Big Gigs, April 25-May 1: Angel Olson, Heiruspecs & more

  • Updated: April 30, 2014 - 1:45 PM

This week's concert spotlights also include the Black Lips, Ingrid Michaelson, Chicago, Stephen Marley and Suzy Bogguss.


St. Louis singer/songwriter Angel Olsen previously performed as one of Bonnie "Prince" Billy's collaborators.

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“Look where I’ve come since I was 17,” Heiruspecs’ lead rapper, Felix, charges in the opening moments of his group’s first album in seven years. Minnesota’s live hip-hop pioneers since forming at St. Paul’s Central High School — nobody here was rapping with a band in 1997 — are now some of the youngest vets of the scene in their 30s. Taking time out to gain educations, jobs, wives, etc., they did almost everything in the interim except mellow. “Night Falls” is less like the mindfully fun albums of old and more the nervous, tense roller-coaster ride that is midlife. And it’s as much a rock record as hip-hop, with guitarist Josh Peterson especially turning mean while drummer Peter Leggett kicks the root down, Beasties-style. They’re sticking to their true hometown for a release party with fellow East Siders Allan Kingdom and Dem Atlas opening. (10 p.m. Sat., Amsterdam Bar & Hall, $12-$14.). Chris Riemenschneider


As another Twin Cities tattooed rock ’n’ roll frontwoman works her way into the finals of NBC’s “The Voice” (Kat Perkins, who’ll be profiled in Sunday’s Star Tribune), her predecessor Jordis Unga returns to the local stage to promote a long overdue album, appropriately titled “A Letter From Home.” The Forest Lake native came in fifth in “The Voice’s” second season and was four wins away from becoming the replacement singer in INXS on CBS’ “Rock Star” series in 2005. The shows tied her up professionally in Los Angeles for a few years, but she’s finally going about it DIY with a soulful, girl-group-inspired new sound. (8 p.m. Sat., Fine Line, $15.) Riemenschneider

Ingrid Michaelson is still wearing those glasses that make her look both smart and sexy, but her music has evolved to reveal more flavors. On “Lights Out,” her fifth album, “Time Machine” is an unadulterated funk-rock stomp, “Handsome Hands” owes a debt to classic Kate Bush and the frothy single “Girls Chase Boys” sounds like an outtake from Katy Perry’s breakthrough album. Michaelson worked with six different producers and 10 co-writers, including Mat Kearney and A Great Big World. (8 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, sold out.) Jon Bream

Since last summer, Chicago has dropped four new songs, most recently “Naked in the Garden of Allah,” a return to political commentary for the long-lived horn band. That tune and the social commentary “America” will be featured on “Chicago XXXVI,” due July 4 — the group’s first album of new material since 2006. Recent concert set lists have not included the new tunes. On tour for the 46th consecutive year, Chicago still features four original members, including singer/keyboardist Robert Lamm, and a jukebox full of hits. (8 p.m. Sat., State Theatre, $68.50- $130.) Bream

One of rock’s most effectively rowdy live bands of recent years, Atlanta’s throwback garage-rock punks the Black Lips enlisted a couple of bigger names to clean up their charmingly messy sound. Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney and Dap Kings guitarist Tommy Brenneck produced the album “Underneath the Rainbow,” which takes the band in a slightly rootsier, Eddie Cochran-esque direction. Your dad might like the record, but you still probably wouldn’t want to bring him to the gig and risk the damage. Nashville’s Natural Child opens. (8:30 p.m. Sun., Turf Club, sold out.) Riemenschneider

Having toured as a co-vocalist and guitarist with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and signed to Bon Iver’s label Jagjaguwar, Angel Olsen could easily have been the new darling of indie-rock. However, her breakout record “Burn Your Fire for No Witness” — produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Walkmen) — is a far rockier and uglier affair than her reputation would suggest, loaded with murky, sometimes maniacal guitars and a PJ Harvey-esque wavering roar. The 25-year-old St. Louis singer/songwriter also earned a good live buzz with her new band at South by Southwest. Nashville’s Promised Land Sound and Houston trio the Awful Truth open. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Cedar Cultural Center, $12-$15.) Riemenschneider

Two years ago at the Fine Line, Lisa Marie Presley showed promise as a purveyor of slow, smoky-voiced, downbeat Americana, mostly taken from her 2012 album “Storm & Grace.” She seemed much more confident as headliner than she had as an opening act for Chris Isaak in her Twin Cities debut in 2003. However, her Fine Line set clocked in at less than an hour. Fans expect more from rock royalty, so we can say “Thank you, thank you very much.” Opening is Grace Askew, who competed on Season 4 of NBC’s “The Voice.” Warning from the promoters: Concertgoers will not gain entry if dressed as either Presley’s dad, Elvis, or ex-husband, Michael Jackson. (7 p.m. Tue.-Wed., Dakota, $50-$200.) Bream

With the aforementioned John Congleton’s help, Cleveland noise-punks Cloud Nothings come closer than ever to capturing their spazzy, riotous live energy on record with the new album “Here and Nowhere Else.” The quartet’s wall of guitars crash and burn in Japandroids/Trail of the Dead fashion, and for Twin Cities fans the echoes of “Flip Your Wig”-era Hüsker Dü melodic angst should hit home. But the live show is still the best way to get to know this underrated band. Detroit openers Protomartyr show traces of post-Stooges Iggy and early Nick Cave on their debut. (9 p.m. Thu., Turf Club, $15.) Riemenschneider

After touring in Slash’s band and being in the running to fill Robert Plant’s and Steven Tyler’s shoes, chameleonic rock howler Myles Kennedy is back taking the place of Scott Stapp in Alter Bridge, featuring the other members of Creed besides Stapp. The anthemic hard-rockers are touring behind their fourth album, “Fortress.” Monster Truck opens. (8 p.m. Thu., First Avenue, sold out.) Riemenschneider


Even though he flew the Melody Makers coop in the early-’00s, Stephen Marley has stayed true to his reggae roots and his father Bob’s legacy. He won the genre’s best-album Grammy in 2008 with “Mind Control” and again in 2012 with “Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life,” each tastefully spiced with Afropop and American R&B flavors. He’s on tour previewing the follow-up, “Revelation Pt. 2: The Fruit of Life.” Jo Mersa and Wayne Marshall open. (9 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, $25.) Riemenschneider


When she emerged in the late 1980s, Suzy Bogguss had one of the prettiest, richest female voices in Nashville. She had a nice run in the ’90s with such hits as “Outbound Plane” and “Hey Cinderella” but never was the flavor of the day in Music City. She recorded an album of duets with guitar ace Chet Atkins and later a pop-jazz collection called “Swing.” Last year, Bogguss showed her love for one of country’s greatest songwriters, Merle Haggard, on “Lucky,” a tastefully understated but emotion-filled album of his songs. (7 p.m. Fri., Dakota, $35-$40.) Bream

As leader of Nashville’s throwback country band BR5-49, Chuck Mead made vintage twang a well-known commodity on Music Row during one of country music’s slickest periods (besides now). He has ditched some of the cutesy vintage stylings of the old group but is otherwise sticking to what he does best with his new act, the Grassy Knoll Boys. Ever-blooming sibling harmonizers the Cactus Blossoms are the perfect local opening act. (8:30 p.m. Wed., Turf Club, $12-$15.) Riemenschneider

What’s a straight-ahead Nashville country singer doing playing a no-cover Minneapolis blues bar? Trying to make new fans the old-fashioned way. Ontario native Zach Neil’s ruddy baritone may remind you of Randy Travis. When he’s not ably recycling hits by Garth Brooks, Hank Jr. and Waylon Jennings, Neil will treat you to original songs from his recent release “Horses to Ride.” (8 p.m. Wed., Schooner Tavern, 2901 27th Av. S., Mpls. Free.) Tom Surowicz


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