Country

There’s no Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts or Toby Keith this year. But the 22nd annual Winstock festival has another solid lineup. Jake Owen of “Beachin’ ” and “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” fame, tough and tender Gary Allan, Jana Kramer and homeboy Chris Hawkey are set for Friday. The Saturday lineup is chock full of favorites, including hot newcomer Sam “Leave the Night On” Hunt, chart-topping Eli Young Band, feisty and underappreciated the Band Perry, and those reunited all-timers Alabama. (4:30 p.m. Fri. & 12:30 p.m. Sat. Winsted Airport, Winsted, Minn., $125-$290, winstockfestival.com, 888-946-7865.) Jon Bream

HIP-HOP

A continuation of his party last year to celebrate life and a few of his favorite things after kidney surgery, P.O.S’s [Bleepin’] Best Show Ever has the same wild, none-of-the-above format as the Doomtree rapper’s Saturday night show on 89.3 the Current. Rappers don’t come much more daring and entertaining than Big Freedia, New Orleans’ “queen of bounce” and star of his own Fuse TV reality series. He will join P.O. S at Saturday’s big outdoor show in a skate park with other high-flying, knee-skinning acts including New Jersey’s hard-core rap-punk duo Ho99o9 (“horror”), Chicago wordsmith Saba, Brooklyn dance-rap duo Denitia and Sene and local cohorts Marijuana Deathsquads, Tiiiiiiiiiip and Ander Other (4:30 p.m. Sat., Familia HQ, 835 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., all ages, $15). There’s also a club party the night before celebrating Familia Skate Shop’s 10th anniversary with Lil Jon’s “Get Low” pals the Ying Yang Twins, Dem Atlas and three of the four Get Cryphy DJs. (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, $15.) Chris Riemenschneider

 

Kate Tempest is like the Billy Bragg of hip-hop, and not just because of her thick London accent. She incorporates strong messages — political, socioeconomic, feminist and just plain humanist — into firebrand songs that are thick with storytelling talent and poetry. Her between-song banter is even more colorful. She earned a Mercury Prize nomination for her narrative-fueled debut, “Everybody Down,” and has garnered raves stateside off live sets at South by Southwest and last weekend’s Governor’s Ball. Locals K. Raydio and Botzy open. (9 p.m. Sat., 7th Street Entry, $15.) Riemenschneider

 

POP/ROCK

Among British boy bands of the ’10s, the now-defunct Wanted played second fiddle to One Direction but was more natural onstage — as it proved a couple of summers ago at the Minnesota Zoo. Now comes the inevitable solo careers. First up is Nathan Sykes, 22, whose pop-soul single “Kiss Me Quick” will have the tween girls swooning and lining up for his autograph. (6 p.m. Fri., Mall of America, free). Bream

 

Back in the day, I doubt that any combination of Barenaked Ladies, Violent Femmes and Colin Hay of Men at Work toured together. But this Gen X oldies package, billed as the Last Summer on Earth Tour, makes sense — all are solid live acts with an appealing sense of humor. BNL rock a little harder than usual on this year’s “Spaceball” album while still pressing the usual funny buttons. Violent Femmes, the beloved Milwaukee trio known for “Blister in the Sun,” has begun work on its first album of new material in 15 years; the single “Love Love Love Love Love” sounds classic and encouraging. While Hay’s new disc, “Next Year People,” doesn’t contain his most memorable material, he is always a witty charmer in concert. (7 p.m. Fri., Treasure Island Casino, sold out.) Bream

A trifecta of entities that bring light in one way or another to our arts community: Cloud Cult opens the citywide Northern Spark art party with a special outdoors gig that doubles as a taping for Twin Cities Public Television’s inventive music series “The Lowertown Line.” The Minne-Sconnie chamber-rock favorites have been hard at work on their next album and are playing a wide array of gigs this summer. This one is free, but space is limited so arrive on the early side. (8:30 p.m. Sat., Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza, 1301 2nd Av. S., all ages.) Riemenschneider

 

Rather hard to peg heretofore, Twin Cities atmospheric folk-rock band Taj Raj defines itself much more clearly on its cohesive new, headphones-ready record, “Night Speech,” boasting gorgeous production value around folklore-inspired songs and frontman Ben Burwell’s coolly husky voice. Which isn’t to say the quintet is much easier to describe — it falls somewhere in the broad sonic landscape between José Gonzalez, Ray LaMontagne and Jeff Buckley — but that’s a good thing in this case. We Are the Willows opens the release party. (11 p.m. Sat., Icehouse, $10.) Riemenschneider

 

