The Big Gigs

  • Updated: October 7, 2010 - 4:17 PM

Surfer Blood, Alice Peacock Jason Derülo among this week's highlights.

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Surfer Blood

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POP/ROCK

After limping into 7th Street Entry with an ailing keyboardist following a 30-hour drive in April -- but still putting on a pretty tight performance -- Surfer Blood returns full-strength on the last go-round behind its bursting debut album, "Astro Coast," which produced the infectious surf-riding singles "Swim" and "Floating Vibes." The Florida band is about to hit the road with Interpol and has its own buzzing opener for this show, retro synth-pop Brooklynites the Drums. The Dewars also perform. (8:30 p.m. Wed., Varsity Theater. 18 & older. $15.) (C.R.)

In his cameo performance at KDWB's Star Party in May, Jason Derülo impressed with his voice, presence and moves. The 21-year-old pop-soul newcomer from Miami also has scored on the radio, with the chart-topping "Whatcha Say," "In My Head" and "Ridin' Solo." Auburn opens. (7 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, all ages, $22-$25.) (J.B.)

By the time you read this, Mark Mallman probably will have performed for nine or 10 times the length of a typical rock gig -- and that's not even a quarter of how long he plans to go. His Marathon 3 concert, which kicked off Thursday at 4 p.m., is slated to clock in at 78 hours and involve 100-plus musicians before it finally winds down Sunday night. Mallman envisioned the concert as one long (to say the least) dance song, and he wrote music to ensure it's not just a jam session. Read the full story at startribune.com/music. You can also watch it live, including what goes on after hours, at MarkMallman.com. (Noon-2 a.m. Fri. and Sat., noon-10 p.m. Sun., Turf Club. 21 & older. $10.) (C.R.)

Part of the original hard core punk heyday of the early 1980s, Agnostic Front outlived most of its peers and enjoyed a couple more heydays as a thrash band and as one of Epitaph Records' resident pioneers. Singer Roger Miret and guitarist Vinnie Stigma are back on tour to mark the 25th anniversary re-release of "Victim of Pain." Mother of Mercy, Product of Waste and In Defence open. (9 p.m. Fri., Triple Rock. 18 & older. $15.) (C.R.)

After a major-label release that had assists from John Mayer and Emily Saliers, White Bear Lake-bred, Chicago-based Alice Peacock is back to the reality of being a first-rate indie singer/songwriter on "Love Remains," an almost twangy, richly melodic album. She has an appealing, slightly husky voice and a mature way at looking at life, love and even school days in a Minnesota town. (9 p.m. Fri. Fine Line, $15.) (J.B.)

On their first album in four years, "Something for the Rest of Us," the Goo Goo Dolls return to their pre-"Name," Replacements-loving rock 'n' roll roots. Working with several producers including Butch Vig and John Fields, the Goos occasionally aim for U2-like grandeur and make sure that even their most melodic songs have muscle. This gig is part of the KS95 Live series, meaning tickets are only available via radio giveaways. Opening are the Spill Canvas and Christina Perri. (8:30 p.m. Sat. Fine Line.) (J.B.)

Even if you believe Zombie Pub Crawl-goers truly need a life, you can still take advantage of the concerts lined up to enliven the undead crowds. The Cabooze has booked a local legend -- Har Mar Superstar, fresh from his spot-on rendition of George Michaels' "One More Try" with Gayngs -- who can make indie-rock fans dance and get it on, so corpses should be easy. (10 p.m., 21 & older, $15). Meanwhile, the Triple Rock will welcome the ghoulish masses with Japan's experimental metal band Envy and Californian thrash band Trash Talk, two groups whose music suits the night's gory vibe. (9 p.m. Sat., 18 & older. $12.) (C.R.)

Things are looking up for Jukebox the Ghost. This summer, the Philly trio played Lollapalooza and the Letterman show to promote its sophomore CD, "Everything Under the Sun," full of Ben Folds-like sunny pop with often heavy lyrics about lives that aren't sunny at all. With Ruby Coast and Elizabeth & the Catapult. (8:30 p.m. Mon., 7th Street Entry, $8.) (J.B.)

