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

  • Updated: September 19, 2013 - 3:23 PM

COUNTRY

Forget Hootie. With three consecutive No. 1 country albums, Darius Rucker is entrenched in country music. He even landed a nomination this month for Country Music Association Awards single of the year for “Wagon Wheel.” Actually, he hasn’t completely forgotten about Hootie & the Blowfish. He still does two or three of their songs in concert — and why not? He sang the original versions. He didn’t do the original of “Wagon Wheel,” though; Old Crow Medicine Show did. Opening is Jake McVey, a newcomer from Iowa with a bit of an outlaw streak. (8 p.m. Fri., Mystic Lake Casino, sold out.) Bream

POP/ROCK

With her Mary Chapin Carpenter-like sound and literary writing style, Meg Hutchinson has predictably become a cornerstone artist on St. Paul’s Red House Records roster. The folkie from rural Massachusetts takes an elegant turn on her latest album, “Beyond That,” which should make her a perfect kickoff act for the monthly Red House Live From the Landmark series in St. Paul’s ornate palace. Future shows include Drew Nelson on Oct. 18 and Spider John Koerner and Tony Glover on Nov. 15. (8 p.m. Fri., Landmark Center, $15, 651-292-3063.) Chris Riemenschneider

 

Recorded at home over the course of a lost year with a wild array of electronic equipment and his coolly warped guitar work, Tapes ’n Tapes frontman Josh Grier’s solo album “Manopause,” recorded under the moniker Ginkgo, has given way to a full-blown band of the same name, featuring TNT drummer Jeremy Hanson, his brother Jacob Hanson on guitar, Robert Skoro and Communist Daughter’s Adam Switlick. Their overdue record-release party features Are We Local? prize winners Carroll for openers. See startribune.com/a2498 for a story. (11 p.m. Fri., Icehouse, $8-$10.) Riemenschneider

 

Out on a co-headlining tour, Trivium and DevilDriver are hard-crunching B-list metal bands from opposite ends of the country (Florida and California, respectively). DevilDriver’s latest album is “Winter Kills” — funny title for a band from the Sunshine State. A band that knows all about winter’s deadly forces, local thrashers After the Burial open along with British quartet Sylosis. (5:30 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, $22-$24.) Riemenschneider

 

Raised in the forestland of northern Wisconsin and now an international indie-music darling, Nika Roza Danilova of Zola Jesus bridges many different musical worlds on her fourth album, “Versions.” The Kate Bush-like ethereal art-pop songstress collaborated with noise-punk veteran JG Thirlwell (of Foetus notoriety) to craft string arrangements of some old and new songs. She’s recruiting local string players on her fall tour and will perform here with members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for the opener of its Liquid Music series, including original arrangements by SPCO artistic partner Stephen Prutsman. (7 p.m. Sun., Amsterdam Bar & Hall, $10.) Riemenschneider

 

The underexposed Bettye LaVette is one of the greatest living female soul singers. Since her comeback 10 years ago, the former Motown vocalist, now 67, made ripples at President Obama’s first inauguration (singing “A Change Is Gonna Come”) and at the Kennedy Center Honors (interpreting the Who’s “Love, Reign O’er Me”). But she’s never had a hit song or won a Grammy (she had one nomination). With a full body-and-soul style of singing, no vocalist can make you feel the pain like LaVette. Always highly recommended. (7 p.m. Mon.-Tue., Dakota, $45.) Jon Bream

 

Probably best known in the States for his role in 1981’s World War II movie “Das Boot,” Herbert Grönemeyer is actually one of Germany’s biggest rock stars (18 million albums sold, he claims). He’s written music for films by Anton Corbijn and enlisted Bono and Antony Hegarty on his new album in English, “I Walk.” Although Grönemeyer has been dubbed the German Springsteen, his propensity for autumnal ballads suggests Leonard Cohen without the gravitas. He’s making his first U.S. tour with a band. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Cedar Cultural Center, $35-$45.) Bream

Having grown up in a showbiz family (Dad’s a talent manager; Mom’s an agent), Caitlin Crosby was a teen actress, with roles on “Malcolm in the Middle,” among others. Now the 28-year-old is turning her efforts to music, with a Sheryl Crow-meets-Fiona Apple vibe on her new EP, “Save That Pillow.” The title track is a country plaint about a one-night stand, while “Just Another Day” addresses the Hollywood Boulevard hustle, and “Is This the Good Life” sounds like a Lana Del Rey outtake. Crosby’s world-weary folk-soul vocals are worth checking out. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Aster Cafe, $12.) Bream

 

After singing backup for D’Angelo and Eve, Anthony Hamilton was a featured vocalist with the back-porch hip-hop group Nappy Roots. Then, in 2003, his solo career as an old-school soul singer took off with the R&B hit “Charlene.” He’s brought that Southern style of singing to five of his own albums as well as guest spots on recordings for Al Green (which won him a Grammy), Angie Stone, Jadakiss, Buddy Guy, Young Jeezy, Big K.R.I.T. and Nas. (9 p.m. Thu., Epic, $30-$60.) Bream

 

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

HIP-HOP

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

JAZZ

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

WORLD

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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