Big Gigs: Twin Cities' best concerts Nov. 22-28

  • Updated: November 24, 2013 - 8:54 AM
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Rokia Traore

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POP/ROCK

Elton John’s intriguing new album, “The Diving Board,” may be a stripped-down affair, but his current concert tour is anything but minimalist. He’ll have his usual band plus the duo 2Cellos on some songs and four female backup singers including Rose Stone, of Sly & the Family Stone, and Tata Vega, featured in the terrific doc “20 Feet From Stardom.” With a set list covering more than 25 songs, the Rocket Man has been doing a few “Diving Board” tunes, some deep tracks and, of course, plenty of hits. (8 p.m. Fri., Xcel Energy Center, $29-$149.) Jon Bream

Like a harvest celebration in their native Iowa, the Pines have turned their pre-Thanksgiving gig at the Cedar into an annual tradition — and now a two-night stand. The moody folk-rock troupe, still basking in the warm glow of last year’s album “Dark So Gold,” just issued a new cover of Jimmy Webb’s “Highwayman” with guests Erik Koskinen and Trampled by Turtles frontman Dave Simonett, who will open the first night with a solo set. Another great Iowa troubadour, Dave Moore, opens Saturday. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $18-$20, or $30 both nights.) Chris Riemenschneider

It’s billed as the American Roots Revue. What that means isn’t as clear as the abundant talent of the four Twin Cities singers involved — gospel great Robert Robinson; the unstoppably creative dynamo J.D. Steele; R&B powerhouse Tonia Hughes and veteran folk singer Larry Long, a gifted storyteller and dedicated activist. These four friends will be backed by an all-star local band featuring Prince guitarist Cory Wong and Soul Asylum drummer Michael Bland. (7 & 9 p.m. Fri., Dakota, $30.) Bream

They call themselves Fans of Sue McLean, and they’ve organized a concert to benefit the late Minneapolis concert promoter’s 12-year-old daughter, Lilly. All kinds of artists have stepped up, including New York singer/songwriter Eric Hutchinson; Minneapolis rockers Soul Asylum; Wisconsin good-timers the BoDeans; Twin Cities’ Americana aces Molly Maher and Her Disbelievers; Jayhawks duo Marc Perlman and Tim O’Reagan; songstress Haley Bonar; acclaimed indie rockers Rogue Valley; the John Munson-led Witnesses and the X-Boys, an all-star new-wave band featuring members of the Suburbs and Suicide Commandos. There will be a live auction of some McLean memorabilia. (7 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, $50-$150.) Bream

Bringing together the Warped Tour and Rock the Garden crowds for one night only, Paramore and Metric have at least one thing in common: two of today’s most charismatic rock ’n’ roll frontwomen. Paramore’s Hayley Williams, part Gwen Stefani and part Pat Benatar, has bounced back from her breakup with bandmates Josh and Zac Farro to produce a rocking kiss-off of an album. Metric’s Emily Haines has issued a couple of solo efforts but still shines brightest with her Toronto-bred male counterparts, as proven by their RTG headlining set in June. (7:30 p.m. Sat., Roy Wilkins Auditorium, $39.50-$49.50.) Riemenschneider

Toad the Wet Sprocket is no longer just another ’90s band in reunion mode. The jangly California pop-rock quartet of “Walk on the Ocean” and “All I Want” fame just issued its first new album in 15 years, “New Constellation.” Frontman Glen Phillips’ sandy voice is unmistakable, and the dramatic ocean-swept songs sound familiar, too. “American Idol” Season 9 champ Lee DeWyze opens. (9 p.m. Sat., Mill City Nights, $30.) Riemenschneider

After two vocal-cord operations, John Mayer has finally returned to the road. In his time away, he has released two mostly understated (and underwhelming) rootsy albums, “Born and Raised” and “Paradise Valley,” but set lists from the tour indicate that his two-hour-plus performances have been more of a career retrospective. Opening is “Home” hitmaker and “American Idol” champ Phillip Phillips. (7 p.m. Sat., Target Center, $55-$75.) Bream

