COUNTRY

Usually well organized, Brad Paisley is also quick on his feet. The other day he changed his mind and decided that his 2012 Camobunga Tour should be renamed the Virtual Reality Tour. Apparently, "Camouflage" (the title of his current single) and Paisley don't mix as a design scheme. Presumably Paisley, one of the better all-around entertainers on the country circuit, will have things all ironed out by the time he arrives in St. Paul for the third show of the tour. Opening are the Band Perry, the Grammy-nominated country crossover trio of "If I Die Young" fame, and deep-voiced charmer Scotty McCreery, the reigning "American Idol" who is a high school senior in North Carolina. Read an interview with McCreery at startribune.com/music. (7:30 p.m. Sat. Xcel Energy Center, $25-$59.75.) Jon Bream

HIP-HOP

As if the title "Negroes on Ice" isn't perplexing enough, the new stage show by legendary hip-hop producer/DJ Prince Paul (see: De La Soul, Stetasonic, Slick Rick) reportedly falls somewhere between a play, musical and comedy routine that he co-created with his son, Paul Jr., aka DJ Pforreal. The two Pauls reportedly riff on father/son relationships in the staging, based on a video series of the same name at Ustream.tv. Very coolly, they're performing it here as a free, all-ages event to benefit North Side youths. TruthMaze will also perform along with students and faculty from McNally Smith College of Music and lots of breakers and poets. (7:30 p.m. Fri., Capri Theater, 2027 W. Broadway, Mpls. Free.) There's also an after-party featuring spins by both Pauls and local guru DJ Stage One. (11 p.m. Fri., Nomad Pub. $5.) Chris Riemenschneider

Theophilus London sounds like he was tailor-made for rotation on the in-store speakers at Urban Outfitters. The Brooklyn-based, Trinidad-born rapper/singer is PG-rated enough for the mall, retro enough to sell the Vans shoes and Chewbacca T-shirts (with a heavy sprinkling of early Prince flavor), and the contributions by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek and Tegan & Sara's Sara Quinn to his debut album give him ample hipster marketability. Titled "Timez Are Weird These Dayz," the record is on the verge of crossing over to Top 40 with its feel-good digi-soul singles "All Around the World" and "Why Even Try." His local headlining debut could be an I-was-there affair -- or as forgotten as N.E.R.D.'s first time. Local remixer-to-the-stars Gigamesh opens. (10 p.m. Sat., the Loft at Bar Fly, 711 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 18 & older. $15.) Riemenschneider

POP/ROCK

The only Twin Cities band featured on Cities 97's latest "Sampler" CD, Farewell Milwaukee cultivates the timeless but now semi-trendy musical territory currently branded by the likes of Dawes and Blitzen-Trapper, with a Southern Cali-tinged folk-rock/Americana sound. Its latest album, "Until It Sinks In," was recorded in Nashville with the engineer from Norah Jones' and Kings of Leon's most recent efforts. The quintet heads into 2012 with its biggest local headlining gig yet, also featuring twang-rock brethren Romantica, who frequently share guitarist "Danger" Dave Strahan with the Farewell crew. (8 p.m. Fri., Cedar Cultural Center. Sold out.) Riemenschneider

Before he found redemption of sorts in his current, 89.3 the Current-adored band Communist Daughter, singer/guitarist Johnny Solomon kicked up a healthy buzz in the mid-'00s with the more snarly, noisy, Guided by Voices-like quartet Friends Like These. The band, which also featured ComDot bassist Adam Switlick on guitar, was eventually done in by Solomon's personal demons and drummer Matt O'Laughlin's relocation to Scotland. They're reuniting after five years to shed light on the bright side of FLT's short legacy: its discography, newly highlighted in an eponymous collection of remastered tracks. Fellow hard-popsters Wishbook and We Became Actors open. (10 p.m. Fri., Triple Rock. $8.) Riemenschneider

Wisconsin's busiest, most prolific singer/songwriter, Peter Mulvey, writes singularly witty, wordy and wise songs. He can quote "Macbeth" and name-drop Lao Tzu in the same couplet, and make it work beautifully. (8 p.m. Fri., Ginkgo Coffeehouse, $12-$15.) Tom Surowicz

If you didn't hear God in Charlie Parr's music before now, you clearly weren't listening. Duluth's acoustic blues/folk maestro formally -- and effortlessly, it seems -- made the crossover to gospel songs on his new album for the House of Mercy label, "Keep Your Hands on the Plow." The truly spirited collection features a little more help than usual from his friends, including his wife Emily, Alan and Mimi of Low and banjo/fiddle duo Brandy Forsman and Tom Maloney; the latter two will open Parr's release party as Four Mile Portage. Longtime cohort Dave Simonett of Trampled by Turtles and Dead Man Winter also will perform. (8 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center. All ages. $15.) Riemenschneider

A rock 'n' roll Forrest Gump, Peter Asher has been nearly everywhere -- from No. 1 on the pop chart in the '60s (with Peter and Gordon's "World Without Love") to managing Courtney Love in the '00s. He introduced John to Yoko, and Marianne Faithfull to Mick Jagger, discovered James Taylor and earned Grammys for his work with Linda Ronstadt, Cher, 10,000 Maniacs and Robin Williams. Asher will discuss his charmed life in song and story. Read an interview in Sunday's Variety. (7 p.m. Mon.-Tue., Dakota Jazz Club, $40.) Bream

