The big gigs for May 24-May 30: Prince, LL Cool J, Memory Lanes Block Party

  • Updated: May 23, 2013 - 3:42 PM
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Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 19, 2013 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

His name is Prince and he is funky. However, he’s more in a rocking mode with his new backup trio, 3rdEyeGirl, offering plenty of loud, exciting guitar work. The band has improved about 400 percent since its January debut at the Dakota. In fact, Prince hasn’t seemed so refreshed and free in concert since 1987’s Sign o’ the Times Tour. A hungry new band, built from scratch, will do that for him. Expect a handful of hits, some old favorites and a few new tunes, including “Screwdriver” and “Fix Ur Life Up.” Read an interview with Prince at www.startribune.com/music. (8 & 11:30 p.m. Sat., Myth, $259.) Jon Bream

HIP-HOP

Competing with Soundset for hip-hop lovers’ attention in the coming week — what a week! — the Kings of the Mic Tour offers up four of the all-time most influential names in rap in one tidy package. LL Cool J takes a rare break from TV and movies to headline, promising songs from his so-so new album “Authentic” alongside some of hip-hop’s first pop crossover hits, such as “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” and “Going Back to Cali.” Public Enemy, which proved electrifying if a bit erratic in concert at First Ave last year, added its sociopolitical powder-keg to the Def Jam mix a few years after LL with such classics as “Bring the Noise” and “Fight the Power.” Their West Coast counterpart Ice Cube pioneered gangsta rap with N.W.A. and then broke big with such solo hits as “It Was a Good Day” before joining LL in the acting world. Long Island, N.Y., trio De La Soul of “Me, Myself & I” fame came last in historical order and are first on the schedule. Read an interview with LL Cool J in Tuesday’s Variety section. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Target Center, $49.50-$75.) Chris Riemenschneider

POP/ROCK

The first big street bash of its kind each year, the Memory Lanes Block Party also stands out for its clever lineups. This year, that includes a female-driven roster Sunday with sweet folk-rockers Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles, Southern boogie greats Davina & the Vagabonds, punkabilly leather queens L’Assassins, new Latin stalwarts Malamanya and more. Saturday offers an eclectic mishmash of live/experimental hip-hop by Crunchy Kids and Sean Anonymous with Dreamcrusher, reverb-soaked garage rock from the Sex Rays and Teenage Moods, soul-rockers Black Diet, female choral-rock ensemble Southside Desire and more. (3-10 p.m. Sat., 4-10 p.m. Sun., continues indoors till close, Memory Lanes, all ages, free.) Riemenschneider

 

It’s no “Dookie,” but to die-hard fans of Florida pop/punkers New Found Glory, the 2002 album “Sticks and Stones” might rank as a desert island disc. Songs like “My Friends Over You” and “Head On Collision” helped turn them into Warped Tour headliners. They’re playing the record in its entirety and other favorites on tour with Cartel and Living With Lions. Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Pierre also opens with his other band, Farewell Continental. (6:30 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, all ages, $18-$20.) Riemenschneider

 

The Twin Cities’ Dean of Scream may be best known for his annual marathon tribute to John Lennon, but Curtiss A is a music scholar who doesn’t need a diploma. In his Dakota debut, the veteran rocker will interpret the songs of country legend Hank Williams, and we’re betting he’ll make you so lonesome, you could cry. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $10.) Bream

 

Howlin’ Brothers may have formed in Ithaca, N.Y., but their sound is pure Appalachia. Now based in Nashville, the aptly named trio hollers and harmonizes as a back-porch combo should. On their fifth album, 2013’s drum-less “Howl,” the (unrelated) brothers plow through bluegrass, blues and swampy Dixieland. Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule co-wrote and performed on one track, the bluesy/gospel stomper “Big Time.” Brendan Benson of the Raconteurs not only produced the recording but released it on his own label, Readymade. Like his Raconteurs partner Jack White, Benson clearly has an affinity for earthy, unadorned Americana. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Cedar Cultural Center, $12-$15.) Bream

 

Further proof that the best local music mash-ups are often for the worst of reasons, the “Antibody Wanna Dance” party will bring together an eclectic group of Twin Cities acts to benefit photographer Erik Hess, who has been making musicians look like rock star for years and is now battling a rare immunodeficiency disorder. Camera-loving piano pounder Mark Mallman will headline upstairs and electro-songstress Aby Wolf will play around down in the Clown Lounge. Other participants include the Goondas, Wizards Are Real, Bomba de Luz, Street Hassle, Sevateem and a “secret special guest” who has another big gig in town soon. No surprise, it’ll also feature an auction and photo-print sale. (9 p.m. Sat., Turf Club, $10 donation.) Riemenschneider

 

One of the hippest of modern California hippies, Devendra Banhart has often been eccentric and experimental to the detriment of his otherwise charming, Beatles-esque psychedelic songwriting skills. That accessible side is on clearer display on his first record for Nonesuch Records, “Mala.” The weirdest thing about it is the wry and winking lyrics, as evidenced by the Current-gyrating single “Never Seen Such Good Things.” The part-Venezuelan Banhart recruited a Brazilian to open his tour, Rodrigo Amarante, who played in Little Joy with the Strokes’ Fabrizio Moretti and is also part of Los Hermanos. (9 p.m. Thu., Mill City Nights, $23-$25.) Riemenschneider

 

Former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy DJ-ed at First Ave on the side both times he performed at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in the late ’00s with the decade’s greatest dance-rock band. Since he put the group to bed in 2011, though, Murphy’s only reason to come to town is to spin records, which raises expectations but should also lessen the stand-and-gawk-at-the-celebrity-DJ factor and make it more of a cut-loose dance party. (10 p.m. Thu., First Avenue, $20.) Riemenschneider

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