Live This Weekend: Helmet, Polica, Blitzen Trapper, DRILL Fest, and Lots More

Friday, Nov. 22

It’s difficult to locate the stylistic thread that connects the hardcore-indebted band Helmet with experimental post-punk group Wire, but the influence is there, according to the former’s frontman, Page Hamilton. That’s why he added his brutal guitar work to Wire’s 2008 release Object 47, and why his band will be delivering monstrous, pounding riffage as part of Wire’s DRILL: Seattle festival. Anyone not sated by this performance can catch Hamilton grinding out “Pink Flag” with his heroes as part of the Pink Flag Guitar Orchestra Saturday night at Neumos. With FF. Crocodile. 8 p.m. $20 adv. MARK S. BAUMGARTEN

Helms Alee’s music sounds like a giant slab of bloody steak—meaty, raw, and thick. These three Beavis and Butt-head enthusiasts make grungy gut-punchers that snarl thanks to the craftsmanship of guitarist Ben Verellen’s eponymous custom amps, which he forges in his Fremont studio. Their new record comes out in January, and tonight’s show might include sneak peeks of new material. With QUI, Victory and Associates, Tacos! Chop Suey. 9 p.m. $8. 21 and over. KS

If you’re like me, the last time you thought of Aaron Carter was about the same time you last popped a chubby in social studies thinking about Larisa Oleynik. So here’s a brief rundown of what he’s been up to since he regaled us with his tale of beating Shaquille O’Neal in one-on-one street ball: His last studio album was in 2003. He lasted seven episodes on Dancing With the Stars. He went to rehab for Xanax addiction. He told one radio station, “I still have my fun.” He did a 15-month off-Broadway run as the lead in The Fantasticks. He’s since played a rematch against Shaq. Shaq won 116-0. Auto-Tune was invented. Carter takes full advantage of the new technology in “This Is Where We Begin,” his new single—which to his credit shows a serious effort to restart his musical career, and which no doubt will engender fond memories of middle school for many of us. With Matt Bacnis Band, Saving Sunsets, Amanda Markley, Hatters for Hire. El Corazon. $17–$70. 7:30 p.m. Bar with ID. DP

When Nine Inch Nails waved goodbye back in 2009, many wondered if it spelled the end of Trent Reznor’s great industrial revolution. Thankfully, that proved not to be the case. With the band’s latest record, Hesitation Marks, Reznor has one again delivered a wonderfully unsettling collection of innovative and beautifully textured tunes. With Explosions in the Sky. KeyArena. 8 p.m. $50 and up. CORBIN REIFF

Lunice This Montreal producer has been making hard-hitting, hip-hop–influenced instrumental electronica since way before trap was dance music’s biggest trend. Red Bull Music Academy organized this show, so expect lots of obnoxious corporate branding, business-casual swag, and a cool MC bro to get the crowd “turnt up.” With Rocky Fresh, B. Bravo. Nectar Lounge. 8 p.m. $10 adv./$15 DOS. 18 and over. AG

It might not have fame or fortune, but Quasi has spirit in spades. Last month, Kill Rock Stars released the Portland duo’s 11th-ish album, Mole City, a raucous collection of 24 gritty, playful, dark, and bright indie-rock tracks. Clearly the band has not taken kindly to editing itself, but that is the simple joy of Quasi. Sam Coomes is a no-nonsense indie-rock originator, and while he doesn’t always give the audience what it wants, he often delivers a high-wire act of a show. And even if the refreshingly feral songs began to fall apart, Janet Weiss—as powerful a metronomic figure as there is—keeps it all together. With Blues Control, Hobosexual. Tractor Tavern. 9:30 p.m. $15 adv. MSB

Saturday, Nov. 23

Not only does Star Anna have one of the coolest names, she also has one of the coolest voices: a blistering, alt-country croon that makes you take a step back the first time you hear it—raw, in-your-face, and unapologetic. Her latest album, the fittingly titled Go to Hell—the first not to include her longtime band the Laughing Dogs—is out now. With Lowlands. Blue Moon. 9:30 p.m. $10. ACP

Blitzen Trapper Eric Earley’s ballads often amount to long strings of non sequiturs and nonsensical similes that can be frustrating to literal thinkers, but if you let them, they can also hurtle you through a yarn as thrilling as it is dizzying. You don’t know what Earley might say next, and synth-country band Blitzen Trapper plays the perfect instrumental backing to these tales of Western-state rogues and romancers. Its latest offering, VII, opens with Earley hunting deer “up past the rail with a lamp and a knife and a rusty pail—whatever the hell that means—and continues on that familiar tack for the remainder. It’s a fun ride if you let it be. With Heatwarmer. The Neptune. 9 p.m. $20 adv./$23 DOS. DP

British art-punk pioneers Wire have been influencing waves of musicians since the 1977 release of their classic debut album Pink Flag, rocking and owning the post-punk too-cool-for-school affability that local ladies Chastity Belt (also on the bill) have built a shambling, drunken post-grad empire upon. Tonight’s show will cap the three-night DRILL festival—“an unpretentious city festival” curated by the band at small venues around town—with an epic cover of “Pink Flag” by the Pink Flag Guitar Orchestra. With Vestals. Neumos. 8 p.m. $25 adv. 21 and over. KS

Poliça is a male producer/female singer duo (and an offshoot of Justin Vernon–associated soft-rock band Gayngs) that plays R&B-inflected electro-pop. Their music, however, is more rock-oriented than many of the laptop-experiment groups that occupy this genre, and fittingly, they perform live with a full band. With Marijuana Deathsquads. Showbox at the Market. 9 p.m. $16.50 adv./$19 DOS. All ages. AG

Brett Dennen is a ginger who can sing, and he wears great hats, too. Touring in support of his most recent release, Smoke and Mirrors, the singer/songwriter from NoCal delivers sweet, folk-inspired pop tracks that are probably what Ed Sheeran would sound like if he listened to more Bob Dylan. With GRIZFOLK. The Triple Door. 8 p.m. SOLD OUT. KP

Sunday, Nov. 24

Albert Hammond Jr. The video for “St. Justice,” the lead single from the Strokes guitarist’s solo EP, lets us look inside his apartment. Hammond appears shirtless in much of the video, and he’s obviously been working out—perhaps a way to manage the addictions he’s recently overcome. With Rathbone. Chop Suey. 8 p.m. $18–$20. MFB

Mannheim Steamroller is a bit like fruitcake. It only shows up around the holidays, and no one’s quite sure where it came from or who actually likes it. But for some reason, it just doesn’t seem like Christmas without it. The Paramount. 7:30 p.m. $34.25–$84.25. MFB

Things have been quiet with Anna Nalick of late. After debuting in 2005 with the megahit “Breathe (2 AM),” the singer/songwriter dealt with record-label woes and delays surrounding her sophomore album, 2011’s Broken Doll & Odds & Ends. Nalick’s not completely M.I.A. though; her Facebook page boasts a handful of West Coast shows plus a starring role in a play. With Dan Godlin. Studio Seven. 7 p.m. $16 adv./$18 DOS. All ages. ACP

Howe Gelb On his latest release, The Coincidentalist, Gelb comes off as the Leonard Cohen of Pima County, the drawling spirit of Tucson delivering quirky poetry in a laid-back baritone, accompanied by Rhodes, acoustic guitar, and the occasion flock of backup singers. This is just the second album Gelb has released since returning to his stomping grounds after a decade living in Denmark. It’s clear that the desert air does him well. With Evening Bell. Tractor Tavern. 8 p.m. $15 adv. MSB

Mary Gauthier, Triple Door. See our preview here .

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