Big Gigs: Best concerts in Twin Cities, Oct. 11-17

  • Updated: October 11, 2013 - 2:10 PM

Father John Misty performed at First Avenue on May 21, 2013 in Minneapolis.

Photo: JERRY HOLT •,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger


On the rebound from a small stroke, Twin Cities vocal powerhouse Robert Robinson has released a quiet but classy album, “Songs of Love and Comfort: Lullabies From the Heart.” Using only the soft (but sweet) part of his voice, he soothes on interpretations of such pop hits as Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” (which works) and Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” (which drags on too long). When Robinson celebrates his new album Friday, let’s hope he doesn’t limit his performance to only his lullaby voice. (8 p.m. Fri., Dakota Jazz Club, $20.) Jon Bream 

Minneapolis needs another Father John Misty gig like Miley Cyrus needs publicity. Thankfully, the cosmic Los Angeles folk-rocker is changing things up this time, leaving his terrific band at home and playing all by his lonesome, contemplative, wryly humorous self. It’s a fitting way to wrap up the incessant touring behind last year’s breakout album “Fear Fun,” and start prepping for a new one. Hopefully, the real-life Josh Tillman will be cheerier than at his last, almost antagonistic First Ave gig. Hip New York comic Kate Berlant should help lighten things up as the opening act. (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, $25.) Chris Riemenschneider

After 25 years of performing under the Dylan-inspired gunslinger moniker John Wesley Harding (remember “The Devil in Me?”), British alt-folk vet Wesley Stace is touring under his birth name, which you’ll also see on the cover of his three well-received novels. He’s promoting a new record, “Self-Titled,” and hosting a local version of his NPR variety show “Cabinet of Wonders,” with guests to include Gary Louris, Laurie Lindeen, Haley Bonar, comic Todd Barry and more. (8 p.m. Fri., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $20-$25.) Riemenschneider

If Bonnie Raitt had a daughter, she might sing with the sass, spunk and soulfulness of ZZ Ward. The petite, fedora-wearing newcomer from tiny Roseburg, Ore., impressed on Conan, Kimmel and Leno, and in Minneapolis performances at the Varsity and Basilica Block Party. Even though her 2012 debut “Til the Casket Drops” features rappers Kendrick Lamar and Freddie Gibbs, her powerful pipes will carry this show. James Bay opens. (7 p.m. Sat., Skyway Theatre, $18.75-$20.) Bream

As is known by anyone who has caught a Melismatics gig or seen them anchor First Ave’s Replacements tributes, the Twin Cities quartet can flat-out rock, with an exuberance that most bands would envy. The husband/wife-led rockers spend a lot of their new record, “Rising Tide,” showing off a sharp popcraft sometimes buried under their frenetic energy. Most of the songs were produced by John Auer of Posies power-pop fame and the latter-day Big Star lineup, and they range in style from Mates of State-like candied gems to Oasis-y power ballads. Their hometown release party features Sick of Sarah, the Hounds Below and Tony Ortiz for openers. (9 p.m. Sat., Amsterdam Bar & Hall, $10-$12.) Riemenschneider 

At 12, precocious picker Sarah Jarosz was jamming on mandolin and banjo with Ricky Skaggs and David Grisman. Now, at 22, she has developed into an accomplished singer/songwriter in the Gillian Welch mode. She just released her third album, “Build Me Up From the Bones,” recorded during her final year at the New England Conservatory of Music. With assistance from such A-list pickers as Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile and Viktor Krauss, she impresses big-time, especially on the haunting original “Gone Too Soon” and a minimalist reading of Bob Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate.” (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota, $25.) Bream

Fiona Apple has issues. It’s part of what makes her such a deep and compelling artist. Just don’t hassle her, as one worshipful woman did at a concert last week in Portland (something about Apple’s weight and looks), causing the singer/pianist to go off — in both senses of the words. She’s volatile and vulnerable and working without a net on her duo tour with Blake Mills, the L.A. hotshot guitarist and talented singer/songwriter who has worked with Lucinda Williams, Pink, Jenny Lewis and many others. He played with Apple last year when she was promoting the excellent “Idler Wheel” album. (7:30 p.m. Mon., the O’Shaughnessy, $39.50-$59.50.) Bream

After breaking new ground with his old band this summer on their 3-D Tour, Primus leader and wizardly bassist Les Claypool has ventured into new territory again with his Duo de Twang Tour, an acoustic outing featuring Ministry guitarist Bryan Kehoe. The set lists have featured a handful of Primus tunes alongside a wide array of covers as odd as you’d expect from Les, from the Bee Gees to Alice in Chains to Johnny Horton. (8 p.m. Mon., Varsity Theater, $30.) Riemenschneider

