Wu-Tang Clan, Dillinger Four, and more

Brit-pop icons Oasis (billowing egos not pictured)



Baby Guts

7th St. Entry

Among the blurbs local favorite Baby Guts has posted to its MySpace profile is this glib assessment: "Crappy punk band with girl singer," attributed to the board operator's notes at the Uptown Bar. A bit reductive, no? Especially when the "girl singer" in question was named this year's Best Female Vocalist in this very publication. What Laura Larson lacks in dulcet tones she more than makes up for with well-channeled rage that propels her punk trio's abrasive but focused sound. The band's visceral name actually translates to "infant courage," and the members told City Pages that their anger is fueled by everything from "people in line on their cell phones" to "injustice." But their brand of discontent is not cynicism—it's the cathartic sort of anger that catalyzes great punk, most recently on The Kissing Disease and ideally heard in the close, grimy quarters of clubs like 7th St. Entry this Wednesday night. With Eye of the Great Protector. 18+. $6. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Jake Mohan

Oasis with Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

Target Center

Oasis have always been popular in the states, though their following was never as insane here as in Britain. But face it, even if they aren't putting out records on par with their past triumphs, they still remain that gigantic band; their backstory is filled with the kind of legendary dramas and storied infighting that makes a band stand out in addition to their musical contributions to the history of rock 'n' roll. And on this tour they're bringing some high-profile friends—Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, fresh off the release of Cardinology. Needless to say, there will be more than enough rock-star posturing and brooding to fill the Target Center. Beyond the reputation Adams has cultivated for himself in the music press, the man is still a musical genius and a dreamboat. And as for Oasis, they have cemented themselves as Brit-pop icons, despite what one may think of their billowing egos. $37-$67. 7 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. —Jen Paulson



Building Better Bombs

Turf Club

Hardcore: not quite the prepubescent twerp that was emo, not yet the hairy old man that punk has become. It's the music for disaffected youth with impressive fake IDs and some serious yearning for bar brawls. And if ever you feel an urgent need to give a greasy kid one or two black eyes, Building Better Bombs is the perfect soundtrack. Sweating delicious rivers of atonality, with brutal guitar progressions like an ice pick to the synapses, this local foursome will leave you feeling like you're trapped in some creepy alternate universe where pop music doesn't exist. This is a good thing. Swing by the Turf Club for their tour kick-off and pick up their new split cassette with Seawhores for some serious otherworldly carnage. With Seawhores, Death to Our Enemies and Mean Beep. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Erin Roof


FRIDAY 12.12

Mercury Rev

Fine Line Music Cafe

"The Dark Is Rising," the first song I ever heard from Mercury Rev, turned my world inside-out with its sweeping orchestral movements and a purely affecting, gorgeous vocal from frontman Jonathan Donohue. Four albums since this initial experience, we have both changed considerably—their recent release Snowflake Midnight is a much more electronic inspiration with its blippy clips, spacey strings, and baroque pop trance. With the addition of openers the Duke Spirit, this evening is going to be a wondrous combination of styles. The Duke Spirit's Liela Moss's crisp and pretty P.J. Harvey-esque voice lends to the band's well-rounded mix of post-grunge shoegaze and rock, something that was proven exponentially in their summer release, Neptune. It'll be a good warm-up to Mercury Rev's moody and romantic cool down. 18+. $21.50/$23 at the door. 8 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Jen Paulson

Dillinger Four

Triple Rock Social Club

Local legends Dillinger Four are still going strong after 14 years and four albums, proving that good pop-punk isn't dead. With evocative titles like "Clown Cars on Cinder Blocks" and "Parishiltonisametaphor," their songs are earnest, carefully wrought rally cries for the everyman, a welcome antidote to the mediocre mall-punk populating the collective consciousness of late. The release of the band's latest, C I V I L W A R, suffered from a protracted two-year delay and squabbles over an early leaked version, but declared the album "worth every second of the interminable wait." In the spirit of this tardiness, the band is holding a couple of record-release parties, two months after the fact, as part of the Triple Rock's ongoing 10-year anniversary celebration. $10. 5 p.m. (all ages)/9 p.m. (21+). 629 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis; 612.333.7499. —Jake Mohan



Dan Wilson

Pantages Theatre

There are few local artists quite as fan-pleasing as Dan Wilson. It would be easy for fans to wallow in sadness over the fact that Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare's heydays have come and gone, but Wilson keeps the spirit of both bands alive by combining songs from his current solo catalog with old gems at every opportunity. This weekend's show at the Pantages will surely be no exception; his publicist was very insistent about this being "An Evening with Dan Wilson," meaning there will be no opening act, so Wilson will have plenty of time to maneuver through every phase of his impressive, double-decade-long career. Even "Closing Time," which was played to death by every radio station in the late '90s, takes on a new life when played by Wilson, alone at the piano, pausing between verses to explain the history of the song. And in the holiday spirit, Wilson is urging attendees to bring along a toy for the Reuben Lindh Family Services, who will distribute the collected items to local needy children. All ages. $21.50-$24.50. 8 p.m. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Andrea Swensson


SUNDAY 12.14

Marcia Ball

Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

Long tall Marcia Ball, queen of ivory-billed triplets descended from Professor Longhair and doused in the honky-tonk-laced sloughs of Texas-Louisiana border country, is equally capable of firing up party anthems and fashioning wrenching ballads. She does both on last spring's Peace, Love & BBQ, framing her first post-Katrina studio disc with Bobby Charles's "Party Town," about New Orleans's enticing charms, and "Where Do You Go?" a gospel-tinged lament about tragedy and loss co-written and sung with Austin pal Tracy Nelson. In between, she celebrates resilience and survival on the Gulf Coast with quirky tall tales ("Ride It Out"), simple pleasures ("Watermelon Time"), touches of Cajun and zydeco, and sheer tributes to the Crescent City via horn arrangements from NOLA icon Wardell Quezerque and collaborations with Dr. John. Ball's rousing piano forays may be a bit downplayed in favor of her fine, tangy vocals. But that shouldn't be an issue at the Dakota, where the walls should be thoroughly scoured by both. $35 at 7 p.m.; $25 at 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason


MONDAY 12.15

Wu-Tang Clan

First Avenue

The title of this Staten Island, New York, collective's overambitious sophomore album would seem to say it all: Wu-Tang Forever. But given the group's unhappiness with the unusually mellow tone producer/MC/overlord RZA struck on 2007's 8 Diagrams, the personality void left following Ol' Dirty Bastard's 2004 passing, and a general lack of unity, it's tough to buy into any talk of eternal Wu brotherhood. Fact is, while every Wu member has solo irons in the fire, blustery bruiser Ghostface Killah's records stand head and shoulders above the rest, while Method Man seems to be at his best when rockin' the mic with non-Wu dude Redman. So while it's nice—in an Eagles sense—that these martial-arts-flick-addicted, alias-collecting roughnecks reunite to kick confusing, highly quotable rhymes and tour every now and again, there's an inevitable hollowness to these gestures that makes us wish Wu wasn't forever, you know? Could it be that it was all so simple then? Perhaps. But we're all living in the now. 18+. $35. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ray Cummings

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