Soul Asylum

Red Light Management,

The Big Gigs for the week of July 26

  • Star Tribune
  • July 25, 2013 - 3:27 PM

Three distinctly middle-American rock acts, Soul Asylum, Big Head Todd & the Monsters and Matthew Sweet each broke through on the FM dial and MTV in the early ’90s with sing-songy, anthemic albums that offered an alternative to the grungier, post-Nirvana “alternative.” They’ve teamed up to play each of those records in their entirety on the so-called LP Tour: “Grave Dancers Union,” “Sister Sweetly” and “Girlfriend,” respectively. Twins broadcast station K-TWIN 96.3 FM recruited the package tour for a ballpark concert, slapped on the Gear Daddies for a very-welcome second hometown act and called it the Skyline Music Festival. The stage will be set up along the third baseline. (5 p.m. Fri., Target Field, Mpls., $25-$39,

Chris Riemenschneider


The Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary tour and their first album in 16 years, “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” were so 2012. Brian Wilson, guiding light of the Beach Boys, and singer Mike Love once again couldn’t see eye to eye, so now there are two touring entities: the Love-fronted Beach Boys and Wilson, performing with original bandmates Al Jardine and David Marks. Squabble aside, Wilson is the genius behind the Beach Boys’ elaborate sounds. Early reports indicate that his set list is heavy on Beach Boys classics and surprisingly devoid of his esteemed solo work. Meanwhile, Wilson announced last month that he’s working on another solo album, with Jardine, Marks, Jeff Beck and Don Was, among others. (7:30 p.m. Sat., Minnesota Zoo, $62-$87.50.)

Jon Bream


After a one-year hiatus, the highly recommended Dakota Street Fest is back, with four stages (three outdoor, one indoor), dozens of acts, 12 hours of music — and free admission. The eclectic lineup features Kansas City blues piano mama Kelley Hunt and Alabama southern rockers Kenneth Brian Band as well as local favorites, including rapper Toki Wright, soul ’n’ bluesman Willie Walker backed by Paul Metsa’s acoustic guitar, jazz saxophone institution Irv Williams, vocalist extraordinaire Debbie Duncan, and New Orleans-flavored powerhouse Davina and the Vagabonds. (Noon-midnight Sat., Dakota Jazz Club and outside on Nicollet Mall, Mpls., free.)



Alpha Rev was a VH1 “You Oughta Know” act back in 2010 but truly might become better known this year, thanks in part to the fact that frontman Casey McPherson sounds a whole lot like Marcus Mumford. His Austin, Texas-based sextet has more of a heartland rock sound than Mumfords’ Sons, though, evidenced by their fourth album, “Bloom,” and the Counting Crows-like single “Sing Loud.” Rootsy local rockers Cedar Avenue and White Lines Grey Matter open. (9 p.m. Sat., Mill City Nights, $13.)



Hard to believe that Alabama Shakes have only performed once in the Twin Cities, given the continued local popularity of their 2012 debut album and the swiftness with which this weekend’s big outdoor gig sold out. Led by gospel-tinged howler Brittany Howard and fueled by Steve Cropper-channeling guitar great Heath Fogg, the soul-rock quartet was actually invited to play two even bigger gigs earlier this summer but could only make it this weekend, between such globe-trotting festival gigs as Glastonbury, the Calgary Folk Fest and Sweden’s Way Out West. They’re working on a new album but have been rounding out set lists with B-sides and a cool Springsteen cover. Former Chooglin’ leader Brian Vanderwerf’s new band Eleganza! opens. (6:30 p.m. Sun., Cabooze Plaza, sold out.)


The precocious duo Foxygen has hypnotized the music world with its psychedelic chillwave sound. L.A.-bred singer-songwriters Jonathan Rado and Sam France, both 22, embody Bowie, the Velvet Underground, the Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan, depending on which track you’re listening to. In concert, lead vocalist France evokes a wigged-out Iggy Pop, complete with eyeliner, while guitarist/keyboardist Rado seems the more subdued, and grounded, member of the band. (8 p.m. Mon., First Avenue, $13-$15.)

Erica Rivera


Coming off as the musical halfway point between Dylan and Lennon, World Party had a memorable singalong hit with “Ship of Fools” in 1986 and then released one of the best soul-searching rock albums of the early ’90s, “Goodbye Jumbo.” The group’s mastermind, Karl Wallinger, suffered an aneurysm in 2001 and has largely remained off the grid for the past decade-plus, but he sporadically pops back up, most recently with last year’s making-up-for-lost-time five-album set “Arkeology.” He’s playing with a stripped-down trio. (7 & 9 p.m. Tue., Dakota Jazz Club, $35.)



Led by brothers Joseph and David Dunwell with a couple of cousins, the Dunwells are an acoustic British folk-rock ensemble trodding on the trail forged by Mumford & Sons. Produced by George Drakoulias (Jayhawks, Black Crowes), the Dunwells’ sweet single “So Beautiful” sounds like Mumford with Bee Gees-like harmonies. (7 p.m. Wed., Dakota, $24.)



Best Coast indie starlet Bethany Cosentino may love California above everywhere else — as she memorably sang on last year’s charmer “The Only Place” — but she might like us a little better now that her band has graduated to the First Ave main room. She and bandmate Bobb Bruno lost some of their punkier fans with the sleeker, Jon Brion-produced sophomore album, but they gained many more with its Go-Go’s-meets-Lemonheads pop jangle. Poppy local fuzz-rockers Prissy Clerks open. (9 p.m. Wed., First Avenue, $15.)



