Big Gigs for May 30-June 5: Chvrches, Oberst/Dawes, Monkees, Lindsey Stirling, Grand Old Day

  • Updated: May 30, 2014 - 11:49 AM

Concert spotlights for the week, also including the first Cabooze Plaza and Minnesota Zoo gigs of the season.

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CHVRCHES performs at First Avenue on Sept. 9, 2013.

Photo: LESLIE PLESSER, Special to the Star Tribune

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POP/ROCK

After a tepidly received career launch via the Beastie Boys’ label in the late ’90s, Sean Lennon is taking a more laid-back and way more fun approach with Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, a hazy-headed, lackadaisically rocking band he formed with his longtime girlfriend, model-turned-musician Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Their new self-released album, “Midnight Sun,” boasts lazy-Sunday, boy/girl-in-a-bubble pop charm and Flaming Lips-style sonic shenanigans, the Lips being frequent collaborators with Sean and his mom, Yoko Ono. Sure, it also sounds a lot like Papa Lennon’s late-’60s output — or, more specifically, George Harrison’s — but what psychedelic pop/rock band doesn’t? British folk-rock band Syd Arthur opens. (9 p.m. Fri., 7th Street Entry, $15.) Chris Riemenschneider

 

The first Cabooze Plaza concert of the season also happens to be the first big local gig for the remade 4onthefloor, with howler frontman Gabriel Douglas promising a bold new direction for his bluesy stomp-rock band. They’re co-headlining the outdoor minifest with Murder by Death, a dark, gothic Americana band from Bloomington, Ind. The Cabooze’s favorite countrymen, the White Iron Band, and heartland rockers American Scarecrows also perform. (5 p.m. Sat., Cabooze Plaza, $20.) Riemenschneider

 

The Paul Collins Beat plays new and old power pop gems, from the 1979 skinny tie era to the iPad present, including their shoulda-been-a-hit, “Don’t Wait Up for Me.” Collins has a colorful history. He started in the music biz as drummer for the Nerves, who recorded the original version of Blondie’s hit “Hangin’ on the Telephone.” Eddie Money helped get him a record contract. Bill Graham used to manage him. And the Beat landed a song on the “Caddyshack” soundtrack LP. More recently, Green Day has been covering the Collins oldie “Walking Out on Love.” (9:30 p.m. Sat., Lee’s Liquor Lounge, $8.) Tom Surowicz

 

With the usual five-stage, milelong mix of live music, Grand Old Day isn’t all “old” this year, with hot soul/funk newcomers Sonny Knight & the Lakers heading up the Dixie’s stage (3:45 p.m.) — never mind that Knight himself is 65 — and Vita.mn Are You Local? contest winners Black Diet playing in the Whole Foods aisle (1:15 p.m.). The rest is mostly familiar names, but the grand ones include the boys of that ’hood, Heiruspecs, plus Charlie Parr and Chastity Brown. Country fans can take in the White Iron Band and Tim Sigler on the Wild Onion stage, and the Irish Fair is hosting the Tim Malloys, Wild Colonial Bhoys and Sweet Colleens. (Noon-5 p.m. Sun., Grand Av. between Dale St. & Wheeler Av., St. Paul, $6-$8 for beer wristband, GrandAve.com.) Riemenschneider

 

St. Paul & the Broken Bones have no connection to the Twin Cities, although they did recruit Lizzo to sing with them at South by Southwest. They’re a gospel-infused soul-rock band from Birmingham, Ala., with a church-weaned singer, Paul Janeway, who looks like a bespectacled kid from a “Far Side” cartoon but has a no-joke Otis Redding thing going on. His voice is powerful and dramatic enough to shine over a stellar, horn-driven band. Their debut album, “Half the City,” has been an NPR favorite and earned them festival slots at Bonnaroo and in England. Could be an I-saw-them-when kind of show. (8 p.m. Sun., Varsity Theater, $15-$17.) Riemenschneider

 

Joe Ely might be the most Texan of the Texas music greats, with a catalog that weaves between hard-core honky-tonk, Woody Guthrie-esque folk, Mexican borderland ballads and bluesy rock, not to mention his pioneering alt-country work with the Flatlanders and a long-shelved synth-rock album that unknowingly presaged Austin’s computer-tech rebirth. His namesake band of the late-’70s with Lloyd Maines (Natalie’s dad) put on some legendarily rowdy shows at the Cabooze, around the time the Clash handpicked them to open their tour. He’s on an acoustic tour with Austin guitar ace Jeff Plankenhorn. Canadian country singer Lucette opens. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $27-$35.) Riemenschneider

 

Two acts who’ve played here enough to be honorary Minneapolis residents, Conor Oberst and Dawes are combining forces over two nights at one of their favorite venues. Omaha-bred indie-folk star Oberst — who started making records as a teenaged Bright Eyes 16 years ago — just issued probably the sunniest and most straight-ahead record of his career, “Upside Down Mountain,” full of simple but buoyant Americana arrangements. Which makes the California sons in Dawes a great pairing to serve as his backing band this time around, as well as the opening act. (8:30 p.m. Sun. & Mon., First Avenue, $30; Sun. is sold out.) Riemenschneider

 

Sure, it seems kinda cute to have the Monkees — a band with an animal name — kick off this year’s Music in the Zoo series. But it won’t be as fun as the Monkees’ rain-interrupted debut at the Minnesota Zoo in 2011 because, sadly, Davy Jones — the cute one in the Pre-Fab Four — died of a heart attack a few months later. While this show will mark the zoo debut of Michael Nesmith, who returned to the reunited group after a long absence, I’m not much of a believer in the Davy-less Monkees. As they did last year at the State Theatre, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Nesmith will salute Davy and do their best to create nostalgia for those 1960s days of “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Daydream Believer.” (7:30 p.m. Mon., Minnesota Zoo, $70 & $82.50.) Jon Bream

 

Sort of the Forrest Gump of rock, Peter Asher was a Beatles intimate (his sister dated Paul and he ran Apple Records), a 1960s rock star himself (in Peter & Gordon), the person who introduced John to Yoko, the best man at Marianne Faithfull’s wedding, a Grammy-winning producer of Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor, and manager of Courtney Love. Most recently, he’s produced albums by Steve Martin & Edie Brickell and Rodrigo y Gabriela, and he gave the Rock Hall of Fame induction speeches for Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. A charming raconteur, Asher tells wonderful insider stories, shows priceless photos and videos, and sings live with a band in a most entertaining, live multimedia memoir. (7 p.m. Tue.-Wed., Dakota, $45.) Bream

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