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Continued: Big Gigs: The Twin Cities' best concerts Sept. 20-26

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  • Last update: September 19, 2013 - 3:23 PM

Beloved for his three-decade career of hammering out workingman social protest songs and sardonic lyricism, Billy Bragg lightens up and gets more personal on his first album in five years, “Tooth & Nail.” Its release sparked the British folk hero’s lengthiest U.S. tour in 20 years. His 1983 debut, “Life’s a Riot With Spy vs. Spy,” is about to see a 30th-anniversary expanded reissue, so maybe we’ll get a little of that record, too. Joe Purdy opens. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Cedar Cultural Center, $28-$30.) Riemenschneider


Having already come to town behind their rebounding fourth album, “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,” high-wired Southern California rockers Cold War Kids are dropping the new “Tuxedos” EP just in time for their fall tour. The six-song collection includes two new songs, two alternates and two covers from the Band and Antony and the Johnsons. Opening band Papa is led by former Girls drummer Darren Weiss. (8:30 p.m. Thu., First Avenue, $22-$24.) Riemenschneider

His body may look frail and he may play from a chair. But 69-year-old Johnny Winter’s fingers are still alive and well. It was obvious at the Texas rock-bluesman’s torrid performance last year at Famous Dave’s Uptown and on his 2011 album “Roots,” featuring an all-star parade of guests that included Derek Trucks, Vince Gill, Warren Haynes, John Popper and, of course, brother Edgar Winter. (8 p.m. Thu., Famous Dave’s, $25-$30) Bream


Somewhere between MGMT and Phoenix on the electro-pop hipster chart, Australian duo Atlas Genius is still going strong with its infectious, bedheaded hit “Trojans.” Now it has a second single rising, the more up-tempo and slicker “If So,” which sounds a bit like classic Aussie band INXS. This show features two well-established openers: L.A. folk-rock kids Family of the Year, who’ve been all over the radio with the sweet ditty “Hero,” plus Detroit’s riotous Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (6:30 p.m. Thu., Varsity Theater, all ages, $22.50-$30.) Riemenschneider


Like a smaller version of the Soundset festival with a little reggae mixed in, the second annual Hip-Hop Harambee takes over the parking lot next to the Nomad Pub for a daylong show of national and local underground favorites. Mississippi-bred headliner Big K.R.I.T. was a hoot at Soundset two years ago and is touring behind his 10th (!) mixtape, “King Remembered in Time,” and Houston’s Devin the Dude is always an oddball delight. Seattle’s Shabazz Palaces features Butterfly of Digable Planets fame. Local acts include the Chalice’s Lizzo, stepping out to preview her upcoming album with Doomtree’s Lazerbeak, plus Toki Wright with Big Cats!, reggae vets Dred I Dread and the International Reggae All-Stars, K. Raydio and more. (1-10 p.m. Sat., 501 Cedar Av. S., Mpls., all ages, $20-$25.) Riemenschneider


It’s been several years since Diane Witherspoon wowed Artists’ Quarter audiences with her savvy, swinging jazz vocal prowess and unique song bag. Quite underrated, the Minneapolis native and L.A./Las Vegas veteran might be better known in her homeland if she weren’t so often camped out in foreign countries. She recently spent three months in residence in Hanoi, and she’s also had long engagements in Japan and Thailand, plus festival appearances in India. In addition to jazz and blues standards, her repertoire is noteworthy for several cool originals, an album’s worth of Cedar Walton compositions and some instrumental gems given lyrics by John and Paula Hackett. Top-tier musicians know Witherspoon is the real deal — she has recorded with Teddy Edwards, John Heard, Billy Higgins and Walton himself. Highly recommended. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists’ Quarter, $15.) Tom Surowicz


The groundbreaking queen of the Spanish bagpipes, lovely ball of energy Cristina Pato also sings a bit and plays classical piano well enough to accompany Yo-Yo Ma and guest with symphony orchestras. Pato is probably best-known in America for her work with Ma’s Grammy-winning Silk Road Ensemble. She was also part of the all-star project “Miles Español: New Sketches of Spain,” working alongside such heavyweights as Chick Corea, Ron Carter, John Scofield and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Now based in New York City, the 33-year-old is bringing us a rollicking, genre-bending combo called the Migrations Band. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $20.) Surowicz


The Global Roots Festival, a two-day free event this year, offers the expected multi-culti mix of far-flung exotica. Tuesday brings haunting female vocals galore, first from the theatrical DakhaBrakha, who put a tasteful and discreet postmodern spin on the folk music of Ukraine’s villages, and then Kardemimmit, four compelling young Finnish women who accompany themselves on the kantele, a stringed instrument from the dulcimer/zither family. Wednesday’s a groovefest with Debo Band, an Ethiopian-American group that’s recorded for Sub Pop, and Christine Salem, a bluesy diva who sings in several languages (Creole, Swahili, Malagasy, French) and hails from Reunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean. (7:30 p.m. Tue.-Wed., Cedar Cultural Center. Free.) Surowicz


Though a number of the “Buena Vista Social Club” film stars have passed on, the current 15-member all-Cuban Nonesuch Records-sponsored band called Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club has plenty of talent to spare. The headline names? Well, there’s 67-year-old guitar master Eliades Ochoa, who also leads the legendary Cuarteto Patria. And 82-year-old singing sensation Omara Portuondo has made some fine solo CDs for the label. There’s 80-year-old trumpeter Manuel “Guajiro” Mirabal, who’s bringing along trumpeter Guajirito Mirabal, presumably his son or grandson. Then there’s comparative youngster Barbarito Torres, 57, who is the world’s best-known player of the laúd, a Cuban lute. Havana comes to Burnsville for una noche especial. (8 p.m. Wed., Burnsville Performing Arts Center, $39.50-$50.50.) Surowicz


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