The xx, the King Khan & BBQ Show, and more

Uberhyped electronic Brits the xx

Uberhyped electronic Brits the xx


The Big Pink

7th St. Entry

It's important to note that breaking London band the Big Pink worship at the altar of Jesus...or rather the Jesus and Mary Chain. But unlike other shoe-gaze acolytes, the duo of Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell aren't afraid to spike their giant, reverb-heavy songs with bits of glitchy electronics or pop hooks that aren't buried under blankets of white noise. Case in point: massive single "Dominos," an obscenely catchy mix of chunky drums, sneering dismissal, and Pulp-y Britpop. A weeklong Current feature on the band gave those hooks a chance to sink pretty deep into Twin Cities music lovers; the show has already sold out. Even if you can't scrounge up a spare ticket on Craigslist, the Big Pink's sound is so huge that you might be able to stand across the street and soak some of it up. If that's not an option, there's always next time (in the Mainroom, hopefully). With Crystal Antlers and Claps. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Trass

FRIDAY 11.27

Nitzer Ebb

Varsity Theater

If New Order are the lovelorn elders of the British synth-rock hierarchy and Depeche Mode are their politically inclined fraternal twins, then Nitzer Ebb is the angry younger sibling, the one with black combat boots and an inclination to set things on fire. A viciousness is built into the genetic code of their lockstep drum-machine workouts that has been passed down through generations; when Nine Inch Nails was born, it had Nitzer Ebb's nose (Pretty Hate Machine owes a debt to NE's Belief that it can't possibly repay). The band occupies a role as a venerable influence, but since their "hits" are shouty underground dance classics instead of popular fare for '80s compilations, this tour (hell, any tour) has an air of "for the fans" rather than "for the money." Yes, there is an abundance of reunion/comeback tours these days, but none of them come with both the pedigree and sheer attitude of Nitzer Ebb. Miss this at your own risk. With Dissociate and DJ TK1. 18+. $20. 8 pm. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Ian Trass


Leo Kottke

State Theatre

Among the premier fingerstyle acoustic guitarists on the planet, Leo Kottke is perhaps one of the most eccentric too. Not only does he harbor a surrealistic, bone-dry, often self-deprecating sense of humor, his highly distinctive, especially percussive picking style encompasses elements of jazz, classical, and pop, as well as multiple roots that only begin with folk. Most of his performances are solo and primarily instrumental, although he does sing on occasion, having contributed notable versions of Tom T. Hall's "Pamela Brown" and the Byrds' "Eight Miles High" that defy his own infamous description of sounding like "geese farts on a muggy day." Fortuitously—maybe—it's rarely muggy here around Thanksgiving, when Kottke makes his annual trek from the western suburbs. The last few years, these post-turkey trots have expanded beyond simply Kottke in his lonesome glory. Sitting in this year will be Nick Urata and Tom Hagerman of DeVotchKa, whose idiosyncratic alt-global pop should make for some fascinating, utterly original collaborations with Kottke. $30-$42. 8 p.m. 824 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Eye of the Great Protector

501 Club

This is spook music at its finest. The disembodied vocals, ritualistic percussion, and otherworldly bleating make a loosely defined plot in a rambling ghost story. Take "Temple of the Protector," a 10-minute-plus meditation on noise and minimalism. Comparisons range from Brian Eno to John Cage to Lightning Bolt, but each only partly sums up the feeling of this song—jarring the senses to the point of raising goose flesh. "Creeps We Are" is a further excursion into the outer rim, where the last strains of connectivity exist between "music" and "sound." Sparse guitar plucking tickles misfit rhythms, which occasionally ponder becoming friends. But Eye of the Great Protector inhabit a playground of outcasts. Each musical part becomes a pleasurable whole in its own right, forging together only to create isolating tension. This is why their feat is so respectable. It takes special skill to orchestrate chaos—and trained ears to appreciate its beauty. With Military Special, Bouncer Fighter, and Sharp Teeth. 21+. 10 p.m. Free. 501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.3848. —Erin Roof

