The Big Gigs, Jan. 11-17

  • Updated: January 10, 2013 - 3:38 PM

Concert spotlights on Metallagher, Dwight Yoakam, Cafe Accordion Orchestra, Jim Ruiz set and more.

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The members of Metallagher get ready before their show at the Triple Rock Social Club in 2006.

Photo: Jeanna Duerscherl, Star Tribune

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POP/ROCK

At least for those of us lucky enough to get a taste of its live shows back in the day -- and by taste, I mean smashed chunks of watermelon landing in your mouth -- Metallagher was an unforgettable antidote to the often overly serious mid-'00s music scene. The quintet concocted the who'd-a-thunk-it mixture of Metallica tunes and Gallagher bits, combining the biggest band of its members' youth with arguably the worst celebrity comedian of all time. They're back for an almost-annual gig to remind you how bad the hammer-swinging comic really was, but they're also good enough as a cover band to do the pre-"Black Album" tunes justice. The Good Bars and Deaf Mexico open. (10 p.m. Fri., Triple Rock. $10.) Chris Riemenschneider

Just as nonchalantly as he dropped out more than a decade ago, one of the Twin Cities' most buzzed-about indie singers of the '90s is back with the Jim Ruiz Set, a new trio featuring his new wife and a batch of new, classic-sounding lounge-pop songs. Ruiz just released his first album since his last Legendary Jim Ruiz record in 1998, titled "Mount Curve Avenue" and issued on a new local co-op label, Korda Records. Ruiz headlines a showcase for the label with two of its other acts: Ocean Blue, an atmospheric and jangly Pennsylvania buzz band signed to Sire Records in the early '80s and now partially based out of Minneapolis, plus the Owls/Hang-Ups mash-up group the Starfolk. To read an update on Ruiz, see Saturday's Variety section. (9 p.m. Sat., 7th Street Entry. $12.) Riemenschneider

A cult-loved New York band solidly stuck between the grunge and hardcore punk scenes in the early '90s, Quicksand played a hometown reunion gig and Jimmy Fallon's show over the summer, and things went well enough to launch its first tour in 13 years. The quartet released only two crushing albums, "Slip" and "Manic Compression" -- both of which stand up surprisingly well -- before abruptly splitting in 1995. In the interim, bassist Sergio Vega became a member of the Deftones, and frontman Walter produced for the likes of Hot Water Music. They were a monstrous live act, and recent clips suggest they still are. Canadian band Single Mothers opens. (8 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, $25.) Riemenschneider

A sister act originally born as a healing way out of a personal tragedy, the Ericksons have maintained their stark, soul-baring, go-to-the-light tone while stretching out musically on a record that should bring them into the spotlight. "The Wild" was recorded in the semi-wild environment of Fall Creek, Wis., at Justin Vernon's studio, with the same guy who engineered Field Report's record there, Beau Sorenson. Atmospheric guitar/pedal-steel parts and rolling drums add a Daniel Lanois-like sheen to Bethany Valenti's and Jenny Kochsiek's coffeehouse-warm, Emmylou Harris-channeling vocals. The sweet-voiced sibling folkies even get rocking in one of the best tracks, "Find Yourself a Lover." Their album-release party features Jimmy Peterson, of Bellwether and 757s notoriety, as opener. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $12-$15.) Riemenschneider

Come for the good cause, and stay for the hyperactive rock, when the Used heads up the 11th annual Take Action Tour. This year's do-gooder caravan and accompanying compilation album -- from the Hopeless Records nonprofit offshoot Sub City -- benefits the It Gets Better Project, an organization that counsels and encourages gay and lesbian teens. It's also another chance for Utah's angst-ridden Warped Tour vets to promote their fifth album, "Vulnerable." Rounding out the lineup are Michigan metalcore band We Came as Romans, Crown the Empire and Mindflow. (5:30 p.m. Thu., First Avenue, $27.50.) Riemenschneider

COUNTRY

Always a Nashville outsider, Dwight Yoakam has captured only one Grammy and no prizes from any of the major country award organizations. But this proud purveyor of Bakersfield country music has scored 14 Top 10 country singles, sold more than 25 million albums and won the hearts of many fans with his honky-tonk tales, edgy big-screen acting and sexy dancing legs in concert. Yoakam's recent album "3 Pears" -- his first collection of original material in seven years -- was one of the best country albums of 2012. With a 1960s vibe permeating the collection, there are introspective ballads (the Buddy Holly-meets-Roy Orbison "Trying"), honky-tonk romps ("Dim Lights, Thick Smoke"), twangy Beatlesy pop ("Take Hold of My Hand") and Byrds-like pop-rock ("Nothin' But Love," "A Heart Like Mine," produced by Beck). (8 p.m. Fri. Treasure Island Casino, Red Wing, Minn. $38-$48, 1-877-849-1640.) Jon Bream

