Tori Amos, Bat for Lashes, Big Trouble, and more

Moody chanteuse Natasha Khan, a.k.a. Bat for Lashes

Moody chanteuse Natasha Khan, a.k.a. Bat for Lashes


Tori Amos

State Theatre

Showing no lack of creativity, Tori Amos's 10th solo studio album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, is a 70-plus-minute journey that explores the relationship between faith, sin, and romance. But the album goes even further than the title suggests, as Amos explained in an interview with Billboard at this past year's SXSW; it is meant to reflect on the continual conflict that has pushed the world toward upheaval, and how she copes. "Songs are the way that I'm able to pull myself out of paralysis," she said. "And then I don't get stuck into the place of shock." Anyone with a finger remotely close to the pulse of pop music should have an idea as to how this pianist might cope; her status as one of the most uncompromising female musicians of our generation was solidified almost instantly with her classic 1992 solo debut, Little Earthquakes (an album that the U.K.'s Q Magazine named the 66th best of all time in 1998). Granted, time has changed a few things, but it has done nothing to compromise Amos's passionate lyrics and fiery delivery. With openers One Eskimo. $27.50-$55. 7:30 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Chris DeLine


Triple Rock Social Club

In the summer of 2006, Plastiscines—not Phoenix—seemed the most likely French band to turn U.S. music fans into full-blown Francophiles. Owing a heavy debt to the stripped-down classic rock of the Kinks, as well as more modern derivations like the Libertines and the Strokes, Plastiscines prized sloppy, simplistic guitar hooks over the slick, danceable beats that had dominated the music of last generation's French exports. While there were other French groups flaunting a similarly ramshackle sound (e.g. Second Sex, Naast), of all the contenders it was Plastiscines, with their attractive, all-female lineup and mostly English lyrics, who were pegged as the obvious commercial gatecrashers. Their debut, LP1, sweet and undeniably fun as it was, perhaps suffered from poor timing, having been issued just as America's interest in carefree, no-frills garage rock had begun to wane. Plastiscines barely made a dent, let alone the other French bands waiting in the wings. For About Love, their new album released this past June, the Parisian foursome dramatically retooled their sound, recruiting Butch Walker to apply a shiny, Donnas-esque sheen. If the bolder approach isn't always successful, it should give them a better chance of getting noticed this time around. With Cobra Starship, the Friday Night Boys, and DJ Skeet. All ages. $20. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Jonathan Garrett


James Galway & Tiempo Libre

Dakota Jazz Club

A septet of young musicians classically trained at a premier Havana music conservatory, the now-Miami-based Tiempo Libre not only specialize in timba, a fiery blend of Latin jazz and Cuban son, but also innovative fusions of classical, jazz, and Cuban music. The band will play two distinctly different performances at the Dakota. Thursday's show will be a collaboration with renowned classical flutist James Galway, who's also something of a musical maverick, and will likely draw heavily from last year's O'Reilly Street. That album's centerpiece is a vibrant reworking of Claude Bolling's jazz suites, adeptly integrating Afro-Cuban rhythms with the classical-jazz fusion that created a hit for Bolling and flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal in the '70s. Tiempo Libre leader and pianist Jorge Gomez also contributed several similarly styled compositions as well as a lively arrangement of Bach. The latter was a precursor to TL's new Bach in Havana, which spectacularly intertwines a wide range of Cuban music (conga, bolero, cha-cha, guaguancó) with some of Bach's most widely known pieces. Friday will be all—and probably all-out—Tiempo Libre, which promises a Cuban dance party fueled by its sizzling timba. $35-$55. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

Big Trouble

Red Stag

Smooth, relaxing, and all things nice, Big Trouble is far from its name. The harmonious blend of tranquil guitars, comforting drums, and arousing bass is nothing but well behaved in all the right ways. Starting this week, Big Trouble will take over the Red Stag each Thursday night to round out your week with cunning covers of recognizable artists like Broken Social Scene, Spoon, and Boards of Canada, plus original, hip-hop-infused instrumentals. Lustrous melodies will massage your shoulders as you wine and dine on the supper club's happy-hour menu, all while the bass beats continue holding your hips' attention. As an added bonus, each show will be opened by a guest DJ, this week's being local folk star Chris Koza. Let's just say you'll be in no so small trouble if you don't show up. Free. 10 p.m. 509 First Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.767.7766. —Amber Schadewald


