Big Gigs, Aug. 22-28: Aretha, Tim McGraw, Katy Perry

  • Updated: August 22, 2014 - 3:46 PM

Concert spotlights for the week, also including Chipotle's Cultivate Fest, Sims & Astronautalist, Escovedo & Ely, Dr. Dog and the Totally Gross National Party.


Aretha Franklin


As is her wont, Aretha Franklin will sing a few of her classics and showcase her considerable interpretive powers at the grandstand. Don’t be surprised, though, if the Queen of Soul chooses other singers’ hits, such as Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” or Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were,” or such modern material as Keyshia Cole’s “I Remember” or Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” (which she has recorded for a collection of covers, possibly due this fall). Aretha played a generous 100 minutes at the Wisconsin State Fair two weeks ago. Let’s say a little prayer for that kind of performance. The Four Tops, featuring only one original member, Duke Fakir, will open with their Motown classics. (7:30 p.m. Fri., grandstand, $45.) Jon Bream

While Aretha will give you “Rock Steady,” fellow Detroiter Kid Rock will offer his Northern brand of rebel rock. He lives in the intersection of Country Road, Hip-Hop Lane and Classic Rock Court. He proved his versatility last time through town, sharing a stage with Motor City icon Bob Seger. Let’s see if Kid Rock can break his own unofficial record for most f-bombs dropped on a State Fair stage. Twin Cities guitarist/singer Shannon Curfman is part of his band. Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke open. (7:30 p.m. Sat., grandstand, $52.50-$66.50.) Bream

Don’t let the Sunshine State moniker fool you: The California Honeydrops hail from the Bay Area but sound as though they rose out of the Louisiana bayou, with strong Dr. John and Nevilles influences along with a touch of the Radiators’ slow-jammy groove. Bandleader Lech Wierzynski studied trumpet under Ray Charles sideman Marcus Belgrave and enlists tub bass, washboard and other grubby grooves here. (3:30 & 4:45 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Leinie’s Lodge band shell, free.) Chris Riemenschneider

The irrepressible Turtles, whose lead singer, Howard Kaylan, sounds better than ever, lead the annual nostalgia-inducing Happy Together Tour of oldies acts. Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night, showed impressive vocal power last year, while Gary Lewis still has the “This Diamond Ring” spirit. And the lineup includes two Detroit-launched vocalists: Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad and “American Band” fame and Mitch Ryder of “Devil With a Blue Dress” renown. (8 p.m. Mon., grandstand, $21.) Bream

Linkin Park truly sounds like a band on the hunt throughout its latest album, “The Hunting Party.” Co-leaders Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda take a throw-it-hard-against-the-wall sonic approach looking to outgrow the band’s rap-metal pigeonhole, with stabs at Ministry-style industrial/techno rock and thrash-punk thrown out alongside mellower, radio-baiting mush. Perhaps as big a draw nowadays is middle band 30 Seconds to Mars, the electro-throb rock band led by Oscar-winning “Dallas Buyers Club” actor Jared Leto and brother Shannon. Glam-metal cult faves AFI open. (6:30 p.m. Tue., grandstand, $51-$81.) Riemenschneider 

Country superstar Tim McGraw is back on the radio big time with “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” a duet with wife Faith Hill — not that he ever left country radio since he first played the State Fair in 1994 during his “Indian Outlaw” days. Expect him to preview his new album, “Sundown Heaven Town,” due Sept. 16. With newcomer Ryan Kinder. (7:30 p.m. Wed., grandstand, $56-$71.) Bream

With its “White Album”-style eclectic accessibility, catchy hooks and jubilant approach, Dr. Dog is the perfect hip indie band to take on the fair’s not-so-hip but fun Bandshell Tonight series. The Philly rockers’ two-night stand at First Ave in February was a blast, but their performance last summer with the Avett Brothers at Somerset Amphitheater proved how much more joyous and sunny songs such as “These Days” and “Shadow People” sound outdoors. Highly recommended. (8:30 p.m. Wed.-Thu., Leinie’s Lodge band shell, free.) Riemenschneider



Green-haired Rolling Stone cover girl Katy Perry will arrive with colorful wigs, cartoonish costumes and irresistible hits. A resourceful performer as well as a crafty songwriter, she’ll swing over the balcony, ride an animatronic horse and skip rope in high heels for her Prismatic World Tour. From “Firework” to “Birthday,” her show promises to be an effervescent, glow-in-the-dark evening that should appeal equally to young girls and their moms. Opening is Kacey Musgraves, the clever country singer who hasn’t gained much traction despite having won the prestigious Grammy for country album of the year. (7:30 p.m. Fri., Target Center, $29.50-$127.50.) Bream

