2 + 2 = 1 big week at Surly
This week’s pair of big Surly Brewing outdoor concerts are each twofer offerings with bands that came up through promoter First Avenue’s main room. On Wednesday, piano man Ben Folds of “Brick” and late ’90s alt-rock radio fame shares the bill with the Violent Femmes of “Blister in the Sun” and early ’80s college radio notoriety. Guaranteed fun. Then on Saturday, Philly soul-pop vets Dr. Dog team up with rootsy Austin, Texas, rocker Shakey Graves, both known for high-energy live shows, as is can’t-miss opener Caroline Rose. Chris Riemenschneider
6 p.m. Wed., $50; 6 p.m. Sat., $35. Surly Brewing Festival Field, 520 Malcom Av. SE., Mpls. 18+, etix.com.
A native of the Ivory Coast who has lived in France for the past 20 years, Dobet Gnahoré delivers a mesmerizing mix of modern pop electronica and traditional acoustic West African sounds. Her fifth and current album, “Miziki,” might suggest Lauryn Hill with the political consciousness of Erykah Badu if she were singing in French and Bete, Gnahoré’s native language. Direct from the North America festival circuit, she is known for colorful theatrics and aggressive dancing.
7 p.m. Tue. Dakota, Mpls. $35-$45, dakotacooks.com.
Rhythmically Speaking’s summer production of jazz and American social dance is leaner and meaner this year. Two premieres include “Feist(meist)er,” by artistic director Erinn Liebhard, about learning to listen in a crowd of people, and “What’d You Say,” by Julie Warder, which uses rhythm to explore how we communicate. The evening includes Rohan Bhargava’s beatboxing satire “Kool Kids 2.0” and Pat Taylor’s “A Love Supreme,” set to John Coltrane’s masterpiece.
7:30 p.m. Thu.-Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat. Southern Theater, Mpls. $20-$24; 612-340-0155, southerntheater.org.
The musicians who crafted a Leonard Bernstein revue last year return with a tribute to not just Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill but also their largely uncredited collaborators Lotte Lenya and Elisabeth Hauptmann. Audiences can expect “Mack the Knife” from “Threepenny Opera,” as well as others from “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” and “Happy End.” Performers are Diana Grasselli and Prudence Johnson (pictured), as well as Dan Chouinard and Bradley Greenwald.
4 p.m. today, next Sun.; 7:30 p.m. Mon., Wed.-Sat. Open Eye Figure Theatre, Mpls. $28, openeyetheatre.org.
Duluth’s harbor comes alive during the Festival of Sail, as historic tall ships “of yore” make a dramatic tour stop at the world’s farthest-inland seaport. After Sunday morning’s Grand Parade of Sail, gawk at the vintage watercraft from shore (where food and entertainment will abound), or come aboard for a tour ($14-$27). And since nothing says “maritime history” like a giant inflatable fowl, the World’s Largest Rubber Duck is again expected to make an appearance.
Simon Peter Groebner
Sun.-Tue. Duluth waterfront. $10+, festofsailduluth.com.
You don’t have to be Greek to join in the traditional dances of the Mediterranean country at the St. George Greek Festival. The Greek Dancers of Minnesota will perform dances from Greece and Cyprus and offer lessons to the crowd. If you have two left feet, you can walk through the bazaar and tour the picturesque St. George Church and learn about the Eastern Orthodox church, the oldest Christian church in the world, with more than 250 million members.
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. next Sun. St. George Greek Orthodox Church, St. Paul. Free.
Courtney Lewis is a former associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and is now music director of the Jacksonville Symphony. The Northern Irishman returns for the Lakes Area Music Festival. Wednesday’s chamber concert mixes Beethoven’s balmy Pastoral Symphony and Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin” with the less familiar Chamber Symphony of Franz Schreker. The weekend’s larger orchestra tucks into Strauss’ “Don Juan” and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth.
7:30 p.m. Wed. & Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Tornstrom Auditorium, Brainerd. Free, lakesareamusic.org.
The popularity of Como Park’s Japanese Obon Festival has caused organizers to expand. It’s a celebration of the Buddhist summer holiday when families hang lanterns outside their homes and at grave sites to welcome home the souls of loved ones. Festivities include martial arts demonstrations, drumming, singing and cultural exhibits. Come dusk, floating paper lanterns throughout the Japanese Garden and Frog Ponds will create an illuminated vision of peace and harmony.
3-9 p.m. next Sun. Como Park, St. Paul. $3-$5, comozooconservatory.org.
After a relatively long wait to finally get him here once his 2015 triple album “The Epic” took off, Los Angeles jazz guru Kamasi Washington has clearly caught on with many jazzheads and non-jazzists alike locally, earning us a now-annual visit. He and his incomparably funky band are sneaking back into town on an off day from their summer tour with Herbie Hancock, who’s also caught the Kamasi bug in a big way.
8 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, Mpls. $30-$35, etix.com.