Bat for Lashes

Varsity Theater

Past winners of the U.K.'s Mercury Prize include the Klaxons, Dizzee Rascal, and Badly Drawn Boy; this year Natasha Khan's Bat for Lashes could very well be added to that list. This is the singer's second nomination, following a 2007 nod for her debut, Fur and Gold. Her latest effort, Two Suns, has been heralded as one of the year's best albums (in a year that is already rife with brilliant music), and its two singles, "Daniel" and "Pearl's Dream," offer a unique blend of ambient electronic tones under Khan's angelic voice. Having expanded to a four-piece for the band's live performances, Bat for Lashes have already performed on the Late Show with David Letterman and at the prestigious Glastonbury Festival, and will play at Chicago's Lollapalooza. While the band are by no means on the brink of becoming a household name, they are on the brink of their most successful year to date, meaning that if and when Bat for Lashes return to the Twin Cities, it will likely be at a much higher ticket price and at a much larger venue. With Other Lives. All ages. $12/$15 at the door. 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Chris DeLine


Alejandro Escovedo

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater

On last year's Real Animal, Alejandro Escovedo took an autobiographical stroll through a history as remarkable as any rock 'n' roll survivor's, especially one who is among the most talented songwriters of his generation. Although a member of the musically gifted Escovedo clan, he forged his own path right from the start, traversing punk, new wave, no wave, cowpunk, and exploring threads of folk and country. And he's flirted with death, now living with Hepatitis C for more than a half-decade. Love, pain, and loss dominate Escovedo's songs, and he writes about them with rare intelligence, full of emotion but never maudlin. And whether they're ballads, chamber pop, or snarly rockers, they synthesize a broad swath of styles, from glam rock to Tejano. Escovedo embodies the rock 'n' roll spirit—he's a real animal who should howl at the zoo. With Romantica. All ages. $25. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Rick Mason




Erstwhile flannel-flyers may find themselves aghast at what their beloved genre has become in Chris Daughtry's callused hands: "adult grunge contemporary," excessively earnest bombast topped with apsirational, growly lyrics about self-improvement. (See also: David Cook. Fuckin' American Idol, right?) But Daughtry humped the charts for a long time and spawned a slew of singles (look for his new disc, Leave This Town, to be similarly popular) because that sincerity came off as heartfelt, and because Daughtry and the gaggle of songwriters backing him remembered that the Creed/Foo Fighters/Staind build-then-surf-the-blare imperative wasn't a fluke formula—it was the golden key to winning hearts and minds from coast to coast, listeners who could relate to the frustrations and pitfalls inherent in striving to be the best self one can be while pulling double duty as a spouse and a parent. That Daughtry toiled in local bands and as a car-dealership service advisor prior to his music career exploding certainly didn't hurt. All ages. $20. 6 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. —Ray Cummings




Putting its abject, aesthetic abomination of a band name aside, supergroup Chickenfoot are—and admitting this feels wrong in so many ways—more fun than three barrels of monkeys, or at least more fun than half a case of Cabo Wabo-brand tequila. Debut Chickenfoot is more or less '80s cock-rawk cliché city, with lots of het-up "yeahs" and guitar solos threatening to spiral outta control, along with more subtle-as-a-bomb sexual innuendos than you can shake an Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery DVD at. At the same time, who else in rock right now has the balls to run rampant with this sort of graying horny-toad tomfoolery? In their way, songs like "Sexy Little Thing" and "My Kinda Girl" are more shocking than anything else happening in popular music right now. Let's hope Chickenfoot can last longer than Velvet Revolver did—if only to keep singer Sammy Hagar's career alive, to keep Joe Satriani's digits limber, and to waylay indefinitely, by way of drummer Chad Smith's involvement, the release of yet another insipid Red Hot Chili Peppers snoozer. All ages. $50. 6:30 p.m. 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood; 651.779.6984. —Ray Cummings


The Breeders

Fine Line Music Cafe

The sisters Deal—that's sometimes Pixies bassist Kim, and Kelley, formerly known as the Kelley Deal 5000—sure seem to enjoy making Breeders' fanatics' lives difficult. In 1990, they drop Pod, an album of twisted, sinuous alt-rock. In 1993, they go gold with the "Cannonball"-led Last Splash, a more user-friendly gloss on what Pod started. Then—excepting Kim's morose, slurred Pacer album (as the Amps), scuttlebutt about Kelley's smack problem, and a couple of Kelly Deal 5000 discs—nothing. For nine years. Then 2002 rolls around, and the Breeders rebound with the spookily disjointed (yet still amazing) Title TK. Fast-forward six more years—lord help us—and Mountain Battles finds 'em singing in German and Spanish and generally turning our idea of who they are and what they do on its ear. Given the release of the Fade to Fatal EP this past spring, the Deals appear to be back on the job full-time. But you never know. With Whispertown 2000. 18+. $20. 7:30 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Ray Cummings