The gifted, hyper Chris Thile is becoming to the mandolin what Bela Fleck is to the banjo -- a virtuosic genre-blending adventurer. The frontman for Nickel Creek, Thile is now leading the oddly named Punch Brothers, who are probably best described as a chamber folk ensemble. This quintet (including the bassist and banjoist from Leftover Salmon) offers shades of classical, folk and bluegrass and lots of instrumental wizardry. The four-movement "Blind Leaving the Blind" will probably be the centerpiece of the concert, but the Punches also play a pretty mean "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." (8 p.m. today, Cedar Cultural Center, $23.) (J.B.)

Graham Colton is perhaps best known through his Kelly Clarkson connection (he dated her and toured as her opener), but his real love affair seems to be with the Goo Goo Dolls. Much of the Oklahoma hunk's 2007 breakthrough album, "Here Right Now" -- produced by ex-Minneapolitan John Fields -- sounded like the Dolls' best known hits, especially the "American Idol"/"Grey's Anatomy"-buoyed hit "Best Days." Not very original, but charming nonetheless. Local pop-rock band Cedar Avenue opens. (9 p.m. Sat., Fine Line. 18 and older. $18-$20.) (C.R.)

Morose-voiced Jamie Stewart's Xiu Xiu (pronounced "shoe-shoe") has made what is being described as its most accessible album, "Women as Lovers." To be sure, there are catchy, almost poppy moments (including a cover of the Queen/Bowie hit "Under Pressure"), but this 10-year-old avant-garde ensemble still offers an eccentric, often noisy musical assault that is an acquired taste, especially the odd lyrics (e.g., "crush a pastry into your breast," "why add tongue to a kiss goodnight?"). With Prurient and Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone. (5 p.m. Sat., Triple Rock. All ages. $11 advance, $13 door. ) (J.B.)

Hailing from a dry county in rural Kentucky, Black Stone Cherry are teetotaling, God-fearing Southern rockers with a taste for the Black Crowes and Led Zeppelin. On their new, second CD, "Folklore and Superstition," frontman Chris Robertson (not to be confused with the Crowes' Chris Robinson) sounds like Darius Rucker with leather lungs. Drummer John Fred Young has the perfect pedigree: His dad is Kentucky Headhunters founding guitarist Richard Young. Headlining is biker rock mainstay Theory of a Deadman. (9:15 p.m. Mon., the Rock, Maplewood. All ages. $18 advance, $22 door.) (J.B.)

Hard-core Chicago fans know the story of "Stone of Sisyphus," recorded in 1993 but not released because it lacked commercial potential for a band that was then thriving on mushy adult-pop radio ballads. Finally issued this year, the horn band's 32nd album features such excrementitious entries into the Chicago canon as "Bigger Than Elvis" (with the Jordanaires, Presley's backup singers) and "Sleeping in the Middle of the Bed," social commentary by rappin' Robert Lamm. (8 p.m. Tue., Orpheum Theatre, $49.50-$95.) (J.B.)

Seven years since peeling off "Bohemian Like You" -- still a favorite of TV advertisers desperately seeking coolness -- the Dandy Warhols seem to have lived down the fame/notoriety that came with the mega-hit and are back to playing to their core crowd (the ones who stuck around). Their new album, "Earth to the Dandy Warhols," is loaded with more playful '60s psychedelica but also throws '70s funk and disco into the mix, offering the kind of hip if hokey rehashing that earned the Portland band a cult following. (9 p.m. Tue., First Avenue. 18 and older. $25.) (C.R.)

Paula Nelson has done an admirable job of not riding her famous father Willie's coattails (or ponytails?) and making her own go of it in the Austin, Texas, music scene. Part of her success has come from echoing other Texas legends -- including Lou Ann Barton, Marcia Ball and Janis Joplin -- more than her honky-tonking dad, resulting in a rollicking boogie-woogie and soulful blues-rock mix on her new CD, "Lucky 13." Local dolly Andra Suchy opens. (9 p.m. Tue., Lee's Liquor Lounge. $6.) (C.R.)

On his fourth solo album, Ben Taylor sounds just like dad James Taylor -- even better at times. Rhythmically, there's a bit of a hip-hop sensibility on "The Legend of Kung Folk -- Part One (The Killing Bite)," due Sept. 16. "You're the One for Me" and "Space" (with Jamie Cullum on piano) evoke Sweet Baby James with a more contemporary vibe. However, "Wicked Way" is a tongue-in-cheek sexist detour that should have been booted off this disc by co-producer Kevin Bacon. (6 p.m. Wed., Hard Rock Cafe.) (J.B.)

After several albums of toying and teetering around with an often dizzying kaleidoscope of styles, Spiritualized streamlined and went for broke on its ambitious new album, "Songs in A&E." The British psychedelic rock band's frontman, Jason Pierce (ex-Spacemen 3), endured a near-fatal bout of pneumonia before making the album, and he sounds as haunted as he does reborn over the album's frantic, frazzled and often truly spiritualized 18 tracks. The group has been earning raves on its summer festival dates. (9 p.m. Wed., First Avenue. 18 and older. $15) (C.R.)

Vaclav Havel's favorite band (he even penned lyrics for them), Czech psych rockers Plastic People of the Universe, happily assault listeners with a bracing, often relentless sound that incorporates electric viola, stand-up bass and '60s-style sax mangling. Inspired by Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, the Velvet Underground, English mavericks Henry Cow, poets, progressive politics, William Blake -- you name it, they claim it -- they soldier on after 40 years (some of those lost to incarceration), playing a mile-wide spectrum of music from garage punk to orchestral. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Cedar Cultural Center. $15-$18.) (T.S.)

