Big Gigs: The best Twin Cities concerts Nov. 8-14

  • Updated: November 12, 2013 - 2:01 PM

Concert spotlights on Skrillex, the Black Crowes, Allen Touissaint, Dan Wilson, Mazzy Star, Bryan Nichols and more.

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Colin Meloy of the Decemberists

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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POP/ROCK

A force behind New Orleans music since the late 1950s, Rock Hall of Famer Allen Toussaint is a producer, songwriter, arranger and pianist behind such hits as “Mother in Law,” “Java,” “Working in a Coalmine,” “Lady Marmalade,” “Right Place, Wrong Time” and “Southern Nights.” He’s also worked with the Band, Paul Simon and Elvis Costello, among others. In concert, this modest gentleman and terrific pianist tells intriguing back ­stories before he plays his famous songs. (7 & 9 p.m. Sat., Dakota, $35-$45.) Jon Bream

 

Dan Wilson moved to Los Angeles a couple of years ago to further his songwriting career but we still claim him as a Minneapolitan. The songwriting thing has been going just fine, with Grammys for tunes penned with Adele and the Dixie Chicks, contributions to hit albums by Pink, Taylor Swift and Dierks Bentley, and songs this year on albums by John Legend, LeAnn Rimes, Natalie Maines and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Of course, the man with Minnesota’s sweetest pop voice has plenty of material from Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare, his duo with brother Matt and solo work. Last week he started streaming a new single, “Disappearing,” featuring Sara Bareilles, at TheCurrent.org; his overdue second solo album is slated for a spring release. Wilson’s hometown concert is a benefit for the Sheridan Story, which helps to feed hungry schoolchildren. (7 p.m. Sat., Sheridan School, 1201 University Av. NE., Mpls. $35-$75, danwilsonconcert.com/buytickets.) Bream

 

After a summer sharing the bill with the Tedeschi Trucks Band, the Black Crowes are wrapping up their Lay Down With Number 13 Tour with no promises for group activity in 2014, but solo projects. The Crowes are touring behind “Wiser for the Time,” a two-CD live set recorded in 2010 with lots of acoustic numbers. But based on reviews of the current tour, expect lots of Stones covers, Billy Joe Royal’s “Hush,” the Crowes’ own “Wiser Time” or “Thorn in My Pride” and newcomer Jackie Greene on slide guitar and mandolin. (9 p.m. Sat., Myth, $49.50-$55.) Bream

 

Few DJs/dance producers have to distinguish their road treks as “club tours,” but for Skrillex that’s certainly an unusual distinction to make nowadays. The Grammy-winning Los Angeles EDM guru who made dubstep a mass-marketable genre — and who makes a cute appearance teaching filmmaker Ron Howard how to work the decks in the new “Made in America” documentary on Showtime — mostly plays festivals nowadays, working big crowds into a tizzy. The real-life Sonny Moore, 25, returns to smaller venues on a five-city U.S. tour to road-test new material. Bro Safari and Valentino Khan open. (9 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, sold out.) Chris Riemenschneider

 

Sort of a cross between Lorde and Sade, Jessie Ware has the former’s stylish British pop sound and the latter’s ambient, laid-back sexiness. The 29-year-old Londonite — who worked as a journalist at the Jewish Chronicle before getting a record deal — earned a Mercury Prize nomination for last year’s debut album, “Devotion,” but has yet to break out stateside. She’s trying to remedy that on a fall tour with openers the Invisible, whose guitarist, Dave Okumu, produced Ware’s album. (8 p.m. Sun., Varsity Theater, $25-$35.) She’s also squeezing in an acoustic set earlier in the day (4:30 p.m. Sun., Electric Fetus, 2000 4th Av. S., Mpls., free, all ages.) Riemenschneider

After a couple of reunion go-arounds timed around bandleader Lou Barlow’s gig schedule playing bass with Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh is back with its first new album in 14 years, “Defend Yourself.” It’s a rather downtrodden collection, with Barlow’s divorce as a backdrop, but it boasts the classic snap-crackle-fuzz-pop sound that so many modern indie bands don’t do nearly as well. Psychedelic San Diego garage-rock band Octa#grape opens. (8:30 p.m. Mon., Turf Club, $15.) Riemenschneider

 

Good thing Mazzy Star is playing a venue without seats, because the material from the California duo’s first album in 17 years, “Seasons of the Day,” is liable to put folks to sleep. Granted, nobody goes to the “Fade Into Me” hitmakers’ gigs to start a mosh pit, but even by Mazzy standards this one’s a downer. The good news is singer Hope Sandoval’s lazily elegant voice is still a thing of beauty, and her new lineup with partner Dave Roback is playing plenty of older tunes on tour. Psychic Ills and “Transmission” DJ Jake Rudh open. (9 p.m. Tue., Mill City Nights, $32.) Riemenschneider

 

Two weeks after taping “Wits” with Minnesota Public Radio, Texas’ poppy country rocker Rhett Miller is back in town with his still-steaming band the Old ’97s. The group just finished making a new album, with Tommy Stinson of the Replacements guesting on one track. Their recordings with the late Waylon Jennings as hot young pups in 1996 were also just issued as an EP. Milwaukee kids Trapper Schoepp & the Shades open. (8 p.m. Fri., Fine Line, $25.) Riemenschneider

 