The new live album/DVD "Brighter Days" finds JJ Grey & Mofro in their element. The Florida septet knows how to find a groove, whether the style is Southern rock, blues, country, soul or swampy pop. That's why Grey, a gritty singer and a versatile multi-instrumentalist, has become a cult favorite on the jam band circuit. JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound and Daryl Hance open. (8 p.m. Wed., Varsity, $20-$22.) Bream

BLUES

Curt Obeda and the Butanes had a long history with the late great Chicago blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin -- going back three decades in Obeda's case, to Redmond's Lounge in the Windy City, where he and Sumlin had a weekly gig. They shared some memorable shows in the Twin Cities, including a night at the old Artists' Quarter in Minneapolis, when Bob Dylan turned up to listen, and more recently several packed houses at Famous Dave's. Sumlin passed away in December, and for this tribute show, the Butanes are importing another Chicago great, Tail Dragger, whose vocals are often richly reminiscent of Sumlin's old boss, Howlin' Wolf. (9 p.m. Fri., Famous Dave's Uptown, $5.) Surowicz

JAZZ

Zeroing in on Leonard Bernstein's brilliant music for "West Side Story," jazz pianist Richard Johnson will lead a trio in a rare appearance in St. Paul. Originally from Pittsburgh, Johnson breezed through the fabled Berklee College of Music in just two years, and has gone on to New York prominence and gigs around the globe as a member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, Russell Malone's quartet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He's a prodigious, exciting player. And "West Side Story's" dynamic music has always been compatible with jazz -- just ask Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis, Oscar Peterson, et al. (9 p.m. Sat., Artists' Quarter, $12.) Surowicz

Now in its fifth year, the annual Roseville Winter Jazz Blast is an all-day educational event, with clinics by pro musicians and showcases for middle school and high school big bands. But you don't have to be a teenager or teacher to enjoy the finale concert by the JazzMN Orchestra and its special guest, versatile guitar hero Mike Stern. His illustrious résumé includes work with Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Michael Brecker and the Yellowjackets, plus a previous concert with JazzMN. Expect fretboard fireworks. (7:30 p.m. Sat., Maranatha Hall, Northwestern College, 3003 N. Snelling Av., Roseville. $7-$17. 651-631-5151.) Surowicz

Given the recent passing of superb jazz drummer and bandleader Paul Motian, the Twin Cities Jazz Society's latest foray into presenting bar shows is both timely and aesthetically tasty. Pianist extraordinaire Bryan Nichols is starring in a tribute to the best-ever Keith Jarrett band, the so-called "American Quartet" of heavyweight improvisers that co-starred Motian, Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden. Sharing the task of reviving and expanding their music will be Michael Lewis and Brandon Wozniak (saxes), J.T. Bates and Jay Epstein (drums), and James Buckley (bass). Opening honors is a trio of fast-track high school musicians with a weighty name: Respective Sounds Convergence Summit. (7 p.m. Sun., Artists' Quarter, $10.) Surowicz

CLASSICAL

As a part of its continuing efforts to make classical music more accessible, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra is offering free tickets during January to first-time attendees of its concerts. This week's program, under the fiery baton of Joana Carneiro, would serve as a powerful introduction. It opens with the joyous overture to Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro." There's more theater music with Manuel de Falla's "El Amor Brujo," a gypsy-themed ballet featuring songs for mezzo-soprano sung by Carla Jablonski. A contemporary novelty rounds out the concerts: Hungarian composer György Ligeti's Violin Concerto, astringent yet ethereal, dissonant yet meditative, played by hot young virtuoso Augustin Hadelich. (10:30 a.m. Fri. & 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Ordway Center, $10-$40.) William Randall Beard

 Rossini, Verdi, Massenet and Puccini are pigeonholed as opera composers. But all wrote respectable chamber music, as this weekend's program by the Musical Offering evinces. Hear works for string quartet by Puccini and Verdi, a Rossini Fantasy for flute and piano, Massenet's beguiling "Meditation" from "Thaïs" (a tune from an opera--not quite fair!) and, just to complicate things, Benjamin Britten's "Phantasy Quartet," a piece by a composer of operas who defies pigeonholing. (3 p.m. Sun., Sundin Hall, Hamline University, 1531 Hewitt Av., St. Paul. $5-$10. 651-523-2459 or www.musicaloffering.org.) Larry Fuchsberg Taken together, Dmitri Shostakovich's 15 string quartets are the foremost contribution to the genre since Beethoven, plumbing the heart's most forbidding places. Yet the Shostakovich cycle has never been given complete in the Twin Cities. What better way, then, for the St. Paul-based Artaria String Quartet to celebrate its 25th anniversary than with this monumental project, spread over two seasons? The group is playing longer programs (four quartets each) Saturday and Sunday in Minneapolis, and shorter programs (two quartets each) the next two Thursdays in St. Paul. See ArtariaQuartet.com for details. (7:30 p.m. Sat. & 4 p.m. Sun., Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Av., Mpls. Free-will offering. Noon Thu. & Jan. 26, Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St., St. Paul. Free.) Fuchsberg