Queensrÿche without original singer Geoff Tate is harder to fathom than Judas Priest without Rob Halford, but new guy Todd La Torre (ex-Crimson Glory) has earned a mostly positive reception despite the contentious legal disputes surrounding Tate’s dismissal. The Seattle-bred prog-metal group’s self-titled 2013 album with La Torre harks back to its “Operation: Mindcrime” era. Tribute band Essential Queen opens. (8:30 p.m. Fri., Medina Entertainment Center, $31.) Chris Riemenschneider 

When the Black Keys crossed over from a raw, punky blues-rock duo to polished, radio-friendly arena-rock band with the albums “Brothers” and “El Camino,” they went all in. Their previous Target Center show in 2012 was a charmingly cocky, ambitious and just plain fun affair complete with an arena-sized disco ball and giant “whoa-oh-oh” singalongs. This time the Akron, Ohio-bred band — a quartet on tour but still singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney at the core — might have more of a challenge generating excitement with the songs from their dazed, psychedelic, downbeat new album “Turn Blue.” Opener Jake Bugg, the British wunderkind of “Two Fingers” notoriety, already seemed ready for arena tours when he played First Ave last year. (8 p.m. Fri., Target Center, $35-$75.) Riemenschneider

Last seen with two-thirds of Sleater-Kinney in the too-short-lived Wild Flag, former Helium singer Mary Timony fronts a new trio, Ex Hex, named after her 2005 solo album. Its charming debut, “Rips,” offers scrappy, spunky pop-punk with echoes of the Modern Lovers and Buzzcocks. The Washington, D.C.-bred rockers are on their coming-out tour, opening for Speedy Ortiz, Sadie Dupuis’ fuzz-rock quartet, which is an ear-bleeding delight in concert. Local noise-rockers Buildings open. (9 p.m. Fri., 7th Street Entry, $12-$14.) Riemenschneider 

Fifteen years after winning the Grammy for best new artist, Paula Cole went the Kickstarter route for her sixth album, 2013’s “Raven.” Less elaborately produced than the works in her “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” heyday, the album is filled with confessional tunes reflecting anger and vulnerability, strength and acceptance. “Manitoba” sounds like Joni Mitchell gone wild, and “Imaginary Man” carries on with Prince-like instrumental grandeur. (7 p.m. Sat., Dakota Jazz Club, $35-$42.) Jon Bream 

After 11 albums and 30 years on the road, Irish songbird Mary Black is undertaking her Last Call Tour of the United States. A former member of De Danann, Black is as comfortable singing traditional Irish folk as she is delivering blues, rock, soul and country. She has covered contemporary songs by everyone from Bob Dylan and Sting to David Gray and Minnesota’s own John Gorka and performed with such luminaries as Janis Ian, Steve Martin, Imelda May and Jerry Douglas. Her daughter, singer Róisín O, will open. (7:30 p.m. Tue. Fitzgerald, $32.50 & $35.50.) Bream

One of the more visually arresting performers of the local scene, St. Paul funk/rock/R&B star Mayda seems a natural for TPT’s music series “The Lowertown Line.” Continuing its tapings around town while its studios are under construction, the show found a good-fit partner in the unique New Century Sessions series, held inside City Center. Mayda added electronic and hip-hop elements on her experimental yet personal new album, “Busy Signals, Pt. 1.” (7:30 p.m. Wed., New Century Theater, $10-$34.) Riemenschneider 

Best known for her Grammy-winning duet with Gotye, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Aussie vocalist Kimbra proves to be a quirky, ambitious vocalist on her own. On her just-released sophomore effort, “The Golden Echo,” she vocally careens from Macy Gray-meets-Janet Jackson breathiness to Janelle Monae-like rangy soulfulness. Musically, Kimbra seems inspired by Prince, Michael Jackson and Monae, showing a love for vintage pop-soul sounds and a knack for modernizing them. (8:30 p.m. Thu., Fine Line, $20-$35.) Bream

A buzzing Danish singer/pianist who could just as well be making her local debut at Orchestra Hall or 7th Street Entry, Agnes Obel combines classical music with ambient pop and experimental rock tones. Her breakthrough sophomore album, “Aventine,” offers hushed, lush orchestral ballads and stark piano confessionals that echo the likes of Kate Bush, Sigur Rós and My Brightest Diamond. She’s kicking off her fall North American tour here. (7 p.m. Thu., Dakota Jazz Club, $30.) Riemenschneider


Ironically not the rappers who spent the night before their Soundset performance in jail on marijuana possession charges (we still admire Wiz Khalifa’s wherewithal to make the gig), musical and cinematic partners Method Man and Redman and their fellow herbal hip-hop guru B-Real of Cypress Hill fame have paired up for the fifth installment of the Smokers Club Tour. The two Mans were a hoot at Soundset 2010 and have reportedly been working toward a sequel to “How High.” San Francisco rapper Berner, who records for Khalifa’s Taylor Gang label, opens along with Chicago’s Mick Jenkins. (9 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, $25.) Riemenschneider


