Concert Highlights for the Week of August 1 - 7

Hellbilly Hank III is super-psyched for Shark Week
Bill Ross


Kings of Leon
First Avenue
According to rock biography legend, the Followill clan spent their youth traveling cross-country with their evangelist father, church-hopping America's heartland. While they may never shed their road-ramblin' ways, if their latest album, Because of the Times, is any indication, these siblings from Nashville may soon be giving up the relative intimacy of the rock club for the stratosphere of arenas. Fiery, Southern-fried guitar still permeates the band's sound, but it's taken a languid, tangled turn, and their usually crisp hooks have been swathed in a wet and expansive aura. Singer Caleb's hoarse-throated whiskey drawl even gets gussied up with some vocal effects. Luckily for those who were without tickets last May, when the band canceled their sold-out First Avenue show, they've scheduled a makeup date plus an all-ages show, giving us two chances to catch them in what could be their last club tour. On Thursday: with Manchester Orchestra. All ages. $25. 6:00 p.m. On Friday: with Wild Sweet Orange. 18+. $25. 8:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Also Friday —Christopher Matthew Jensen


WE Fest
Soo Pass Ranch
For a quarter-century, the WE Fest has hosted country music's finest performers, and this year is no exception. Along with John Anderson, whose new Easy Money is a return to form, the three-day event will feature bright young stars such as the Wreckers and Carrie Underwood, who have both made their marks with assured debuts. Also on hand will be Keith Urban, who should fire up the crowd with his pop-savvy songs and uninhibited guitar playing. For listeners who want a little badonkadonk in their honky-tonk, Trace Adkins will perform his sly, danceable tunes. The eternal Willie Nelson will explore the possibilities of American music. Alan Jackson and Toby Keith have different but complementary takes on country verities, and they'll be there too, along with a slew of other performers. It promises to be a great time, and there's plenty of camping for families and late-night fans alike. $150 for three-day pass. Visit or call 800.4wefest for more information. Soo Pass Ranch, 25526 Cty. Hwy. 22, Detroit Lakes; 218.847.1681. Through Saturday —Edd Hurt

The Ladybug Transistor
7th St. Entry
After drummer San Fadyl passed away from severe asthma in April, frontman/founder Gary Olson became the last remaining original member of Ladybug Transistor, but he's keeping things in motion. The band's seventh release, Can't Wait Another Day, just hit stereos in June, and Ladybug Transistor are touring more now than ever before in the band's 12-year history. The new album became a collective project, with guest musicians sneaking in from every direction with new sounds. The Brooklyn-based indie-pop group takes inspiration from the happy hits of the '60s, noting the Mamas and the Papas, Cat Stevens, and Fleetwood Mac as influences. Ladybug Transistor combine spoonfuls of sugary melodies with Olson's sandpaper vocals, along with piles of instruments including harmonicas, keyboards, flute, horns, 12-string guitars, the organ, and even a bluesy saxophone. With Switzerlind and Meg Ashling. $8. 8:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N, Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Amber Schadewald


OBCT (CD-release)
Club Underground
Fat bloats the body while meth rots the soul—and the epidemiologists of OBCT (say it out loud to yourself, but not while you're looking in the mirror) sing the decay of post-millennium America in their debut full-length, Nothing Beats Total Control. Pouring a thick electro-sludge river of melted-down circuitry and post-hardcore growls through blasted-out amps and into forgotten sewers, the local foursome pollute an underground too toxic to support the melodic punk ramblings of their youth. The Obese (as they're sometimes known) wail on industrial waste with a relentless aggression—but what else are you supposed to do when your hopes and dreams are sealed away in deeply buried 55-gallon drums? With GNP, Avenpitch, and Drones. $5. 9:30 p.m. 355 Monroe St. NE, under the Spring Street Tavern, Minneapolis; 612.627.9123. —Sarah Askari


Cool Kids
Just a year ago, they were handed a busted mic and expected to kick their nonchalant party raps over drunken chatter at a shady afterparty. These days, though, the lyrics of the low-fi rap duo known as Cool Kids are on the lips of scene kids across the nation, making them a source of hometown pride in Chicago. The '80s swagger of Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks is something like Slick Rick-meets-early-LL Cool J, with the slick chopped-and-screwed hooks and blatant throwback beats on "Mikey Rocks" and "Gold & a Pager" really pushing these colorful dudes into the spotlight. But in case you're wondering, they're not fazed: All the dudes wanna do is quit college, eat candy, rock their tight pants and fly Nikes, and, of course, rap flawlessly about fresh new sneaks and just plain being dope—the latter talent on display tonight at Louder Than Bombs. But this all comes after a killer lineup of openers including hometown electronic darlings Digitata, local rap phenom Muja Messiah, and Chicago hip-hop mogul Shala Esquire (of Qualo) flipping a sick and diverse iPod set with yours truly. Everyone's a DJ, right? 18+. $10. 9:00 p.m.10 S. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.3931. —Jen Boyles


Patti Smith
State Theater
It's been decades since the vaguely hostile, vaguely androgynous poet staring out from Mapplethorpe's cover photo for Horses started expanding her repertory of archetypes: Not just punk-rock shaman, Patti Smith embraced roles as wife, mother, and, tragically, widow. This year even saw Smith, not entirely convinced of the legitimacy of the endeavor, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her latest release is an album of cover songs titled Twelve, which finds her interpreting artists from Tears for Fears ("Everybody Wants to Rule the World") to Nirvana (a bluegrass-influenced take on "Smells Like Teen Spirit"). But even if she seems to be taking a conservative tack with her music, her politics remain confrontational, and current events seem to conspire to ensure an intense performance, sharp with passionate indignation and revolutionary spirit. $26. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Sarah Askari


Hank III & Assjack
First Avenue
In a 2002 duet with Kid Rock, Hank Williams Jr. called the Detroit rocker his "rebel son" and crooned, "In country music, you just can't say the F-word." His real rebel son, Hank III, retorted sharply in the 2006 release Straight to Hell: "Just so you know, so it's set in stone/Kid Rock don't come from where I come from/Yeah, it's true, he's a Yank, he ain't no son of Hank/And if you thought so, well goddamn, you're fucking dumb." Not very subtle—but what the Third taps into is the primal essence of his granddaddy, who founded country music on piss, vinegar, and morphine, and got hisself run out of Nashville on a rail. Hank III's turbulent live shows are broken into three sets —one country, one punk, and one in-between, which he calls "hellbilly." With Big Red Goad and Power of Country. $15/$17 at the door. 8:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N, Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ward Rubrecht

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