The Big Gigs for April 12-18

  • Updated: April 11, 2013 - 3:23 PM
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Rufus Wainwright

POP/ROCK

Rufus Wainwright has been corralled into a perfect doubleheader by 89.3 the Current. Friday, the always witty, often brilliant singer/songwriter will be part of the “Wits” series — sort of “A Prairie Home Companion” for hipsters — with comic Kristen Schaal, best known as the stalker-fan on “Flight of the Conchords.” Then on Saturday, Wainwright will present two hours of solo piano tunes as part of the Current Sessions; the program will include a Q&A with Current DJ Mary Lucia, who might ask him about his stint as a waiter at the now-defunct New French Cafe in Minneapolis. If Wainwright is half as charming as he was last summer at the Minnesota Zoo, these will be unforgettable shows. (“Wits” at 8 p.m. Fri., sold out. Concert at 8 p.m. Sat., Fitzgerald, $39-$49.) Jon Bream

 

After nearly a decade operating under the indie nom de moan Phosphorescent, Georgia-bred psychedelic twang-rock maestro Matthew Houk is poised to break out of the Pitchfork underground with his sixth and best album, “Muchacho.” Issued last month on the niche label Dead Oceans, the soul-baring, wigged-out dust-rock collection free-flows from the ambiently bopping “Song for Zula” — the “Ring of Fire”-referencing single in steady rotation at the Current — to the sun-baked, harmonious “A Charm / A Blade” to the gorgeous mope of “Muchacho’s Tune.” (9 p.m. Fri., Turf Club, sold out.) Chris Riemenschneider

 

They’ve toured with Elton John, appeared on “Glee” and recorded with Steve Vai, Lang Lang and producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Kiss, Pink Floyd). 2Cellos are twenty-something Croatians Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, who interpret rock hits on their cellos. Their YouTube video of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” got more than 8 million views and led to a recording deal with Sony Masterworks. Their second album, “In2ition,” features treatments of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” (with Sir Elton), Cher’s “Bang Bang” and Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” A little goes a long way. (8 p.m. Fri., Dakota Jazz Club, $40.) Bream

 

It was only a matter of time before the Men’s inner PBR-pounding Neil Young would secrete through their post-hardcore pores. These Brooklyn scuzz-blasters offer more twang than tantrum on their fourth LP, “New Moon,” as the noisy squalls of old have been whittled into a shapelier post-punked Petty visage. Gun Outfit and local fuzz rockers Fury Things open. (9 p.m. Fri., 7th Street Entry, 18-plus, $12.) Michael Rietmulder

 

 

With a singalong acoustic single in steady rotation at multiple radio stations, Family of the Year is in a bubbling position akin to the Lumineers’ spot this time last year. “Hero” is a melancholy ballad that fits right in between Mumford and Of Monsters and Men. Unlike the Lumineers, though, this coed Los Angeles quartet plugs in and rocks out for half its album — usually with much less compelling results than the softly strummed stuff. (9 p.m. Sat., Triple Rock, sold out.) Riemenschneider

 

Since debuting in 2005, campfire-psychedelic folkies Akron/Family have become indie faves. Equal parts Portland scarf rock and NYC art house, Akron/Family deal in accessible avant-garde, tempering daydreamy druthers with graceful harmonies and inescapable rock riffs. (9 p.m. Sat., 7th Street Entry, $12.) Rietmulder

 

On her new album, “Give Me All You Got,” Texas twang-folk tunesmith Carrie Rodriguez found a collaborative spirit right here in Minneapolis, with a song called “Lake Harriet” and Romantica members Ben Kyle and Luke Jacobs pitching in. The former made a sweet country duets EP with her last year, and the latter has become her full-time guitarist. So clearly, she owes us. Harmonious brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum of the Cactus Blossoms open. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $12-$15.) Riemenschneider

 

Hard-touring Widespread Panic took 2012 off. Why? So the guys could gig with other players and then be fully charged to celebrate Panic’s 25th anniversary this year. The band has released almost as many live albums (eight) as studios discs (11). This spring trek is a warm-up for a summer outdoors in which they will play Denver’s revered Red Rocks Amphitheater four more times, climaxing with their 42nd sellout show there. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Orpheum, $38.50. ) Bream

