At first blush, Apocalyptica comes across as a cheap trick akin to Pat Boone's goofy metal covers album a few years back. Remember "In a Metal Mood"? It got lots of media attention, but when it came time to actually listen to the disc, it was simply awful. Pat Boone sucked? Go figure.
That initial blush of Apocalyptica can cause the same bad rush. The difference is that when you hear their CDs, everything changes for the better. Apocalyptica's shtick is that the four classically trained Finnish cellists comprising the group cover metal material, too, giving the genre a "classical" sound.
Their 1996 "Plays Metallica by Four Cellos" got metal heads and classical aficionados alike to bang noggins together in joy; in 1998, Apocalyptica returned with covers of Faith No More and Pantera.
Their passionate, precise and intricate interpretations of their muses are evidence that the three Fins love and understand metal. Roll over, Beethoven.
M Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m. The Quest, 110 5th St. N. $15. 338-3383.
Wrap it up
We don't have room to delve into each notable show this week, so let's do a speed-date kinda deal. We'll sit here with arched eyebrows, sweaty palms and tingling nether region while a parade of musical suitors tries their best to get us to sample their wares.
Somewhere in the trippy fogs enveloping psychedelia and the minds of the members of Velvet Underground, exist the heavy, dark inspirations behind Black Mountain. This Vancouver band is the squalling child of singer-songwriter Stephen McBean and mournful vocalist Amber Webber.
Black Mountain appears with Blood Meridian and Ladyhawk on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. at 7th St. Entry, 701 1st Ave. N. Tickets are $8. Call 332-1775 or go to www.first-avenue.com for more information.
Named for the archduke whose murder sparked a world war, Franz Ferdinand is part art-splotched glam and part sugar-stomp-swoon. If that sounds unappealing (or incomprehensible), it's OK. Avoid the Target Center, 600 1st Ave. N., on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. and you should be fine. Ticket information is available at 673-0900 and www.targetcenter.com.
Brooklyn's Marcy Projects sends us homegrown Memphis Bleek, to share the insights laid down on his "534" CD. He'll be at Escape Ultra Lounge, 600 Hennepin Ave., on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 333-8855 for more information on this 18 and over concert.
Is 20 years too long for real punks to stick around? Of course. But it's not too long for L.A. hardcore punk spawn Social Distortion, all grown up now and with only singer-guitarist Mike Ness left from the original line-up. Social Distortion is at The Quest on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $24.
Idlewild is at First Ave., 701 1st Ave. N., on Friday, Sept. 23 with Inara George. Tickets are $10-$12. Call 332-1775 or visit www.first-avenue.com for more information.
The John Mayer Trio show, with opener Charlie Sexton, at The Quest on Friday night is sold out.
Legendary jazz guitarist Bill Frissell is at the Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S., on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. with his Unspeakable Trio. "Frisell has carved a niche by virtue of his sound. His ability as an original, lyrical player of melody combines with a unique (if much imitated) sound to make him one of the most singular musicians of his generation," wrote critic Chris Kelsey of this jazz master. Tickets are $35. Call 375-7622 or go to www.walkerart.org for more information.
The melodic post-punk folk of Scotland's Proclaimers will be preceded by Deadman at the Fine Line on Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $17.
Michael Metzger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.