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The week's best concerts: Oct. 12-18

Bad Bad Hats with rock, rock She Rock She Rock's birthday party

Bad Bad Hats with rock, rock She Rock She Rock's birthday party Avalon Moon

Rounding up the week's best concerts in the Twin Cities. 

  • LINDSEY STIRLING Oct 12th 8:00 pm at Northrop
  • IFRIKYA SPIRIT Oct 12th 7:00 pm at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • KISHI BASHI Oct 12th 7:00 pm at First Avenue

Okkervil River
Fine Line Music Café, Thursday, 10.13
A quick succession of recent traumas (splintering band, grandfather’s death) weighed on Will Sheff so much he just wanted to escape. Thus Away, the new semi-cathartic album from Okkervil River, which these days is virtually synonymous with Sheff, the band’s songwriter, frontman, and only remaining founding member. On it, the 40-year-old Macalester College grad essentially takes stock of his career and life. “I didn’t open my mouth just to piss and moan,” he sings on the opening “Okkervil River R.I.P.” But that’s exactly what he mostly does, lamenting in creaky voice and often morose tones the dearly departed, including his fading youth, time passages, friends’ betrayals, the corroding music industry. He’s simultaneously struggling to let it go and find a path forward, and he suggests one remains via interesting but rambling lyrics and dense, folk-leaning indie rock with billowy orchestrations. Opening is Landlady, whose eccentric, twitchy cross of avant-rock, experimental R&B, and Afropop is the brainchild of singer/multi-instrumentalist Adam Schatz, a contributor to Man Man, Vampire Weekend, and Sleigh Bells. 18+. $20-$35. 7 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8100. — Rick Mason

  • SIA Oct 13th 7:00 pm at Target Center
  • LUTHERAN HEAT Oct 13th 9:00 pm at Nomad World Pub
  • THE HEAD AND THE HEART Oct 13th 7:00 pm at Northrop

Heiruspecs
Icehouse, Friday 10.14
Almost 20 years removed from their Central High School beginnings, the legendary St. Paul crew Heiruspecs stand as elder statesmen in an era when live instrumentation is having a moment in hip-hop. Just look at the musicianship of Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment (the band that counts Chance the Rapper as one of its members) or the jazz players who helped make Kendrick Lamar’s groundbreaking opus, 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Then again, the Heiruspecs have always boldly bucked rap trends, constantly keeping an air of classiness and professionalism about them. After going six years between albums, they returned in 2014 with their sixth studio LP, Night Falls, which got the job done thanks to the densely constructed verses of Midway Felix and Muad’dib, as well as the band’s vibrant, immaculately recorded instrumentation, bolstered as always by Peter Leggett’s heavy drum parts. On Friday at Icehouse, the six-piece will celebrate their new five-song release, theskyisfalling. Twin Cities jazz/funk/soul band Ayvah opens. 21+. 11 p.m. $13-$15. 2528 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-276-6523. — Michael Madden

TYRONE WELLS Oct 14th 7:00 pm at The Cedar Cultural Center
ZEDS DEAD Oct 14th 8:00 pm at Myth
MATT HIRES (RECORD RELEASE SHOW) Oct 14th 8:00 pm at 7th St. Entry

Amir ElSaffar
Walker Art Center, Saturday 10.15
Classically trained trumpeter-composer Amir ElSaffar works on the cutting edge of contemporary jazz innovatively fusing two traditions: American jazz and traditional Middle Eastern music, in particular Iraqi maqam. Born near Chicago to an Iraqi father and an American mother, ElSaffar has played trumpet in orchestras and with such jazz luminaries as Cecil Taylor, Oliver Lake, Vijay Iyer, and Rudresh Mahanthappa. He also sings the complex, undulating microtones of maqam, which he studied in Baghdad, accompanying himself on santur, a hammered dulcimer. Arabic ornamentation, melodies, and rhythms also influence his compositions and trumpet work. At the Walker, ElSaffar will lead his 17-piece Rivers of Sound improvisational ensemble — which includes notables like jazz drummer Nasheet Waits, guitarist Miles Okazaki, and clarinetist J.D. Parran — in a performance of his composition Not Two, scheduled to be released in album form late this year. Dramatic and hauntingly beautiful, it’s a breathtaking entwining of cultures. $20-$25. 8 p.m. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-375-7600. — Rick Mason

