Concert spotlights for the week also include Haley Bonar and High on Stress release parties, Cassandra Wilson, Seether and Twista.
After debuting a louder and feistier backing band last year, Haley Bonar follows suit with a vibrant new album landing Tuesday, “Last War.” The Rapid City, S.D., native hasn’t lost the stargazed big-sky vibe she made her mark with a decade ago, when Low’s Alan Sparhawk produced her raw debut album. However, she’s come a long way in cultivating a sound to match that expansiveness, with guitarist Jacob Hanson’s knack for the ethereal and other traces of the Cure and Bon Iver (never mind that BI’s Justin Vernon guests on the album). Her hometown release party will feature the coolest choral group in town, Anonymous Choir, and DJ-ing by Shannon Blowtorch. Read an interview at startribune.com/music. (9 p.m. Fri., Varsity Theater, $15.) Chris Riemenschneider
Milwaukee’s revived and rejuvenated Semi-Twang has produced two of the most inspired roots-rock albums of this decade. Maybe taking 23 years to follow up its 1988 major-label debut was the secret, or perhaps frontman John Sieger is the most fertile late bloomer since Cezanne, cranking out one droll and hook-filled gem after another. If you like great in-the-tradition songwriters — from Dylan, Prine and Fogerty to such Sieger friends as Robbie Fulks — Semi-Twang should be on your radar. (9:30 p.m. Fri., Lee’s Liquor Lounge, $10.) Tom Surowicz
As farewell shows go, High on Stress appears to be going out stress-free, feeling good about an 11-year local legacy that saw the Americana twang-rock quartet back up Slim Dunlap and play innumerable whiskey-soaked gigs. They’re going out on a high note, too, with their final gig serving as a release party for their fourth album, “Leaving Mpls.” Frontman Nick Leet channels his North Dakota roots and Gear Daddies-like, heartland songwriting style as he sings about moving on with life. Ah, life. It certainly should be a lively affair in a cool neighborhood theater with three excellent openers, Little Man, the 757s and Verskotzi. (7:30 p.m. Fri., Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., $8-$12.) Riemenschneider
Movie stars can make a career out of an Oscar, so don’t begrudge singer/songwriter Rodriguez — subject of the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” — for cashing in on his reignited music career. In the early 1970s, the singer from Detroit made two albums that were little noticed except in South Africa, where he became a cult hero. Thinking he was dead, two fans tracked him down and convinced him to come to South Africa for huge concerts that were filmed for the movie. Last year in concert in St. Paul, the seemingly shy Rodriguez, now 73, emerged as a charmer in conversation and in song. Sadly, “Sugar Man” director Malik Bendjelloul died this week in Sweden at 36. (8 p.m. Sat., State Theatre, $39-$69.) Jon Bream
It’ll be like a Record Store Day reprise Saturday at Treehouse Records, except local musicheads won’t line up to buy collectibles, but rather to say goodbye. Dan Cote, the store’s manager since it changed over from Oar Folkjokeopus in 2001, is flying the coop. Also the man behind the record label Heart of a Champion, Cote has an impressive roster of local music makers performing in-store, starting with Eleganza! and continuing hourly with (in order) the Blind Shake, Charlie Parr, the Bombay Sweets, Murzik and Mike Gunther. (1-7 p.m. Sat., Treehouse Records, 2557 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., all ages, free.) Riemenschneider
On this year’s “Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles,” Suzanne Vega offered her first new material in seven years. She is, by turns, serious (songs about Mother Teresa, Buddhist philosophies), lighthearted (she name-checks Macklemore and samples 50 Cent) and self-reverential (“Song of the Stoic” is part “Luka,” part Leonard Cohen and part rap). For Vega fans, “Queen of Pentacles,” which refers to Tarot cards, is a good sign. Ari Hest opens. (8 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, $35-$45.) Bream
Huey Lewis and the News aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, even though their previous incarnation known as Clover anonymously backed Hall of Famer Elvis Costello on his 1977 landmark debut “My Aim Is True” — true story. A glorified San Francisco blues-rock bar band, Lewis and the News made their own headlines with such 1980s smashes as “I Want a New Drug,” “The Power of Love” and “Hip to Be Square.” Indeed, Lewis was never hip. But he has hits to keep on playin’ as he celebrates the 30th anniversary of his blockbuster “Sports” album. (8 p.m. Sat., Mystic Lake Casino, $46 & $56.) Bream
