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Thurston Moore’s Chelsea Light Moving plays the Triple Rock on Wednesday.

TONY NELSON • Special to the Star Tribune ,

Rihanna

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Local Natives play First Avenue on Saturday.

TOM OXLEY ,

Lucy Rose

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Ecid

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The Big Gigs for week of March 22

  • March 22, 2013 - 10:12 AM

POP/ROCK

On 2011’s “Fixin’ to Die,” G. Love traded Special Sauce, his usual backup band, for the Avett Brothers, who produced the disc. It’s kinda country, kinda bluesy (with covers of Son House and Bukka White) and kinda special. Since his unforgettable debut at the old Uptown Bar in 1994, the blues-loving, hip-hop-breathing Philly star has always slayed Twin Cities audience. On this trip, he’ll be joined by Special Sauce. Arrive early for highly talented Americana singer-songwriter John Fullbright, a Grammy-nominated Oklahoman who impressed opening for Shawn Colvin at the Guthrie, especially with his Merle Haggard-evoking original “Forgotten Flowers.” (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, $25.) Jon Bream

 

“Miracle Mile,” the new album by sparkly synth-poppers Strfkr, deals in the summer-breeze disco and psychedelic divergences that have marked the Portland quartet’s career. If not groundbreaking, main man Joshua Hodge’s danceable, mid-tempo magic is infectious. (9 p.m. Fri., Varsity Theater, 18-plus, $13-$15.) Michael Rietmulder

 

Kyle Falconer, frontman for Scottish guitar-pop band the View, described their latest album, “Cheeky for a Reason,” as “Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ done by the Clash.” So, greatest album ever, right? Not quite. But even if the View stays in the middle of the road, at least they’re cruisin’ in a rather sleek ride filled with a bunch of guitars-and-good-times-loving rockers. (9 p.m. Fri., 7th Street Entry, 18-plus, $10-$12.) Mark Brenden

 

Low’s new Jeff Tweedy-produced album for Sub Pop Records, “The Invisible Way,” is a unique affair, with drummer Mimi Parker stepping out front more as a singer and with piano being a primary instrument. The Duluth trio is making its Twin Cities release concert all the more unique by recruiting members of Trampled by Turtles for collaborators and taping it as a “Current Sessions” special for 89.3 the Current. Read an interview with frontman Alan Sparhawk at startribune.com/music. (8 p.m. Sat., Fitzgerald Theater, sold out.) Chris Riemenschneider

 

Fans of L.A.-based Local Natives enjoy a certain cinematography with their music. With dreamy, ventilated three-part harmonies and ever-building drum and guitar rhythms, the band likes to reach a kind of musical orgasm in the middle of its songs. Produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, the second Natives LP, “Hummingbird,” has garnered pleasant reviews since its January release. Any Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend comparisons come of the group’s own volition — nothing new this way comes. (9 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, 18-plus. Sold out.) Brenden

 

Uh, oh. Rihanna has been suffering from laryngitis, which forced her to cancel two recent shows on her just-started Diamonds World Tour. Does that mean pop’s reigning sexpot — who has enjoyed a remarkable eight-year run of Top 10 pop hits, including the current striking ballad “Stay” — will turn to lip synching? In past shows, she has proved to be an impressively strong vocalist and a provocative entertainer. With RiRi arriving five days after Pink in the same arena, there will be unavoidable comparisons between the two hot pop divas. New York rapper A$AP Rocky opens. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Xcel Energy Center, $59.50-$125.) Bream

 

In the ’90s, every goth with a heart full of discontent and a mom who’d drive them to Hot Topic rocked a KMFDM T-shirt hard. There’s still a legion of fans devoted to the German electro-metalers, who have logged nearly 30 years in the biz. Car-crushing guitars and dark dance beats abound on last month’s “Kunst,” the quintet’s 18th studio album. Legion Within and Czar open. (8 p.m. Mon., First Avenue, 18-plus, $22.) Rietmulder

 

