KANYE VS. JAY Z
Nov. 5 (West) and Nov. 30 (Jay Z)
The two biggest names/egos in hip-hop stunned Twin Cities fans — and tested their pocket books — by announcing their individual November dates less than an hour apart a week ago. West is the more dynamic live performer and has released far better albums of late, including his bombastic, jarring new one “Yeezus.” His 2008 stop at Target Center was a local concert highlight of the decade. West also has hot-shot newcomer Kendrick Lamar opening for him. Jay Z, however, hasn’t come to Minnesota since 2004 and has the bigger hits and longer career. Also, St. Paul is the kickoff city for his fall tour.
West: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5. $35.50-$97.50. Target Center, 600 1st Av. N., Mpls. Axs.com.
Jay Z: 8 p.m. Nov. 30. $32-$125. Xcel Energy Center, W. 7th St. & Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Ticketmaster.com
Gary Clark Jr.: He wowed ’em at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads concert as a then-unknown, and again at South by Southwest in his native Austin, Texas. In June, he impressed as a special guest with the Rolling Stones. Finally, Twin Cities music lovers — who certainly have a thing for guitar-cranking blues-rockers — get a chance to see what all the fuss is about. Clark, 29, is a powerhouse on stage, but much more than just a guitar ace, too. He can also deliver howling rockers and tender R&B tunes with ample (and amplified) finesse.
7 p.m. Nov. 20. $26. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls. eTix.com.
Nine Inch Nails: A five-year hiatus isn’t really long enough to call this a “reunion tour,” but there’s that kind of nostalgic excitement around the return of Trent Reznor’s industrial grind-rock crew. Their latest album, “Hesitation Marks,” has a moody, heavily electronic elegance, and their summer fest appearances earned widespread raves.
8 p.m. Sept. 28. $37.50-$101.50. Xcel Energy Center, W. 7th St. & Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Ticketmaster.com.
Imagine Dragons: The breakthrough rock band of the year, this Vegas quartet has been making noise with its epic pop hits “Radioactive” and “It’s Time.” In concert, frontman Dan Reynolds channels his inner marching-band drummer while singing, by bashing five different drum setups.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 30. $30.50-$40.50. Roy Wilkins Auditorium, W. 5th & Washington Sts., St. Paul. Ticketmaster.com.
Drake: He has scored 12 No. 1 hip-hop singles, but the Canadian rapper perhaps best-known as Rihanna’s “What’s My Name?” collaborator has never gone on a major headlining tour until now. His third album, “Nothing Was the Same,” drops Sept. 24 with massive expectations. If both it and the tour prove a dud, there’s still “Adorn” R&B singer Miguel as the opener.
7 p.m. Oct. 5. $47.75-$99.75. Target Center, 600 1st Av. N., Mpls. Axs.com.
Fiona Apple & Blake Mills: After ending her six-year stage hiatus with an impressive tour last year, manic and often magical ’90s hitmaker Apple booked a string of intimate dates with that tour’s guitarist as her only bandmate. Mills is a gifted songwriter who also has backed Lucinda Williams.
8 p.m. Oct. 14. $39.50-$59.50. O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine’s University, 2004 Randolph Av., St. Paul. Oshaughnessy.stkate.edu or 651-690-6700.
Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion: Before he became a heavyweight rock drummer with Cream and Blind Faith and a world-music percussionist with Fela Kuti and others, Baker was a jazzman. The 74-year-old legend has returned to his roots, with a jazz quartet that includes veteran saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, who did stints with James Brown and Van Morrison.
7 p.m. Oct. 15-16. $45. Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. DakotaCooks.com or 612-332-1010.
Volcano Choir: Another recording project of Wisconsin indie-rock bard Justin Vernon that’s not named Bon Iver, this one includes members of Milwaukee’s Collections of Colony of Bees. Their earlier album was experimental to the point of being mostly unlistenable, but the new one, “Repave,” offers more serious and grandiose, electro-lit orchestral-rock arrangements.
8 p.m. Oct. 18. $22-$25. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls. eTix.com.
Pink: Her performance last March in St. Paul already rates as the best Twin Cities concert of the year. So we’re overjoyed that this daredevil diva with the big pipes, boffo hits and bold acrobatics is bringing back her Truth About Love Tour one more time.
8 p.m. Nov. 2. $39.50-$125. Target Center, 600 1st Av. N., Mpls. Axs.com.
The Band Perry: After scoring two No. 1 country singles from their debut album, including the monstrous “If I Die Young,” Kimberly Perry sounds all fired up on her trio’s second album, “Pioneer.” They’ve revisited the top of the charts with “Better Dig Two,” and the recent hit kiss-off stomp “Done” shows that the Perry siblings are indeed not done working this disc.
8 p.m. Nov. 2. $58-$68. Treasure Island Casino, County Rd. 18, Red Wing, Minn. www.treasureislandcasino.com or 1-877-849-1640.
Brad Paisley: Country fans love him when he sings, plays guitar and cracks wise as co-host of the Country Music Association Awards. Even if this year’s overly ambitious “Wheelhouse” album suffers from his attempts to embrace too many cultures and styles, he remains one of country’s most dynamic and creative concertizers.
Nov. 16. $25-$59.50. Xcel Energy Center, W. 7th St. & Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Ticketmaster.com.