It’s another inspiring double bill at the Minnesota Zoo, with two bona fide headliners. John Hiatt’s latest album, “Mystic Pinball,” is his usual well-balanced mix of thoughtful, homey and fun, with introspective ballads (“Blues Can’t Even Find Me”) and vibrant tunes (“You’re All the Reason I Need”). Steve Earle has gone increasingly deeper as a songwriter. With its rambling, roadhouse feel, his new album “The Low Highway” tells stories of Americans with dreams dashed and still alive, whether it’s the rumbling anti-Wal-Mart screed “Burnin’ It Down,” the hopeful fiddle ditty “Love’s Gonna Blow My Way” or the strikingly sentimental “Remember Me,” about an aging father talking to a young son. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Minnesota Zoo, $56-$68.50.) Bream


With their we-should-be-in-a-stadium sound, the Killers, those 1980s revivalists from Vegas, mastered the acoustics of the bombastic Roy Wilkins Auditorium — no small feat — with two performances and then moved on to Northrop Auditorium and then First Avenue. Still touring to promote last year’s Bruce-meets-Bono styled album “Battle Born,” Brandon Flowers and his buddies are back at Wilkins. Can’t wait to hear “Mr. Brightside” in the Roy again. (8 p.m. Thu., Roy Wilkins Auditorium, $35-$65.)



A big star in her native England in 2012, Emeli Sandé finally broke through in the States this year with “Next to Me” from last summer’s “Our Version of Events.” This summer, she was honored as the best international act at the BET Awards. A medical school dropout, Sandé wrote songs for Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle and others before embarking on her own career. With his distinctive blond quiff, she is a striking presence, sounding like Alicia Keys might if she grew up on folk, not gospel. (8 p.m. Thu., Pantages, $29.50.)



Of all the places you might think of seeing Big Daddy Kane 24 years after the release of “It’s a Big Daddy Thing,” a neighborhood arts fair probably doesn’t come to mind. He’s one of about 350 artists showing off their work at the FLOW Northside Art Crawl, a sign of how tame “Warm It Up, Kane” and his other songs of old seem by today’s standards. He’s still one of the top 10 rappers of all time, though. He goes on about 6 p.m. Ashley DuBose and Old Skool Hip-Hop Dance open. (1-7 p.m., KMOJ Stage, Broadway St. W. & Logan Av. N., Mpls.,



David Letterman took a shine to Texas singing great Dale Watson’s “I Lie When I Drink” during a recent “Late Night” performance, and so should barflies across the globe. It’s just one of a half-dozen new drinking songs on his latest release for St. Paul’s Red House label, “El Rancho Azul.” The great hometown country band Dan Lund & Buffaloaf gets things started right. (8:30 p.m. Mon., Lee’s Liquor Lounge, $15.)

Tom Surowicz


The ever-popular We Fest has found a new headliner, rough-around-the-edges country-rocker Eric Church, known for the hits “Springsteen” and “Drink in My Hand.” He’s set for Thursday, along with Rodney Atkins and Big & Rich. Guitar hero Keith Urban tops Friday’s bill, which also includes the underappreciated “Pontoon” harmonizers Little Big Town and hard-country Gary Allan. “American Idol”-launched country princess Carrie Underwood closes the festivities on Saturday, preceded by rich-voiced, hardworking Darius Rucker, the enduring “Gambler” Kenny Rogers, and underrated talent and “Dancing With the Stars” champ Kellie Pickler. (Aug. 1-3, Soo Pass Ranch, Detroit Lakes; tickets start at $92.63 for one day;



Percussionist extraordinaire Babatunde Lea has recorded with sundry legends, including McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders and Van Morrison. He’s played some inspired local gigs, too, thanks to a friendship with Twin Cities guitarist Zacc Harris. Now he has a new and illustrious local supporting cast: pianist Richard Johnson and bassist Anthony Cox, plus Detroit-born trumpeter Solomon Parham. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists’ Quarter, $15.)



Kermit Ruffins’ latest album is called “We Partyin’ Traditional Style.” Frankly, the New Orleans trumpeter, vocalist and bon vivant could have slapped that title on just about any of his albums of old jazz and Tin Pan Alley tunes, many culled from the songbook of his hero Louis Armstrong. This is his most overt Satchmo salute yet, with frisky renditions of “Chinatown, My Chinatown,” “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South,” “Exactly Like You,” “Jeepers Creepers,” even the inescapable “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In.” (7 & 9 p.m. Sun.-Mon., Dakota Jazz Club, $25-$35.)



After a fertile residency at the cozy Jazz Central in northeast Minneapolis, the Adam Meckler Orchestra moves its refreshingly modern big-band sounds across town. The group will play the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Artists’ Quarter, where composer/arranger/conductor and ace trumpet soloist Meckler already works regularly with Pete Whitman’s X-Tet and Lulu’s Playground. You may also know him from Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric, the Jack Brass Band, the Good, the Bad & the Funky, the Nexus Ensemble or the Jana Nyberg Group — he’s a talented and busy fellow. (9 p.m. Tue., Artists’ Quarter, $10.)



Milwaukee jazz band Opus titled its new album “Timeless!” — fitting, since the combo is celebrating its 35th year. Its sound is a funky mix of bop, post-bop, soul jazz and fusion that’s sophisticated, yet instantly accessible. Guitarist Steve Lewandowski and multi-reedman Curt Hanrahan both are skilled composers, as is keyboardist James Sodke, whose tune “Palmetto Dunes” recalls vintage Pat Metheny. The sleeper jazz deal of the week. (9 p.m. Wed., Artists’ Quarter, $5.)


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