THE SMOKING POPES, THE URBAN LOUNGE, Monday, Nov. 5, 9 p.m., $12
Hard to believe Chicago's Smoking Popes took 10 years off in the middle of their career, because the band led by the three Caterer Brothers delivers the kind of timeless pop-rock that endures through the years. Need proof? You'll get it on this tour as the band plays its entire 1995 major-label debut, Born to Quit, in its entirety every night, along with a selection of tunes from its older indie records and the couple of releases they've had since reforming in 2008. Listen to the songs from Born to Quit today, and the lyrical themes and energetic instrumentation still resound. Not a bad way to start a week; you'll be glad The Smoking Popes quit quitting and got back on stage. Luther opens the show.
MINUS THE BEAR, THE DEPOT, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m., $19 advance/$22 day of show
Just more than 10 years after forming in Seattle, Minus The Bear just seems to be getting better with each album they release. The band's new one, Infinity Overhead, just arrived in September, and the band's songs are at their most sophisticated, full of complex time signatures and experimental sounds pulled from the instruments of singer/guitarist Jake Snider, guitarist Dave Knudson, bassist Cory Murchy, synthesizer player Alex Rose and drummer Erin Tate. At times, the band veers into areas of prog and math-rock that aren't really my thing, but the tunes remain rooted in some rock-solid songcraft all the while. Joining them are two bands worthy of headlining themselves. Cursive out of Omaha is a long-time Utah favorite and regular visitors to town, and Girl in a Coma are a rocking trio on Joan Jett's Blackheart Records label--a stamp of high quality in my book.