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Danny Brown

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Lucero plays First Avenue on Friday.

Windish Agency ,

James Blake

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Palma Violets are at the 7th Street Entry on Tuesday.

TOM BEARD ,

Weekend gigs: Lucero, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac

  • April 26, 2013 - 11:07 AM

POP/ROCK

One of the most soulful bar-rock bands around, Lucero took on a more sophisticated musical tone for last year’s album “Women & Work,” with lots of lively horn parts and rollicking piano work around frontman Ben Nichols’ Springsteen-on-Beale-Street writing style. The mighty Memphis sextet follows a similar path on the new EP “Texas & Tennessee,” which you can sample at Spin.com. Another high-energy, passionate live act, howling folk-rocker Langhorne Slim opens Lucero’s tour following a great performance on “Conan” last month with the show’s host as part of his band. (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, $20.) Chris Riemenschneider

 

Last month, prolific guitar hero Joe Bonamassa released a live acoustic album recorded in Vienna. Next month, he’ll issue his second collaboration with raspy-voiced rocker Beth Hart, featuring soul classics. But now he’s touring with his electric trio, displaying his crowd-pleasing, fast and flashy blues-rock ways. (8 p.m. Fri. State, $73-$103.) Jon Bream

 

Kansas City’s favorite daughter Kelley Hunt is back at the Dakota. Let’s hope the blues-rocking pianist takes her listeners to church, because that brings out an extra-special passion in her. (8 p.m. Sat., Dakota Jazz Club, $25.) Bream

 

Like the Super Bowl, Chicago has educated us on Roman numerals. The horn-accented, Windy City-born ensemble is up to album XXXIII, 2011’s “O Christmas Tree,” with lots of guests including Dolly Parton, America and BeBe Winans. More interesting, though, was XXXII, 2008’s “Stone of Sisyphus,” which was actually recorded in 1993 but Warner Bros. didn’t think it was commercial enough to be released. The album, produced by Peter Wolf of J. Geils Band fame, was more political, less tuneful and a bit jazzier than classic Chicago. We’re betting on the classic fare this time around. (8 p.m. Sat., State Theatre, $64.50-$130.) Bream

 

Peter Yarrow is performing more now than he did during the later years of Peter, Paul & Mary. It’s not because he feels compelled to sing in front of a crowd but because his concerts help fund Operation Respect, a school-affiliated, anti-bullying campaign he has been supporting for 14 years. Righteous causes have always motivated the man who once married the daughter of Sen. Eugene McCarthy. Mustard’s Retreat opens. (8 p.m. Sat., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $28.). Bream

 

In what could pass as a warmup for the Girls Got Rhythm Fest May 10-11 at the Turf, the so-called Leather & Lace RNR Party is being put on by all-female punkabilly quartet L’Assassin — who would’ve been great in a Roger Corman movie— to celebrate a new EP, “Lovin’ on the Run.” It’s a “release party” of a whole other kind for Pink Mink: Co-leader Christy Hunt is about to have a baby and is calling this her last show for a while. Punky power-poppers the Pinsch, made up of members of the Short Fuses and the Deaf, also perform along with the grit-rocky Sex Rays, who don’t have any female members but own a lot of leather. (10 p.m. Sat., Turf Club, $7.) Riemenschneider

 

St. Paul-reared folk-pop darling Lucy Michelle didn’t have her reliable band the Velvet Lapelles with her for her newest album, “Attack of the Heart,” but she did have two familiar names helping out: John Munson and Chan Poling of the New Standards served as her primary collaborators on the Kickstarter-funded project, and they will also perform at the release concert. Their involvement is a good indicator of the record’s classic piano-pop approach, from the McCartney tone of “Beat Like Mine” to the ’50s doo-wop vibe of “All I Need” and what sounds like a Cole Porter influence throughout. Pop-punky female vocal quartet Southside Desire opens. (8 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

 