“Friends and Lovers,” R&B siren Marsha Ambrosius’ sophomore collection of sensual slow jams, is as sumptuous as her 2011 debut, though guest appearances by Dr. Dre and Charlie Wilson don’t really add to the new disc. Between albums, the British-bred, Philadelphia-based former Floetry singer enhanced her reputation as a featured vocalist on recordings by Kanye West, Taleb Kweli and the Robert Glasper Experiment. (8 p.m. Sun., Fine Line, $25-$40.) Bream

Former Copperheads bandleader Ray Barnard went from Americana rock to more funky sounds on his solo debut. He continues his surprising transformation into a blue-eyed soul singer on the far more convincing follow-up, “Where Would I Be Without You.” Barnard’s voice is odd but affecting and effective, though more likely to remind you of Donald Fagen than Wilson Pickett or Al Green. Ray always had a knack for crafting swell songs, and there are plenty on his new platter, starting with a svelte and moody bit of psychodrama called “Sadness Has a Pleasant Sound” and the bluesy gem “Roseville,” which evokes the more sultry musical terrain of Natchez, Miss. His release party has opening sets from two acts with new albums of their own: versatile guitarist Rena Haus, whose impressive disc is titled “Out of the Blues,” and singer/harmonica player Big George Jackson, whose “Back at It!” is smokin’. (8:30 p.m. Thu., Lee’s Liquor Lounge, $5.) Tom Surowicz


Probably not the only psychedelic music star who claims to have come from the sun to reside in Minnesota, Gustafer Yellowgold returns to his adopted home state in support of another album/DVD package, “Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom.” The fictional cartoon character is the truly creative work of New York musician/illustrator Morgan Taylor, who does have a true-life Minnesota connection in the support cast of musicians for his multimedia live show, including John Munson of Semisonic and Ken Chastain. (11 a.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, $12-$15.) Riemenschneider


Putting a surprising spin on Top 40 tunes from several eras — from “Big Girls Don’t Cry” to “Love Train” to “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” — Omaha Diner is a band of near-stars, guys with compelling talents and résumés who know how to groove. It features ebullient trumpeter Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob, Levon Helm Band), prolific guitar maverick Charlie Hunter, rock/jazz sax powerhouse Skerik and never-dull veteran drummer/composer Bobby Previte. They have complicated fun on their self-titled debut and should be a blast in person. Read an interview in Monday’s Variety section. (7 p.m. Mon., Dakota Jazz Club, $35.) Surowicz


Jeremy Denk, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s new artistic partner, performs Mozart’s dramatic Piano Concerto No. 20 and two chamber pieces by Charles Ives. As part of the orchestra’s complete Beethoven symphony cycle, the concert concludes with one of the favorites, the Third Symphony (“Eroica”), directed by the musicians themselves. (10:30 a.m. & 8 p.m. Fri., 8 p.m. Sat., Ordway Center; 2 p.m. Sun., Ted Mann Concert Hall, $10-$40, 651-291-1144, www.thespco.org) William Randall Beard

Former music director Edo de Waart, a renowned Strauss specialist, leads the Minnesota Orchestra in the final week of its Richard Strauss festival. The grand finale is the majestic masterwork “An Alpine Symphony,” which demonstrates the composer’s mastery of orchestral colors. The program also includes an early work, Serenade in E-flat major, and his String Sextet, which serves as the overture to his final opera, “Capriccio.” (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Orchestra Hall, $29-$79, 612-371-5656, minnesotaorchestra.org) Beard 

With “Made in Minnesota,” VocalEssence presents a program of Minnesota composers. Along with the usual suspects (Dominick Argento, Libby Larsen and the late Stephen Paulus) it includes younger cohort Jocelyn Hagen and the first choral premiere from hip-hop artist Dessa. Dale Warland makes his debut conducting the Ensemble Singers in Argento’s “Seasons,” a piece written for him. (4 p.m. Sun., Orchestra Hall, $10-$40, 612-371-5656, www.vocalessence.org) Beard

The Miami String Quartet returns to the Music in the Park Series for a pair of less familiar 20th-century works: Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet (1923) and Ernst von Dohnányi’s Quintet for Piano & Strings No. 2 (1914), the latter featuring Twin Cities pianist Lydia Artymiw. The recital concludes with Mendelssohn’s beautiful String Quartet No. 4 in E minor, written to celebrate his marriage. (4 p.m. Sun., Saint Anthony Park United Church of Christ, 2129 Commonwealth Av., St. Paul, $21-$35, 651-292-3268, www.schubert.org) Beard