The Big Gigs for week of 5/17

  • Updated: May 16, 2013 - 7:07 PM


For its Star Party 2013, KDWB has turned to veterans of its previous Jingle Balls and Star Parties. Headliner Nelly, the sing-song “Hot in Herre” rapper from St. Louis, is on the radio again with “Hey Porsche” and as a featured rapper on Florida Georgia Line’s crossover hit “Cruise.” The lineup features two British “X Factor”-launched stars: Olly Murs, who has been making noise with “Troublemaker,” and Cher Lloyd, who impressed with her sass and style at Jingle Ball in December. Four years after his trio of big hits, including “Riding Solo,” Jason DeRulo is back on the charts with “The Other Side.” Nashville’s “Tonight Tonight” hitmakers Hot Chelle Rae have issued a new single, “Hung Up,” from their forthcoming third album. The newcomer on the bill is MKTO, a male pop duo from California, not Mankato. (6 p.m. Fri., Myth, tickets available only through KDWB, 101.3 FM) Jon Bream

If that awesome new album didn’t remind you why David Bowie is one of rock’s most continuously revered heroes, then Rock for Pussy should. The 10th annual tribute/fundraiser concert to benefit Feline Rescue has built up a bit of a legendary status itself, with showmanship-equipped local artists such as Chris “Little Man” Perricelli and Venus DeMars seemingly tailor-made for the event, and band leader John Eller smartly curating the songs. Other participants include Janey Winterbauer (“Wits”), Laurie Lindeen (Zuzu’s Petals), Leslie Ball, Ciaran Daly (Idle Hands), Orion Treon (Phantom Tails), David Campbell (E.L.nO.) and veteran sidemen such as Steve Price and David Russ. (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, $10-$12.) Chris Riemenschneider

Funny to think Father John Misty opened for Youth Lagoon last summer at the Varsity. The psychedelic Idaho pop band — led by mop-topped, Squiggy-voiced wunderkind Trevor Powers — isn’t selling out the big rooms like FJM currently is, but it still made a sizable impression at Coachella last month with its daydreamy, dramatic songs, as heard on last year’s sophomore album “Wondrous Bughouse.” And it once again has a noteworthy new act for support, Majical Cloudz, a duo from Montreal that just dropped its full-length debut on Matador Records and comes off like an electronic version of the National. (9 p.m. Fri., Fine Line, $15.) Riemenschneider 

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is one of those trendlessly cool bands that has made First Ave a home away from home and, like the club, it remains charmingly unchanged. The California trio piled on the usual, mean guitar roar and a little more melody on its seventh album, “Specter at the Feast,” which includes the Current-spun cover of the Call’s “Let the Day Begin” — a touching ode to bassist Robert Levon Been’s recently deceased father, Michael, who was the Call’s guitarist. Adding to BRMC’s buzz this time around is opening act the newno2, led by Dhani Harrison. The second Beatles’ son to play the club in two weeks (after James McCartney’s Entry gig) is another one who seems naturally gifted. (9 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, $20-$22.) Riemenschneider

The frontwoman of Marina and the Diamonds wants to be a global pop star. After her retro pop debut, the Welsh singer went all electro-pop on last year’s “Electra Heart,” which led to two U.K. hits (“Radioactive,” “Primadonna”) and the opening slot on Coldplay’s world tour. Quirky in image, voice and sound, she seems to be trying too hard to become the U.K’s answer to Lady Gaga. Opening is Charli XCX, who after releasing a series of singles and writing Icona Pop’s hit “I Love It,” offered her first full-length, “True Romance,” this year. The 20-year-old U.K. pop starlet comes on like Pink, spreading her British brand of girl power. (8 p.m. Sun., Skyway Theatre, $23.50.) Bream

To no one’s surprise, Todd Rundgren is once again pushing the envelope on his 20-somethingth studio album. The man who produced New York Dolls, Patti Smith and XTC (bravo!), fronted the New Cars (why?) and did recent acoustic and electronica albums of blues pioneer Robert Johnson’s music (go figure) continues to experiment with the latest gadgets on “State,” creating some likable arena rock and funky electronica. A maverick and a true star. Let’s hope he’ll find room for “Hello, It’s Me” and “I Saw the Light” in his unpredictable repertoire. (8 p.m. Mon., Varsity, $42-$62.) Bream