Guided by Voices fans always knew that one of rock's most zealous frontmen, Robert Pollard, would get the old band back together, but they probably wouldn't have guessed the first reunion would be an older version of the band that broke up in 2004. Pollard is gambling on the 1993-96 lineup that made such cult-loved albums as "Bee Thousand" and "Under the Bushes Under the Stars." Assembled primarily for last weekend's Matador 21 party in Las Vegas, it includes ex-members Tobin Sprout and Mitch Mitchell. Times New Viking opens. (8 p.m. Tue., First Avenue. $25-$30.) (C.R.)

A sign of how much the venue and the singer have changed over the years, former British punk Jon Langford now seems a near-perfect fit for former folk haven Cedar Cultural Center. The Mekons frontman -- also a renowned visual artist whose work is now showing at Rogue Buddha Gallery -- has focused on his twangier Americana side ever since he relocated to Chicago, most notably with the wild and boozy Waco Brothers. He sounds a little more refined but no less colorful with his other band, Skull Orchard, on his latest album, "Old Devil." Local favorite Molly Maher opens. (8 p.m. Thu., Cedar Cultural Center. All ages. $12-$14. Free in-store performance 6 p.m. Thu. at Electric Fetus, 2000 4th Av. S., Mpls. Afterparty at Rogue Buddha, 357 13th Av. NE., Mpls.) (C.R.)

Radiohead-lite Australian quartet Temper Trap is one of those new bands most people would recognize from TV commercials. Their ethereal single "Sweet Disposition" has been used for Chrysler and Diet Coke ads and helped promote last year's hit indie flick "(500) Days of Summer." British electronic band Delphic and Hundred in the Hands open. (7 p.m. Thu., First Avenue. 18 & older. $15.) (C.R.)

Nashville twang-rock pioneers Jason & the Scorchers have been playing shows off and on for many years, but always without any new material to tout besides frontman Jason Ringenberg's kids-music CDs as Farmer Jason (which were actually pretty terrific). The band has finally issued its first all-new disc since 1996, "Halcyon Times," and is on the road with a younger country rocker, Stacie Collins, as a part of the show. (9:30 p.m. Thu., Lee's Liquor Lounge. $15.) (C.R.)

COUNTRY

Beyond all that whiskey-drinking, hell-raising, bulletproof bravado, Travis Tritt is a pretty fair country songwriter. One of his first singles, "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)," is a classic, and "Foolish Pride" proved he could pen a compassionate power ballad. Expect a fair amount of Tritt's tender side at this solo acoustic concert. (8 p.m. Wed., Burnsville Performing Arts Center, $37-$42.) (J.B.)

R&B

King of the honking sax, Big Jay McNeely arrived in 1949 with the R&B instrumental hits "The Deacon's Hop" and "Wild Wig." Known for his flamboyant performances -- complete with brightly colored suits, a glow-in-the-dark saxophone and high-energy acrobatics -- the Los Angeles R&B star hit a commercial high point in 1958 with the bluesy 1958 "There Is Something on Your Mind," then became a mailman in the 1960s when guitar replaced sax as rock's main solo instrument. Still active since returning to music in the 1980s, McNeely, 83, will discuss his career and perform in the Blue Thursday series of conversation and concerts, moderated by Minneapolis singer-songwriter Paul Metsa. (7 p.m. Thu., Music Box Theatre, $15.) (J.B.)

Fresh from HBO's "Treme" and gearing up for a big showing at their hometown Voodoo Music Fest, veteran New Orleans funk blowers Rebirth Brass Band returns to one of the first clubs to give them a gig/paycheck right after Katrina. That goodwill investment continues to pay off. (8:30 p.m. Sun., Cabooze. $14-$18. 18 & older.) (C.R.)

JAZZ

Philadelphia guitar hero and singer Jef Lee Johnson combines jazz, funk and rock in a manner not unlike the late Sonny Sharrock, one of his inspirations. Also obviously indebted to Jimi Hendrix (what jazz/funk/rock guitarist isn't?), he's back for a two-night-stand with like-minded drum dynamo Michael Bland (of Prince, Soul Asylum and Mambo's Combo renown) and Ethiopian bassist Yohannes Tona. Should be loud and lively. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists' Quarter, $15.) (T.S.)

