Big Gigs: The best Twin Cities concerts Nov. 15-21

  • Updated: November 14, 2013 - 10:00 PM

Concert spotlights on Pretty Lights, John Legend, Gary Clark, Jr., Lew Tabackin, Selena Gomez, Fits & the Tantrums and ... ewww, a Nashville band with an icky name.

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Pretty Lights

COUNTRY

For some reason, Brad Paisley’s Beat This Summer Tour extends to just before Thanksgiving. He’s always had a sense of humor — or maybe he didn’t want to print a new batch of T-shirts. Anyway, your favorite smart-aleck country-awards host is cranking up his guitars, videos and holograms (you didn’t think Carrie Underwood would show up in person?) for the home stretch of his tour to promote “Wheelhouse,” the first Paisley album that hasn’t delivered a No. 1 country song. Opening are Chris Young, who has scored five No. 1 hits including “The Man I Want to Be,” and Danielle Bradbery, a Blake Shelton-coached winner on “The Voice.” (7:30 p.m. Sat. Xcel Energy Center, $25-$59.75.) Jon Bream

POP/ROCK

Brian Setzer and folks in the retail world may be the only ones in the holiday spirit right now. Minneapolis’ coolest guitar star kicks off the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 10th-anniversary Christmas tour in his home base with 28 cities to go. Some fans go to hear the snazzy big-band arrangements of Yule classics, others to experience the brilliance and range of Setzer’s playing. Meanwhile, he is working on a brand-new rockabilly album with three other players in Nashville. Firebird, a rockabilly trio from Australia, will open. (8 p.m. Fri., Orpheum, $43.50-$58.50.) Bream

 

The demand to see Matt Nathanson and Joshua Radin is sizable, but is the Skyway — downtown Minneapolis’ newish rock/dance club — the right venue in which to experience these two modern, female-friendly singer-songwriters? Always chatty and funny in concert, Nathanson shows plenty of pop polish on this year’s San Francisco-centric “Last of the Great Pretenders.” Love his line about “She had a master’s degree in disappointment.” Radin is more introverted, but he had the women swooning when he showcased material from his new “Wax Wings” album earlier this year at the Dakota. (6:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Skyway Theatre. $28.50; Saturday is sold out.) Bream

 

The big closer at last year’s inaugural Summer Set Festival, Colorado’s electronic-dance star Pretty Lights (Derek Smith) certainly lives up to his moniker onstage, with a hi-fi production straight out of a sci-fi movie set. His soul-poppy brand of hip-hop-ified EDM is itself pretty light on impact, but it could be more electrifying this time since he’s touring with a full band behind the sprawling new double album, “Color Map of the Sun,” his first effort composed and recorded without samples. Blood Diamonds and Paul Basic also perform. (9 p.m. Sat., Myth, $32.) Riemenschneider

Few songwriters in the roots/Americana field can keep pace with Robbie Fulks, a truism confirmed by his new album, “Gone Away Backward.” It features 10 songs and (surprisingly) two instrumentals, without a clunker in the bunch, mostly sporting an “O Chicago Brother, Where Art Thou?” old-timey/bluegrass vibe. Fulks can be a rowdy rockin’ prankster at times, but not on this often spare, contemplative, beautiful album. Its best songs — including the John Prine-worthy “Where I Fell,” the sly “Imogene” and the trippy, poetic “The Many Disguises of God” — will haunt you. (8 p.m. Fri., 7th Street Entry, $15.) Tom Surowicz

 

Built to Spill has a new rhythm section, but no new album, with the long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s “There Is No Enemy” still in the works. Neither point really matters to the Boise, Idaho, quintet’s devoted fans, who will turn out regardless to hear Doug Martsch & Co.’s thrilling three-guitar workouts, some of the best non-jammy jamming around. We’re getting them about three-quarters of the way through a seven-week tour. Saxophone-led Vancouver punk band Slam Dunk opens with the Warm Hair. (8 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, $20-$22.) Riemenschneider

 

You know Diarrhea Planet has to be pretty good to have gotten around such a tasteless band name to become the toast of many snobby tastemakers. The young Nashville noise-rock sextet boasts four gamer-looking guitarists — take that, Built to Spill! — who are prone to wild onstage antics as juvenile as their moniker. They craft some surprisingly sophisticated wall-of-roar jams amid the chaos and cocky attitude, though, like a cross between Trail of Dead, Sonic Youth and Ted Nugent. Los Angeles pop-punk quartet the Lovely Bad Things and soulful local rockers General B & the Wiz open. (8:30 p.m. Sun., 7th Street Entry, $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

 

MGMT has a dubious reputation locally as the dullest headliner in Rock the Garden history (2010), and that may help explain why its concert was downsized from Roy Wilkins Auditorium to First Ave. The Connecticut haze-rock duo’s hot mess of an eponymous third album probably hasn’t done much to win back fans. If wigged-out, Syd Barrett-ized songs such as “Your Life Is a Lie” and “Alien Days” don’t liven up the live show — where co-founders Andrew VanWyngarden and Benjamin Goldwasser expand the band to a quintet — there are always “Time to Pretend,” “Kids” and “Electric Feel,” the synth-sparkly 2007 hits that made them best-new-artist Grammy nominees and still keep them on people’s radar. Former MGMT tour guitarist Hank Sullivant’s band Kuroma opens. (7:30 p.m. Mon., First Avenue, $29.50.) Riemenschneider

 

Ozzfest-reared metal thrashers Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage are on a co-headlining fall tour celebrating the hard-fought returns of their singers. LoG’s gutter-voiced frontman Randy Blythe was imprisoned in Prague last year in a high-profile case involving the death of a fan he pushed off the stage. Killswitch welcomed back original guy Jesse Leach after a 10-year hiatus on its new album, “Disarm the Descent.” They have some name-brand openers with them, too, with ’80s thrash pioneers Testament and California newcomers Huntress, led by impressive screamer Jill Janus. (7 p.m. Mon., Myth, all ages, $29.50.) Riemenschneider

 

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