Big Gigs, July 11-17: Basilica Block Party, Flaming Lips, Greazy Meal and more

  • Updated: July 10, 2014 - 4:26 PM

This week's concert spotlights, also including Sharon Van Etten, Seun Kuti and Cause nightclub's final weekend.

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The Flaming Lips perform Tuesday at sold-out First Avenue.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER; jeff.wheeler@startribune.com,

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BASILICA BLOCK PARTY

It’s been 235 bands, countless kegs of beer and $5.2 million raised for the restoration of the Basilica of St. Mary. This weekend’s 20th annual Basilica Block Party will feature 21 acts on three stages over two days. Friday’s big attractions are those L.A. neo-hippies Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros; reggae-tinged, hip-hop-loving, yoga-practicing “Say Hey (I Love You)” hitmaker Michael Franti and Spearhead; Delta Rae, the Fleetwood Mac of Americana; Minneapolis-beloved popster Eric Hutchinson; Las Vegas pop-rockers Panic! at the Disco, and Twin Cities soul rockers Black Diet. Saturday’s lineup features Basilica veterans and enduring “Hey, Soul Sister” hitmakers Train; the intriguing duo of earthy soulman Ben Harper and blues harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite; Twin Cities soul songbird Caroline Smith; smart singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson; Nashville rockers the Wild Feathers, and Twin Cities twangers Frankie Lee and violin-playing Jillian Rae. (5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Basilica of St. Mary, 1600 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. $60 for one day, $100 for two-day ticket.) Jon Bream

POP/ROCK

What was supposed to be the fifth anniversary weekend celebration for one of the local music scene’s best incubator-like venues has instead turned into Cause’s closing party because the Lyn-Lake club lost its lease. Neighborhood mainstays BNLX headline Friday with Prissy Clerks offshoot Whatever Forever, Deleter and International Karate. Saturday’s finale will be a roaring blowout with Enemy Planes, Gay Witch Abortion, Buildings, Ex-Nuns and more. (10 p.m. Fri., 9 p.m. Sat., Cause Spirits & Soundbar, $5-$10.) Chris Riemenschneider

Please excuse Imagine Dragons if they seem a little jet-lagged Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium for the All-Star Concert, which is part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week in Minneapolis. The “Radioactive” rockers are performing Friday at a festival in Scotland. But a blockbuster album, a Grammy and over-the-top demand mean that the Dragons will have graduated from the Varsity Theater to the Gophers’ stadium in a mere 16 months. Atmosphere, our hometown hip-hop heroes who are opening the event, are accustomed to playing big outdoor shows; after all, they’ve headlined the Soundset festival in Shakopee several times. Read an interview with Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds at www.startribune.com/music. (7:30 p.m. Sat. TCF Bank Stadium, sold out.) Bream

New Zealand singer/songwriter Liam Finn earned a strong initial buzz in 2007 that was largely built around who his father is (Neil Finn of Crowded House) and what his live shows are like (mad-scientist affairs involving recorded loops and mid-song instrument changes). With his strong new album for Yep Roc, “The Nihilist,” the focus is back on his talent as a Lennon-esque songwriter and excellent, semi-psychedelic pop/rock craftsman. He’s playing with two electrifying local openers, Alpha Consumer and Fury Things. (8 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $12-$15.) Riemenschneider

A post-Nirvana grunge star signed to Mercury Records when he was merely 15 in the band Radish, Ben Kweller successfully transformed himself into a Brooklyn indie power-popster in his 20s before moving back to his native Texas and adding a little rootsy twang to the mix in time for his 30th birthday. Currently between albums, he’s escaping the heat with a short Midwest jaunt. Local melody makers the Shiny Lights and Milwaukee’s Trapper Scheopp & the Shades open. (9 p.m. Sat., Triple Rock, $20.) Riemenschneider

As part of its 40th anniversary series, the Cabooze is bringing back Greazy Meal, the 1990s Twin Cities funk band that was a mainstay at the West Bank bar. Julius Collins, John Fields, Tommy Barbarella, Jim Anton and the boys covered Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and classics by other soul stars. Some famous stars, including Chaka Khan, even sat in with the Greazy guys. They split up at the end of the century, and the various players went on to work with the likes of Prince, the Commodores, Jonny Lang and the Jonas Brothers. (9:30 p.m. Sun. Cabooze, $10-$15.) Bream

A truly trans-Pacific band led by Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol and her Los Angeles-reared bandmates Ethan and Zac Holtzman, Dengue Fever offers an exotic blend of her Khmer vocals and the brothers’ Stooges-style punk and psychedelic surf-rock. They recorded for Peter Gabriel’s Real World label and made a big splash at South by Southwest in the mid-’00s and are back with a new EP. Las Vegas experimentalists American Cream open. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $15-$18.) Riemenschneider