 

Venezuelan party-funk band Los Amigos Invisibles owe their American audience to David Byrne, who signed them to his Luaka Bop label in 2001. They’ve covered a lot of musical ground since then. Their latest album, “Repeat After Me,” includes some sexyback pop that could give Justin Timberlake a run for his money, plus retro jazz that suits their party vibe well. (8 p.m. Mon., Varsity Theater, $18-$30.) Riemenschneider

 

Discovered on YouTube four years ago from his dorm room at Loyola University in Chicago, St. Paul native Colin Caulfield still goes by his indie-folk moniker Young Man but sounds ready to graduate to bigger things. His final installment in a trilogy of albums for New York indie Frenchkiss Records, “Beyond Was All Around Me” is a full-tilt aural affair with traces of Grizzly Bear’s hazy jangle and Ben Gibbard’s soft-guy-roar. He’s on tour with the Weeks, a Mississippi-bred quintet that not only sounds a lot like Kings of Leon, but is signed to the Kings’ own Serpents & Snakes label. (8:30 p.m. Mon., 7th Street Entry, $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

 

Breaking up is hard to do. But it can lead to some top-notch songs as Tristan Prettyman, former fiancée of Mr. Good Vibes Jason Mraz, demonstrates on her splendid 2012 album “Cedar + Gold.” The catchy, lustful tune “Rebound” is getting her much-deserved radio airplay. An earlier single, the bluesy stomp “My Oh My,” indicates that the 30-year-old San Diegian has traveled well beyond her surfin’ singer/songwriter phase. She summarizes her relationship with Mraz — they broke up, reunited, got engaged and split up — on the closing six-minute, moody marathon “Never Say Never.” Due to ticket demand, this show has moved from the Fine Line to First Avenue. (8:30 p.m. Tue., First Avenue, $15-$17.) Bream

 

The Los Angeles band that made a generation of skater-punks demand more Pepsi from their moms, Suicidal Tendencies is back with its first album in 13 years. “13” follows the thrash-metal mold the band brandished in albums after its 1983 eponymous debut, but singer Mike Muir and a remade lineup are still playing “Institutionalized,” “I Saw Your Mommy” and other classics on tour. The outing is a nice twofer lineup for ’80s moshers, as Houston faves D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) also perform, led by original dudes Kurt Brecht and Spike Cassidy. Waking the Dead opens. (8:30 p.m. Tue., Mill City Nights, $23.) Riemenschneider

 

Coming off their most successful year yet — the still-stellar “Stars and Satellites” album was released a year ago this week — Duluth’s beloved acoustic strummers Trampled by Turtles will mark their 10th anniversary with a three-night stand at the club where their current tour kicked off. TBT has hand-selected 16 of their favorite bands and compatriots to perform with them in the Entry and main room those nights, including the Pines, Charlie Parr, Fat Kid Wednesdays and Prissy Clerks. Read a feature on the anniversary marathon in Sunday’s Variety section. (8 p.m. Wed.-next Fri., First Avenue, sold out.) Riemenschneider

 

Did you know that Kris Allen released a second album? You’d have to be an “American Idol” fanatic to know that the guy who triumphed over Adam Lambert in 2009 issued “Thank You Camellia” last year. It’s more pleasant if undistinguished adult pop from “Idol’s” Mr. Nice Guy. By the by, Allen, 27, was in a car accident on Jan. 1 and a wrist injury impaired his guitar playing this winter. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Cedar, $15-$20.) Bream

 

Texas music stalwart Will Sexton started performing at Austin’s famed Continental Club with big brother Charlie when he was only 9. While Charlie went on to be the Arc Angels rocker and a guitar ace now in Dylan’s band, Will took the hard-worn Townes Van Zandt-style songwriter path and wound up working with the likes of Waylon Jennings and Sheryl Crow, while releasing several heart-tugging solo albums. He’s making a rare trip north to perform for the “Real-Phonic Radio Hour,” also with Hannah Van der Hoff and the Erik Koskinen-led house band. (7 p.m. Thu., James J. Hill Reference Library, $20, $10 with food donation.) Riemenschneider

