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Pretty Lights

Funstar,

Amy Helm

Bill Miles,

John Legend performed with Sade at Target Center in 2011.

Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

Diarrhea Planet. Yep, that's their band name.

Courtesy Grandstandhq,

Lew Tabackin on sax

Dirk Stockmans,

Big Gigs: The best Twin Cities concerts Nov. 15-21

  • November 14, 2013 - 10:00 PM

COUNTRY

For some reason, Brad Paisley’s Beat This Summer Tour extends to just before Thanksgiving. He’s always had a sense of humor — or maybe he didn’t want to print a new batch of T-shirts. Anyway, your favorite smart-aleck country-awards host is cranking up his guitars, videos and holograms (you didn’t think Carrie Underwood would show up in person?) for the home stretch of his tour to promote “Wheelhouse,” the first Paisley album that hasn’t delivered a No. 1 country song. Opening are Chris Young, who has scored five No. 1 hits including “The Man I Want to Be,” and Danielle Bradbery, a Blake Shelton-coached winner on “The Voice.” (7:30 p.m. Sat. Xcel Energy Center, $25-$59.75.) Jon Bream

POP/ROCK

Brian Setzer and folks in the retail world may be the only ones in the holiday spirit right now. Minneapolis’ coolest guitar star kicks off the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 10th-anniversary Christmas tour in his home base with 28 cities to go. Some fans go to hear the snazzy big-band arrangements of Yule classics, others to experience the brilliance and range of Setzer’s playing. Meanwhile, he is working on a brand-new rockabilly album with three other players in Nashville. Firebird, a rockabilly trio from Australia, will open. (8 p.m. Fri., Orpheum, $43.50-$58.50.) Bream

 

The demand to see Matt Nathanson and Joshua Radin is sizable, but is the Skyway — downtown Minneapolis’ newish rock/dance club — the right venue in which to experience these two modern, female-friendly singer-songwriters? Always chatty and funny in concert, Nathanson shows plenty of pop polish on this year’s San Francisco-centric “Last of the Great Pretenders.” Love his line about “She had a master’s degree in disappointment.” Radin is more introverted, but he had the women swooning when he showcased material from his new “Wax Wings” album earlier this year at the Dakota. (6:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Skyway Theatre. $28.50; Saturday is sold out.) Bream

 

The big closer at last year’s inaugural Summer Set Festival, Colorado’s electronic-dance star Pretty Lights (Derek Smith) certainly lives up to his moniker onstage, with a hi-fi production straight out of a sci-fi movie set. His soul-poppy brand of hip-hop-ified EDM is itself pretty light on impact, but it could be more electrifying this time since he’s touring with a full band behind the sprawling new double album, “Color Map of the Sun,” his first effort composed and recorded without samples. Blood Diamonds and Paul Basic also perform. (9 p.m. Sat., Myth, $32.) Riemenschneider

Few songwriters in the roots/Americana field can keep pace with Robbie Fulks, a truism confirmed by his new album, “Gone Away Backward.” It features 10 songs and (surprisingly) two instrumentals, without a clunker in the bunch, mostly sporting an “O Chicago Brother, Where Art Thou?” old-timey/bluegrass vibe. Fulks can be a rowdy rockin’ prankster at times, but not on this often spare, contemplative, beautiful album. Its best songs — including the John Prine-worthy “Where I Fell,” the sly “Imogene” and the trippy, poetic “The Many Disguises of God” — will haunt you. (8 p.m. Fri., 7th Street Entry, $15.) Tom Surowicz

 

Built to Spill has a new rhythm section, but no new album, with the long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s “There Is No Enemy” still in the works. Neither point really matters to the Boise, Idaho, quintet’s devoted fans, who will turn out regardless to hear Doug Martsch & Co.’s thrilling three-guitar workouts, some of the best non-jammy jamming around. We’re getting them about three-quarters of the way through a seven-week tour. Saxophone-led Vancouver punk band Slam Dunk opens with the Warm Hair. (8 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, $20-$22.) Riemenschneider

 

You know Diarrhea Planet has to be pretty good to have gotten around such a tasteless band name to become the toast of many snobby tastemakers. The young Nashville noise-rock sextet boasts four gamer-looking guitarists — take that, Built to Spill! — who are prone to wild onstage antics as juvenile as their moniker. They craft some surprisingly sophisticated wall-of-roar jams amid the chaos and cocky attitude, though, like a cross between Trail of Dead, Sonic Youth and Ted Nugent. Los Angeles pop-punk quartet the Lovely Bad Things and soulful local rockers General B & the Wiz open. (8:30 p.m. Sun., 7th Street Entry, $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

 

MGMT has a dubious reputation locally as the dullest headliner in Rock the Garden history (2010), and that may help explain why its concert was downsized from Roy Wilkins Auditorium to First Ave. The Connecticut haze-rock duo’s hot mess of an eponymous third album probably hasn’t done much to win back fans. If wigged-out, Syd Barrett-ized songs such as “Your Life Is a Lie” and “Alien Days” don’t liven up the live show — where co-founders Andrew VanWyngarden and Benjamin Goldwasser expand the band to a quintet — there are always “Time to Pretend,” “Kids” and “Electric Feel,” the synth-sparkly 2007 hits that made them best-new-artist Grammy nominees and still keep them on people’s radar. Former MGMT tour guitarist Hank Sullivant’s band Kuroma opens. (7:30 p.m. Mon., First Avenue, $29.50.) Riemenschneider

 