Another worthy charity gig to offset medical bills and lend moral support, the Icehouse hosts “Motherland: A Benefit for Bobbie and Jeannie.” Hard-grooving electronic dance-pop favorites Apollo Cobra – whose song “Motherland” provided the name -- will play their first show in a couple months as headliners, with Verskotzi and Astrobeard for openers . The subjects of the show, Bobbie Anderson and Jeannie Piekos are moms of some of the event’s organizers, each of whom were diagnosed with cancer around the same time. The concert will also feature a silent auction with items donated from around the music community and elsewhere. (10 p.m. Fri., Icehouse, $10 minimum donation.) Riemenschneider

What exactly is the Cultivate Festival, and why did the Chipotle burrito chain pick Minneapolis as one of three cities to put it on? Who cares, what with the surprisingly well-wrapped lineup of current, Current-brand West Coast bands and the fact that it’s free. Hippie-ish hipster folk-rockers Portugal. the Man and Grouplove are better, rowdier live acts than their cute TV commercial song placements suggest. The two underrated middle-slot bands are also an exuberant blast in concert: San Francisco’s young coed troupe the Mowgli’s and Los Angeles soul-rockers Vintage Trouble. Also performing are Hunter Hunted and DJ Christopher Golub. Top chefs including Andrew Zimmern are also part of the festivities. (Noon-7 p.m. Sat., Loring Park, downtown Mpls., free, Riemenschneider

Boosted by its namesake label’s affiliations with Lizzo and Poliça over the past few years, the fifth annual Totally Gross National Party probably could have moved up to First Ave — but that’s not how the TGNP crew operates. The big lineup in the tiny room includes some of co-founder Ryan Olson’s various projects, including Marijuana Deathsquads and the new duo Taggert and Rosewood (with Solid Gold’s Zach Coulter), plus such Olson friends and protégés as Allan Kingdom, Leisure Birds, Pony Bwoy, Votel and Alpha Consumer. The show stealer, though, should be Fog, the old vehicle of the Cloak Ox’s Andrew Broder with new material under the hood. (2 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat., Icehouse, $12.) Riemenschneider

Compadres for decades in the Austin, Texas, scene but only rarely collaborators, Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo each pioneered the alt-country brand in different ways via their respective ’70s-’80s bands the Flatlanders and Rank and File and subsequent solo work. They have followed vastly different musical paths since then — ranging from glam-punk to synth-rock — but meet back up at the Woody Guthrie folk and Tex-Mex folkloric crossroads. They’re on a “story­tellers” tour together, which should include some tall Texas tales and at least two good ones on Townes Van Zandt. (7 p.m. Sat., Dakota Jazz Club, $45-$50.) Riemenschneider

Passenger is a one-man band (real name: Michael Rosenberg) specializing in intimate folk-pop music that owes equal debts to Mumford & Sons and Ed Sheeran. Except that the warbly-voiced Passenger, which scored a hit last year with the breakup tune “Let Her Go,” has been around longer than both. This year’s “Whispers” is his sixth album in a decadelong career. In “27,” he writes about growing up. In “Riding to New York,” he writes about meeting a mysterious gray-haired man in Minnesota who wants to ride his bike through the forests of Wisconsin and the fields of Ohio to see his granddaughter and grandson one last time in New York. (6 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, sold out.) Bream

And now there are three members from the heyday of the Moody Blues — Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge, the group’s original drummer from 1964. But the prog-rock repertoire remains the same, and such staples as “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon” should sound stellar in the acoustically superb remodeled Northrop Auditorium. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Northrop, $55-$125.) Bream

After selling out the Cedar this spring, Lake Street Dive is back in trumpeter/guitarist Mike Olson’s hometown to tackle the big-kahuna club. The jazzy, retro-soul, Brooklyn-via-Boston quartet first earned fame via YouTube, with a street performance of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” that showcased singer Rachael Price’s sultry, bellowing talent. They’ve since played “A Prairie Home Companion,” “Late Show With David Letterman” and the Bonnaroo and Newport Folk festivals, a list that demonstrates their between-the-cracks appeal. Local doo-wop rockers Southside Desire open. (8:30 p.m. Wed., First Avenue, $20.) Riemenschneider

  • related content

  • Katy Perry performs Friday at Target Center.

  • Linkin Park

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  • Lake Street Dive plays First Avenue on Wednesday.

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