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ZZ Ward

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Mark E of Eels

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Gaslight Anthem plays First Avenue on Thursday.

danny clinch ,

The Big Gigs: Feb. 22-28

  • Star Tribune
  • February 21, 2013 - 8:55 PM

POP/ROCK

The array of acts ZZ Ward opened for on tour last year is emblematic of her cross-stitched hip-hop/pop/soul pattern, including Fitz & the Tantrums, Grace Potter and Common. A child of Los Angeles, the 24-year-old singer was discovered by E. Kidd Bogart, son of Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart and co-writer of Rihanna’s “S.O.S.” and Beyoncé’s “Halo.” He helped Ward craft her 2012 debut, “Till the Casket Drops,” an overbaked collection that too often mimics Amy Winehouse but nonetheless proves she’s much more than a pretty face. British singer/songwriter Martin Hurley opens. (8 p.m. Fri., Varsity Theater. Sold out.) Chris Riemenschneider

After some awkward years where Mark “E” Everett seemed to be hiding too far behind his shades, his eccentric psychedelic-fuzz-rock band Eels have stepped it up with some reliably electrifying concerts of late. Their two-week-old album “Wonderful, Glorious” offers plenty of fuel to add to the fire, with some of Everett’s hardest-rocking tunes and his affinity for Tom Waits on full display. Asbury Park, N.J.-reared singer Nicole Atkins opens. (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, $27.50.) Riemenschneider

His old partner, Kurt Neumann, couldn’t make it through the wintry weather from Kansas City last week and had to cancel the BoDeans’ gig at the Guthrie. So how apropos that his former partner Sammy Llanas, who left the BoDeans a couple of years ago, is playing the Icehouse. These days Llanas is more of an acoustic singer/songwriter, as evidenced on his 2011 solo disc “4 A.M.” Minneapolis singer/songwriter Kevin Bowe opens. (11 p.m. Fri., Icehouse, $10.) Jon Bream

Working under a conjoined moniker — Wolf Lords — that belies their often tranquil sound, Twin Cities music stars Aby Wolf and Grant Cutler make almost as a great a pair on record as they do on paper. She’s the once-folky and hippieish singer/songwriter who has been dabbling in hip-hop and other electronic influences for several years, including a long stint in Dessa’s band. He’s the electronic/synth-pop sonic guru who stepped out with the Gorgeous Lords but is still best known for teaming with another strong female singer in Lookbook. Their full-length debut, “Wolf Lords,” runs the gamut from Poliça-style throb-pop to Goldfrapp-ian electro-whir to more experimental, ambient sounds built around Wolf’s flowery but fiery voice. Their release party features hodgepodge opening acts Lizzo (of the Chalice), Young Baby (a k a Ander Other) and rockers Demographics. (10 p.m. Sat., 7th Street Entry, $8-$10.) Riemenschneider 

If you didn’t make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, the next best thing might be the New Orleans Suspects, an all-star Crescent City band featuring members of the Neville Brothers, the Radiators, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and James Brown’s group. As heard on last year’s swampy, spirited and jam-loving disc “Caught Live at the Maple Leaf,” the Suspects travel through a New Orleans catalog of tunes by Professor Longhair, James Booker, the Meters and the Dirty Dozen, along with sax-, keyboard- and guitar-fueled originals and a choice cover of Traffic’s “Glad.” A funky good time. (9:30 p.m. Sat., Whiskey Junction, $20.) Bream

Two midlevel stalwarts of thrash metal’s ’80s heyday, Testament and Overkill make for one big headbanger throwdown. Their so-called Dark Roots of Thrash Tour is named after Testament’s 2012 album, “Dark Roots of Earth,” which earned return-to-form accolades for singer Chuck Billy and his Bay Area band. Overkill also is touting a new one, “The Electric Age,” which fellow Jersey boy Eddie Truck continues to rave about on “That Metal Show.” Another ’80s holdover, Phoenix’s Flotsam & Jetsam, opens with Aussie newbies 4arm. (6 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, $25.) Riemenschneider

Swedish black-metal heroes Meshuggah pretty well decimate the competition (as well as listeners’ ears) on their seventh album in a quarter-century career, “Koloss,” released to raves last March. The record was at least strong enough to merit a second go-round on tour, this time at a new venue that metal fans seem to be liking. Animals as Leaders and Intronaut open. (6:30 p.m. Sun., Mill City Nights, $26-$30.) Riemenschneider

It’s not even March, but the Dropkick Murphys don’t need no stinking saint to tell them when it’s time to ram some Irish flavor into your local rock bar. The Boston punk mainstays — that was their song “I’m Shipping Off to Boston” that bled onto the screen in Scorsese’s “The Departed” — keep their mean, green sound fresh on the new album “Signed and Sealed in Blood,” which debuted at No. 9 in Billboard last month. Seems these lads are as popular as ever. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Myth, all ages, $29.50.) Riemenschneider

After a very sold-out show at the Fine Line two weeks before their album dropped last summer — and a day after their bus went kaput in North Dakota — hardworking Jersey boys the Gaslight Anthem are finally rolling back around to play a room more their size. Or at least this one didn’t sell out quite so fast. Despite their sleepless night trying to make the gig, the punky and anthemic rockers put on a visceral show at the Fine Line, with the then-unreleased new songs earning as much love from fans as did the favorites from their breakout 2008 album, “The ’59 Sound.” With fellow Garden State punks the Bouncing Souls and Cory Branan. (8:30 p.m. Thu., First Avenue, sold out.) Riemenschneider

