The Big Gigs for July 19-25: Savages, Merle Haggard, Dr. John and much, much more

  • Updated: July 19, 2013 - 2:08 PM

Stokley Williams of Mint Condition, which performs Saturday at Rondo Days.

Call it the Alt-J formula:  Take massive amounts of British music media hype, add a heavy sprinkling of 89.3 the Current airplay, underbook the band at the Triple Rock, and before you can ask, “Are they really any good?” announce a big follow-up show at First Avenue for a few months later. Savages have gone that same route, but hopefully the black-clad, Joy Division-channeling all-female quartet will put on a livelier live show than their fellow college-age Brits did. It seems likely, given the visceral intensity of the London rockers’ debut album, “Silence Yourself” — issued stateside in May via Matador Records with some gnawingly pretentious tunes but also more fun echoes of Sleater-Kinney and Siouxsie & the Banshees. They’ll be back in town Sept. 17. Opener Johnny Hostile also collaborates with Savages singer Jehnny Beth as the duo John & Jehn. (9 p.m. Sun., Triple Rock, sold out.) Riemenschneider


Dr. John has been on a roll: He was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2011, made a remarkable Grammy-winning album, “Locked Down,” in 2012 and received an honorary doctorate from Tulane University this spring (the school prez called him “Dr. Dr. John”). Produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, “Locked Down” is a return to mystical voodoo form for the good doctor from New Orleans. He’ll be joined by Louisiana slide guitar star Sonny Landreth, whose 2012 disc, “Elemental Journey,” is not only his first all-instrumental album but probably his most stylistically diverse, covering everything from reggae to jazz, with appearances by Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson. (7:30 p.m. Fri., Minnesota Zoo, $42-$54.50.) Jon Bream

One of the best-loved costume-wearing bands this side of GWAR and maybe the third best band with an album called “Let It Be,” Green Jelly was supposed to play the temporarily shuttered Station 4 but thankfully found a new venue. The Hollywood-based freak metalists have been in reunion mode since 2008 and are playing here again with our own slime-coated bad boys Impaler. (8 p.m. Fri., Triple Rock, $10-$13.) Chris Riemenschneider

It’s been a few days since Bret Michaels last played in Minnesota, so of course the Poison frontman is booked to headline Prior Lake’s Lakefront Music Fest. He’s playing the first night with two of his fellow power-ballad-singing, lipstick-wearing acts from the ’80s, Firehouse and Warrant, the latter performing without original singer Jani Lane, who died in 2011. Another act that knows our Minnesota highways well, country duo Montgomery Gentry headlines Saturday. (6 p.m. Fri., 4:30 p.m. Sat., Lakefront Park, 1500 Kop Pkwy., Prior Lake, $20/day.) Riemenschneider

After a well-received Amphetamine/Reptile label anniversary in 2010, Grumpy’s Downtown is bringing back more rarely seen bands of the ’80s-’90s pre-grunge punk/indie-rock era for another party in the parking lot, this one dubbed Bash 13. Best-known is the third-best band of Seattle’s Sub Pop scene, Mudhoney, playing its first Twin Cities gig in a decade in support of its first new album in five years. The headliner, though, is Milwaukee’s arty noise-punks Die Kreuzen, cult favorites from the Touch & Go label who haven’t played here in two decades. Even rarer, Detroit hardcore heroes Negative Approach are scheduled to deliver their first-ever Minneapolis gig. And then there are Seattle freak champs the Melvins, who seem to play their pal Tom Hazelmyer’s bar any chance they can get. Also performing are Austin punks Honky, led by ex-Butthole Surfers bassist Jeff Pinkus, plus Gay Witch Abortion and a new band of ex-Cows called Hepa/Titus. (2 p.m. Sat., Grumpy’s Downtown, 1111 Washington Av. S., $35 via Riemenschneider

Two years ago New Kids on the Block proved they still have the steps and the vocal chops when they teamed up with fellow reunited boy band Backstreet Boys for a brilliantly conceived, smoothly executed show in which the two acts seamlessly traded off after a few songs each. It remains to be seen how Boston’s finest will interact with Boyz II Men, those romantic 1990s harmonizers who made women swoon at the State Fair in 2011, and 98 Degrees, best remembered for the post-boy band life of the Lachey brothers on “Dancin’ With the Stars” and “Nick and Jessica.” (7:30 p.m. Sat., Target Center, $29.50-$91.50.) Bream

Known as Holly Hafermann when she sang as a teenager in Madison, Wis., she moved to Los Angeles and transformed into Skylar Grey, a hit songwriter (“Love the Way You Lie”) and hook singer (“Where’d You Go,” “I Need a Doctor,” “Coming Home”). This month, Grey released her first album under her new moniker. “Don’t Look Down” shows off her strengths — strong voice, good melodies, appealing hooks — but also her weaknesses: lack of emotion, an overproduced voice and wince-worthy lyrics (“I feel like old blue jeans ’cause you wear me out”). (11 p.m. Sat., Icehouse, $15-$20.) Bream

Here’s an inspired pairing: jazzy New Orleans party man Trombone Shorty and gospelly Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples. The celebrated lead voice of the Staple Singers (“Respect Yourself,” “I’ll Take You There”) just released another splendid album produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, the stripped down and deeply spiritual “One True Vine.” Leader of his own high-energy jazz-rock-funk band, Orleans Avenue, Trombone Shorty is also an in-demand trombonist and trumpeter who played on recent albums by Rod Stewart, Cee-Lo Green and Zac Brown. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Minnesota Zoo, $56-$68.50.) Bream

In 2011, Peter Frampton came alive in concert, re-creating his blockbuster 1976 live album. Now, he’s bringing his “Guitar Circus” on tour. That means special guest Steve Lukather of Toto fame and opening act Kenny Wayne Shepherd, a guitar star himself. Freed from the confines of his live disc, Frampton can go back to just being a guitar hero who’s been enlisted by David Bowie (for his Glass Spiders Tour), Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Frampton won’t promise a 14-minute version of “Do You Feel the Way We Do,” but he will have Minneapolitan Rob Arthur in his band. (7:30 p.m. Sun. State, $53.50 & $68.50.) Bream

If the ever-charming Chris Isaak doesn’t demonstrate his usual humor this time around, it might be because longtime drummer and straight man Kenney Dale Johnson had to sit out this tour to undergo cancer treatment. Don’t be surprised if the rockabilly-loving Isaak devotes a chunk of the evening to material from 2011’s “Beyond the Sun,” his interpretations of vintage tunes associated with Sun Records. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Minnesota Zoo, $54 & $66.50.) Bream

  • related content

  • Savages

  • Merle Haggard performs at the State Theatre on Friday.

  • Chris Isaak plays at the Minnesota Zoo on Monday.

  • Dr. John

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