of the Americana movement in the early 21st century. Denver-based the Lumineers' 2012 eponymous debut album and stomp-and-shout-along hit "Ho Hey" rapidly caught on and led to two Grammy nominations and now appearances in cavernous palaces. Folk roots, pop hooks, buoyant choruses, a deep nostalgic factor, and a kind of uplifting earnestness have made the Lumineers shine, especially when you toss in the odd meditation on love and pain. Cold War Kids' Nathan Willett likes to shout too, but his declarations are streaked with blues and soul influences, and the context is more rock-oriented. With former Modest Mouse guitarist Dann Gallucci on board, CWK have returned to prickly, focused form on their new, anthem-rich Dear Miss Lonelyhearts. The business of Tennessee-bred, Baltimore-based J. Roddy Walston is gloriously raucous, Southernfried, Zeppelin- and Stones-informed rock 'n' roll fired by honky tonk piano, searing electric guitars, and Walston's raspy shouts. --Rick Mason
AA, $30-$45, 7:30 PM

Night Beds with The Staves
Varsity Theatre

18+, $12-$15, 7 PM

Twin Shadow
First Avenue Mainroom

George Lewis Jr. isn't exactly your typical '80s revivalist. Granted, his self-produced 2012 breakthrough, Confess, definitely has that intangible sheen of cocky-optimist gloss that coated the decade's best pop in breathless decadence. But true to the form of the day, that gloss is only there to conceal an uncertainty that drives cockiness to the point of arrogance. Whatever effortless cool is detectable has raw nerves bristling underneath, an anxious energy that comes from a deep awareness of mortality and alienation. And if that sounds like a downer, well, it's a beautiful one: that voice of his careens between moments of wounded or hesitant restraint into full-voiced wails of soulful catharsis, and the downpour of funereal synthesized chords and rattling guitars are almost seductive. In isolation, it's bracing stuff; live, it promises the human connection his best work longs for. With Elliphant and DJ Jake Rudh. --Nate Patrin

18+, $16- $18, 8 PM

Taj Raj Album Release, Bethany Larson and the Bee's Knees, Savannah Smith and The Person & The People

Turf Club
Folk Roots
21+, $7, 9 PM

John Fullbright with Ruston Kelly 
7th Street Entry
Harmonica Harmonies
18+, $13/$15, 8 PM

Saturday 6.1.2013

They Might Be Giants with Moon Hooch
First Avenue Mainroom

For three decades, two Johns -- Flansburgh and Linnell -- have created an alternate universe of Dadaist absurdity, cryptic oneliners, clever non sequiturs, bizarre humor, and pure pop perambulations tinged with the avant-garde. As the Brooklyn-based They Might Be Giants, the Johns have been tilting at windmills of every dimension, all twisted fantastically, taking swipes at everything and anything, inspiring a strong cult following and even scoring with odd hits like "Birdhouse in Your Soul." After detouring for several years into mostly kid-oriented stuff, the Giants' silliness is again adult-eccentric on their 16th studio album, Nanobots. As usual, the quirkiness flies fast and furious, from disconcertingly literal warnings ("You're on Fire") to uncomfortable predicaments (the 11-second "Tick") to more extended considerations of weightier matters like borrowing slacks ("Icky"). The music, although riddled with ridiculously irresistible power-pop hooks, is still wildly eclectic, touching on new wave, Buddy Holly rock 'n' roll, sax-heavy R&B, folk, parlor ditties, and even big-band jazz. Moon Hooch is saxophonists Wenzl McGowen and Mike Wilbur plus drummer James Muschler. They got started busking on New York subway platforms with a potent mix of jazz, house, and dubstep, sounding a little like a funky World Sax Quartet. --Rick Mason
18+, $23, 8 PM

The Hush Sound and Hockey with River City Extension
Mill City Nights
Soulful Pop
AA, $17/$20, 6 PM

Dan Isreal CD Release with Rich Mattson and Germaine Gemberling
Icehouse MPLS
21+, $10, 11 PM

Coolio with The Level Heads, Anchormen, Rob-1 and DJ Applejews
The Cabooze
Back to the 90s
18+, $12-$15, 9 PM

Bloodnstuff with Gay Witch Abortion, STNNNG, Kill to Kill
Triple Rock
Electric Intensity
18+, $7, 9 PM

Indians with Enemy Planes
7th Street Entry
Evocative and Open
18+, $10, 8 PM

Sunday 6.2.2013

Love Lake CD Release with Rupert Angeleyes and Jaw Knee Vee
7th Street Entry
Bright Beach
18+, $5, 7 PM

Monday 6.3.2013

Pure Bathing Culture with Carroll
7th Street Entry
Soft and Soulful
18+, $8 ,7:30 PM

Cactus Blossoms
Turf Club
Haunting Harmonies
21+, $5, 6 PM

Tuesday 6.4.2013

Atlas Genius
Fine Line Music Café

Atlas Genius's catchy first single "Trojans" went viral online before the Australian quartet had even finished self-recording their debut. Thus, they dictated their own terms when labels came calling, and signed with Warner Brothers for the hotly anticipated When It Was Now. Offering up a crisp indie rock not too far afield from Death Cab for Cutie's straightforward moments, but with some overt Policecopping '80s touches, they've certainly already made their local mark -- on the Current and among local ticket-buyers. With the Postelles and Haerts. --Rob Van Alstyne
18+, $10, 8 PM

Son Volt 
First Avenue Mainroom
Honky Tonk is Son Volt's wondrous set of new, dust-flecked tunes evocatively probing the passion and angst of those uniquely American haunts. With a predominantly acoustic sound driven by twin fiddles and pedal steel, Honky Tonk is as country as frontman Jay Farrar has ever ventured. Never mind alt-country -- even though Uncle Tupelo essentially started it -- this is truer country than anything emanating from corporate Nashville. Farrar's sinewy, arid voice is already one of the most distinctive out there, insinuating itself into every crevice with the relentlessness of the prairie wind. Now he's even better, approaching the great George Jones on "Wild Side," and throughout giving a quiet, ragged intensity to world-weary songs about love and despair, hope and heartache, redemption and decay, tradition and its ultimate meaning. As he ponders enigmatically on "Sea Wall," "Do honky tonk angels still walk this ground?/The answer lies on the unseen side of heaven." Opening will be Colonel Ford, a St. Louis traditional country outfit featuring Dade Farrar on upright bass and vocals and his brother Jay wielding pedal steel. --Rick Mason
18+, $20, 7 PM

Where I'm Going:

Devandra Banhart @ Mill City Nights

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