Big gigs for March 21-27: St. Vincent, Suburbs and more

  • Updated: March 28, 2014 - 3:44 PM

Concert spotlights on St. Vincent, Juicy J, Against Me!, Alejandro Escovedo, Dum Dum Girls, the Suburbs and many more.

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St. Vincent (Annie Clark).

Photo: Scott Sharpe, McClatchy News Service

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With her space-siren vocals and experimental guitar work, St. Vincent has consistently wowed local audiences — from the Cedar in 2008 to the Walker to her collaboration with David Byrne at the State in 2012 — and it sounds like she’s really going for broke this time around. The Dallas-bred art-rock heroine (real name: Annie Clark) has put together an ambitiously theatrical, spectacular, Bowie-esque production for her latest tour, supporting her equally grandiose if somewhat disjointed new self-titled album. Noveller, aka New York sonic collagist Sarah Lipstate, opens. (7:30 p.m. Thu., State Theatre, $25-$29.50.) Riemenschneider

POP/ROCK

Last year’s “Si Sauvage” was a refreshing return to recording after 27 years for the Suburbs, new-wave dance-rock mainstays who rank as one of Minnesota’s all-time great live bands. The project was clearly dominated by singer-keyboardist Chan Poling, but guitarist-singer Beej Chaney’s performance at the State Fair was encouraging albeit ragged, considering the ups and downs in his personal life. The ’Burbs return to clubland with kindred opener Johnny Rey, former guitarist/singer with the Flamin’ Oh’s and father of Doomtree DJ/producer Paper Tiger. (9 p.m. Fri. First Avenue, $20-$25.) Jon Bream

With one of the most high-energy party bands around, Texas’ R&B-flavored garage-rocker Black Joe Lewis was a great choice to headline one of the most high-minded Minneapolis music bashes of the year, Glitter Ball 5, a fundraiser for St. Paul nonprofit Rock the Cause benefitting orphaned or homeless teens. The Austin favorite — who briefly called Rochester home (and hated it) — has sparked some of the rowdiest rock dance-athons at the Cedar and First Ave in recent years. Viva Knievel will get the party started with guest singers including Nicholas David, Chris Koza, Alicia Wiley and Carnage. (8:30 p.m. Sat., Grain Belt Bottling House, $30-$100, iRocktheCause.org.) Chris Riemenschneider

Warpaint went over like lead paint at two different South by Southwest gigs in Texas last week, but technical difficulties were partly to blame. The ambient Los Angeles rockers will have more time to get in shape headlining First Ave’s main room, a precursor to summer tour dates with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and festival gigs at Coachella and Redding. Like a more experimental and edgy Beach House — with a similarly soft but dramatic singer in Emily Kokal— the quartet just issued its eponymous second album for Rough Trade and is touring with darkly quirky Welsh tunesmith Cate Le Bon, who was mesmerizing in the Entry in January. (9 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, $16-$18.) Riemenschneider

Don’t think of Jake Clemons as the late Clarence Clemons’ nephew. No, he’s earned the right to be known as one of the new saxophonists in Bruce Spring­steen & the E Street Band. Plus, Clemons, 33, has his own recording career, including the new EP, “Embracing Light,” and his own band. Opening for Garland Jeffreys in Minneapolis last fall, the singer/guitarist/saxist came across as a blend of a little Bono, a little Bruce and a little Big Man. (9:30 p.m. Sat., 7th Street Entry, $10-$12.) Bream

Alejandro Escovedo was the logical choice to helm the recent “United Sounds of Austin” special at the “Austin City Limits” studio, being the one guy who’s equally rooted in the city’s punk, country, folk and traditional Mexican music histories. Fresh from his usual hometown marathon run during SXSW, the former True Believer and Rank & File indie-rock pioneer is back on the road with his Sensitive Boys — an ironic name given their propensity to rock hard, but Escovedo’s first time at the Dakota could also bring out his sensitive, folkier side. Texicali opener Amy Cook will make for a primo appetizer. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $37-$45.) Riemenschneider

The bar-star revue “Harrison’s Jukebox” should be a fun tribute to “the quiet Beatle,” George Harrison. Curtiss A, whose yearly salutes to John Lennon are always packed with show-stopping highlights, heads up a cast that includes Johnny Rey, Gini Dodds, Jody Hanks (Raggs, Metro All Stars) and Jiggs Lee, the still-mighty voice of Cain and Fragile, who will be showing off his new band, the Brothers Foolish. No cover, though donations to the American Cancer Society are encouraged. (6 p.m. Sun., Amsterdam Bar & Hall.) Tom Surowicz