COUNTRY

Milwaukee’s favorite country son, Josh Thompson, released his debut album in the summer of 2009 and has been lost in the business that is Nashville almost ever since. He’s issued singles on Columbia and RCA, and now Show Dog/Universal will promote new Thompson music sometime this year. Meanwhile, he’s written tunes for others, including “Tough Goodbye” for Gary Allan, “Church Pew or Barstool” for Jason Aldean and the smash “This Is Country Music” for Brad Paisley. Thompson himself has become a favorite at the Cabooze with his own triumphs, including “Beer on the Table” and “Way Out Here.” Jason Paulson Band opens. (9 p.m. Sat., Cabooze, $18-$20.) Bream

FOLK

Gentle New England folk singer Bill Staines is a longtime Twin Cities favorite, going back to the days of the old Coffeehouse Extempore, where Nanci Griffith made her first visit as his opening act. His songs have been recorded by Griffith, Jerry Jeff Walker, Irish stars Makem & Clancy, even Grand Ole Opry legend Grandpa Jones, and one of them, “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir,” was turned into a popular children’s book. Staines has a new CD on St. Paul’s Red House Records, “Beneath Some Lucky Star,” which features several original maritime pieces, a Pierce Pettis rewrite of the folk classic “Shady Grove” and an obscure page from the songbook of Ian & Sylvia, “The French Girl.” (7:30 p.m. Sat., Armatage School, 2501 W. 56th St., Mpls., $15-$20.) Tom Surowicz

Ginkgo, St. Paul’s committed coffeehouse, will celebrate its 20th anniversary by paying tribute to folk giant Woody Guthrie with three of Minnesota’s finest: harmonica ace Tony Glover (who met Guthrie in 1962), singing ranger Charlie Maguire and renaissance cowboy Pop Wagner. The trio has been doing an annual salute to Guthrie for four years and put out a noteworthy CD, “Woody Reflected,” in 2011. By the by, Guthrie’s long lost and just published 1947 novel, “House of Earth,” will be for sale at the concert. (Dinner at 6 p.m., music at 7:30 p.m. Sat., Ginkgo Coffeehouse, $37-$51, 651-645-2647.) Bream

JAZZ

Always-intriguing jazz guitar great Bill Frisell played duets with one of his heroes, Jim Hall, at Walker Art Center way back in 1986. But has he ever been presented solo in the Twin Cities before now? It’s doubtful, and there’s another unique twist to this show at Macalester College. It’s a freebie, with first-come, first-serve seating. That’s pretty cool, provided you’re not a fashionably late person. (8 p.m. Fri., Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, 130 Macalester St., St. Paul. Free.) Surowicz

It was a treat to have bubbly Latin jazz percussionist and vocalist Estaire Godinez living in the Twin Cities for several years, singing super-sultry and irresistible ballads, then raising the roof with hard-driving conga workouts. Godinez has star power, and it’s shining in L.A. these days. Besides being nominated for a Latin Grammy, Godinez has played lots of club shows with actor Jeff Goldblum, who’s a credible lounge jazz pianist and singer. She’s had some camera time herself, turning up briefly in four Hollywood films and playing a shaman in an episode of the TV series “Private Practice.” Still, nothing beats hearing her sing “Besame Mucho” in person. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists’ Quarter, $15; 5 p.m. Sat., Museum of Russian Art, $20.) Surowicz

WORLD/ROOTS

A savvy young slack key guitarist who studied under the late master Sonny Chillingworth, Makana doesn’t confine himself to traditional Hawaiian music. His most popular song, “We Are the Many,” is a powerful Dylanesque protest number for the 99 percent (Rolling Stone magazine called it “the Occupy anthem”). And he declared his 2008 CD “Different Game” to be “the birth of slack rock.” You probably heard his music on the soundtrack of the George Clooney movie “The Descendants,” and his fans include guitar superstars Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Carlos Santana (for whom he’s opened many shows) and Joe Satriani. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $22.) Surowicz

Acoustic blues charmer Eric Bibb has become an annual visitor to the Dakota, filling the house with intimate, easygoing sets rich in blues and folk history. He usually brings an outstanding if little-known collaborator to play rhythm and engage in guitar duets. But this time, his co-star is just as famous, a superstar in Mali and a big draw across the rest of Africa — Habib Koite, who’s quite an engaging showman himself. The duo’s new CD, “Brothers in Bamako,” mixes blues, African music and folk classics, including fresh renditions of “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad.” (7 & 9 p.m. Tue., Dakota, $25-$35.) Surowicz

CLASSICAL

According to Bakken Trio cellist Mina Fischer, “Giant gongs and bells from Java forever altered musical history.” In a concert titled “In the Garden of the Gamelan,” the Sumunar Gamelan Society demonstrates how this exotic music influenced Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy. Violinists Gina Di Bello and Stephanie Arado, violist Sabina Thatcher and cellist Eugena Chang then play Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor and Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major. American composer Lou Harrison was also fascinated by this music, and is represented by “Philemon and Baukis” for violin and gamelan. (4 p.m. Sun., MacPhail Center, 501 2nd St., Mpls., $15-$25, 612-374-3175, bakkentrio.org) William Randall Beard

One of the most exciting events Zeitgeist presents is its annual “Playing It Close to Home” concerts, which celebrate the wealth of musical creativity found in our own back yard. In addition to this year’s winners of the annual Eric Stokes Song Contest, the program features works by local composer and clarinetist Jeffrey Brooks. Zeitgeist always endeavors to make new music affordable. (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Studio Z, 275 E. 4th St., Suite 200, St. Paul; 2 p.m. Sun., Roseville High School, 1240 W. County Road B2, Roseville. $10, www.zeitgeistnewmusic.org) Beard

 

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