Adrianne Lenker

As the increasingly vital and widely heralded folk-rock band Big Thief continues to expand its sound and experiment with styles from album to album, the group's Minnesota-rooted singer seems intent on making her solo efforts as intimate and unadorned as possible. Her mostly acoustic new album, "Bright Future," was cut straight to tape and sounds so raw and loose it feels like witnessing a rehearsal — albeit a very warm and inspired rehearsal with Lenker's wondrous and healing lyrics front and center. The record contrasts the ornate setting for her nearly sold-out two-night homecoming stand with Texas opener Staci Foster. (8 p.m. Sat. & Sun., State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $35-$60,


Ben Platt

The Tony-, Grammy- and Emmy-winning "Dear Evan Hansen" star has much to celebrate: his engagement to fellow Broadway actor Noah Galvin, his new album "Honeymind" and his new tour, which arrives in Minneapolis on Pride Weekend. The timing is perfect because "Honeymind" is an open-hearted collection about queer love. Working with such Nashville pros as producer Dave Cobb and songwriters Brandy Clark and Natalie Hemby, Platt mines a vintage folk sound as he reflects on living through various romances and learning to love his authentic self. Clark, a terrific Grammy- and Tony-winning singer/songwriter, opens. (8 p.m. Sat., Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $39 to $139.50,


Blue Ox Music Festival

In its 10th almost-annual installment, this cozy and beloved Americana/string band/roots music campout in Eau Claire, Wis. ― 90 minutes from the Twin Cities — landed two booking coups: Probably the hottest name in alt-twang right now, bluegrass-y West Virginian singer/songwriter Sierra Ferrell, is playing her only Midwest festival date on Saturday, and South Carolina-rooted rock vets Band of Horses deliver their first regional set in eight years Friday. Other performers across three stages through the weekend include Molly Tuttle, the Devil Makes Three, the Sam Bush and Del McCoury bands, Leftover Salmon, Daniel Donato's Cosmic Country, the High Hawks and homegrown hosts Pert Near Sandstone. (3 p.m. Thu.-Sat., the Pines Music Park, 5024 Crescent Av., Eau Claire, Wis., $254/three-day,


Michael Cleveland

Last seen at the Dakota in Bela Fleck's band, Cleveland is a fiddler supreme. Even though he was born blind and lost hearing in one ear because of a childhood infection, he took up the violin at age 4 and became a decorated master. He is a 10-time winner of fiddler of the year at the International Bluegrass Music Awards. In 2020, he earned his first Grammy, for best bluegrass album, and two years ago he was recognized with a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Indiana native's credits include working with Bill Monroe, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill and Marty Stuart and fronting his own group, the Flamekeeper. (7 p.m. Fri., the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $40-$55,


The Church & the Afghan Whigs

While strange bedfellows on a musical level, these two mainstay bands of Gen-X alternative culture should make for good tour mates on a personal level. Their frontmen have become pals and collaborators in recent years. Steve Kilbey is all that's left of the original Church, of "Under the Milky Way" fame, but he maintained the Aussie band's old ethereal magic on the 2022 album "Hypnogogue." Greg Dulli and his Cincinnati-reared Whigs roared back to life with a 2011 reunion outing and have put out three dark and stormy albums since then. British rocker Ed Harcourt opens. (7:15 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $35,


The Jasper String Quartet

Recipients of multiple awards and frequently found on critics' year-end Top 10s, this quartet also runs the St. Paul Conservatory of Music Chamber Music Festival, which it will close with two free concerts at MetroNOME Brewery's splendid downstairs music room. The brewery's co-owner, conductor and pianist William Eddins, will join them for a Johannes Brahms piano quintet and a work by Gabriella Smith on Thursday. Then the Havana String Quartet performs pieces from Cuba and the Jaspers respond with a Dvořák quartet on Saturday. (7 p.m. Thu., 1:30 p.m. Sat., MetroNOME Brewery, 385 Broadway, St. Paul, free,


Steven Isserlis

Among a handful of the world's greatest cellists, this Englishman is a passionate performer and innovative programmer known not only for soloing with the world's great orchestras, but for recitals that draw audiences deeply into a composer's most intimate musical reflections. He'll do so with Canadian pianist Connie Shih when they open Winona's Minnesota Beethoven Festival, playing two cello sonatas by Beethoven, another by Gabriel Fauré, a movement from one by Camille Saint-Saëns, and a new work by his countryman Thomas Adès. (3 p.m. Sun., Page Theatre, St. Mary's University, 700 Terrace Heights, Winona, $25,



Great River Shakespeare Festival

Two actors from the Guthrie Theater's epic History Plays — Will Sturdivant and Melissa Maxwell — play sparring love interests Beatrice and Benedict in "Much Ado About Nothing," one of two titles for the 21st-anniversary season of this festival that was founded by alumni of the Guthrie Theater/University of Minnesota BFA program. "Much Ado" alternates performances with "Hamlet," which stars Tarah Flanagan in the title role, a casting that nods to Sarah Bernhardt, who played the broody prince in 1899 and was the first woman to play Hamlet on film. "Tarah and I are approaching it with the question of how do you take action in a world when you don't know what the truth is," said artistic director Doug Scholz-Carlson. "Hamlet doesn't know if the ghost is his father or the devil trying to tempt him — who do you trust or believe?" ("Hamlet": 7 p.m. Thu. & Sat., "Much Ado": 7 p.m. Fri. & Sun. Ends July 28, WSU Performing Arts Center, 450 Johnson St., Winona, $25-$49, 507-474-7900)



'Live Laugh Love'

The popular motivational three-word phrase is the inaugural exhibition at curator Tessa Wick's new nomadic space. Although Gallery Wick will be roving, it will have a home base at 315 SE. Main St. The plan is to host quarterly exhibitions, with two at the flagship space and two at different venues, locations to be determined. The gallery kicks things off with "Live Laugh Love," a solo show of works by Guy Nelson featuring various luscious natural environments that appear jovial and later reveal dark undertones. Opening reception Saturday, 6-9 p.m. (Open by appt., Gallery Wick, 315 SE. Main St., Mpls., free, 651-396-3105 or


Heart of the Beast

The Hennepin History Museum celebrates the 1983 production of "Circle of Water Circus" by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOTB) with the exhibition titled "Circle of Water: Puppetry as an Agent of Change." In the original iteration, a troupe of performers traveled the Mississippi River from Brainerd, Minn., to New Orleans, creating performances with 150 puppets and music, using them to consider the impacts of colonialism while looking toward the future with hope. Public reception on Saturday, 3-5 p.m., RSVPs required. Exhibition ends July 2026. (10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thu. & Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 2303 3rd Av. S., Mpls., pay-what-you-can, 612-870-1329 or




At the beginning of COVID-19 in 2020, Zorongo Flamenco collaborated with video artist Jim Peitzman in an adaptation of Giovanni Boccaccio's 14th-century novella series, "The Decameron," originally set in the Black Death epidemic of 1348. In cities across the world, dancers and musicians captured the isolation of Boccaccio's text with poignancy in an episodic format released over 10 days and strung the works together as a final video. Now, Zorongo revisits the work in person, incorporating Peitzman's video as a multimedia element in the live production. For the new work, dancer/choreographer Fanny Ara has choreographed a new piece, "Les Dames en Bleu," for the Zorongo ensemble, premiering at the show. Internationally known flamenco dancers Emilio Ochando and Isaac Tovar also perform with the Zorongo dancers, accompanied by composer/guitarist José Luis de la Paz and singer El Yiyi. (7:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat., the O'Shaughnessy, 2004 Randolph Av., St. Paul, $37, 651-690-6700,



The BlackOUT

A fun event for skaters who can barely make it around the rink without falling or experts who can skate backwards and spin with ease. The event is on a roll to highlight Black-owned businesses in the Twin Cities with food vendors baiting customers with tempting aromas and merchandise for body and soul. (Noon-6 p.m. Sun., free, Oscar Johnson Ice Arena, 1039 De Courcy Circle, St. Paul,