 

Heavily mustached Toronto quartet Zeus made it into steady rotation at 89.3 the Current recently with its killer single, “Are You Gonna Waste My Time,” a hard-boogeying, ’70s-style romp that sounds like Thin Lizzy fronted by Wings-era McCartney. Britpoppy locals Sleep Study open with Wild Cathedral. (9 p.m. Thu., Triple Rock, $10.) Riemenschneider

WORLD

Afropop phenom Fatoumata Diawara hopes to follow the lead of her mentor, Oumou Sangaré, and stake her claim to a position on the world stage. A dynamic performer making her hotly anticipated Twin Cities debut, she strikes a serious note on her debut album, “Fatou,” with songs about genital mutilation and the plight of children in her war-torn homeland, Mali. She recently convened a Malian supergroup, including Amadou & Mariam, Toumani Diabaté and Sangare, to record “Mali-ko,” a plea for peace. But a sense of joy is never far below her music’s shimmering surface. (8 p.m. Fri., Cedar Cultural Center, $30-$35.) Tim Campbell

JAZZ

Cuban jazz star Paquito d’Rivera was last seen locally as a guest of the JazzMN Big Band. Now the virtuoso alto saxist returns in a completely different and very intimate setting, concentrating on clarinet and communing with the Assad Brothers, Sergio and Odair, outstanding classical guitarists from Brazil. The trio’s program is called “Dances From the New World,” and features works by fabled composers Astor Piazzolla (Argentina), Ernesto Lecuona (Cuba) and even Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown.” Pan-American sounds to savor. (6 & 8 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $40-$45.) Tom Surowicz

 

A lot of gifted young Twin Cities musicians get a big thrill when the Doc Severinsen Big Band gets together for a little Midwest tour. The former “Tonight Show” bandleader is taking out his S.E. Shires Co. custom trumpets and trademark garish outfits, with stops at auditoriums in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri — and a nightclub in Minneapolis. (7 & 9 p.m. Mon.-Tue., Dakota, $40-$60.) Surowicz

COUNTRY

Rowdy and rockin’ honky-tonk country is the calling card of Whitey Morgan & the 78’s, who recently opened a show for fellow Michigan native Bob Seger. Morgan has developed a devoted following, thanks to a 2010 Bloodshot Records album and his drinkin’ songs. (9 p.m. Fri., Lee’s Liquor Lounge, $5.) Surowicz

BLUEGRASS

A country superstar in the 1980s, Ricky Skaggs has become a bluegrass mainstay in recent years, capturing eight bluegrass-related Grammys. The mandolin ace, who is a pretty fair fiddler, as well, is bringing his hot-pickin’ bluegrass crew, Kentucky Thunder, for an evening of original and old-time tunes. (7 & 9 p.m. Thu. Dakota $35-$60.) Bream

BLUES

When he returns to his native Minnesota, soulful harmonica man R.J. Mischo seldom plays just one gig. This time, he has four, most featuring two of the Twin Cities’ finest blues veterans, pianist Bruce McCabe and guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson. The fun starts at the historic Schooner Bar in Minneapolis (9 p.m. Sat., no cover), then heads Uptown for a brunch show (10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun., Famous Dave’s Uptown, $17 for all you can eat). Wednesday brings a KFAI-sponsored gig, minus McCabe (7 p.m., 331 Club, no cover). Thursday, the harp blaster heads to White Bear (9 p.m., Hollihan’s, 2160 3rd St., White Bear Lake, 651-429-0280, no cover). Surowicz

CHORAL

The Singers have a tradition of annual programs of religious music under the title “My Soul’s Repose.” This year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the death of Francis Poulenc, the chorus performs his ethereal and serene Mass in G Major. Also featured are a work for chorus and trumpet, “To God,” by Dominick Argento, and a set from the Singers’ new album of American music. (8 p.m. Sat., Nativity Catholic Church, 1900 Wellesley Av., St. Paul; 3 p.m. Sun., Wayzata Community Church, 125 Wayzata Blvd. E., Wayzata, $10-$30, 651-917-1948, www.singersmca.org) William Randall Beard

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