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Free Energy plays the Turf Club on Saturday..

DOMINIC NEITZ ,

José James plays the Cedar Cultural Center on Tuesday.

EMI ,

Morrissey

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Grace Potter of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals poses for a portrait on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

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The Big Gigs for Jan. 25-31

  • January 25, 2013 - 10:41 AM

POP/ROCK

[MORRISSEY'S SHOW HAS BEEN POSTPONED] Heaven knows Morrissey will be miserable now, coming to Minneapolis in the dead of winter instead of his original date in October, which he postponed to be with his ailing mother. The British mope mogul’s last performance here in 2009 was a surprisingly hot one, ending with the famously ambisexual singer, 53, performing bare-chested. Yeah, it was warmer out then. As on that tour, his shows this time out have mixed in songs from his last album, “Years of Refusal,” alongside other solo-career highlights and four or five tunes from his old band, the Smiths. St. Louis-reared opener Kristeen Young made her last album with Bowie producer Tony Visconti. (7:30 p.m. Fri., Orpheum Theatre, $39.50-$75.) Chris Riemenschneider

Glamtastic Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are changing their tune once again. Last year’s album “The Lion the Beast the Beat” — produced by Jim Scott and the always-hip Dan Auerbach — had an ’80s metallic rock vibe after the blues-rock blast of their self-titled 2010 album. The Nocturnals will rock harder than they did during their cameo opening slot at last summer’s Kenny Chesney-Tim McGraw Target Field extravaganza. But just don’t expect Potter and the boys to revert to their jam-band roots. Langhorne Slim opens. (8 p.m. Fri. & 7 p.m. Sat. First Avenue, $27.50) Jon Bream

A week after Prince’s Dakota run, two princesses of the Twin Cities folk music community will co-opt the intimacy at Minneapolis’ favorite jazz club to tout new albums. Mother Banjo, a k a KFAI-FM personality and Red House Records staffer Ellen Stanley, plucked a fine crop of gospel tunes new and old on “The Devil Hasn’t Won,” featuring an all-star band that includes Dan Gaarder (Roe Family Singers) and Ben Cook-Feltz. New mother Vicky Emerson mines similar ground as Dakota regular Shawn Colvin on her new one, “Dust & Echoes,” touching on birth and death with help from Library Studio ace Matt Patrick and drummer JT Bates. (8 p.m. Fri., Dakota, $10.) Riemenschneider

Free Energy shows off a little more pop finesse and danceability on its long-awaited sophomore album, “Love Sign,” but mostly the Philadelphia-based band of ex-Minnesotans and their new producer, John Agnello (Hold Steady, Sonic Youth), stuck to the winning formula of their debut with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. As in: More pop-punchy guitarwork à la Thin Lizzy and Mick Ronson, more lovelorn hippie melodies from frontman Paul Sprangers and yes, more cowbell, all evidenced in the Current-spinning single “Electric Fever.” Baby Boys, led by Jeff Quinn of His Mischief and Har Mar Superstar’s band, opens with Strange Relations. (10 p.m. Sat., Turf Club, $10.) Riemenschneider

Pianist, accordionist and raconteur Dan Chouinard unveils the latest installment of his “Cafe Europa” series, started in 2005. This program is built around vignettes of Americans abroad during World War II that Chouinard gathered while bicycling through France and Italy. The cast includes two great singers (Maria Jette, Prudence Johnson), a string quartet, a distinguished actor (Bradley Greenwald), a veteran journalist (Eric Ringham), a comedian and podcaster (Joseph Scrimshaw), and retired MPR newscaster Gary Eichten as the voice of legendary war correspondent Ernie Pyle. (8 p.m. Sat., Fitzgerald Theater, $32.) Tom Surowicz

After playing one of President Obama’s inaugural events, charismatic and soulful singer Ruthie Foster hopped on a plane to shows in Portugal and Switzerland. Her first gig back in the United States comes in Hopkins. Her most recent CD, “Let It Burn,” was blessed with a Southern-soul dream team of guest stars, including bassist George Porter Jr. of the Meters, New Orleans drummer Russell Batiste Jr., the Blind Boys of Alabama and Stax Records legend William Bell. A lesser talent might have been overshadowed, but Foster easily held her own. (7 p.m. Tue., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $28.) Surowicz