Ozzfest-reared metal thrashers Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage are on a co-headlining fall tour celebrating the hard-fought returns of their singers. LoG’s gutter-voiced frontman Randy Blythe was imprisoned in Prague last year in a high-profile case involving the death of a fan he pushed off the stage. Killswitch welcomed back original guy Jesse Leach after a 10-year hiatus on its new album, “Disarm the Descent.” They have some name-brand openers with them, too, with ’80s thrash pioneers Testament and California newcomers Huntress, led by impressive screamer Jill Janus. (7 p.m. Mon., Myth, all ages, $29.50.) Riemenschneider

 

John Legend has captured nine Grammys and lots of women’s hearts with his creamy, dreamy neo-soul. Recently married to Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen, he shows his seductive ways on the new “Love in the Future,” which envelops his unpoetic pillow talk in lush, dramatic sounds. The collection is something of a return to form after the socially conscious, Roots collaboration “Wake Up” and the synth-soaked “Evolver,” but still not as impressive as his first two albums. Opening is R&B personality Tamar Braxton, better known for her TV work (“Braxton Family Values,” “The Real”) than her music. (7:30 p.m. Tue., State Theatre, $44.50-$89.) Bream

 

Gary Clark Jr. has kept Twin Cities fans waiting for three years. That’s how long it has been since the bluesy guitar slinger from Austin, Texas — dubbed “the chosen one” in a lengthy Rolling Stone profile — wowed the crowd at Clapton’s Crossroads Festival. Since then, he’s jammed with the Stones and made fans as diverse as President Obama, Jay Z and just about everybody who has seen his stellar live act. His mixed-bag Warner Bros. debut album, “Blak & Blu,” only hints at his impressive talent. A bonus for our patience: We’re getting him in a smaller venue than most cities. Read an interview with Clark in Sunday’s Variety section. (8 p.m. Wed., First Avenue, sold out.) Riemenschneider

 

After selling out the Varsity Theater for a two-night stand in June just after the release of their sophomore album, Los Angeles soul-pop party band Fitz & the Tantrums rightfully turn to a bigger room this time around. The location seems like a fair trade for a venue that still offers a dance floor, which is a must given the retro boogie of the band’s breakout hit “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” and the more modernized electro-grind of the new disc, “More Than Just a Dream.” Openers Capital Cities are another fun band of Angelenos with the viral video hit “Safe and Sound.” (7:30 p.m. Thu., Myth, all ages, $25-$28.) Riemenschneider

 

Selena Gomez is a pop star. Granted, she’s mostly known for her Disney Channel show “Wizards of Waverly Place” and dating Justin Bieber. Her dance-pop is fine for a tween party, but it’s as disposable as used birthday candles. On this year’s “Stars Dance” album, the 21-year-old tried to get a little edgier musically with club-oriented tunes. Emblem 3 opens. (7 p.m. Thu., Target Center, $29.50-$69.50.) Bream

 

Amy Helm was last seen in town performing with her rock-legend dad, Levon Helm of the Band, who took his final load off and left us all last year. His singer/songwriter daughter has carried on the famous Midnight Ramble jams at the family farm in Woodstock, N.Y., and she’s returning to Minnesota for another fun collaborative affair in a picturesque setting, the Real-Phonic Radio Hour. The show will also feature Minnesota-bred, Montana-based bluegrass/folk singer Martha Scanlan, who has recorded and performed with Amy and Levon, along with Real-Phonic hosts Molly Maher, Erik Koskinen and the stellar house band. (8 p.m. Thu., James J. Hill Reference Library, 80 W. 4th St., St. Paul, $20.) Riemenschneider

JAZZ

The Artists’ Quarter welcomes back a fabled friend, the mighty Lew Tabackin. A terrific tenor saxophonist with a meaty throwback sound yet an intrepid modern style, Tabackin is also one of the best flute players in the history of jazz. The globe-trotting reedman long has been a standout in large ensembles, but he’s often at his most impressive, expansive and commanding in the most intimate of settings — a trio. He’s a sophisticate and a barnburner. Highly recommended. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists’ Quarter, $20.) Surowicz

 

Smooth-jazz sax star Steve Cole has been living quietly in the Twin Cities the past few years, teaching music business classes at McNally Smith when he’s not off touring or playing the occasional gig with singer Patty Peterson. Now he has his highest-profile Twin Cities show yet, a release party for his seventh album, “Pulse.” Most of the Peterson Family will be around to help Cole celebrate, along with guitarist Billy Franze and drummer Bobby Vandell. (8 p.m. Sat., Dakota Jazz Club, $20.) Surowicz

BLUES

Cheesehead octet the Jimmys just won five 2013 Madison Area Music Awards, including Artist of the Year. Madison’s always been a great bar town, so you know keyboardist Jimmy Voegli’s combo can deliver quality party music, as heard on a new concert CD, “HaDaYa Do That Thing LIVE!” The Jimmys’ sound is mostly blues fare of various stripes (Chicago blues, jump blues, boogie), along with a little blue-eyed soul, even a smidgen of groovy jazz. The band’s four-piece horn section is quite a luxury and a lure. (6-10 p.m. Fri., Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, 1638 Rice St., St. Paul, 651-207-0000.) Surowicz

CLASSICAL

When a papal emissary was coming to visit 18th-century Peru, the people compiled a manuscript of all the things they had to offer, in terms of music and folk art, called the “Trujillo de Perú Codex.” This is the basis of Rose Ensemble’s “Portraits of Peru, 1785.” They perform party songs, love songs and rhythmic sacred hymns, joined by a Baroque band, and a wide-ranging collection of South American percussion instruments. This is Peruvian and Bolivian music with Indian and African influences. Projections of the imaginative manuscript illustrations are also featured, along with supertitle translations of the texts. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Augsburg College, Hoversten Chapel, 625 22nd Av. S., Mpls., $10-$25, 651-225-4340, www.roseensemble.org.) William Randall Beard





 

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