A rather amazing talent, 35-year-old Davell Crawford is a fixture of the New Orleans music scene, yet sadly not all that well-known outside Louisiana. Liberally mixing R&B, jazz, gospel and funk in classic genre-irrelevant Crescent City fashion, Crawford is a soulful, stirring bring-the-house-down singer, a piano professor in the grand tradition of Longhair, Toussaint, Booker, Dr. John, et al., and a salty jazz organist who showed off his Hammond skills on a CD titled "The B-3 and Me." The grandson of 1950s hitmaker Sugarboy Crawford, he's turned heads professionally since age 7 -- highly recommended. (7 & 9:30 p.m. Sun.-Mon., Dakota Jazz Club. $15-$25.) (T.S.)

It seems like an oxymoron for the Capri Theater to start its third annual "Legends" series with three relative newcomers. But you can't go wrong with Nancy Harms, who will put the right hue in a program dubbed "Blue: Songs on the Indigo Side." Her debut disc "In the Indigo" was the best Twin Cities jazz vocal album of 2009 -- and one of the most impressive local albums, period. Joining Harms are Katie Gearty, a versatile vocalist who does a sultry "Angel Eyes," and Rachel Holder, a 2007 McNally Smith College of Music graduate who does a very blue reading of "Save Your Love for Me." The set list will include "Blue Moon," "Blueberry Hill" and "Blue Room." (7 p.m. Sat. & 3 p.m. Sun. Capri Theater, $25.) (J.B.)

Known primarily for his debatable 1980s and '90s smooth jazz recordings, sax man Gerald Albright made a favorable impression last month as a guest of the Jazz Crusaders, who regaled packed houses with old-school funky soul jazz. Albright's back in a flash as a headliner, fresh from subsequent gigs in Uganda and South Africa. Hopefully, these shows will turn out to be as meaty and gritty and groovy as the Crusaders' visit -- the odds are decent, since recent Albright recording projects have included tributes to the Stax Records catalog and the J.B.s. (7 & 9:30 p.m. Tue.-Wed., Dakota Jazz Club. $25-$40.) (T.S.)

The surprise jazz gig of the month is a midweek one-nighter by master drummer Louis Hayes, the hard bop sticksman who powered many Cannonball Adderley and Horace Silver classics. Hayes has credits a mile long, including work with John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Dexter Gordon, even Cecil Taylor. His trio features one of the more underrated bassists in the biz, Santi Debriano, plus saxophonist Abraham Burton, who got his start with another great bop drummer, Art Taylor. A must-see for the jazz set. (8 & 10:30 p.m. Wed., Artists' Quarter, $20.) (T.S.)

CHRISTIAN

A regular at local arenas and the State Fair, Amy Grant is scaling back for a special presentation for Compassion International, a Christian child development organization. There will be a gallery exhibit of art and photos reflecting Grant's songs, followed by an intimate concert for 300 people, featuring tunes from Grant's new "Somewhere Down the Road" and other albums. (7 p.m. Wed., the Metropolitan, 5418 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley, $150 & $250.) (J.B.)

CLASSICAL

Is Harry Bicket starting to speak Minnesotan? That wouldn't be a surprise. Having just led Minnesota Opera's "Orpheus and Eurydice," the busy British conductor -- who directs the English Concert, one of London's best period bands -- now offers a well-made program of Purcell, Rameau, Arvo Pärt and James MacMillan with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (which was in the pit for "Orpheus"). Featured are associate concertmaster Ruggero Allifranchini, violinist Sunmi Chang and Daniel Lee, principal cellist of the St. Louis Symphony. (10:30 a.m. Fri., 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Ordway Center. 2 p.m. Sun., Ted Mann Concert Hall. $10-$40.) (L.F.)

The Chopin bicentennial may seem like old news, yet we in the Twin Cities haven't exactly been inundated with the Polish master's music in 2010. Hence the Frederic Chopin Society's undiluted season opener will be gratefully received. Croatian-born, Florida-dwelling Kemal Gekic --a venturesome pianist whose career blossomed when he was panned by the jury at the 1985 Chopin Competition in Warsaw -- has assembled a program that includes the F-minor Fantasy, two Nocturnes and no fewer than 13 of the Etudes, all of which he has lately recorded. (3 p.m. Sun., Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College, St. Paul. $12-$23.) (L.F.)

Contributors: Staff critics Jon Bream and Chris Riemenschneider and freelancers Larry Fuchsberg and Tom Surowicz.

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