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The Thing 

Scandinavian free-jazz trio the Thing performs in matching Ruby's BBQ T-shirts and pals around with rock giants Thurston Moore and Jim O'Rourke. So it shouldn't have been much of a shock that the band opened its 2009 double LP Bag It! (Smalltown Superjazzz) with combustible covers of international punks the Ex (Netherlands) and 54 Nude Honeys (Japan) and closed it with a half-hour improv titled "Beef Brisket (For Ruby's)." Or that it hired power producer Steve Albini to man the boards. (That Albini said yes is another matter.) Closing out the Big Top's Sound-Circus concert series, the Thing — saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, with special guest sax sensei Joe McPhee — is currently in the middle of its "Smoked Meat & BBQ Tour," a saucy jaunt through the South in which stops center around dry-rub menus and set lists are peppered with discombobulated takes on James "Blood" Ulmer and Lightning Bolt. Someone tell the Joint to pull more pork. Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and New Orleans guitarist Donald Miller open. Tickets $20 general admission, $15 students and 3RCP members. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

June 24

The Thing with Joe McPhee, Tatsuya Nakatani and Donald Miller

8 p.m. Thursday

Big Top Gallery, 1638 Clio St., 569-2700; www.3rcp.com

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