Big gigs for Aug. 8-14: Skyline Music Fest, Echo & Bunnymen, more

  • Updated: August 7, 2014 - 4:34 PM
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Illinois-bred, violin-manned indie-rock vet Andrew Bird headlines the first day of the Skyline Music Festival at Target Field.

Photo: Chris Pizzello; Associated Press,

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Skyline Music Festival

The name sounds like something a suburban teen youth center might come up with to attract the cool kids, and the lineup for the Skyline Music Fest’s Indie Night looks a lot like Rock the Garden 2008, which also featured Andrew Bird and the New Pornographers as headliners. Bird just issued a Handsome Family tribute album and has a twangy new band that includes Tift Merritt on guitar and ex-Minneapolitan Eric Heywood on pedal-steel. The New Pornos — who long ago lost Neko Case from their tour lineup — are previewing their Aug. 25 release, “Brill Bruisers.” Electro-pop charmers Thao & the Get Down Stay Down and local drummers-turned-bandleaders Dosh and S. Carey open. (5:30 p.m. Fri., Target Field, $29-$49.) Chris Riemenschneider

Day 2 of the Skyline fest stars Oscar and Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge, right, the raspy rocker who is essentially a casino act at this stage of her career, and O.A.R., which makes perpetual college-rock party music. Promoters have smartly turned to Minnesota’s own Gear Daddies, one of the big draws at last year’s inaugural fest, along with two other Twin Cities-connected bands, the rock-solid Honeydogs and the Rembrandts, those “I’ll Be There for You” hitmakers. (5 p.m. Sat., Target Field, $29-$79.) Jon Bream

POP/ROCK

The Pizza Lucé Block Party was successfully revived for its 10th anniversary last year in a new location outside the pizza chain’s old downtown location. This 11th-year lineup balances new and old flavor with Lizzo’s rowdy electro-rap troupe Grrrl Prty and Rhymesayers’ budding star Dem Atlas alongside the elder live hip-hop pioneers Heiruspecs and veteran piano-rock showman Mark Mallman, each of whom have new material to bring to the table. The rest of the lineup includes acoustic folk/blues master Charlie Parr, Afrobeat big band Black Market Brass, Afro-beatbox big man Carnage, Sean McPherson’s Twinkie Jiggles Broken Orchestra and more. (Noon-10 p.m. Sat., 119 4th St. N., Mpls., all ages, free, PizzaLuce.com.) Riemenschneider

Not quite as famous as their fellow Liverpudlian who came to town last weekend, Echo & the Bunnymen also went nine years between local gigs. The big-haired, pouty-lipped darlings of MTV’s “120 Minutes” and the “Pretty in Pink” soundtrack (with “Bring on the Dancing Horses”) have a new throwback-sounding album, “Meteorites.” Brit-cocky frontman Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant are the remaining original members, a sort of poor man’s Bono and the Edge who nonetheless share a rich legacy. (8:30 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, $27-$30.) Riemenschneider 

A small-by-design arty summer camp-out, the Square Lake Music & Film Festival boasts the biggest small band in Minnesota indie-rock as headliner, Low, which always seems to slip in one memorable, unique outdoor show per summer. More in the truly one-of-a-kind territory, Nona Marie’s women’s vocal group Anonymous Choir will debut an original live score for the 1975 animated short “Aucassin and Nicolette” and Charlie Parr will play in the barn at night’s end. Twang man Frankie Lee, Sarah White’s neo-soul buzz band Shiro Dame, fuzzy rockers Carroll and Ruben and pipa specialist Gao Hang also perform. (2 p.m. Sun., Square Lake, Stillwater, sold out, SquareLakeFestival.com.) Riemenschneider

Inspired by Justin Bieber, tween heartthrob Austin Mahone, 18, makes the kind of pop with rhythmic vocals that hopes to gain some street cred. His peeps were savvy enough to recruit Pitbull for the single “Mmm Yeah” to add a little sex appeal and bilingual allure. That was Mahone’s best move since landing an opening slot on Taylors Swift’s Red Tour. But he’s still a teenybop star probably not quite ready for an arena. With the Vamps, Shawn Mendes and Suite 44. (7 p.m. Sun., Target Center, $29.50-$69.) Bream

As she has proven on recent trips to Minnesota, Scarlet Rivera is more than the mysterious violinist who punctuated “Hurricane,” one of Bob Dylan’s most compelling story songs. Not only did she play on Dylan’s “Desire” and “Hard Rain” albums, she has been a key practitioner of the violin in rock, heard on records by Tracy Chapman, David Johansen, Keb Mo and many others. She’ll be backed by an all-star Twin Cities band featuring guitarists Lonnie Knight and Gene Lafond, keyboardist Matt Fink and drummer Stan Kipper. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $15.) Bream