Zombie Pub Crawl
Various downtown Minneapolis locations, Saturday 10.15
Another year means another crazy-ass Zombie Pub Crawl lineup featuring contemporary stars and gleefully nostalgic has-beens. The 12th annual ZPC will have baby-faced “No Type” rap hitmakers Rae Sremmurd, EDM star Zomboy, and former Drake protégé iLoveMakonnen leading the charge. Among the WTF headliners set to entertain the drunk/bloody horde of zombies throughout downtown Minneapolis: TRL faves Ja Rule and Smash Mouth, plus hard-partying rocker and unlikely politician Andrew W.K. Local performers include buzzing MCs Finding Novyon and Bobby Raps, DJs Mike 2600 and Jimmy2Times, and rockers Mark Mallman, the Blind Shake, and Bloodnstuff. Expect three themed stages — the Covered in Blood tribute stage (Pop Rocks, Appetite for Zaccardi, Pleezer), the Metal Stage (Thor, Impaler, Dawn of Valor), and the Ska Stage (Prizefighters, Rocksteady Breakfast, Whiskey City Tango). There’ll be two main outdoor stages and more than 20 bars/venues hosting an estimated 25,000 zombie attendees this year, according to organizers. As always, the event will try to smash its own Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of zombies, currently set at 15,458 from 2014. 21+. 5 p.m. $19.99-$100. Complete lineup and venue details are available here. — Jay Boller

She Rock She Rock 10th Anniversary Party
Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saturday 10.15
For its 10th anniversary, She Rock She Rock — the local nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls, women, and female-identifying people through music — is putting on a showcase of all-female and female-driven Twin Cities acts. Headlining will be 2015 City Pages Picked to Click winners Bad Bad Hats (who are actually two-thirds male, but whatever) and their breezy pop-rock that took hold with last year’s Psychic Reader full-length. Minneapolis four-piece Tony Peachka also join, fresh off the release of their louder, faster dirty knees tape. The heaviest of the bands is Cadence & the Wolf, whose bruising, grungy, long-awaited Strong Minds, Strong Thighs was one of the most fully formed rock albums out of the Twin Cities last year. Rounding out Saturday’s lineup are the precocious Kill You Twice, who haven’t released any official recordings but, with the help of She Rock She Rock, are well on their way to a successful future, musically and otherwise. 6 p.m. $17-$20. 6 Sixth St. W., St. Paul; 612-285-3112. — Michael Madden

  • A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION WITH CHRIS THILE Oct 15th 4:45 pm at Fitzgerald Theater
  • OF MONTREAL Oct 15th 7:00 pm at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 Oct 15th 8:00 pm at Myth
  • PHANTOGRAM Oct 16th 7:00 pm at First Avenue
  • MOON HOOCH Oct 16th 7:00 pm at Triple Rock Social Club
  • GORDON LIGHTFOOT Oct 16th 7:00 pm at Historic State Theatre

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry
Cedar Cultural Center, Monday 10.17
While researching the English pre-rock sensation skiffle, U.K. folkie and renowned lefty Billy Bragg discovered a slew of American train song covers, including Lonnie Donegan’s version of “Rock Island Line.” Which got him thinking about the historic, revolutionary role of railroads and the untapped potential of contemporary U.S. rail travel. That prompted Bragg to recruit pal Joe Henry, Americana singer-songwriter and producer extraordinaire, for a rail journey from Chicago to San Antonio and Los Angeles, busking along the way in stations and trackside with a repertoire of classic train fare from the likes of Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, and John Hartford. The impromptu recordings, ambient noise included, were released last month on Shine a Light: Field Recordings From the Great American Railroad, which cops its title from Leadbelly’s “The Midnight Special.” With just acoustic guitars, inspired spirit, and warm harmonies, Bragg and Henry illuminate afresh these wonderful, often taken for granted rail tunes. Sold out. 7:30 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-338-2674. — Rick Mason 

  • MISSISSIPPI FEATURING ANDRES PRADO (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW) Oct 17th 7:00 pm at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • CARRIE UNDERWOOD Oct 17th 7:00 pm at Xcel Energy Center
  • CLEMENTINE Oct 17th 7:30 pm at 7th St. Entry
  • BONGZILLA Oct 18th 8:00 pm at Triple Rock Social Club
  • JACUZZI BOYS Oct 18th 7:30 pm at 7th St. Entry
  • HAROLD LÓPEZ-NUSSA Oct 18th 7:00 pm at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant