8 WED • MUSIC: Talib Kweli — Few hip-hop artists can match Talib Kweli’s socially conscious spiritually. The success of his early career was due in no small part to collaborations with Mos Def and DJ Hi-Tek, but what has always separated Kweli from the pack lies in his message. His 1998 release, Mos Def And Talib Kweli Are Black Star, was one of the first records to preach positivity and, with like-minded releases from the Coup and Lauryn Hill, helped to give a moral balance to hip hop. But Kweli’s message is delivered off the stage as well. He’s been busy operating a political bookstore based in New York City, traveling internationally to speak out for human rights and helping to organize the Hip Hop For Respect project to raise awareness of police brutality in the wake of the Amadou Diallo shooting. A heartfelt innovator and a monstrous talent, Talib Kweli will perform an all-ages show at St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress, Detroit. Call 313-961-MELT.
10 FRI • COMMUNITY: Maison Bleue — The International Institute has become well-known for its events which promote some of the most unique opportunities for cultural exchange in the city. With the performance of the Cajun/zydeco band, Maison Bleue, the Institute will offer an evening of spirited music, dance and food from the heart of Louisiana. Dinner selections from the outstanding Small World Café will include crawfish etouffee and po’ boys followed by the accordion-driven Maison Bleue and a casual open mic for musicians and poets. Bon temps roule! The International Institute is at 111 E. Kirby Ave., Detroit. Call 313-871-8600 for more information.
10 FRI • MUSIC: Belle & Sebastian — You’d be hard-pressed to find much venomous criticism of Belle & Sebastian, which has sat squarely in the fluffy throne of UK indie pop for quite a spell. For all its alternately adored and dismissed tweeness, Belle & Sebastian as an indie icon is riddled with precarious contradictions. The group’s sprawling concern for staunchly independent ethics and its refusal to play ball with the money-grubbers in the music industry seems consciously antagonistic: as much a dangling carrot for the hype-cynics as a rallying call for the eternally outcast. And in the end, front man Stuart Murdoch’s dime store (Nick) Drakeisms and mix-tape-ready songs about the dysfunctional love lives of cuddly adolescents are either critically adored or ignored altogether. It could be ignored with good reason — aside from style points and scene status the Glaswegian collective has been a musical yawn that could easily get under the radar. If you have been ignoring them, expect the State Theatre (2115 Woodward, Detroit; call 313-961-5450) to filled to the brim with twentysomething Smiths fans with enough collective angst and awkward social skills to drain every ounce of serotonin from a 20-block radius.
10 FRI • ART: A Crisis of Perception: Toward the Long Now — The work of Julie Meitz, A Crisis of Perception: Toward the Long Now, is a reflection on the concept of time and our civilization’s short attention span. Broken down into heady topics including “consequences of the acceleration of technology,” the “dominance of commerce” and the “detriments of short-term thinking vs. long-term thinking,” Meitz’s installation work is composed of six sets that include video, film, art, and performances by actors, dancers and DJs. A Crisis of Perception: Toward the Long Now will be presented Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11, 8-9:30 p.m. at the ZeitGeist Gallery/Theater & One X Warehouse Dance Club, located half a block apart at 2661 and 2575 Michigan Ave. between 19th and 20th Streets, less than a mile west of Tiger Stadium. For additional information and reservations, please call 313-965-9192.
12 SUN • MUSIC: Bright Eyes — Conor Oberst is for real. We promise. As the man behind the Bright Eyes’ phenomenon, he has taken an acoustic guitar and genuinely tragic ennui and driven the final stake through the heart of all things heretofore considered “emo.” Oberst definitions of “emotional” are delivered by the gallon on every stage he graces and has brought him international acclaim. According to the bible of hipness, Mojo Magazine, Oberst’s hometown of Omaha, Neb., has enough young talent to “make you forget about Detroit” and Oberst is at the front of the pack. Give a listen to him whining and screaming through nervy, death-obsessed rants of raw expression and guaranteed, it will raise the hair on your arm. He will perform at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward, Detroit. Call 313-833-9700 for details.
14 TUE • MUSIC: Robert Earl Keen — Houston-born Robert Earl Keen is an indomitable country artist who long ago outgrew the simple guy-with-guitar confines that come hand in hand with the “singer/songwriter” categorization. He financed every penny of his dramatically beautiful solo debut, No Kinda Dancer, in 1984 with $4,500 in loans. The album created a buzz in country music circles and earned him a nomination for the Austin Chronicle’s Songwriter of the Year award. Even though he didn’t win, he was soon a fixture of the national country circuit who has never ceased to earn critical and popular favor. Almost 20 years after his solo debut he has signed with Ryan Adams’ Lost Highway for his latest release, Gravitational Forces. An evening with Keen at the Magic Bag (22920 Woodward, Ferndale; call 248-544-3030) will be all heart.