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The Gaslight Anthem, the Ting Tings, and more

Springsteen-loving Jersey boys the Gaslight Anthem
Lisa Johnson

THURSDAY 4.02

Tallest Man on Earth

Turf Club

Though it might have some entertainment value, a musical performance by Bao Xishun, who the Guinness Book of World Records currently recognizes as the world's tallest man, would likely fail to deliver an emotional set of songs that tugs at your heartstrings. Actually, with Xishun's limited exposure to music, it'd probably fail to sound even remotely decent. Fortunately, we don't find ourselves facing a similar quandary with the Tallest Man on Earth. Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson growls, strums, and fingerpicks his way through songs that evoke the best of the genre's historical patriarchs. Think protest music, if the protest was aimed at metaphorical love. Think a slender busker emptying his soul into his songs for pocket change. But whatever you do, don't think of a nearly eight-foot-tall Chinese farmer. With Red Cortez and the Parlour Suite. 21+. $8. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Chris DeLine

FRIDAY 4.03

Child Bite

Hexagon Bar

To label Detroit's Child Bite deranged would be something of a misclassification; they're a feral post-punk-pop mess held together by paperclips and Ritalin, and it's a shame that more Jesus Lizard fans aren't aware of them. Shawn Knight's agitated, Ross-from-Friends-gone-hardcore yelp is the nexus for cymbal-heavy drums, nervous-tic bass, and the considerable combo of madly shimmying guitars and anxiety-attack keyboards. The more time one spends with their output—last year's Wild Feast, notably—the more apparent it becomes that the method behind Child Bite's madness is an illusion of chaos: Mid-fi production reigns, and Knight's entertaining insanity rubs off on everything else to the extent that it's all too easy to miss the fact that these guys have something approaching actual chops. Is 2009 the year you resolved to give Easter presents to all your pals? Well, we'll help you one-stop your shopping: Invite everybody to this show, drinks on you. Be ready to dance—hard. With Gospel Gossip, Private Dancer, and Sarah Johnson. 21+. Free. 9 p.m. 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.722.3454. —Ray Cummings

SATURDAY 2.04

The Gaslight Anthem

Varsity Theater

Last April, the Gaslight Anthem opened for Tim Barry and the Bouncing Souls at the Triple Rock Social Club. Now, less than a year later, the band find themselves returning to Minneapolis as headliners. Sounding as though it's the end result of years of cranking Springsteen while speeding down the New Jersey Turnpike to see punk shows across the bay, the group's brand of no-frills rock is on the cusp of becoming something huge. Last year's The 59 Sound was voted the best album of 2008 by eMusic's editors, and the record received widespread critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, landing it on countless critics' year-end lists. Already in 2009 the Gaslight Anthem have rumbled onto late night television with a performance on The Late Show with David Letterman, and will appear on the cover of a special "Innovators Issue" of Alternative Press in May. Next time they return to town, a venue the size of the Varsity might not be able to hold them. Joining Gaslight Anthem will be the Heartless Bastards and Good Old War. 18+. $15. 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Chris DeLine

T.Q.D.

The Dinkytowner Cafe

Not even four months into the year, and we've already got two solid-to-great CDs from introspective local underground MCs whose aliases look like arcade game high-score entries. Not that P.O.S. and T.Q.D. are jostling for supremacy on some King of Kong business; they're similar enough to invite fan-base crossover yet different enough to stake out their own corners of the scene. T.Q.D. stands for "The Quiet Dude," but his new CD, Clench, Grit, Breathe, reveals his as an increasingly misleading name: The record is filled with the kind of suppressed frustration and anxiety that its title hints at, bristling with a snarling tension and lyrical insight that falls halfway between long-simmering, detailed ruminations and stream-of-consciousness abstraction. With its backdrop of brooding, soul-jazz-inflected, golden-age sounds, it's an ideal late-night soundtrack for driving with nowhere to go—though its meditative atmosphere might sound a bit more intense with a room full of other listeners to take it all in. With Trama, Mally, and Halfway. 18+. $5. 9 p.m. 412 1/2 14th Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 612.362.0437. —Nate Patrin

SUNDAY 4.05

Wavves

7th St. Entry

It's been included on a list of five of the most anticipated albums of 2009 on ABC News, and most recently it was given the coveted "Best New Music" nod from Pitchfork. But whether or not Wavvves, the latest album from 22-year-old Nathan Williams, is worthy of such adulation is beside the point; what is important is that Williams, under his Wavves guise, is doing his best to capitalize on his time in the spotlight. Drudging through maddening lo-fi while recklessly drunk on feedback, Wavves sounds like the dirty, homeless stepchild of its noisy California neighbors No Age. Having played no fewer than 10 shows at SXSW, Williams is in the middle of a 22-date stretch with Minneapolis's Vampire Hands in tow for the tour. Coming roughly halfway through the tour, the date is Vampire Hands' first in the Twin Cities since opening for the Black Lips in mid-March. 18+. $8. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Chris DeLine

MONDAY 4.06

Morrissey

State Theatre

Though it's too tempting to read a career into every Morrissey lyric, maybe there was something to "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get," his only charting hit in James Dean's U.S.A. (and a would-be Jamaican rock-steady classic in disguise, albeit arriving as alt pop in 1994). Last year's The Sound of the Smiths revealed the deal-breaker voice of the great '80s band as perhaps the music's truest author—not just funny, ghostly, and unambiguously gay (whatever he said in interviews), but tuned to the mantras and rhythms of real-time emotion in a way that's rare outside of the rap he dismissed. Sound makes me miss the depressive sequencing of Hatful of Hollow and the lesser tracks from The Queen Is Dead: What really needs compiling is the solo Morrissey. Until then, we have Years of Refusal, his 10th album and a belated answer to grunge, synth-glam backing for a singer whose skills have caught up with his gall. "There's a naked man standing, laughing in your dream," he taunts on "All You Need Is Me." "You know who it is, but you don't like what it means." With the Courteneers. All ages. $40. 7:30 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Peter S. Scholtes

The Ting Tings

Varsity Theater

It's one thing to absorb the styles of Chic, Devo, and others that were cool before Katie White was born, and quite another to reproduce aspects of specific songs to the point where a guilty pleasure becomes an annoying one—and without the recontextualizing benefits of sampling or outright covering. But credit the pleasure side of the Ting Tings equation for this sold-out show, and the likelihood that the U.K. band will eclipse its sources in the heat of kids shouting along. Singers/multi-instrumentalists White and Jules De Martino structure and deliver dance pop in a way that makes you realize how rare their skills are in a vast field, and their live rock-duo spectacle stands with the White Stripes'—no, seriously—even if their recordings don't yet. With Hottub. All ages. $15. 6 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Peter S. Scholtes

TUESDAY 4.07

Glasvegas

Varsity Theater

If you can get past the affected cool—the dark shades, leather biker jackets, and stylized reverb—Glasvegas actually have quite a collection of songs on their self-titled debut. Although former Creation Records chief Alan McGee has gone out of his way to align his latest find with the genuinely groundbreaking Jesus and Mary Chain (who, coincidentally, also hail from Glasgow), James Allan & Co. actually are much closer in spirit to McGee's most commercially successful act, Oasis. True, no one would ever mistake the lyrically morose "Flowers and Football Tops" and "Geraldine" for Cool Britannia, but like Oasis, Glasvegas have a knack for choruses of the unabashedly huge, anthemic variety. The grand gestures might be a tad silly coming from a band touring the U.S. club circuit, but true rock stars are in short supply these days. Why not let them act the part? With Von Iva. All ages. $12/$14 at the door. 6:30 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Jonathan Garrett


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