The same night their Minnesotan tour comrades Trampled by Turtles are in New York playing Letterman, New York’s country-gospel picking troupe the Spirit Family Reunion will be back at the Entry, where their last show felt like a warm summer front-porch roots hootenanny — never mind that it was in October and there are no front porches in NYC. They’ll be back in September to play TBT’s Festival Palomino. “Country” singer Frankie Lee and his local all-star band open. (8 p.m. Tue., 7th Street Entry, $12-$14.) Riemenschneider

Legendary acid-punk band turned carnival act the Flaming Lips might be at an all-time weirdness high. They debuted a freakish music video last week involving oozing brains and their new BFF Miley Cyrus. They had a publicized breakup with their drummer this spring involving the Oklahoma governor’s daughter and American Indian headdresses. Recording-wise, they have a new side project album, Elektrik Würms, coming out in August and an all-star remake of “Sgt. Pepper’s” due in October. Their long-ago-standardized kaleidoscopic live show might seem ho-hum conventional by comparison, although it’s certainly unusual having them back at First Ave for the first time in almost two decades only two blocks from the MLB All-Star Game — just coincidental timing that could be bad for parking. Californian psych-rocker Morgan Delt opens. (9 p.m. Tue., First Avenue, sold out.) Riemenschneider

Sun Kil Moon is the latest endeavor of cult-loved San Francisco singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek, best remembered for his work with the slowcore Red House Painters. This year’s “Benji,” his sixth effort as Sun Kil Moon, is predictably intimate but uncharacteristically wordy. It’s a collection of rather personal stories, such as “Truck Driver,” about his uncle killed eerily on his birthday, and “I Watched the Film ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ ” a 10-minute reflection on Led Zeppelin, the singer’s childhood and mortality. There’s heartache and humor in his work. (8 p.m. Wed. Varsity, $22-$30.) Bream

New Jersey’s catharsis-riding indie-rocker Sharon Van Etten employed an arty video backdrop and witty between-song banter on her last tour, livening up her show in ways that her morose and sometimes drab songs can never do. There’s a little more rocking energy and stormy chemistry musically on her latest album, “Are We There,” although songs such as “Your Love Is Killing Me” and “I Love You But I’m Lost” obviously aren’t any lighter in the lyrics department. Lower Dens singer Jana Hunter opens. (9 p.m. Wed., First Avenue, $17-$20.) Riemenschneider

What can you expect out of the first “The Voice” Tour? A little cheese, a little confusion, a lot of energy and a few superstar voices, according to one review. And no Kat Perkins, the Twin Cities nanny who made a splash on the most recent season of NBC’s “The Voice” but didn’t make the tour. Performers include Season 6 champ Josh Kaufman, Season 5 winner Tessanne Chin and Season 1 runner-up Dia Frampton. (8 p.m. Thu. Mystic Lake Casino, $59-$69.) Bream

Call it the Soundtrack of Summer Tour, a night of classic rock or a night of who’s missing? Styx no longer has Dennis DeYoung as lead singer, but Tommy Shaw and James Young are still rocking from the heyday lineup, and Lawrence Gowan has been on lead vocals for 15 years now. Founding guitarist Mick Jones is the only original member left in Foreigner, but Kelly Hansen, the band’s fourth lead singer, has been belting “Jukebox Hero” since 2005. Opening the night will be guitarist Don Felder, who was booted out of the Eagles in 2001 even though he co-wrote “Hotel California” and “Victim of Love.” (7 p.m. Thu. Target Center, $25-$125.) Bream

WORLD

Seun Kuti’s insistent new protest song “I.M.F.” has a cool black-and-white video that’s a YouTube hit, but you won’t be hearing it on the radio because the song is X-rated. But it’s sure to be played live in Minneapolis this week, along with other tracks from Seun Kuti and Egypt 80’s new album, “A Long Way to the Beginning.” About 70 percent of the band members are holdovers from the days when Seun’s legendary and mercurial dad, Fela Kuti, was the undisputed king of Afro-beat, and Fela certainly remains Egypt 80’s biggest inspiration. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Cedar Cultural Center, $30-$35.) Tom Surowicz

CLASSICAL

“A Night in Vienna” promises the sweet marrow of Sommerfest. Andrew Litton conducts the Minnesota Orchestra in a full evening of compositions by Johann Strauss Jr., the waltz king. Litton brings along Natasha Paremski for Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Paremski is also working Friday night with a Rachmaninoff concerto. “This is the greatest stuff we do,” Litton says. Saturday caps off with Litton playing selections from his new album, “A Tribute to Oscar Peterson,” in the Target Atrium at Orchestra Hall. (8 p.m. Sommerfest, $26-$84 ; 10:30 p.m. Peterson CD release, Orchestra Hall, $40.) Graydon Royce

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