Still sporting all-black attire and grim, rock-attitude faces even under the midday sun at SXSW two weeks ago, the Dum Dum Girls have at least lightened up musically. Frontwoman Dee Dee Penny — who has spent ample time in the Twin Cities visiting her dad — turned in brighter pop hooks, punchier beats and less of the guitar-haze of past efforts on her band’s new Sub Pop album, “Too True.” Her Los Angeles-based quintet is no longer all girls, with the addition of a male guitarist. But he looks good in black, too. Portland, Ore., shoegazer trio Blouse opens. (8 p.m. Tue., Triple Rock, $15.) Riemenschneider

Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza is trying to use his new album, “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem,” to promote peace in the Middle East. He’s put together songs about peaceful coexistence with the help of musicians from Palestine, Israel and the United States (Broza lived in New Jersey for nearly two decades). Guests include Wyclef Jean and Palestinian hip-hop duo G-Town. The recording — which features lyrics in English and Hebrew, multi-ethnic sounds and covers of peacenik songs by Cat Stevens and Nick Lowe — was produced by Steve Earle, who knows his way around music with a political message. (7 p.m. Wed., Dakota, $40-$45.) Bream

With its classic Butch Vig-produced 2007 album “New Wave,” Against Me! stepped up as one of the best throwback, fist-in-the air, riff-and-roar punk bands in 20-some years. With its latest album, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” the Florida quartet arguably steps out as one of the most daring, socially challenging punk bands of all time. The record chronicles frontwoman Laura Jane Grace’s transformation from the former Tom Gabel in surprisingly frank and universal ways. During their riveting SXSW shows two weeks ago, though, Grace & Co. proved that surprisingly little else has changed. Laura Stevenson of the punk collective Bomb the Music Industry and Michigan trio Cheap Girls open. (8 p.m. Wed., First Avenue, $18-$20.) Riemenschneider

Milagres sound big, anthemic and dramatic enough on their new album to open the next Coldplay tour, but the Brooklyn-based synth-rock band is doing just fine in indie circles following the release of their third album, “Violent Light.” Singer Kyle Wilson bounces between hushed tones and operatic falsetto to great effect, while the rest of the band shows flashes of Depeche Mode and “Achtung” U2. (8:30 p.m. Wed., 7th Street Entry, $8.) Riemenschneider

Since their golden-voiced leader apparently defies the aging process, it’s hard to believe rockabilly and Western swing masters Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys are celebrating their 25th anniversary. Their latest release, “What a Dream It’s Been,” is a rare all-acoustic effort featuring new takes on old favorites. Surprises include a rock-steady reggae version of “I Know I’ve Loved You Before,” and a duet with actress Grey DeLisle on the title track. (9 p.m. Wed., Lee’s Liquor Lounge, $12.) Surowicz

London Grammar was one new buzz band that solidly lived up to the hype at SXSW. The downbeat, college-aged British trio has been in steady rotation at 89.3 the Current locally with the icy single “Metal & Dust,” which only hints at the chills-inducing power in singer Hanna Reid’s impressive voice. Her band’s lightly electronic, darkly atmospheric whir-rock also comes to life in concert. Highly recommended. The unfortunately named Vancouver Sleep Clinic opens. (8 p.m. Thu., Varsity Theater, $15-$18.) Riemenschneider

HIP-HOP

Coming to town just a few nights before the rest of his Three 6 Mafia crew plays here — in a much smaller venue! — Juicy J has made quite an unlikely leap to mainstream pop stardom over the past year. Credit goes to Katy Perry, who featured the Memphis rapper on her No. 1 hit “Dark Horse,” and perhaps to Miley Cyrus, who was erroneously rumored to be carrying his baby. But you can’t downplay the commercial appeal of Juicy’s own new album, “Stay Trippy,” loaded with club-ready dance mixes and lines about sex, weed, money and surprisingly little else. We don’t doubt he’s getting plenty of all three nowadays. His brother Project Pat, who guested on “Trippy,” and Houston’s Travi$ Scott open. (9:30 p.m. Fri., Myth, $26-$40.) Riemenschneider

Essentially Three 6 Mafia minus Juicy J, Da Mafia 6ix is promising to play all the T6M hits on tour, including the Oscar winner “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow.” The five-man crew, led by DJ Paul, also has a new album to promote, “6ix Commandments,” which includes the Yelawolf-accompanied single “Go Hard.” Twisted Insane, Whitney Peyton and Sozay open. (6 p.m. Mon., Amsterdam Bar, 16 & older, $25-$30.) Riemenschneider

R&B

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