FOLK/ROOTS

With a double bill of Kelly Joe Phelps and Peter Mulvey, you get two fine songwriters and singers who are also excellent guitarists. Pacific Northwest bluesman Phelps is a critics' darling and musicians' favorite known for his stellar slide-guitar work, both lap slide and bottleneck. Wisconsin-based Mulvey is nominally a folkie, but his range of interests and material seems boundless. Lesser-known but ultimately more interesting, Mulvey has terrific taste in cover material, putting his own quirky stamp on gems by everyone from Marvin Gaye to Leonard Cohen to Thelonious Monk. 8 p.m. Fri., Cedar Cultural Center, $15.) Tom Surowicz

Local world-music treasure Cafe Accordion Orchestra, led by Dan "Daddy Squeeze" Newton, releases yet another tasty CD this week, number nine in its cool catalog. "La Zingara" offers a Newton's Sampler mix of global grooves, blues and jazz, with tunes from Mexico, Greece, Venezuela, Finland, Memphis and Tin Pan Alley. The CD's two guest stars are swell multi-lingual singer Diane Jarvi, who sadly strolls down the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," and supple trad-jazz clarinet master Tony Balluff of the Southside Aces. There's quite a stylistic jump from the hot gypsy swing of "Rythmes Gitans" to the Memphis Jug Band's "Fourth Street Mess Around," but it's all in a night's work, along with some cumbias and waltzes, for the CAO. (8 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, $15-$18.) Surowicz

Two of Minnesota's best acoustic guitarists join forces for a church concert with an early start time and a low ticket price. Tim Sparks is known for his mastery of swing and bop jazz, Balkan music and Jewish traditional melodies, plus his ever-popular reworking of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" for finger-style guitar. Phil Heywood's specialty is also finger-style guitar, which he applies to a few blues and folk classics and lots of evocative original compositions in the "American Primitive" vein. Heywood has recorded five solo CDs and played duets with legends including Leo Kottke (on a national tour) and Chet Atkins (on "A Prairie Home Companion"). (6 p.m. Sun., Hope Christian Church, 4911 Hodgson Rd., Shoreview, 651-486-6243. $5-$7.) Surowicz

JAZZ

The band Lulu's Playground got started at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., then relocated to the Twin Cities -- heck, what's there to do in Appleton besides root for the Packers? The quartet's instrumentation is rather unique, with trumpet (Adam Meckler), cello (Cory Grossman), accordion (Steven Hobert) and electric guitar (Evan Montgomery). Meckler already has made a splash in the local jazz scene, leading his own orchestra and working with Todd Clouser's A Love Electric and the Jack Brass Band. In Lulu's Playground, he gets to play some decidedly non-jazz material, including Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," on which the band shows off its surprising four-part vocal harmony skills. This weekend the combo celebrates its debut CD, "Shadow Voices." (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists' Quarter, $10.) Surowicz

Saxophonist Nathan Hanson of the Fantastic Merlins is based in St. Paul, but just as well-known in France, where he frequently performs. This weekend, he once again assembles his mighty Saxophone Choir, a seldom-seen band which is full of firepower. It co-stars Donald Washington, George Cartwright, Pat Moriarty, Scott Fultz and Pat O'Keefe, all on various saxes, plus bassist Brian Roessler and drummer Pete Hennig. In addition to Hanson's original works, which leave plenty of room for improv, the sax choir will tackle compositions of Carla Bley, Carei Thomas, Milton Nascimento and veteran French avant drummer Jacques Thollots, in whose quartet Hanson often works. Tickets are cheap -- less than a buck per saxophonist. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Cedar Cultural Center, $5.) Surowicz

The Latin Jazz All-Stars' lineup changes a bit from gig to gig, but the high quality of the musicianship is assured in any band marshaled by charismatic trombonist Steve Turre. He's an aural wonder, whether playing with the "Saturday Night Live" band, feting his old boss Rahsaan Roland Kirk or making musical magic with conch shells. This edition of the band also features charming West Coast timbales legend (and Sheila E.'s dad, and Alejandro Escovedo's brother, and Nicole Richie's grandfather!) Pete Escovedo, along with Puerto Rican flute star Nestor Torres and congas king Wilson "Chembo" Corniel. See Sunday's Star Tribune for a story about the band. (7 & 9 p.m. Tue., Dakota Jazz Club, $25-$30.) Surowicz

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