Americana/country-rock stalwarts Todd Snider and Jason Isbell are very different songwriters, but each has a knack for writing stories with vivid characters. The playful and colorful Snider, who always merits a comparison to John Prine, made Rolling Stone’s top-50-albums list last year with “Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables.” Former Drive-by Trucker Isbell is newly married to fellow musician Amanda Shires and has a new album coming June 11, “Southeastern,” reportedly based on his fight for sobriety. (8 p.m. Sat., Fitzgerald Theater, $21-$24.) Riemenschneider

 

Since Christine McVie retired in 1998, Fleetwood Mac concerts have pretty much turned into the Buckingham Nicks Show. How are Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks getting along? Rumors are that it’s better than the last time they toured in 2009. She still sings with a throaty rasp, and he still plays guitar with refreshing passion. They’ve reportedly recorded a couple of new Fleetwood Mac songs, and are performing a Nicks solo tune and one McVie classic. (8 p.m. Sun., Xcel Energy Center, $47.50-$147.50.) Bream

 

How much respect does Gordon Lightfoot still command? Bob Dylan covered the Canadian hero’s “Shadows” last year in Edmonton, and the Replacements recorded his “I’m Not Sayin’ ” for their new “Songs for Slim” reunion disc. At 74, Lightfoot is celebrating 50 years on the Carefree Highway Tour. He was in good form on last year’s “All Live” album, recorded in 2011 at Toronto’s landmark Massey Hall. (7:30 p.m. Mon. State, $48.50-$58.50.) Bream

 

In a sweaty, spastic and sometimes outright annoying set last weekend at the Coachella Music Fest, young British buzz band Palma Violets made a strong impression with a devilish mix of Clash-like bombast and Blur-like psychedelic pop charm. The highlight was “Best of Friends,” a howling anthem that England’s NME magazine named best song of 2012, but the band’s two alternating frontmen have a few other tricks up their album sleeve, as heard on their Rough Trade debut, “180.” Also boasting a sizable smattering of hype, opening act Guards is a New York garage-pop band led by Richie Follin, formerly of the Willowz and a brother to Cults singer Madeline Follin. (9 p.m. Tue., 7th Street Entry, $12.) Riemenschneider

 

Trendy British pop star James Blake creates an intoxicating mix of minimalist pop and subtle electronica. On his just-released second album “Overgrown,” he invites RZA to rap on the mesmerizingly repetitious but rhythm-free “Take a Fall for Me” and enlists Brian Eno to go up-tempo on the chill electronica “Digital Lion.” Rewarding stuff but not necessarily easy to listen to live. This should be one of the most challenging shows in a string of late-April full houses in First Ave’s main room. (9 p.m. Wed. First Avenue, $20-$22.) Bream

HIP-HOP

Danny Brown’s big floppy hairdo is hardly his most shocking trait. The high-wired Detroit rapper’s acclaimed 2011 album, “XXX,” had plenty of X-rated sexual lyrics and other raunchy rhymes along with a wicked sense of humor and manic beats. Fresh from playing Coachella and opening A$AP Rocky’s tour, Brown seems poised to break out of the rap underground with his upcoming album, “Old,” due in August. He’s touring with rapper/comedian Kitty, a k a Kitty Pride, the Florida college student who recently landed the teen trash-talk viral hit “Okay Cupid.” (9 p.m. Fri., Triple Rock, sold out.) Riemenschneider

BLUES

Self-styled “roaming blues poet and musician” Ray Bonne­ville is a Canadian native and Juno Award winner who was inspired by the music of New Orleans, where he lived in the 1980s. A one-man band who plays guitar and harmonica and often keeps the beat with foot percussion, he’s recorded three acclaimed CDs for Red House Records, the latest being “Bad Man’s Blood.” Before turning to music full-time, Bonneville was a cabdriver, flight instructor and bush pilot. He didn’t write his first song until age 41, though the musical vignettes, rough-hewn and romantic, seem to pour out of him now. (9 p.m. Sat., Aster Cafe, $10.) Tom Surowicz

JAZZ

Making their annual visit to St. Paul, the African Jazz Trio features two talented brothers originally from the Ivory Coast: guitarist Loba Akou and electric bassist Serge Akou. Though Serge has lived a long while in the Twin Cities, he’s certainly not overexposed locally. His highest-profile gig has been working with singer Estaire Godinez, who left town several years ago. His brother resides in Detroit, where he recorded a fine live CD. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists’ Quarter, $12.) Surowicz

