Three stages, two days, 20 acts, 23rd year
Brandi Carlile is back where she belongs — the Basilica Block Party. The Seattle area may be home but the Twin Cities is the biggest market for the singer-songwriter with a big voice, a taste for twang and a way with story songs. And the Basilica is her big gig in the Cities. She’ll be joined by James Mercer’s indie rock faves the Shins, “Shut Up and Dance” hitmakers Walk the Moon, piano popstar Gavin DeGraw and others. With three stages over two days, it adds up to 20 acts raising money for the 23rd consecutive year for the restoration of the Basilica of St. Mary. JON BREAM
5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Basilica of St. Mary, Mpls., $50-$110, basilicablockparty.org
About to turn 50, boyish-looking Joshua Bell continues to rank among the world’s most charismatic players. His recital with pianist Sam Haywood is the highlight of opening weekend at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival. The program features Beethoven’s coltish Violin Sonata No. 1, Brahms’ brooding Sonata in D minor and César Franck’s lusciously romantic Violin Sonata, all of which suit Bell’s fiery, expressive personality.
3 p.m. next Sun., Harriet Johnson Auditorium, Winona State University, Winona, Minn. $21-$25, mnbeethovenfestival.org.
The black barbershop is more than a place to get a fade. A new exhibit called “The Shop” argues that the barbershop is no less than “a microcosm of the African-American experience.” The pop-up show uses paintings, photographs and digital art to capture the intimacy of a haircut and the power of a gathering place. The exhibit spotlights eight black Midwest artists, including college student Emma Eubanks and Seitu Jones, whose works dot the Twin Cities.
Ends July 15. Public Functionary, Mpls., publicfunctionary.org.
After recording an album with bluesman Charlie Musselwhite, ever-eclectic Ben Harper has made his first recording in nearly a decade with his original band, the Innocent Criminals. Last year’s “Call It What It Is” is Harper’s most diverse album, embracing everything from island soul to garage rock, with some of the most overt social commentary he’s ever recorded. And the album, like a Harper concert, reminds you that he’s one serious guitar player.
7:30 p.m. Thu. Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, $70-$82.50, suemclean.com.
The title of the musical “Fly by Night” suggests something transitory and fleeting. But director Sarah Rasmussen’s entertaining production suggests a different kind of light and lightness. The 1965-set story chronicles a love triangle involving two West Coast sisters and an aspiring rocker in New York. It is told by a fluid acting ensemble led by narrator Jim Lichtscheidl and rocker Chris Koza, making his professional acting debut.
2 & 7:30 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat. Ends July 23. Jungle Theater, Mpls., $30-$45, jungletheater.com.
Calling his new record “The Nashville Sound” took a lot of nerve, but country rocker Jason Isbell continues to pull off bold moves with his third acclaimed record in a row since 2013’s breakthrough sobriety LP, “Southeastern.” This one is actually more heavily steeped in Southern rock than Music Row twang. The songs are still uniquely his, from the soaring travelogue “Cumberland Gap” to the weirdly sweet love song “If We Were Vampires.” Mountain Goats open.
8 p.m. Fri. Palace Theatre, St. Paul, sold out.
Brave cowboys will hold on tight as they attempt to ride bucking broncs at the annual Hamel Rodeo. Contestants compete in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, ladies barrel racing and more. Kids can get free pony rides and compete in a calf scramble.
7:30 p.m. Thu.-Fri., next Sun.; 1 & 7:30 p.m. Sat. Lions Park, Corcoran, $10-$18, hamelrodeo.org.
In a tradition started by Duluth’s own Trampled by Turtles (who are on hiatus this year), another cool mishmash of Minnesota’s hardest-touring indie rock acts will come together at the state’s best outdoor concert venue. Reverberating electro-hum favorites Poliça will be joined by burgeoning young pop rockers Hippo Campus, promoting their full-length debut, “Landmark.” Hometown heroes Low are always a when-in-Rome treat. J.S. Ondara, aka Jay Smart, opens with Remo Drive.
5 p.m. Sat. Bayfront Festival Park, Duluth, $25, eTix.com.
Pianist Geoff Keezer just belongs in the Dunsmore Room. He established his hard bop credentials as the last pianist for Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, followed by a slew of headlining albums and sideman gigs with top-notch personnel. And he recently backed singers including Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves and, twice at Crooners, Gillian Margot. This solo set in the elegant room is long overdue.
7 p.m. Mon. Dunsmore Room at Crooners, Fridley; $15-$45, croonersloungemn.com.