Longtime collaborators Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen have superstar résumés and sideman egos. Mandolinist/guitarist/bassist/singer Hillman is a member of the Rock Hall of Fame for his work with the Byrds, but also was a country-rock pillar with the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. A hitmaker with the mainstream country Desert Rose Band, he’s written songs recorded by Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith, Beck, Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam. Pedersen, the guitarist/banjoist/singer who was also a Desert Rose member, has worked with Hillman as a duo on and off since 1996, and has played with the Dillards, Old and in the Way, Linda Ronstadt and John Denve. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $30-$35.) Bream
Los Angeles sister trio Haim has been touring for well over a year, building up the buzz behind its debut album, “Days Are Gone,” but it oddly has yet to play Minnesota. Local fans can finally learn that, in addition to brandishing those insatiable pop hooks heard in the hit singles “Don’t Save Me” and “The Wire,” these Valley Girls rock with surprising oomph in concert. And the sisters will get to play the club that was on their “Purple Rain”-shaded radar from the get-go. Denver indie-pop duo Tennis opens. Read an interview with Este Haim in Sunday’s Variety. (8 p.m. Mon., First Avenue, sold out.) Riemenschneider
Performing solo, David Lindley returns to play blues, folk, original reggae, roots-rock, music of Madagascar — pretty much whatever he pleases. The longtime sideman to rock stars (Jackson Browne, Dylan, Warren Zevon, Linda Ronstadt), Lindley is a guy who can morph the classic car song “Mercury Blues” into a protest number about the mercury content in tuna. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Cedar Cultural Center, $20-$22.) Surowicz
Compared with her first two blockbuster albums, last year’s “Artpop” has been a commercial fizzle for Lady Gaga. That hasn’t deterred her from filling her just-launched concert tour with “Artpop” material and, of course, eye-popping production. You’ve probably heard about her most outrageous gag — she changes clothes onstage and exposes her skull cap (under her wig) and her you-know-whats (she asks her Little Monsters to put away their cellphones for this truly Gaga moment). Just don’t expect her to preview her jazz album, a collaboration with Tony Bennett due later this year. Opening is Japanese virtual pop star Hatsune Miku — she appears as a computer-generated hologram. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Xcel Energy Center, $37-$202.) Bream
If only Maplewood Mall allowed camping and had overflowing porta-potties in its parking lot, fans could party like it’s X Fest 1999 with back-to-back hard-rock gigs at Myth. First up is Seether, the grungy South African trio led by Kurt Cobain acolyte Shaun Morgan, which just dropped its seventh album, “Isolate and Medicate.” The “Remedy” and “Fake It” hitmakers sounded refreshingly unchanged and overwrought opening for Nickelback in 2012. Black Stone Cherry opens. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Myth, $19.37.) The next night sees the return of Ozzfest faves Black Label Society, led by Ozzy’s former guitarist Zakk Wylde, they are heading up the Revolver Golden Gods Tour with Devil You Know and Down. (7:30 p.m. Wed., $29.50.) Riemenschneider
Twista made the Guinness World Records book as the fastest rapper in the game, but he hasn’t been moving all that swiftly in his career of late. The Chicago wordsmith — still best-remembered for the Luther Vandross-invoking 2003 Kanye West collaboration “Slow Jamz” — is hyping his way to a June arrival for his first album in four years, “Dark Horse.” The first single, “Throwin’ My Money” with R. Kelly, actually came out last May. He’s performing here with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s Flesh-n-Bone, who hasn’t let a half-dozen arrests on gun charges keep him from touring. (9 p.m. Fri., Fine Line, $25.) Riemenschneider
Bluegrass fans should be richly rewarded when two top-notch players, Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan, team up. Best known for his work in the Punch Brothers, banjo man Pikelny has played with Marcus Mumford, Wilco, Fiona Apple and Norah Jones, and in 2010 received the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Duncan has collected four Grammys and seven trophies for fiddler of the year from the International Bluegrass Music Association. The Nashville A-lister has performed on “The Goat Rodeo Sessions” with Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer, and with a slew of country stars, including Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton and Keith Urban. (7 p.m. Wed., Dakota, $35-$40.) Bream
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