The Big Gigs for week of 11/23

  • Article by: STAR TRIBUNE STAFF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 23, 2012 - 9:35 AM

Concert spotlights on the Who, King Khan & BBQ Show, the Coup, Low, the Pines, the Hold Steady and more.

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The Coup, led by Boots Riley, performs Tuesday at the Cabooze.

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POP/ROCK

Last seen in Minneapolis playing a cemetery gig, Low returns to one of the warmest listening rooms in town, where their icy, haunting songs always rise to another level. The beloved Duluth rockers followed up last year's well-received album "C'mon" with a quieter year in 2012, but they still toured the U.K. and were featured in an episode of the BYUtv series "Audio-Files." Look up clips from that show for a reminder of the magic they can work in a nice-sounding space. Songwriterly duo Germaine Gemberling and Rich Mattson (Ol' Yeller) open. (8 p.m. Fri., Cedar Cultural Center. All ages. $18-$20.) Chris Riemenschneider

Another quiet and enchanting post-Thanksgiving option, the Pines are wrapping up a year of touring behind their third and best album for Red House Records, "Dark So Gold," in which Iowa-bred leaders David Huckfelt and Ben Ramsey expanded their songs' wide-open spaces and horizon-gazing lyricism while letting their impressive seven-man all-star ensemble cut loose. Trampled by Turtles' electric offshoot Dead Man Winter squeezes in a rare-of-late opening gig alongside Molly Maher/Erik Koskinen band member Frankie Lee. (8 p.m. Fri., Varsity Theater. $15.) Riemenschneider

Dave Boquist is best known nationally as a founding member of Son Volt, for which he played lots of things with strings -- guitar, lap steel, fiddle, banjo, dobro. He's also recorded with Joe Henry, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, and Peter Bruntnell. Locally, he's known as one of St. Paul's friendliest part-time bartenders and a guest player on sessions by the Sycamores, the Honeydogs, et al. This week he gets a whole evening to himself -- a showcase dubbed "Dave Boquist & Some Friends" -- where he'll play cool cover songs plus some originals. (8 p.m. Fri., Wild Tymes, 33 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul. 18-plus. No cover.) Tom Surowicz

If superstorm Sandy didn't convince Craig Finn and his fellow Upper Midwestern bandmates in the Hold Steady it's time to get out of New York, then maybe another two-night stand at First Ave will. There's still no firm date for the quintet's sixth album -- the 2 1/2-year wait since "Heaven Is Whenever" is unprecedented for the fast-moving workmen rockers -- but recent shows have included new songs. (7 p.m. Sat. & 8:30 p.m. Sun., First Avenue. $25. Sold out Sat.) Indiana's stark and dramatic roots-punk band Murder by Death opens both nights and will also play a free in-store gig to promote its new Bloodshot release, "Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon." (3 p.m. Sun., Hymie's Records, 3820 E. Lake St., Mpls.) Riemenschneider

Best known for his hard-blasting soul-punk with the Shrines, Montreal's outlandish and just plain out-there garage-rock revivalist King Khan is back out on tour with the BBQ Show, the pseudonym of his former Spacesh**s bandmate Mark Sultan. Together, the duo -- which had some kind of abrupt and intense falling-out in 2009 -- creates a scrappier, more lo-fi and sometimes wilder answer to the Shrines sound. Local noisemakers Toxic Shrews and Hot Rash open. (10 p.m. Sat., Turf Club. $15.) Riemenschneider

After four albums with his dark and stormy band Interpol, frontman Paul Banks has hit the road behind his first official solo release (not counting a 2009 effort under a pseudonym, Julian Plenti). On "Banks," the baritone-voiced singer lightens things up musically, with hints of Radiohead and way less guitar bombast. But he's as heavy and maudlin as ever lyrically, with doses of New York's post-9/11 gloom and end-days paranoia. What might really bum out fans is that he hasn't been playing Interpol tunes on tour. Oklahoma trio the Neighbourhood opens. (8 p.m. Sun., Varsity Theater. $15-$17.) Riemenschneider

The latest album by bassist, singer, songwriter and genre-hopper Meshell Ndegeocello, "Pour Une Âme Souveraine," consists of fresh, quirky, debatable takes on high priestess Nina Simone's catalog, both original tunes and such landmark covers as "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "Feelin' Good." Ambitious as it is, Ndegeocello doesn't have Simone's presence or power -- who ever did? -- and the album may be better received by a generation that knows Simone more from reputation than ouevre. See an interview with Ndegeocello at startribune.com/music. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $40.) Tom Surowicz

What better way to recover from Thanksgiving than an evening with two brilliant and hilariously twisted musicians? Yes, it's Leo Kottke's 430th annual post-turkey concert in his hometown. That means an evening of guitar splendor, quirky humor and deep-gulch vocals. Opening is the delightful Nellie McKay, a New York pianist/ukulele player who mashes up many styles (from Broadway to hip-hop) with sharp, politicized and sometimes corny humor. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Guthrie Theater, $38-$43.) Jon Bream

Pete Townshend is back on tour. Roger Daltrey reportedly received medical treatment for his voice, which sounded a bit ragged live last year. And the Who -- well, "the Two," plus drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino -- are performing the 1973 rock opera "Quadrophenia." Arguably the band's better but less famous rock opera, it starts with "The Real Me" and ends with "Love, Reign O'er Me." There's no narration or guest singers, but such album sounds as a boiling teakettle and squawking seagulls are included. And there is an encore featuring a handful of the Who's biggest hits. Opening is Vintage Trouble, a Los Angeles punk-soul quartet. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Target Center, $39.50-$129.50.) Bream