Over the course of a decade, Montreal’s Stars have become masters of synth-pop versatility. With the male/female vocals of Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan, they can sound blithely indie or ambitiously majestic. “Backlines,” from Stars’ sixth and current album, “North,” fits in the latter category, and “Do You Want to Die Together?” melds both styles. Both tracks are receiving love from the Current. Opening are Canada’s Said the Whale and Los Angeles’ Milo Greene, an indie-folk ensemble with sunny melodies and sweet harmonies. (8 p.m. Tue., First Avenue, $20.) Bream

The “who’s that girl?” questions started swirling around U.K. singer/songwriter Lucy Rose after she handled backup vocals for Bombay Bicycle Club. Last September the budding Brit earned her own major-label stripes, dropping her debut album, “Like I Used To,” via Columbia Records. The 23-year-old’s fleshed-out folk-pop and wunderkind girl-with-guitar narrative has garnered Laura Marling comparisons. While she’s capable of bare-bones ballads, most of Rose’s work comes with a stylish pop sheen. Holly Newsom of Zoo Animal and the Chalice’s endearing-in-her-own-right Claire de Lune open. (8 p.m. Tue., 7th Street Entry, 18-plus, $8-$10.) Rietmulder

 

Not only is Nanci Griffith’s 2012 album “Intersection” highly personal, it’s quite painful. “I’ve had a hard life,” she sings in the title track, “and I write it down.” She’s a survivor — of two bouts with cancer, the vagaries of the music biz and some broken romances. She writes with vivid detail and disarming emotion, and there’s an embracing warmth to her work, a reassuring truth, and a hard-won strength. “Intersection,” her 20th album, is another impressive effort from this Grammy-winning Nashville veteran, who still has one foot in folk and the other in country. Opening are the Kennedys, who have often collaborated with Griffith. (7 p.m. Tue.-Thu., Dakota Jazz Club, $50-$60.) Bream

 

Given the personally difficult hiatus of his old band Sonic Youth, singer/guitarist Thurston Moore might have been forgiven for trying a wild new approach in his new group, Chelsea Light Moving. There’s no need for clemency, though. The band’s self-titled debut for Matador Records offers all the burning, feedback-fried guitar work that Moore is known for, with a loose sense of adventure that filled early Sonic Youth albums. At last week’s SXSW fest, the quartet added even more power to some of the quirky tracks. Psychedelic Chicago ensemble Cave and local noise experimentalists Cyrus Vance open. (9 p.m. Wed., Triple Rock, $14-$16.) Riemenschneider

 

Of all the shocking stunts and pairs of pants pulled off by Har Mar Superstar, the most pleasant surprise might be the musical rebirth on his new album, “Bye Bye 17.” The collection boasts an impressive, hard-blasting retro funk and soul sound, like a long-lost Stevie Wonder album with Spoon’s Jim Eno as Phil Spector-ian co-producer. If you’re wondering whether the artist also known as Owatonna native Sean Tillmann is able to sing this sort of stuff, then you haven’t been listening. The record drops April 23 on Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas’ new label, Cult Records, but he’s already promoting it on tour with labelmates the Virgins, stylish dance-rockers from New York. Solid Gold offshoot band Year of the Horse opens. (9 p.m. Thu., Triple Rock, $17.) Riemenschneider

HIP-HOP

Ecid has Prof’s warped, raunchy sense of humor and Astronautalis’ style of gravelly voiced, smooth-flowing delivery, either of which could very well make him Minneapolis’ next rapper-on-the-verge. “All I need is sex, weed and yogurt,” the real-life Jason McKenzie tellingly claims in the opening track of his new EP, “Post Euphoria.” The five-song collection previews a bolder, better, electronically charged sound he has been molding for a full-length due later this year. It also features Sean Anonymous, who pops up in the wildly whirring track “2Pac Cobain” and will open the release show, which doubles as a worst-dressed contest. Bomba de Luz and Enemy Planes also perform. (10 p.m. Sat., Triple Rock, $8-$10.) Riemenschneider

CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN

An “American Idol” finalist in 2006, Mandisa has been making noise in contemporary Christian circles. Last year’s “What If We Were Real” — her third album to receive a Grammy nomination for contemporary gospel recording — sounds like contemporary pop-soul with a positive message; it coincides with her new image after losing 100 pounds. She’s touring with contemporary Christian star Brandon Heath, who twice has won the Dove Award for male vocalist of the year; Carrie Underwood invited him to sing the first-dance song (his “Love Never Fails”) at her wedding. (7 p.m. Sat., Maranatha Hall, Northwestern College, Roseville, $20-$30, 651-631-5151.) Bream

WORLD

For her fifth album, “Desfado,” Portuguese fado star Ana Moura made some big changes: she recorded in Los Angeles, cut three songs in English (one supposedly written for her by Prince) and worked with female-friendly producer Larry Klein (Madeleine Peyroux, Shawn Colvin, Joni Mitchell), and keyboard superstar Herbie Hancock (who plays on one English number). Moura’s smoky, sultry voice works just fine in English, whether interpreting Mitchell (“A Case of You”) or Prince’s cocktail-jazz piece of yearning (“Dream of Fire”). And of course she’s potently passionate in Portuguese. (7 p.m. Sun.-Mon., Dakota, $40.) Bream

BLUES

Three great harp players and one outstanding guitarist commune for a “Blues Harmonica Blowout.” Tireless organizer Mark Hummel arrives from the Bay Area, while Corky Siegel and the venerable Billy Boy Arnold blow in from Chicago. Arnold is a great singer, the original jukebox hitmaker of “I Wish You Would,” “I Ain’t Got You,” and “I’m a Man” (with Bo Diddley), and he also likes to strap on a guitar. Siegel’s versatility is remarkable, as he’s played rock, folk, even classical chamber music, and is an adept barrelhouse pianist. And it should be a heckuva backing band, judging by the presence of guitar all-pro Billy Flynn, the pride of Green Bay, last seen locally with the Cash Box Kings and known for his work with Muddy Waters. (7 p.m. Fri., Dakota Jazz Club, $25.) Tom Surowicz

 

Few bluesmen can say they worked with punk hero Richard Hell. That’s one of Popa Chubby’s more curious credits. The elaborately tattooed big guy from the Bronx laces his blues with lots of 1960s-style rock. And he certainly likes Jimi Hendrix, as evidenced by his three-CD-plus-DVD set humorously titled “Electric Chubbyland.” (9 p.m. Sat., Famous Dave’s Uptown, $6.) Surowicz

 

Sustaining a solo accordion record, even when also an accomplished blues singer, is not easy. But Dan Newton does a good job on “Daddy Squeeze Solo,” mixing traditional tunes with original numbers steeped in tradition, happily raiding the songbooks of everyone from David Bromberg to Spanky & Our Gang. The disc has a classic West Bank feel from the outset, with cool opener “Last Hot Day of the Summer” sounding like a rewrite of the Koerner, Ray & Glover favorite “Black Dog.” Newton celebrates the album’s release, ironically, with a show at a used record shop. (3 p.m. Sun., Hymie’s Vintage Records, 3820 E. Lake St., Mpls. Free.) Surowicz

JAZZ

The Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra pulls off another coup, premiering the “Concerto for Big Band,” a k a the “Concerto Nova,” penned for the group by the mercurial, eccentric, often brilliant composer-arranger William Allaudin “Bill” Mathieu. Known for his chart-writing for Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington while still in his early 20s, Mathieu was also the first music director of fabled Chicago improv troupe Second City. Nova leader Mike Krikava established a fertile working relationship with the California-based composer a few years back, which led to Nova premiering other vintage charts of his on a 2011 album. Besides the six-movement concerto, this concert will feature a slew of Mathieu pieces, including work done for Kenton and the Duke. (7 p.m. Sun., Studio Z, 275 E. 4th St., Suite 200, St. Paul. $10.) Surowicz





 

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