 

After making his mark with Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, saxophonist Eric Marienthal has gone on to record 13 hit-and-miss solo CDs, working both with jazz heavyweights and smooth operators. He’s a potent player capable of serious soloing, though you’d hardly know that from his latest creamy studio effort, “It’s Love.” Largely sexy aural wallpaper, it shows off Marienthal’s striking sound in a highly commercial context. Hopefully, the JazzMN Orchestra — who invited him to headline their season-ending concert — will bring out the best in the multi-reedman (alto, tenor, soprano), whose regular work with Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band is a good omen. (7:30 p.m. Sat., Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center, 2400 Lindbergh Dr., Minnetonka. $17-$29. www.jazzmn.org) Surowicz

 

In a real departure on last year’s “Glad Rag Doll,” Diana Krall explored mostly songs of the 1920s and ’30s with rootsy producer T Bone Burnett. Think vaudeville and Ziegfeld Follies — with one boogeying rockabilly ditty thrown in for good measure. Now the standards-loving, sultry jazz piano queen is bringing her “Glad Rag Doll” flavor to the stage, complete with retro stage design, clips of classic black-and-white movies and even some Tom Waits tunes. (7:30 p.m. Sun., State Theatre, $65-$95.) Bream

After a casually brilliant, standing-room-only solo performance at Macalester in February, guitar guru Bill Frisell is back with one of his many bands. The Beautiful Dreamers, co-starring violist Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston, are named after the Stephen Foster classic, which they recorded in quirky Frisell fashion on a lovely 2010 CD that also featured covers of Benny Goodman, Blind Willie Johnson, the Carter Family, even Little Anthony & the Imperials (“Goin’ Out of My Head”) — a picture of Frisell should appear in the dictionary alongside the word eclectic. (7 & 9 p.m. Wed.-Thu., Dakota Jazz Club, $35-$40.) Surowicz

CLASSICAL

With the so-called “major” orchestras sidelined, the Minnesota Sinfonia, with its fresh-faced soloists, attractive programs and free admission, has done yeoman’s service to the cause of music in the Twin Cities. Its next concerts, conducted by artistic director Jay Fishman, feature Ukrainian-born, New York-based pianist Inna Faliks in Mendelssohn’s impetuous and effervescent G-minor Concerto. Also on the agenda are works by Schubert, Vaughan Williams (the great “Tallis” Fantasia) and a 1978 quintet by American composer Theodore Unseth, now expanded for chamber orchestra. (7 p.m. Fri., Founders Hall, Metropolitan State University, 700 E. 7th St., St. Paul. 2 p.m. Sat., Basilica of St. Mary, 88 N. 17th St., Mpls. Free. 612.871.1701 or www.mnsinfonia.org.) Larry Fuchsberg

 

It was 1987 when VocalEssence first presented Benjamin Britten’s operetta “Paul Bunyan” to such acclaim that it resulted in an award-winning recording. This is the first time Philip Brunelle has revived the work, this time to honor Britten’s 100th birthday. This tribute to Minnesota’s favorite legend (and to Babe, the blue ox) is a tip of the hat to American music, folk songs, jazz, hymns and ballads. Vern Sutton directs the semi-staged production, with a cast that includes former WCCO anchorman Don Shelby as the voice of Bunyan, and Pop Wagner as the Ballad Singer. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Ted Mann Concert Hall, $23.50-$43.50, www.vocal­essence.org) William Randall Beard

 

The Apollo Male Chorus may not be the most familiar ensemble in the crowded choral landscape, but it’s one of the oldest. Founded 117 years ago, it performed with what’s now the Minnesota Orchestra as early as 1927. Under its new director, Sean Vogt, the chorus is poised to launch a new era. For his inaugural concert, Vogt has programmed choruses by Michael Praetorius, Edvard Grieg and Aaron Copland, along with comedy numbers and choral settings of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” and Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Vogt will open the program with an organ recital. (7 p.m. Sat., St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church, 630 Wayzata Blvd. E., Wayzata, $15. www.apollomalechorus.com) Beard

 

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