German pop duo Boy might have the most unrecognizable (and un-Googleable) name in modern music, but their bouncy, Feist-echoing hit “Little Numbers” has certainly stood out, thanks in large part to its use in a Hyundai commercial and, locally, to heavy airplay on the Current. Swiss-born Valeska Steiner and her German partner Sonja Glass played two small shows here in March and are back to tackle the big room. British opener Greg Holden wrote American Idol champ Phillip Phillips’ hit “Home.” (8 p.m. Tue., First Avenue, $18.) Riemenschneider 

Having channeled the Replacements’ wild side to great effect on their last album, “Divine Providence,” Rhode Island rockers Deer Tick sound more sober and somber on their new album, “Negativity,” in which frontman John McCauley reflects on a broken engagement and daddy issues. Texas countryman Robert Eillis opens. (8:30 p.m. Tue., Fine Line, $20.) Riemenschneider

Hugh Laurie, formerly the quirky doctor on TV’s “House,” is touring to promote his just-released second album for Warner Bros. His debut was a credible, New Orleans-seasoned blues effort with a cast of guest stars. Only Taj Mahal joins Laurie for the new “Didn’t It Rain,” a low-key but likable collection of late-night blues/jazz on which Laurie once again asserts himself as a credible vocalist and a pretty fair barroom and boogie pianist. He’s traveling with the Copper Bottom Band, featured on his summer PBS special “Live on the Queen Mary.” (7:30 p.m. Tue., Pantages Theatre, $48.50-$58.50.) Bream

Alice Russell is the British soul singer you’ve probably never heard of but deserves as much attention as Adele and Amy Winehouse. More modern than those retro songbirds, Russell, 38, incorporates hip-hop, dance and jazz into immaculately produced contemporary R&B. A formidable singer with a wide emotional range, she’s made seven solo albums, including this year’s delightful “To Dust,” but she may be best known in the States for an arresting track on the 2010 David Byrne/Fatboy Slim collaboration “Here Lies Love.” Opening is Marques Toliver, a classically trained violinist turned honey-voiced London soul singer. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Cedar Cultural Center, $18-$20.) Bream

Sarah Brightman can boast a lot of firsts: the first Christine in “Phantom of the Opera,” the first classical crossover star, the first singer to perform the theme song at two Olympics. Now she is training to be the first music star in space, as a cosmonaut headed for the International Space Station in 2015. First, she has to get through her Dreamchaser Tour with its stripped-down band (no orchestra, just synthesized strings) and Space Age effects and dreamscapes. The spectacle will feature material from this year’s “Dreamchaser,” on which she reinvents songs by Sigur Rós, the Cocteau Twins and Paul McCartney & Wings. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Xcel Energy Center, $74.50-$157.) Bream


Falling somewhere between Atmosphere and Insane Clown Posse, Kansas City’s face-painted, tongue-twisting rap vet Tech N9ne has carved out a sizable niche outside mainstream hip-hop over his nearly 20-year career. He edges toward the center without dulling down his sharp character on his recent concept album “Something Else,” featuring guest appearances by everyone from Cee-Lo to Serj Tankian. His touring partners include fellow K.C. stalwart Krizz Kalico and Miami’s Mayday, who are also on the record. (7 p.m. Fri., Myth, all ages, $35.) Riemenschneider

Losing the best new artist Grammy to Bon Iver was hardly the death knell of J. Cole’s career. The Jay Z protégé from North Carolina gave a strong performance during MTV’s Video Music Awards and landed at No. 1 in Billboard this summer with his second album, “Born Sinner,” buoyed by the hit single with Miguel, “Power Trip.” He’s not the powerhouse MC that his cohort Kendrick Lamar is, but Cole packs a lot of thoughtful and edgy lyricism into his songs alongside those hitmaking hooks. He’s touring with Wale, the D.C. rapper of “Lotus Flower Bomb” fame (another Miguel hook-up), whose third album “The Gifted” also went No. 1 this summer. (7 p.m. Sun., Myth, all ages, $42.) Riemenschneider

Only 19 years old and suddenly the hottest hipster rapper around, Earl Sweatshirt returned from boarding-school exile in Samoa and graduated from the wickedly juvenile group that is/was the Odd Future collective to drop the acclaimed new album “Doris.” Gone are the cough-syrup-drunk antics and cocky attitude of his prior tunes. In are dark and depressed lyrics and a brilliant array of dense beats, including production from Pharrell and RZA. While there are still some jaw-droppingly naughty lyrics, the real shock on the record is its honest and personal assessment of troubled youth. Odd Future and Mac Miller cohort Vince Staples opens. (7 p.m. Sun., Fine Line, all ages, $20-$22.) Riemenschneider

  • related content

  • Earl Sweatshirt

  • The Melismatics

  • Neko Case

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters