The Big Gigs for May 9-15: Nickel Creek, Cage the Elephant, Tina & the B-Sides

  • Updated: May 12, 2014 - 11:24 AM

Concert spotlights for the week, also including the Flaming Groovies, the Both, Jane Monheit, the Blasters and Eric Hutchinson.

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Cage the Elephant rolls into Myth on Thursday.

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POP/ROCK

Kansas City piano-and-vocal powerhouse Kelley Hunt previews her album “The Beautiful Bones,” due May 20. There are lots of long-winded, gospel-tinged and Southern-saturated piano pieces with echoes of Etta James, Mavis Staples and other classic soul stirrers. The stand-outs include the rollicking, horn-seasoned boogie “When Love Is at the Wheel,” the gospel/blues/swing tune “I’ve Got a Good Feeling” and the pop-soul, Bonnie Raitt-evoking relationship-solver “Simplify.” You can sense that all this new material will be even more effective when Hunt cuts loose live. (7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Dakota Jazz Club, $25.) Jon Bream

“Bringing doom-folk and recession-rock together at last.” That’s how Ted Leo characterized his new duo The Both with Aimee Mann at the Dakota last year, when the unlikely compatriots offered Twin Cities fans a preview of their album. Leo wasn’t entirely kidding. Issued last month, their eponymous debut finds the punky Indiana rocker and the dour Boston folk-popper combining their songwriterly strengths, whether it’s having fun in “Milwaukee” — inspired by the city’s Fonzie statue — or getting serious about the end of the world in “Hummingbird.” Their stage banter is a hoot. Opener Nick Diamonds is the solo moniker of Nicholas Thorborn, frontman of the unsung Montreal band Islands. (9 p.m. Sat., Fine Line, $20.) Chris Riemenschneider

Tina Schlieske hasn’t performed at First Avenue since 2005. Tina and the B-Sides, the band that made her locally famous, hasn’t graced the First Ave stage since 1999. That’s when the Twin Cities rockers broke up because of burnout. They’re back with their first album in 15 years, “Barricade.” The band sounds a little more Americana and a little twangier but Tina still infuses everything with the impassioned rock ’n’ soul singing that sets her apart from other Minnesota barroom singers. Opening is ex-B-Sides guitarist and current co-producer Patrik Tanner and the Faraway Men. Read an interview at startribune.com/music. (9 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, $20.) Bream

A perennial for the title of The Most Interesting Man in Rock, Jon Langford has been a punk pioneer with the Mekons, an alt-country godfather with the Waco Brothers, and an accomplished visual artist to boot. This weekend we get a two-fer, as Langford does a solo in-store set to promote his new album “Here Be Monsters” (4 p.m. Sat., Barely Brothers Records, 783 Raymond Av., St. Paul), then will play and show his “Monsters” paintings at a “Locavore Serenade” dinner thrown by Chowgirls Killer Catering (6 p.m. Sun., 1224 NE. 2nd St., Mpls. $75; $125 for two. 612-203-0786 or bit.ly/1kcsbUI) Tim Campbell

After a seven-year hiatus, adventurous bluegrass trio Nickel Creek is back with a new album, “A Dotted Line,” and a tour to celebrate their 25th anniversary. All three members have impressed on their own, with singer/mandolinist Chris Thile winning a 2012 MacArthur grant and making special music with the Punch Brothers, Edgar Meyer and Yo-Yo Ma as well as three solo albums. Singer/fiddler Sara Watkins has distinguished herself with two solo discs and lots of performing on “A Prairie Home Companion.” Guitarist/singer Sean Watkins has played in the groups Fiction Family and WPA and worked as a duo with sister Sara. Nickel Creek’s new album showcases their ever-expanding palette, embracing Beatle-y pop, edgy indie-rock, a moody instrumental with fancy picking, pretty, sad balladry and acoustic rock with dissonant vocal harmonies. Opening are the Secret Sisters, who come across like modern-day Everlys. (7:30 p.m. Sun., State Theatre, $49.50.) Bream

After the Sonics and Roky Erickson shows earlier this year, 2014 is turning out to be the year to see elusive garage-rock/punk pioneers. The latest is the Flaming Groovies, a San Francisco band that started in 1965 but made its mark a decade later with the album “Shake Some Action” and a fabled trek to England with the Ramones, which purportedly sparked the U.K. punk scene. Frontman Cyril Jordan and ’70s-era member Chris Wilson have reunited for their first EP together in 30 years, “End of the World.” Adding to the rare treat, local vets the Mighty Mofos open. (8:30 p.m. Sun., Turf Club, $25.) Riemenschneider

Unstoppably popular in the Twin Cities, New York popster Eric Hutchinson is still trying to regain the national chart and radio momentum of the tune “Rock and Roll” in 2009. His latest single, “Tell the World,” is the theme song for the new NBC sitcom “Growing Up Fisher.” It’s taken from Hutchinson’s fifth album, “Pure Fiction,” a well-crafted collection that evokes Ryan Tedder, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and other mainstream radio stars. (8 p.m. Sun., Varsity Theater, sold out.) Bream

Don’t expect any clever wordplay out of the cutely titled Sultans of String. The Toronto group — the lineup ranges from a duo to a quintet — is an impressive instrumental ensemble that weaves a mesmerizing tapestry of world music including flamenco, Cuban, gypsy and Middle Eastern, to name a few styles. Fiddler/bandleader Chris McKhool seems to know no musical boundaries but he does invariably find one common thread — you can dance to it. For their Twin Cities debut, the versatile Sultans (the power quartet this time) are playing two gigs in one day — a family-oriented matinee and an evening nightclub show. (2 p.m. Sun., Orchestra Hall, adults $5, children free; 8 p.m. Sun., Fine Line, $10-$15.) Bream

While he’s preparing to launch another Jayhawks reunion outing later this year, timed to reissues of the band’s three 1997-2003 albums, Gary Louris has been shining on his own in intimate solo gigs. Set lists have included songs from all eras of the Jayhawks as well as Golden Smog nuggets, covers, tracks from 2008’s solo disc “Vagabonds” and more from another solo record in the works. (7 p.m. Tue., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $22.) Riemenschneider

Flamenco-flavored guitar star Ottmar Liebert is back in support of two new releases. The electric album “three-oh-five” features fresh material that’s funkier than you might expect, as Liebert pays tribute to Motown Records great Wah Wah Watson and subtly echoes some other fabled guitarists never found in “New Age” record bins: Nile Rodgers, Paul Jackson Jr., Carlos Santana and Jeff Beck. The acoustic “Bare Wood 2002-2012” recycles past tracks such as the ever-enticing “Sand,” removing all electronic instruments and adding more flamenco guitar licks, acoustic bass and cajon drum parts. (7 & 9 p.m. Wed.-Thu., Dakota Jazz Club, $35-$45.) Tom Surowicz

While the Blasters may be best known for launching Americana ace Dave Alvin, brother Phil Alvin has continued with his spirited roots band. A passionate shouter, Phil still has the original Blasters rhythm section of drummer Bill Bateman and bassist John Bazz. Guitarist Keith Wyatt has been on board since 1996. Having returned to the studio in 2005 after a long recording hiatus, the Blasters sounded in good form on 2012’s “Fun on Saturday Night” featuring blues and R&B chestnuts including James Brown’s “Please Please Please” plus the vintage-sounding originals “Breath of My Love” and the reworked “Maria Maria.” Piñata Protest opens. (9 p.m. Thu., Lee’s Liquor Lounge, $15.) Bream

With their steady 89.3 the Current airplay and 7th Street Entry pasts, Cage the Elephant, Foals and J. Roddy Walston & the Business aren’t the kinds of bands you expect to see rocking the suburbs at Myth. This show is a great test to judge the Maplewood nightclub vs. St. Paul’s Roy Wilkins Auditorium, where the Kentucky-bred Cage — which broke out in 2008 with the shuffling hit “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” — otherwise would’ve wound up following the release of “Melophobia” and its more melodic single “Come a Little Closer.” Foals adds a nice British rock flavor, but the heavier buzz is for “Heavy Bells” rockers Walston & the Business, who were a blast in the Entry last fall the day before their album “Essential Tremors” landed. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Myth, $35.) Riemenschneider

WORLD

Inspired by the late great Fela Kuti, the Chicago Afrobeat Project offers big music for a small room this weekend. You may have seen this group backing Fela’s drummer, Tony Allen, at the Cedar Cultural Center last summer. They’ve also backed Fela’s son, Seun Kuti, and performed with other Chicago heavyweights, including Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Howard Levy (Flecktones), Paul Wertico (Pat Metheny Group) and Sugar Blue (of “Miss You” fame), so they keep good company. More important, they keep a mighty groove going, whether playing Nigerian music or unlikely covers — would you believe an Afrobeat treatment of System of a Down’s “B.Y.O.B.”? (9 p.m. Sat., 7th Street Entry, $12-$15.) Surowicz

Israel’s dreadlocked superstar Idan Raichel has been called “a one-man Middle East peace accord” by the Times of London, thanks to his bringing together strains of Israeli, Arab and Ethiopian folkloric music. But his sonic reach is wider than that. With his ever-changing cast in the Idan Raichel Project, the keyboardist and songwriter has incorporated West African, Latin and world pop/R&B into his musical mix, collaborating with the likes of Vieux Farka Toure, Alicia Keys, India.Arie and Portuguese fado star Ana Moura. He’s also co-written a song with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and played for President Obama. An impressive, unstoppable fellow, and a seemingly boundless bandleader. (7:30 p.m. Wed., the O’Shaughnessy, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Av., St. Paul. $25-$60.) Surowicz

JAZZ

Splendiferous New York jazz thrush Jane Monheit is returning with a themed program —“Hello Bluebird: Celebrating the Jazz of Judy Garland.” She promises to avoid the drama and concentrate on the joy of Judy’s jazz. The set list will include “You Gotta Have Me Go With You,” “Johnny One Note” and, of course, “Over the Rainbow” and “Hello Bluebird.” Wonder if performing in the state of Garland’s birth will affect Monheit. (7 & 9 p.m. Tue., Dakota, $30-$40.) Bream

Pianist Laura Caviani has backed some fine singers (Karrin Allyson, Prudence Johnson, Lucia Newell) and, on rare occasions, publicly lifted her own voice in song — check out “Between the Lines” from her 2005 album “Going There.” But a whole night of Caviani singing is unprecedented, as she turns over the piano chair to Chris Lomheim and tackles old favorites with a trio including bassist Bruce “Pooch” Heine and drummer Dave Schmalenberger. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Jazz Central Studios, 407 Central Av. SE., Mpls. $10 suggested donation.) Surowicz

CLASSICAL

For its spring concert, Magnum Chorum welcomes St. Olaf Choir conductor Anton Armstrong, who will lead a program ranging from familiar classical pieces to celebrations of the African-American spiritual tradition. Music by Mendelssohn and Bach is joined by Ken Jennings’ “The Lord Is the Everlasting God,” Ralph Johnson’s “Lord, Thee I Love,” Robert Ray’s jazzy “Gospel Mass” and Moses Hogan’s triumphant “Ride On, King Jesus.” A lullaby by Daniel Elder and music by Horatio Parker and F. Melius Christiansen round out the program. (7:30 p.m. Sat., Westwood Lutheran Church, 9001 Cedar Lake Rd., St. Louis Park, $5-$21, magnumchorum.org.) William Randall Beard

 
 

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