Like fellow Mercury Prize nominees Alt-J, Foals specializes in unconventional, time-change-filled song structures and rhythmic/scratchy guitar parts. But leader Yannis Philippakis is more of a straight-up, brooding British frontman in the vein of Ian “Echo” McCulloch, and his band has three albums and a lot more live power to its name. The latter should come in handy when it plays the Orion Music Fest in two weeks at the behest of its organizers, Metallica. No kidding. Florida’s fun, reverb-riding chop-rockers Surfer Blood open along with brother/sister band Blondfire. (8 p.m. Mon., First Avenue, $21.50.) Riemenschneider

Former drummer for the harmony-loving folk-rocking Fleet Foxes (as Joshua or J. Tillman), Father John Misty released an eccentric but beloved 2012 album, “Fear Fun.” Equal parts grand and goofy, the album garnered airplay on 89.3 the Current and landed the singer a slot July 12 at Cities 97’s Basilica Block Party. Owing debts to Rufus Wainwright and Harry Nilsson, he uses his gorgeous pop voice to deliver fanciful, downbeat stories about indelible characters. Pretty music but pretty strange at times. (7 p.m. Tue., First Avenue, sold out.) Bream

If you don’t know Bob Wills from Django Reinhardt and the concept of country-jazz seems paradoxical, then you’re clearly missing out on Hot Club of Cowtown. Cool enough to charm the scenesters in their native Austin, Texas, but stylish enough to have played Carnegie Hall (and “A Prairie Home Companion”), the Western Swing-styled violin/guitar/standup-bass trio is back on the road touting a new collection of classic gypsy tunes, “Rendezvous in Rhythm.” (7 p.m. Wed., Dakota Jazz Club, $25.) Riemenschneider

Last seen opening for Nickelback at Target Center — where, comparatively, they came off like rock geniuses — England’s high-revving post-grunge hitmakers Bush return to the club they played on their way up the mid-’90s rock radio charts with such hits as “Glycerine” and “Machinehead.” Alongside the oldies on their current tour, Gavin Rossdale and his crew have been playing a couple of new songs from an upcoming album. (8 p.m. Wed., First Avenue, $30-$35.) Riemenschneider

As her 2010 debut made its long, gradual ascent with help from the catchy soul-rock single “When I’m Alone,” Lissie got stuck on what wound up being a 2½-year tour, including such memorable Twin Cities dates as the 2011 Basilica Block Party. The Rock Island, Ill.-bred singer is finally ready to release her follow-up this summer, led by the just-dropped, attitude-spouting single “Shameless.” She’s out on a short tour previewing the new single. (8 p.m. Wed., Varsity Theater, sold out.) Riemenschneider

Newly signed to Jack White’s Third Man Records, Pokey LaFarge plays banjo- and washboard-accompanied gypsy folk and swinging jazz that sounds like it came out of a lively speakeasy during Prohibition. Instead, the St. Louis-based picker has been charming the stiffness out of hip modern audiences everywhere from New Orleans’ Jazz Fest to Austin’s South by Southwest. His self-titled debut drops June 4, produced by Old Crow Medicine Show frontman Ketch Secor. Chicago’s Al Scorch opens. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $12-$15.) Riemenschneider

One of the most prominent women in blues, Rory Block is paying tribute to one of the most storied blues legends, Mississippi John Hurt, on an album due June 4. The New Jersey-bred acoustic-blues specialist actually met Hurt a couple of times before his 1966 death and should have a story or two to tell alongside the songs. (7 p.m. Thu., Dakota, $20.) Riemenschneider


Even in the era of the brilliant “Yo Gabba Gabba” and the god-awful “Kidz Music,” Raffi still stands up well with his target audience. The Toronto-reared, Egypt-born guru of kids’ folk — who has staunchly, coolly refused any use of his recordings in commercials and films — is on his first U.S. tour in a decade. Proceeds go toward the nonprofit that has occupied much of his time in the interim, the Centre for Child Honouring. He’s promising plenty of classics, including “Baby Beluga,” “Down by the Bay,” “Smoke on the Water,” etc. Just kidding on that last one. (1 p.m. Sat., State Theatre, $29-$39.) Riemenschneider


This is not your usual evening with John Legend. The Grammy-winning pop and soul star is using his name and music to raise money and awareness for education. The Ivy League-educated singer/pianist will share his views on the topic, and talk about his work with inner-city schools. He’ll also sing a few songs. (7 p.m. Wed. Fitzgerald, $40.) Bream

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