A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:

Kendrick Lamar, "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert." The rapper delivered an intense, urgent medley of selections from his stellar album "To Pimp a Butterfly."

Steve Earle & the Dukes, the Pantages Theatre. Going through his seventh divorce, Earle focused on the blues, sprinkled in some humor, politics and enough nuggets ("Copperhead Road," "Guitar Town," "I Thought You Should Know") to make this a winner.

LP Music, First Avenue. Opening for D'Angelo, the Eric Leeds/Paul Peterson-led Twin Cities jazz/funk ensemble was augmented by sometimes member Ricky Peterson on organ and special guest Questlove on drums, who made it look easy. A funky, jazzy good time.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune

Red Rocks Amphitheater, Colorado. After watching this famous venue through photos for the past 30 years, we created a mini-Bonnaroo trip for our family this summer at this archaeologically unique and musically perfect outdoor setting. The pure sound generated is second to none. It is simply the greatest venue.

Brandi Carlile, Red Rocks. She did not disappoint. Her Appalachian yodel style was at its finest. The fact that she drew 10,000 people seemed to stoke her already intense fire. "The Eye" was the highlight of the show.

Alabama Shakes, Red Rocks. You can't be less than impressed with lead singer Brittany Howard. She is this era's Janis Joplin. Every moment, she is committed to producing a collaborative musical team while bringing down the house vocally. Opening act Drive-by Truckers was full of energy.

Patrick Walsh, Hutchinson

E-mail popmusic@startribune.com.