Ariana Grande

7:30 p.m. • Xcel Energy Center • $29.50-$69.50

Former Nickelodeon star Grande, 21, has made big strides as a pop star. Her improvement in local appearances from 2013 to 2014 was remarkable. She’s made a similar impressive leap on recordings, going from a Mariah Carey wannabe on her debut to a more well-rounded pop diva on last year’s “Everything.” As evidenced on such hits as “Problem” and “Break Free,” she’s hyper-dramatic and breathy but can belt through the EDM and hip-hop sounds and parade of guests including Iggy Azalea, Zedd and the Weeknd. St. Paul is the third night on Grande’s first tour as an arena headliner. Opening are Rixton, the British boy band, and Cashmere Cat, who produced Grande’s “Be My Baby.” Jon Bream

 

PRhyme

9 p.m. • Fine Line • 18-plus • $18-$20

Out to prove they aren’t past theirs, DJ Premier and Royce da 5’9” teamed up as all-star duo PRhyme, dropping an eponymous album in December. Ironically, the opening title track is laden with dated references from Tonya Harding to Tim Hardaway. But Premier, the iconic Gang Starr producer, and Slaughterhouse standout Royce (in their late 40s and 30s, respectively) delivered a mighty head-nodder for hip-hop purists, drawing samples from producer Adrian Younge (Ghostface Killah, the Delfonics). Though occasionally shown up by guests including Schoolboy Q and Killer Mike, Royce demonstrates why he’s a veteran rap-nerd favorite, spitting lyrical thickets over classic Primo beats. With Your Old Droog, Boldy James, Freez and DJ Willie Shu. Michael Rietmulder

 

The Punch Brothers

8 p.m. • First Avenue • $30-$32

After hosting “A Prairie Home Companion” twice last month in St. Paul, mandolin master and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Chris Thile returns with the excellent Punch Brothers. These superior pickers mix elements of bluegrass, classical, jazz, folk and pop into an intoxicating and intellectual sound that appeals to both the NPR and jam-band audiences. On this year’s “Phosphorescent Blues,” the Punch Bros became more ambitious, featuring part of a Debussy suite and choral harmonies that are somewhere between the Beach Boys and heaven. Read an interview with Thile at startribune.com/music. (8 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, $30-$32.) Bream