POP/ROCK

Eight years after Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller died of complications from throat cancer, local musicians are still lining up to honor his memory via Kill Kancer, an organization set up by his widow, Mary Beth, to help prevent cancer. The latest benefit will feature Mueller’s bandmate Dave Pirner, playing a special video-enhanced solo set. At press time, the Cedar announced that fellow Twin/Tone Records alumni band Run Westy Run has been added to the lineup, following up their two well-received reunion shows around the holidays. Also on the bill are West Bank music hero Willie Murphy, Communist Daughter, 4onthefloor leader Gabe Douglas’ Silverback Colony, Taj Raj and surprise guests. (7 p.m. Fri., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $25.) Chris Riemenschneider

Minneapolis singer/actor Dennis Spears has played many roles of late, including a detached undertaker, Nat King Cole and artistic director of the Legend Series at the Capri Theater. On Friday, he’ll wear yet another hat — birthday boy. He’ll share the stage with powerhouse Ginger Commodore, his longtime collaborator in Moore by Four. (8 p.m. Fri., Dakota, $10.) Jon Bream

A week before their hometown’s answer to SXSW, four of the Twin Ports’ favorite bands will head two hours south by southwest to promote their communal efforts with the Duluth Homegrown Twin Cities Invasion. The lively lineup features gospelized roots-rock ensemble Southwire, which was a hit at First Ave’s Best New Bands night in January, along with a rare-of-late reunion by Low frontman Alan Sparhawk’s blues-punk side band the Black-Eyed Snakes, the icy, Iron & Wine-like indie-rock quartet Portage and punky newcomers the Low Forms. (10 p.m. Fri., Turf Club, $7.) Riemenschneider

Brian McKnight’s 2013 album “More Than Words” had many echoes of the ’70s and ’80s — from Stevie Wonder and Michael McDonald to Steely Dan and Hall & Oates. Working solo three years ago at the Dakota, the 1990s R&B crooner proved a charmer with his make-out music, witty conversation and musical impressions. He promises that with bassist Chris Loftlin and guitarist Tyrone Chase, it will be like his “solo show, only on steroids.” (7 & 9 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Dakota, $45-$65.) Bream

Vocalist extraordinaire Bobby McFerrin took a page out of his opera-singer father’s playbook and last year recorded an album of spirituals, “Spirityouall.” Of course, his takes on “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and “Wade in the Water” are far from familiar, but spirited and alluring. And he turns Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” into a slow, intimate spiritual experience. His band includes famed arranger/keyboardist Gil Goldstein, multi-instrumentalist David Mansfield (who used to play with Dylan and Bruce Hornsby) and daughter Madison McFerrin on vocals. (8 p.m. Sat., Orchestra Hall, $45-$94.) Bream

Between their Midwest roots and frequent echoes of Tool, Chicago metal masters Chevelle have always fared well with Twin Cities audiences and thus are a perfect choice to top out the 93X Icebreaker concert. The band similarly made a great, no-duh decision to team with producer Joe Barresi (Tool, Coheed and Cambria) for their seventh album, “La Gárgola,” full of some of their most potent, ear-punishing songs to date. They will be joined by metallic Sacramento duo Middle Class Rut and San Antonio’s Nothing More. (8 p.m. Sat., Myth, $25.) Riemenschneider

Southern-rock guitar hero Dickey Betts made his name with the Allman Brothers and wrote such classics as “Ramblin’ Man,” “Jessica” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” While he’s been in and out of the revolving-door Allmans (out since 2000), he’s enjoyed a steady career fronting his band Great Southern for more than 35 years. Minnesota blues thrush Sena Ehrhardt opens. (8:30 p.m. Sat., Medina, $28-$48.) Bream

Minneapolis-reared, Brooklyn-based Jose James delivered my favorite album of 2013, “No Beginning No End.” On his upcoming fifth album, “While You Were Sleeping,” due June 10, the genre-blender amps up the energy and guitar aggressiveness, notably on “Anywhere U Go,” “Without U” and the nervy, new-wavey “Every Little Thing.” But he’s also in a soulful, jazzy mood on the sexy Al Green ballad “Simply Beautiful” and “4 Noble Truths,” which suggests Jimi Hendrix as a jazz artist. His band includes new guitarist Brad Allen Williams and keyboardist Kris Bowers, who will open with a set of material from his ambitious Concord Jazz album “Heroes + Misfits.” (7:30 p.m. Mon., the Cedar, $20-$25.) Bream

Named the best live band at the 2012 Golden God Awards — high praise in hard-rock land — Southern California metal kings Avenged Sevenfold are back on the arena circuit on their way to headlining several major metal fests. Last year’s album, “Hail to the King,” boasted by-the-numbers reworkings of Metallica, Maiden and Queensryche classics that should fire up fans in concert but lack the originality to earn these guys true rock-god status. Opening band Hellyeah boasts a couple of reputable fellas, Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul and Mudvayne singer Chad Gray. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Target Center, $27-$51.50.) Riemenschneider

Although they were depicted as rivals to One Direction, English-Irish boy band the Wanted never gained much traction in the States beyond the 2012 hit “Glad You Came” and their E! reality series “The Wanted Life.” In January came word that their Word of Mouth Tour would be a farewell trek. If they are half as exciting in a club as they were for a tween and teen audience last summer at the Minnesota Zoo, this will be a suitable swan song. Opening are the duo Cassio Monroe and U.S. boy band Midnight Red. (7 p.m. Mon., Skyway Theater, $32.50.) Bream

