Tonight: Steve Earle at Woodland Park Zoo, Old 97's at the Showbox at the Market

Ted Barron
Steve Earle, with Joe Ely. Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., 684-4800. 6 p.m. $21. All ages. Steve Earle may be many things, but he is definitely not subtle. As a songwriter and performer, Earle has spent the last quarter-century telling it like it is--and one could argue he had great fun doing exactly that between 2000 and 2008 when a certain fellow Texan was leading our nation. I had to wonder whether or not Earle would remain the disgruntled patriot with Obama in office. But with all the Tea Party goofballs, anti-immigrant racists, and GOP shit-stacks still blocking us from becoming a great nation again, I think it's safe to safe Earle has plenty to sing about. BRIAN BARR

Old 97's, with The David Wax Museum. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $25. While frontman Rhett Miller's dashing good looks and periodic bids for solo stardom are understandable distractions, the meat of the matter is that the Old 97's are a reliably electrifying, classic American roots-rock band that everyone should see at some point. For more than 15 years, they've been road warriors, purveying a live show that swings joyously between shambolic spectacle and well-oiled onslaught. While they've never attained the level of acclaim that peers like Wilco or Ryan Adams enjoy, many of the anthems in their back catalog (such as the roof-raising "Timebomb") remain some of the best songs in the so-called alt-country canon. HANNAH LEVIN

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