The 7th Street Entry is hosting an after-party of sorts with the Who by Numbers, a tribute band that includes the Mighty Mofos' Randy Weiss, Pink Mink's Jacques Wait, Trailer Trash's Keely Lane and Tulip Sweet's Tom Siler. They will play the album of the same name and more classics. All-female Clash cover band Rudegirl opens. (10 p.m. Tue., 7th Street Entry, $3 with Who ticket stub, $5 without.) Riemenschneider

A longtime Elvis acolyte, Chris Isaak finally got around to paying direct tribute to the King and other 1950s Sun Records sounds on 2011's "Beyond the Sun." I prefer his own original songs inspired by these vintage sounds (especially Roy Orbison's) but no matter what tunes he plays, count on Isaak to keep you chuckling with zinger-filled patter. (7:30 p.m. Tue., State Theatre, $50-$60.) Bream

COUNTRY

Miss Willie Brown is a country duo featuring Amanda Watkins from West Virginia and Kasey Buckley from Texas, who met while waitressing in an L.A. restaurant. The duo was the first group signed to A&M/Octone, with Keith Stegall, who has worked with Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson, slated to produce their album. So far Miss Willie Brown has offered a single -- "You're All That Matters to Me," a perky, playful tune about a gal flirting with a guy that could be country's answer to "Call Me Maybe." They open for Michigan country-rock singer Frankie Ballard and Jon Pardi, whose single is "Missin' You Crazy." (8 p.m. Thu., Toby Keith's, $15.) Bream

HIP-HOP

Oakland, Calif.'s the Coup went six years between albums, in which time lead MC Boots Riley paired up with New Orleans funksters Galactic and Rage guitarist Tom Morello, and became active in the Occupy Wall Street movement. His acidic funk-hop group's new album, "Sorry to Bother You," carries on with radical politics and anti-capitalism themes but has a pretty fun time doing so, with songs ranging from the warped, kazoo-laden "Your Parents' Cocaine" to the wall-punching rocker "You Are Not a Riot." They also achieved something of a coup with their local support acts, Villa Rosa and Greg Grease. (9 p.m. Tue., Cabooze. $15-$17.) Riemenschneider

ROOTS/R&B

The soul queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas had a string of 1960s hits, often produced by Allen Toussaint -- "I Wish Someone Would Care," "Break-A-Way," "Time Is on My Side," "It's Raining," "Ruler of My Heart" -- that's hard to beat. Yet her 1980s-onward renaissance has been just as strong artistically, the work of a mature singer clearly still in her prime. Highly recommended. (7 & 9 p.m. Thu., Dakota Jazz Club, $30-$60.) Surowicz

He may be retro but Oklahoma's JD McPherson is one of the coolest new artists embraced this year by 89.3 the Current. He also won over State Fair crowds with his fresh take on vintage rockabilly, blues and R&B and his ability to connect with crowds. When he spotted youngsters in the crowd, he instinctively knew it was time to pull out Clarence "Frogman" Henry's "Ain't Got No Home." A singer who can croon and shout, McPherson and his crackerjack combo also know how to keep the dance floor jumping. Farewell Milwaukee opens. (9 p.m. Thu., First Avenue, $15.) Bream

JAZZ

Former Twin Cities resident and frequent Grammy nominee Karrin Allyson is back for a two-night stand, to perform songs from her impressive 13-album catalog on the Concord Jazz label. It's rare that an artist and a record company stay together so long in the modern music marketplace. Heck, it was rare enough in the boom years of the 1960s and 1970s. Allyson's obviously been doing quite a bit right, surrounding herself with top musicians and making each trip to the studio memorable. (7 & 9 p.m. Mon.-Tue., Dakota Jazz Club, $25-$40.) Surowicz

CLASSICAL

Move over, musicologists! The photogenic women of Ladyslipper -- a learned and imaginative threesome that "bends the baroque and ushers audiences beyond the realm of tradition" -- can teach you everything you wanted to know about baroque composers' appetite for imitation, and make it fun. The ensemble's "Art of Imitation" program offers music by Scarlatti, Handel, Bach and harpsichordist/composer Asako Hirabayashi; gambist Mary Burke and trumpeter Takako Seimiya Senn add their talents to the mix.  (3 p.m. Sun., St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 1895 Laurel Av., St. Paul. $10-$15; free for 17 and younger. ladyslipperbaroque.com) Larry Fuchsberg

Canadian soprano Dominique Labelle, renowned for her performances in Baroque music, joins the Aulos Ensemble for "A Baroque Christmas." The five members of Aulos -- Christopher Krueger, flute; Marc Schachman, oboe; Linda Quan, violin; Myron Lutzke, cello; and Arthur Haas, harpsichord -- make up one of the first American "original instrument" ensembles. Their holiday-themed program features vocal and instrumental works by such composers as Bach, Vivaldi, Scarlatti and Rameau. (4 p.m. Sun., St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ, 2129 Commonwealth Av., St. Paul, $20-$24, 651-292-3267 or www.schubert.org) William Randall Beard

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  • King Khan plays the Turf Club on Saturday.

  • The Hold Steady's Craig Finn at 2012's Rock the Garden concert in Minneapolis.

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