Using words, a few songs and priceless photos and film clips, Peter Asher offers a magical mystery tour through the Beatles, Stones, James Taylor and Courtney Love, among others. The Forrest Gump of rock, Asher was the ultimate insider as his sister dated Paul McCartney (who lived with the Ashers) and he scored a hit (“World Without Love”) as Peter & Gordon, introduced John Lennon to Yoko Ono at his art gallery, discovered Taylor, produced Linda Ronstadt and managed Love. He still produces (Rodrigo y Gabriela is his latest project) and occasionally presents his musical memoir show with self-deprecating humor and British graciousness. Highly recommended for baby boomers. (7 p.m. Tue.-Wed., Dakota, $40-$45.) Bream

Once best-known as Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor’s and guitarist Jim Root’s unmasked, more straight-ahead side band, Stone Sour has now racked up almost as much commercial success as its predecessor. The anthemic Iowa metal quintet is enjoying comeback-like success on its fifth album, “House of Gold & Bones,” which landed the No. 1 hard-rock single “Absolute Zero.” Taylor & Co. joined up with enduring Southern California alt-metal favorites Papa Roach (“Last Resort”) on a co-headlining tour. Las Vegas openers Otherwise are now in 93X-FM rotation with their march-like single “Soldiers.” (6:30 p.m. Tue., Myth, all ages, $32.50.) Riemenschneider

The subject of an extensive profile in last Sunday’s New York Times, Minneapolis-bred, New York-based singer-songwriter José James has just released his fourth and best album, “No Beginning No End.” Sounding like a mashup of D’Angelo, Gil Scott-Heron and Stevie Wonder, the album is stylistically uncategorizable but worthy of being called one of the best the year. It’s vibey and deep, with assists from jazz pianist Robert Glasper and rock/soul bassist Pino Palladino (D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, the Who). Even though “No Beginning” was released this week on the long-lived jazz label Blue Note, James, 34, who was raised on hip-hop and indie-rock, is avoiding jazz venues to promote his exciting new project. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Cedar Cultural Center, $20.) Bream

One of the most over-hyped British bands of the ’00s (and that’s saying a lot), the Darkness is still clinging to is spandex-clad glam-metal formula, which helped it earn a slot opening for Lady Gaga’s European tour last summer but still hasn’t won the quartet a mass audience stateside. Last year’s album, “Hot Cakes,” followed a five-year hiatus and echoes the Jack Black-schooled rock anthemry of the group’s 2003 hit “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.” Atreyu drummer Brandon Seller steps out front in the opening band Hell or Highwater. (8:30 p.m. Tue., First Avenue. $30.) Riemenschneider

Dude, Dark Star Orchestra is better than ever. Or maybe I felt that way because the last time I saw them was in San Francisco at the Fillmore, the house that Bill Graham built, with its shrine to Jerry Garcia. You could get high off the fumes in that revered music hall, but DSO’s recreation of a vintage Grateful Dead concert was both dedicated and inspired. Guitarist-singer Jeff Matson, who signed on in 2010 to this 15-year-old band, is an uncanny Garcia-like addition. (8:30 p.m. Wed., First Avenue, $25.) Bream

HIP-HOP

Fittingly described by Lazerbeak as a “back-to-basics, boom-bappy rap” project, Mixed Blood Majority pairs the Doomtree sonic guru with two of Minnesota’s most innovative non-Doomtree rappers, Crescent Moon (Alexei Caselle) of Kill the Vultures and Oddjobs notoriety and Joe Horton (Eric Blair) of No Bird Sing. The longtime mutual admirers started writing together just-because-they-can more than a year ago and now have a 10-song, self-titled debut album to show for it. While dark and even sometimes deadly in tone, the album is lit up with wizardly MC-ing skills, including guest stints by Cecil Otter, Toki Wright and Kristoff Krane. This album release party is a rare chance to catch MBM live. Cecil’s new act with ex-Lookbook singer Maggie Morrison, LaLiberte, opens with Guante & Big Cats. (10 p.m. Sat., Triple Rock. $10.) Riemenschneider 