From their physical resemblance to early Pink Floyd to their musical echoes of the Zombies, Strawberry Alarm Clock and the like, Temples are like a ’60s-dazed psychedelic throwback for grandkids of the fans originally into such sounds. The lads from Northamptonshire, England, have been championed back home by Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr and are fresh off their Coachella debut. At South by Southwest last month, they played their one album, “Sun Structures,” with precision if not much pizazz. Welsh rocker Matthew Hitt’s band Drowners open along with local Britrock stylists Two Harbors, whose upcoming album is a must-hear. (9 p.m. Thu., First Avenue, $15.) Riemenschneider

Nobody makes desire and heartache seem as delicious as alt-country punk Lydia Loveless. Just 23, she comes off like Stevie Nicks fronting the New York Dolls on her third album, “Somewhere Else,” with a road-tested band that ripped it up at SXSW. Loveless lets it bleed in such songs as “Really Wanna See You” and “Hurts So Bad,” which mix love and pain like whiskey and water, but ends the album on a hopeful note with Kirsty MacColl’s poppy “They Don’t Know.” File under: Advice for the lustlorn. (7:30 p.m. Thu., 7th Street Entry, $10-$12.) Tim Campbell

Ace Wisconsin songwriter, slyly soulful vocalist and crack guitar player Peter Mulvey has a new album, “Silver Ladder.” Produced by Chuck Prophet, it rocks a bit more than some Mulvey discs, powered by former Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan drummer David Kemper. He splits a bill with Massachusetts-based songwriter Kris Delmhorst, whose Kickstarter-funded release, “Blood Test,” is due May 13. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Cedar Cultural Center, $15-$18 day.) Tom Surowicz

HIP-HOP

At SXSW, Schoolboy Q was just one of a dozen or so rappers with a good buzz and a half-dozen gigs, but by the end of that week his new record, “Oxymoron,” had gone to No. 1 in Billboard and his reputation as a live performer was booming. The former hype man for Kendrick Lamar actually has a more compelling — and funny — persona than Lamar, and his new tunes offer a similar portrait of Los Angeles’ post-gangsta seedy underbelly. He will have plenty of time to show off his personality in Minneapolis, where a late show was added after the first gig sold out. Isaiah Rashad and Vince Staples open. (7:30 & 11 p.m. Sun., Mill City Nights, $25-$30.) Riemenschneider

ELECTRONIC

Almost setting itself up as the EDM version of a classic-rock band, the Orb is on the road marking its 25th anniversary. Founder Alex Paterson pioneered acid-house and sampling techniques when he started the group in the late ’80s, collaborating then with KLF’s Jimmy Cauty and Killing Joke bassist (and future U2 and Verve producer) Martin “Youth” Glover and crafting such influential singles as the Rickie Lee Jones-echoing “Little Fluffy Clouds.” In recent years, he and latter-day partner Thomas Fehlmann have continued to craft ambient yet playful albums — but they haven’t toured much until now. Improv trio IMP and Woody McBride’s Deep Mix Minneapolis open. (8:30 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, $15.) Riemenschneider

JAZZ

“Straighten Up and Fly Right: Nat King Cole Tribute” is how the pairing of piano great Ramsey Lewis and guitar star/singer John Pizzarelli is being billed. The two have been friends since Pizzarelli, the son of famed guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, opened for Lewis. The duo will perform with their own band. (8 p.m. Fri., Orchestra Hall, $35-$70.) Bream

WORLD

The fact that the Celtic Fiddle Festival features two Frenchmen (fiddler Christian Lemaitre and guitarist Nicolas Quemener) and a French Canadian (fiddler Andre Brunet) goes to show the great reach of Celtic music. Even the group’s lone Irishman, amazing fiddler Kevin Burke (of Bothy Band fame), was born and raised in London and has lived in Portland, Ore., most of his adult life. Nobody puts strings to bow better than the Celtic Fiddle Festival folks, who celebrated their 20th anniversary last year with a splendid concert CD, “Live in Brittany.” (8 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, $25-$28.) Surowicz

 

Paco de Lucia’s death from a heart attack in February robbed the world of one of its most original guitarists. The king of contemporary flamenco, de Lucia was a quirky virtuoso also known for crossover collaborations with fusion jazz and classical players. Guitarist Michael Hauser has put together a tribute with fellow flamenco artists Ben Abrahamson, Daniel Volovets, Trevor May (not the Twins pitching prospect), Michael Ziegahn and Diego Rowan-Martin, along with brother Tony Hauser offering some Brazilian tunes. (7 p.m. Wed., Dakota Jazz Club, $10.) Surowicz

R&B/BLUES

If you’re a fan of male R&B singing groups of the 1950s-’70s, specifically the Dells, Chi-lites, Drifters and Temptations, then Ronn Easton has a show for you. The soul singer has gathered four other impressive vocalists — Maurice Jacox, Sonny Knight, Willie Walker and Maurice Young — for a show called “Oh, What a Night,” and the singers have rehearsed long and hard, making sure their all-important harmonies are just right. (7 p.m. Fri., Parkway Theater, 4817 Chicago Av. S., Mpls. $18-$20.) Surowicz

 

Harold Tremblay’s KFAI-broadcast “House Parties” usually draw good crowds, but next week’s installment has a bigger allure than most: blues pianist and singer James “Cornbread” Harris is being feted for his 88th birthday. Don’t forget that tip pitcher, folks — nothing says “Happy Birthday” quite like some green-tinted dead presidents. (7 p.m. Wed., 331 Club, no cover.) Surowicz