SUNDAY 11.29

Zachary Richard

Dakota Jazz Club

Zachary Richard launched his career on the cusp of the Cajun renaissance in the early '70s, but even then was a renegade. He picked up Cajun accordion along with an education in the roots music of southwest Louisiana, but mixed it all up with raging rock 'n' roll, slivers of pop, country, stuff out of New Orleans, and basically whatever struck his fancy. His French-language songs strongly advocating preservation of French North American heritage soon made him a hero in French Canada, leading to a curiously split career between there and the states with virtually no overlap. A series of U.S. releases for the likes of Rounder and A&M in the '80s was sandwiched between extensive stretches almost exclusively in Canada. This year's Last Kiss (Artist Garage) is his first English-language album in 17 years, and it's a good one, riding a rootsy Americana ambience strongly influenced by Daniel Lanois, referencing the Cajun experience while drawing on blues, gospel, and folk. This will be Richard's first local appearance in decades. He'll be accompanied by New Orleans pianist David Torkanowsky and guitarist Shane Theriot. $25 at 7 p.m., $20 at 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

The King Khan & BBQ Show/Those Darlins

Triple Rock Social Club

This roving surf-punk-soul-country-garage-rock blowout features two great live bands with a penchant for raw, unpretentious intensity. King Khan & BBQ are former members of Montreal's gloriously named Spaceshits, Arish Khan and Mark Sultan—the former a bewigged, Berlin-based Indo-Canadian singer-guitarist dynamo (for King Khan and the Shrines) who recently announced a forthcoming collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan rapper GZA, the latter an erstwhile Bob Log-style one-man-band unto himself. (Both also collaborate with the Black Lips as the Almighty Defenders.) In America you're innocent until proven guilty, but it's a safe bet these guys, who brought you "Teenage Foetus" ("Sittin' on the porch now, no skin at all"), take more than cream in their coffee: The Show was recently busted for possession of a controlled substance in Kentucky, though the tour goes on. Openers Those Darlins, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, are even better: Three hard yet sure female voices with clarion three-part harmonies—siblings in the sense that the Ramones were (or are they really sisters?), and with a sound something like the Soviettes for Trailer Trash fans, or the Dixie Chicks for the roller-derby set. Their 2009 self-titled debut on Thirty Tigers is more cow-punk than alt-country, and with a pop sophistication you wouldn't necessarily expect or even require. Don't wear anything you care about. 18+. $15. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. ­—Peter S. Scholtes

MONDAY 11.30

The xx

Triple Rock Social Club

The pizzicato guitar, nearly whispered vocals, and barely audible synthesizer hum of the xx's "Islands" wouldn't be so sexy and mysterious if it weren't for the evident influence of contemporary R&B on the male-female singers—they sound like Flin Flon, the Evens, or some other minimalist guitar band covering D'Angelo's "Brown Sugar." And because R&B is so rare an echo in indie rock, the hype around these kids might stir inevitable backlash: Where was this consensus when recent alternative soul albums from Q-Tip, Mint Condition, and De La Soul came along? Still, the xx are reportedly 19, which makes all of the above classic rock to them. Early Aaliyah (whom they've covered) is now as distant from their London present tense as the early Cure, to whom their debut, xx (on XL Recordings), has been compared. With Friendly Fires. $12. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Peter S. Scholtes


The Books

The Cedar

Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong splice obscure vocal samples into fluttering, minimalist folk songs, synchronizing them with hypnotic video installations in a live show that makes for an awesome multimedia experience. Blending their samples with original vocals, the Books' playful fascination with language is at once disarming and alluring in its cultivation of a rich, organic sound, its skittering acoustic guitar and quavering cello intricately interwoven with percussive found-sound snippets. The Massachusetts-based duo are finishing a two-week tour of North America with their latest audio and visual experiments, previewing music from their upcoming full-length. The album, their first since 2005's Lost and Safe, is inspired by hypnotherapy and due to be released next spring. Whether arranging homemade sound collages from thrift-store cassette tapes or composing tracks for elevators in the French Ministry of Culture, the Books are uniquely capable of adapting their performances to most any setting. With Baby Dee. All ages. $18-$20. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Jeff Gage