Two years after the Decemberists’ last record, frontman Colin Meloy is still biding his time playing around in other projects. He and his wife, illustrator Carson Ellis, have issued two children’s novels and have a third on the way under the banner “The Wildwood Chronicles.” He also just issued a fourth “Colon Meloy Sings” acoustic covers EP, this one featuring five Kinks tunes, all spiritedly rendered. That’s all he’s selling on a solo acoustic tour featuring Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces fame as opener. (8 p.m. Wed., Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, 410 Oak Grove St., Mpls., $30.) Riemenschneider

 

One of rock’s beloved oddballs, Jonathan Richman is as prolific as he is unique. So don’t call out for Modern Lovers gems — though he might reprise the lovely “Let Her Go Into the Darkness” from “There’s Something About Mary,” or his cult hit “I Was Dancing at the Lesbian Bar.” Otherwise, Richman and his drummer/co-star, Tommy Larkins, are likely to offer whatever new thoughts and grooves are on their mind, sometimes in French or Spanish. Local “progressive funk” band PHO opens. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Cedar Cultural Center, $12-$16.) Tom Surowicz

 

Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. has rebounded from his band’s disappointing fourth record, “Comedown Machine,” and his own struggles through rehab to produce one of the stronger efforts in the group’s extracurricular canon. He gets personal but sticks pretty close to the guitar-spunk sound he’s known for on a five-song EP, “St. Justice,” issued last month on bandmate Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records. His solo tour includes tunes from his 2008 solo album, “¿Cómo Te Llama?,” plus covers. Luke Rathborne opens. (8:30 p.m. Thu., Varsity Theater, $17.) Riemenschneider

 

A good sign it’s for a great cause: People Serving People’s second annual Sounds Like Home concert features four bands of varying styles who could headline the club on another night. The headliner in this case will be Astronautalis, the philosophical indie-rap road hound who just smashed the same venue last month with P.O.S. as Four Fists. Rounding out the bill are psychedelic pop-twangers Night Moves, arty boy-girl duo Fort Wilson Riot and nervy dance-rockers Strange Names. All proceeds help the reputable Minneapolis family homeless shelter. (7 p.m. Thu., Triple Rock, $13.) Riemenschneider

 

Jimmy Webb is such a revered songwriter that he got Keith Urban, Carly Simon, Joe Cocker and other big names to duet on this year’s “Still Within the Sound of My Voice,” a collection of Webb’s songs. Brian Wilson adds Beach Boys-like harmonies on “MacArthur Park” and David Crosby and Graham Nash frame “If These Walls Could Speak.” Webb returns to Minneapolis to tell tales behind his songs, including “Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman” and “The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress.” Pianist Robin Spielberg opens. (7 p.m. Thu., Dakota, $40-$45.) Bream

FOLK

Revered in Canada yet barely known in the States, ace folk songwriter David Francey started his musical career a bit late — at age 45. But he’s recorded 11 albums since 1999, winning three Juno Awards (Canada’s Grammy equivalent) and starring in a full-length documentary. Francey lived in Scotland until age 12, and you can still hear echoes from across the pond in his winning and warm voice. And he’s a natural storyteller, charming and funny. (6:30 p.m. Sat., Ginkgo Coffeehouse, $50 with dinner, $39 with dessert and beverage.) Surowicz

JAZZ

The most compelling young pianist/composer on the local jazz scene, Bryan Nichols will front two different combos this weekend. Friday it’s a quartet co-starring sax man Brandon Wozniak, bassist James Buckley and drummer Cory Healey, an Iowa native who’s a nice addition to the scene after fruitful stops in New York City and Chicago. Saturday’s quintet retains Wozniak and Buckley, adds a second potent sax in Michael Lewis of Happy Apple, and replaces Healey on drums with Mr. “Jazz Implosion,” J.T. Bates. A good bet either way. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists’ Quarter, $12. ) Surowicz

 

“Foodie nights” at the Dakota are a good deal, with no cover charge and $10 bottles of wine. Those nights are especially attractive when they involve versatile accordion maestro Patrick Harison and his ever-charming Patty & the Buttons. This time they’re joined by the often sublime duo of singer Maud Hixson and piano all-pro Rick Carlson. Hixson works regularly with the Buttons’ splendid clarinetist, Tony Balluff, in the groovy Gallic group French 75. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club.) Surowicz

 

One of today’s most prodigious jazz trumpeters (and flugelhornists), two-time Grammy winner Roy Hargrove makes his annual visit downtown. His acoustic hard-jazz quintet includes old pal and longtime foil Justin Robinson on alto sax, plus excellent young New Orleans pianist Sullivan Fortner. (7 & 9 p.m. Tue.-Wed., Dakota Jazz Club, $25-$35.) (9 p.m.) Surowicz

CLASSICAL

Pianist Timothy Lovelace performs the music of Minnesota composers Eric Stokes and Steve Heitzeg, both known for their evocation of the natural world. He premieres two works by Heitzeg: “Earthshaker (in memory of Eric Stokes),” scored for solo piano with stones and plastic water bottles, and “Quaker Peace Waltz.” Heitzig also will be featured with “Sandhill Crane (Migration Variations)” for solo piano, “Pipestone Peace Pipe” for solo flute and “Three Graces for Hildur” for soprano and piano. Stokes’ works include “Four Songs” for voice and oboe, “Las Golondrinas for Cynthia” for solo flute and “Rock and Roll” for five players and rocks. Lovelace is joined by Immanuel Davis on flute, John Snow on oboe, soprano Maria Jette and percussionist Randall Davidson. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Ultan Recital Hall, Ferguson Hall, 2106 S. 4th St., University of Minnesota, Mpls. Free.) William Randall Beard





 

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