Just two weekends after Slayer reigned in Maplewood, fellow Big Four thrash band Megadeth returns behind “Super Collider.” The group’s 14th album boasts a slicker and at times melodic sound that has stirred up almost as much controversy as frontman Dave Mustaine’s statements last year on the Aurora shootings. (He blamed Obama.) Fans and critics have been more favorable toward bassist Dave Ellefson’s new autobiography, “All the Best Things in My Life Were Not My Idea,” which chronicles his upbringing in Jackson, Minn., on up to his reunion with Mustaine. Openers Fear Factory have reunited with co-founding guitarist Dino Cavares. Nonpoint also performs. (7 p.m. Sat., Myth, all ages, $37.) Riemenschneider

Who in the Twin Cities can boast a résumé like Doris Hines’? She has appeared with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington. She has sung for Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and Harry Belafonte. She has been a guest artist on three albums by the Grammy-winning Sounds of Blackness. (Her son Gary is the director.) And now, after more than 50 years in the Twin Cities, Hines will celebrate her 90th birthday. Can we get an “Amen”? (5 p.m. Sun., Progressive Baptist Church, 1505 Burns Av., St. Paul.) Bream

If guitar god Leo Kottke were a baseball pitcher, he’d be known for throwing curveballs and screwballs. The latter would be his delightfully twisted sense of humor. The former would be his opening acts for his annual post-Thanksgiving hometown concert — which has included a Hutchinson, Minn., musician playing two trumpets while bouncing on a pogo stick. This time, Kottke is thinking topical and local, enlisting players from the locked-out Minnesota Orchestra to perform as a string ensemble. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Guthrie Theater, $39-$44.) Bream

When the Ike Reilly Assassination played its first-ever show in Asbury Park, N..J., this summer, New York Times columnist David Carr sent along an all-too-appropriate tweet: “Prayers to everyone involved.” That message could apply every year for the Springsteen-ized, Clash-classed, Irish-blooded Illinois rockers’ Thanksgiving Eve throwdown, now in its 11th year of causing fans to show up at their family functions looking like Rob Ford, post-stupor. The band itself has been refreshed with songs from a just-finished album, some of which Reilly test-drove during a local residency last spring. They’ve got quite an A-list of openers, too, with the Honeydogs, Communist Daughter and all-female Clash tribute band Rude Girl. (8 p.m. Wed., First Avenue, $15.) Riemenschneider

In keeping with the spirit of its annual Family Reunion camp-outs, Minnesota’s proudest jam band, the Big Wu, will once again lay out a large musical spread on Thanksgiving night. It’s “an evening with” (no opener), the musical equivalent of wearing expandable pants to dinner. The band is even offering a turkey meal before the show for fans who didn’t already stuff themselves. (9:30 p.m. Thu., Cabooze, $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

WORLD

Malian singer Rokia Traore sold out the Cedar Cultural Center in 2009, and since then her star has only risen. She wrote the music for Toni Morrison’s play “Desdemona” in 2011 and jammed onstage with Paul McCartney, Damon Albarn and John Paul Jones at an “Africa Express” concert in London in 2012. Her new album, “Beautiful Africa,” offers a fashionable mix of African traditional, rock and funk elements, with production by PJ Harvey’s guitarist and collaborator, John Parish. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Cedar, $30-$35.) Tom Surowicz

ROOTS/BLUES

C.J. Chenier has gotten more Minnesotans to dance to zydeco than just about anyone besides maybe Buckwheat Zydeco. Son of the genre’s godfather, Clifton Chenier, he took over the Red Hot Louisiana Band in the late ’80s and went on to and has recorded with Paul Simon (“Rhythm of the Saints”) and earned several Grammy nominations for his own recordings. He’s another Louisiana vet who found a comfy gig away from home post-Katrina at the Dakota and thankfully keeps coming back. (7 & 9 p.m. Sat., Dakota Jazz Club, $20-$25.) Riemenschneider

A regular at blues joints around town, Liz Cummings is a powerful singer, pianist and songwriter, well-represented by the 2011 CD, “Finally!” Though still quite young, Cummings is afflicted with has an aggressive form of dementia, and will need long-term care. Since Aretha Franklin is one of her obvious inspirations, a benefit this weekend is aptly called “A Little R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for Liz Cummings.” She’ll be around to greet fans and friends, and perhaps sing a song or two. The roster of talent is pretty strong, including Maurice Jacox, Willie Walker & Paul Metsa, High & Mighty, Prophets of Peace and the Dee Miller Band. (1-7 p.m. Sun., Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, 1638 Rice St., St. Paul, $10.) Surowicz

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