Eric Johnson, who would have been a worthy headliner for the Lowertown Guitar Fest a day earlier, was one of the original three on the G3 guitar-gods tour with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Less metallic than the other two G’s, the soft-spoken Texas slinger has been crafting melodic, innovative, echoey rock instrumentals and elegant acoustic work going back to his Grammy-winning 1986 album “Tones.” His new record, “Europe Live,” includes an epic remake of John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” (7:30 p.m. Sun., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $30-$35.) Riemenschneider 

Woodstock-era blues-rock greats Canned Heat still boogie hard, with charter member Larry Taylor, the veteran of many sessions with Tom Waits, back in the fold. The drummer who’s kept things together for so many decades, Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra, always fields a blues A-team, and this time it’s fronted by the versatile Dale Spalding, with John Paulus subbing for guitar hero Harvey Mandel, sidelined by surgery. (8 p.m. Sun., Famous Dave’s Uptown, $20-$30.) Tom Surowicz

While the Twins don’t offer much to cheer about, the all-star Baseball Project continues to mine the weirdly enjoyable crossover appeal of music and baseball nerdery. Rock vets Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate) and Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows) found even more diamond tales to sing about on their fun new album, “3rd,” which doesn’t have any tunes about the hometown team of Twin Cities-bred drummer Linda Pitmon (Zuzu’s Petals), but that’s probably fine with their fourth member, Mike Mills. The R.E.M. bassist still believes the Twins robbed his Braves in the 1991 World Series. Might be the one and only time to request a cover of the Eagles’ “Get Over It.” The Honeydogs signed on to warm up for some of their heroes. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $20.) Riemenschneider

Over the years, Ziggy Marley has added a soulfulness and pop vibe to the reggae palette pioneered by his famous father, Bob Marley. On 2013’s diverse and appealing “Fly Rasta,” Ziggy rocks out on the romantic “I Don’t Wanna Live on Mars,” goes pop-soul on the synth-bathed “Lighthouse,” gets vaguely political on “Moving Forward,” looks for positive vibrations on “Sunshine” and “I Get Up” and exercises his funny bone on “You’re My Yoko.” Young Ry opens. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Minnesota Zoo, $41-$53.50.) Bream 

Who gets the nod as Canada’s finest singer-songwriter? Leonard Cohen? Joni Mitchell? Gordon Lightfoot? Neil Young? It’s a hard choice, but there’s another name that should be near the top of that list: Bruce Cockburn, also a masterful acoustic and electric guitarist. The wiry, spry 69-year-old musician and social activist was profiled in a 2013 documentary and his memoirs, “Rumours of Glory,” will be published soon. After 31 albums and even more trips to embattled foreign lands, it should make for interesting reading. His touring band includes his opening act, violinist/songwriter Jenny Scheinman, a frequent collaborator with Bill Frisell whose new CD is “The Littlest Prisoner.” (7:30 p.m. Tue., Cedar Cultural Center, $35.) Surowicz

You’ll probably never hear Black Sabbath the same way again after catching a gig by Brown Sabbath. The group grew out of the Brownout all-star jams in Austin, Texas, and features members of Prince’s favorite Latino funk band, Grupo Fantasma, as well as Spanish Gold’s Adrian Quesada, who crank out “War Pigs,” “Sweet Leaf” et al. with congas, horns and “Low Rider”-esque groove. Highly recommended. (9 p.m. Tue., 7th Street Entry, $12.) Riemenschneider

At 61, “Love Is a Battlefield” blaster Pat Benatar still has some of the most potent pipes in the business. And her hubby, Neil Giraldo, plays those hot guitar licks for “Heartbreaker” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” They are celebrating 35 years as collaborating musicians; they’re been married for 32 years. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Minnesota Zoo, $62-$74.50.) Bream

“Now Then and Forever” was an apt title for Earth, Wind & Fire’s 2013 release because the sounds are familiar but still fresh — horn-flavored funk and soul, with heavenly harmonies and jazzy flourishes. It’s a worthy addition to the EWF catalog. But fans who go to see longtime members Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson and kinetic Verdine White want to hear such classics as “September,” “Sing a Song” and “Shining Star.” (8 p.m. Thu., Mystic Lake Casino, $59-$69.) Bream

COUNTRY

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