Like the Strokes and Interpol, Scotland's snarling punk-popsters the Fratellis must have decided the best way to avoid the sophomore slump after a big breakthrough debut was to do it relatively quickly and with the same musical game plan. The trio's "Here We Stand" echoes its previous "Costello Music," from the scruffy, Hamburg-era Beatles hooks and Supergrass-spazzy riffs, to its iTunes-ad-ready ba-dop-ba choruses. These guys were a blast at the Varsity last year, and there's every reason to believe they'll repeat themselves onstage, too. Airborne Toxic Event and Texan buzz band Electric Touch open. (6:30 p.m. Thu., First Avenue. 18 and older. $16.) (C.R.)

Plenty of hipsters will probably stick around after the Fratellis to catch Does It Offend You, Yeah? next door. The hyper British synth-rock band is a bit cutesy and gimmicky, as evidenced by its zombie-adorned performance of "Dawn of the Dead" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," but some of its punchy digi-romps are truly cutting-edge and pack a lot of oomph. Dr. Manhattan opens. (9 p.m. Thu., 7th Street Entry. 18 and older. $10.) (C.R.)

Only half-jokingly called "Hungary's hottest export since goulash," Little Cow wouldn't seem out of place on MTV or the Current. The band describes its sounds as "gypsy-tinged ska/rock/funk/pop" and "real party music," both apt. Its irresistibly driving song "Cyber Boy" has generated more ringtone downloads in Hungary than any other tune. Now Little Cow comes to graze in the urban pastures of the United States for the first time. Got milk? (7:30 p.m. Thu., Cedar. $15-$18.) (T.S.)


In the early '90s, Ice Cube was the hardest rapper on the planet. His albums "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" and "Death Certificate" were downright scary -- and scary good. Now he makes family comedies. But just when you might think he's lost his edge, the gangsta-rap pioneer returns with his best album in a decade. Released independently, "Raw Footage" is free from major-label compromise, finding Cube returning to his politically minded beginnings. At one point he dubs himself the "only rapper who wanna fist-fight the president." Sounds like old times, right? (8 p.m. Wed., Myth, $33-$35.) (T.H.)


New Orleans natives born on the same date, John Boutté and Paul Sanchez were also raised on the same vast array of musical influences, but with different histories and talent, all of which has made them great collaborators. Boutté is a soulful, jazzy Creole singer who has raised the tent roofs at Jazz Fest and is widely regarded as the most gifted vocalist in the Crescent City. Sanchez is a former guitarist and songwriter in renowned NOLA party band Cowboy Mouth. The neighborhood buds have been traveling around to hip jazz/roots-music clubs like Joe's Pub in New York, so it's high time they made it to the Dakota en route to a free outdoor festival in St. Peter, Minn. (8 p.m. today, Dakota Jazz Club. $15. 3:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Rock Bend Folk Festival, St. Peter. Free. Rockbend.org.) (C.R.)

An old-school R&B show band playing hits from the '60s, '70s and '80s, Ronn Easton's All Star Soul Revue proved a big hit this summer at the Famous Dave's Blues Festival. Now the nine-piece unit, fronted by ex-Prophets of Soul singer Easton, makes its jazz-club debut. If your tastes run to Motown, Al Green and horn bands, check out these funky fellas in suits. (8 p.m. Sat., Dakota Jazz Club. $10.) (T.S.)

Never one to rest on his laurels, blues and swing guitar great Duke Robillard has released a cool instrumental of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab," assembled a new band called Sunny and Her Joy Boys, begun filming a series of instructional DVDs for guitarists and just finished producing an album for blues star Joe Louis Walker ("Witness to the Blues." due Sept. 30). Catch the pride of Pawtucket, R.I., before he heads to South America. (7 and 9:30 p.m. Tue., Dakota. $15-$20.) (T.S.)


The fledgling electronic dance scene at Epic nightclub gets a Berlin-sized lift this week with Paul van Dyk. The German trance pioneer and hero of British dance floors was overdue for another Twin Cities appearance, especially after his strong showing last year with the album "In Between," which featured guests ranging from David Byrne to the lead Pussycat Doll. (9 p.m. Thu., Epic. 18 and older. $25. Tickets at VitalCulture.com.) (C.R.)


Although it should be a fun show, we're sad to tout this weekend's Bill Kubeczko Appreciation Concert since it's a reminder that the Cedar Cultural Center's longtime artistic director is gone from our local world folk oasis. For 15 of the club's 20 years, Kubeczko was its guiding light and tireless tastemaker. He will be hard -- make that impossible -- to replace. World-jazz-jam band Eight Head reassembles itself to groove the night away in his honor, along with stirring singer Ruth MacKenzie, African percussion master Sowah Mensah and other special guests. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Cedar. $8-$10.) (T.S.)


Texas trumpet firebrand Roy Hargrove took no prisoners at his last Dakota visit, playing a brand of hard bop/post-bop that was both fierce and fun. Touring behind a new CD ("Earfood"), he complements his horn mastery with a razor-sharp band that burns on uptempo tunes, gets more than a little funky, and lets ballads really breathe. Watch out for young drummer Montez Coleman, a blossoming monster. (7 and 9:30 p.m. Sun.-Mon., Dakota Jazz Club. $25-$40.) (T.S.)

Contributors: Staff critics Jon Bream, Chris Riemenschneider, Tom Horgen and freelancer Tom Surowicz.