There’s a lot of romantic push and pull on Twin Cities rocker Niki Becker’s new album, “Reactor,” ranging from the get-out-of-my-face anger of the title track to the love chased down in the frazzled gem “Running.” With a Chrissie Hynde-like drollness, the Norwood Young America native — oh, the confusion that will cause if she breaks beyond Minnesota — now has a hard-wired band to push and pull from musically, plus production by Mike Wisti. She’s celebrating its release with hard-shredding grunge-flavored trio Catbath and stormy synth-rock threesome Strange Relations. (8:30 p.m. Sat., Eagles Club 34, Mpls., $5.) Riemenschneider

 

Nineties indie mainstay the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion took a love-it-or-hate-it approach to modernizing the gritty blues sounds of such heroes as RL Burnside with a fun, hard-blasting, punky twist. It was always hard not to like in concert. After a five-year hiatus, the New York trio returned strong with the 2012 album “Meat and Bone” and has been playing sporadically since then. Opening band Daddy Long Legs is another blues-revivalist trio with a ’60s garage-rock bend and a strong buzz among record-collector types. (8:30 p.m. Sun., Turf Club, sold out.) Riemenschneider

Fresh off playing the T-Bone Walker Blues Festival last weekend, Los Lonely Boys are keeping Texas blues alive with their own unique Tex-Mex mix. The band of West Texas brothers are now a decade removed from their harmonious radio hit “Heaven” but bounced back strong on last year’s nicely varied album “Revelation,” which followed frontman Henry Garza’s recuperation from a spinal injury suffered when he fell off the stage. He certainly still knows how to move around the guitar neck. Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers open. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Minnesota Zoo amphitheater, $44 & $56.50.) Riemenschneider

 

Gospel-ized, bluegrassy folk pickers Spirit Family Reunion’s experience as street buskers came in very handy last September at Trampled by Turtles’ Festival Palomino, when the coed Brooklyn sextet made lemons out of lemonade and played an impromptu and highly entertaining set inside Canterbury Park on the fly. As fun as that was, they do sound better with sound checks and proper amplification. (9 p.m. Thu., Triple Rock, $12-$15.) Riemenschneider

 

JAZZ

The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys have been around for only 2½ years but they play with impressive speed and authority. They’ve released two albums — “Swamp Donkey,” featuring treatments of pre-1930s tunes, and “Donkey Business,” featuring original material. The quintet delivers Dixieland jazz seasoned with vaudeville, soul, blues and banjo. (7 p.m. Sun., New Century Theatre, $15-$25.) Bream

Brian Blade is renowned as one of the best drummers in jazz thanks primarily to his work in the Wayne Shorter Quartet. But he is touring behind his foray into singing-songwriting, the intimate and idiosyncratic song cycle “Mama Rosa.” Now nearly six years old, it is a poignant mix of folk, blues, gospel and pop-rock that has slowly but steadily risen in stature as a humble testament to family (the title character is Blade’s grandmother). Blade, who has also kept time for Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, is a surprisingly gifted tunesmith, guitarist and vocalist. His sextet is well-versed in the material, negotiating its many subtleties, which include filigreed strains of Americana and New Orleans funeral music. The vocal duets between Blade and Kelly Jones promise to be a particular highlight. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Cedar Cultural Center, $20-$25.) Britt Robson

 

CLASSICAL

Which classical symphony was fueled by drug consumption, and features a desperate love affair, a guillotining, and a wild gathering of witches? The answer is Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. It comes under the microscope in a lecture/concert hosted by Minnesota Orchestra violist Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks. Part 1 of the evening examines the fevered back story to the music, with discussion of how it emanated from Berlioz’s wrangled personal circumstances. Part 2 is a complete performance of the symphony by the orchestra, whose rich sonorities should fit this masterpiece perfectly. (8 p.m. Sat., Orchestra Hall, $29, 612-371-5656 or www.minnesotaorchestra.org) Terry Blain

 

In the 15 years since the Atrium String Quartet formed as students in St. Petersburg, Russia, the group has gone from strength to strength, racking up acclaimed appearances at international venues and making some highly promising recordings. Their newest project is made up of Shostakovich’s quartets, and they bring one of them this weekend, paired with Beethoven in a concert at the Museum of Russian Art. (7 p.m. Sun., 5500 Stevens Av. S., Mpls., $25-$30, 612-821-9045 or www.tmora.org) The following evening the Atrium adds Dvorak’s Piano Quintet to the program, with Denis Evstuhin joining them. (7 p.m. Mon., Sundin Music Hall, Hamline University, 1531 Hewitt Av., St. Paul, $9-$17, 651-523-2459 or www.hamline.edu/sundin) Blain

 

The Minnesota Boychoir is actually not one choir, but four, divided by age group but each achieving enviably high standards of singing and deportment. All four ensembles feature in the organization’s annual spring concert, joined by their ex-members’ choir AlumSing and Adult Sing, comprising mainly parents. All told 250 voices will be mustered, singing in a range of styles and idioms, in what promises to be a feast of choral music with the Twin Cities’ finest young male voices. (7 p.m. Sun., Ordway Center, free.) Blain