Way up on Pat
When I was growing up, the music of legendary jazz guitarist Pat Metheny was about as much a part of our household as the furniture or the family cat. I mean, my dad played him constantly, and when he and his friends got together to jam, it was Metheny's music they were so desperately trying to cover (and even today, my dad cringes when he talks about trying in vain to hit Metheny's manic riffs).
As a result of being exposed to Metheny's work for nearly 30 years of my life, I have had time to accumulate a bundle of theories on the origins of Metheny's completely and instantly distinctive sound and the inherent optimism that pervades his music - so many so, in fact, that it was almost a relief to be asked to write the intro to the Hal Leonard tab book "The Complete Pat Metheny" back in 1999. It's nice when life offers you the paid equivalent of a trip to the psychiatrist's couch.
Over the years, Metheny has worked with an amazing and diverse collection of mainstream and experimental musicians, including David Bowie, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman and Steve Reich. His newest album, "The Way Up," is both a return to the "old" Pat Metheny sound and something entirely different. Along with longtime keyboardist Lyle Mays, Steve Rodby (bass), Antonio Sanchez (percussion), Cuong Vu (trumpet), and Gregoire Maret (harmonica), Metheny and Mays have created their answer to a world dominated by iPods and the three-minute attention span of the typical music consumer: "The Way Up" has one song on the entire album - one song that lasts 1 hour, 8 minutes and 10 seconds. This album is probably the closest thing you're going to get to sitting in on a Metheny concert, which tend to just go and go and go without any real breaks between songs - or you can go and actually see this virtuoso perform with the Minnesota Orchestra this Tuesday night.
Tu, Feb 22, 7:30 p.m. Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall $17.30-$53.30 371-5656, www.minnesotaorchestra.org
Checkin' in on the Scene
Feeling a little guilty about not checking out the local music scene for a while? Then this is the night to check out the cream of the crop. Longtime Twin Cities alternative rock legends Arcwelder and Rifle Sport will be hitting the stage for a rare performance, along with Brick Layer Cake, Flour and Kontrol Panel, making for a long night of very beautiful weirdness.
Sa, Feb 26, 9 p.m. 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave. $6. 338-8388, www.first-avenue.com
G-Unit primarily features the lightning talents of rapper 50 Cent, but the Unit's Lloyd Banks is stepping out on his own for this tour. Anyone familiar with his first solo effort, 2004's catchy and sly "Hunger for More" should be just ecstatic about this. The Jamaican-born Banks is an absolute poet behind the mic, drawing beautiful and corrupt portraits of living in bad neighborhoods around bad people and trying to not to die while doing so. There's humor in his work, Tu, Feb 22, 9 p.m. Escape Ultra Lounge, 600 Hennepin Ave. S. 333-8855, www.escapeultralounge.com
Holly Day can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.