Either a sign of how big a deal Red Bull’s Crashed Ice contest in St. Paul has become, or how much Lil Jon’s career is on ice, the Atlanta rapper has agreed to fly up to Minnesota in January to headline the roller-derby-on-ice’s official after-party. Tickets are as cheap as one of his albums, too. The grill-toothed King of Crunk, whose last real hit was “Snap Yo Fingers” in 2006, is still considered a big enough celebrity to be lined up for an all-star season of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” slated to start March 3. (10 p.m. Sat., Myth, 21 & older. $15.) Riemenschneider 

The Cabooze has become the go-to place for members of the Wu-Tang Clan in their solo endeavors, and here comes the one with arguably the most successful career outside the group: Method Man, he of acting gigs reputable (“Red Tails,” “The Wire”) and laughable (“How High”), plus at least a couple of seriously non-Wu albums, especially 1994’s solo debut “Tical” and the 1999 classic with Redman, “Breakout.” He’s readying a new solo effort titled — wait for it! — “Crystal Meth.” Two of our scene’s best MCs, Toki Wright and Carnage, open. (10 p.m. Sat., Cabooze, $22-$25.) Riemenschneider

COUNTRY

John Rich’s career in reality TV was history so, after a five-year hiatus, Big & Rich reunited to release their fifth album last year. They invited Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora to help with some of the songwriting, but “Hillbilly Jedi” isn’t exactly a Star Wars explosion. In fact, the album misses the humor and hooks of Big & Rich’s better efforts, but offers the requisite sanctimony (“That’s Why I Pray”) and fun (“Party Like Cowboyz”). With Cowboy Troy. (8 p.m. Sat. Mystic Lake Casino, $55-$69.) Bream

JAZZ

One of the premier bands in modern jazz, the Dave Holland Quintet has a new saxophonist since last we saw them. Mark Turner, known for his fine Warner Bros. CDs as a leader and his ECM albums with the trio Fly (Larry Grenadier, Jeff Ballard), is one of the most thoughtful reed players around and should ably fill Chris Potter’s chair. The rest of bass great Holland’s quintet remains intact, with Robin Eubanks on trombone, Nate Smith behind the trap set and the always-underrated Steve Nelson on vibes. (7:30 p.m. Fri., Gorecki Family Theater, College of St. Benedict, $10-$35. 7 & 9 p.m. Sun.-Mon., Dakota Jazz Club, $35-$45.) Surowicz

For their first appearance of 2013, Pete Whitman’s mighty X-Tet will have all hands on deck, from 80-something sax legend Dave Karr to 20-something trumpet phenom Adam Meckler. Ten players strong, the area’s premier little big band showcases hip homegrown charts. Most of the members are writers, but other Minnesota composers of distinction get showcased, too, including trumpeter Bill Simenson, whose spooky “Wheel Man” has become a new favorite in the X-Tet songbook. (9 p.m. Thu., Artists’ Quarter, $8.) Surowicz

CLASSICAL

Minnesota Concert Opera debuted last fall with a mission to perform full-length operas in concert format. This unique and portable performance style allows MCO to bring world-class opera to many of Minnesota’s communities. They take the stage this weekend with Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” an ideal opera for this format, because the blood and guts are all in the music; it doesn’t need an elaborate production. Metropolitan Opera veterans Hugo Vera (Manrico) and Nathan Herfindahl (Count di Luna) join Kirsten Hoiseth Thayer (Leonora) and Colleen Brooks (Azucena), with guest musical director Craig Fields. (7:30 p.m. Fri., 3 p.m. Sun., Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $29, 612-206-3600, thecowlescenter.org) William Randall Beard 

The position of GLBT folks in society has certainly changed during the 25 years that One Voice Mixed Chorus has been singing. The chorus has matured as well, performing everything from gender-bending musical parodies to lush choral favorites to recent excursions into world music. These are all brought together for a jubilant birthday celebration in “We Are One Voice: The 25th Anniversary Concert.” Guest artists include the Kairos Alive! dance troupe. (3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $29, 612-206-3600, thecowlescenter.org) Beard

 

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