POP/ROCK

It would be easy to dismiss Colin Hay as that goofy Aussie who sang about craving vegemite sandwiches and traveling in a fried-out combie. But after leaving Men at Work in the late 1980s, Hay moved to Los Angeles and has made a series of solid solo albums (last year's "American Sunshine" is full of cheery California tales) and acted on TV ("Scrubs," "The Larry Sanders Show"). In concert, Hay is a delight, a witty storyteller, a spot-on impressionist (Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Ringo Starr, with whom he toured) and an entertaining musicmaker. Opening is Brianna Lane, a soulful charmer from Minneapolis. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, $22-$25.) (J.B.)

Last seen weirding people out at Rhymesayers' momentous benefit for Haiti, Sage Francis is back promoting an album that fans might deem his most outlandish to date, but others might call his most straightforward: "Li(f)e" marks the Rhode Island indie-rap hero's move into indie-rock, a semi-natural fit considering his sociopolitical rap rants always had a collegiate vibe. The grab-bag collection features members of Califone, Calexico and other hip rockers as backing musicians, and songwriting collaborators that include Death Cab's Chris Walla and late Sparklehorse guru Mark Linkous. The lyrics will still bite you in the head, and the live show -- with a live band -- could be head-banging. His cohort B. Dolan also performs, and Free Moral Agents with Mars Volta's Ikey Ownes opens. (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue. 18 & older. $17-$18.) (C.R.)

The four young women in the Shondes probably would've started a riot-grrrl band had they come of age two decades ago. Instead, the politically seething and emotionally writhing rock quartet sound more in vogue with their Brooklyn surroundings, with layered harmonies and ample use of violin on their new album, "My Dear One," plus many hints of Jewish/gypsy folk music (the band name is Yiddish for "shame"). You'll be able to hear there's still a riot going on. Ashley Gold and Pennyroyal open. (9 p.m. Sat., Nomad Pub. 21 & older. $5.) (C.R.)

While he has ducked Dylan comparisons elsewhere, Swedish indie-folk picker Kristian Matsson -- who performs under the moniker Tallest Man on Earth -- might be wise to let them stick here. Not only do we like our Dylan acolytes, we also like Swedes and anyone who has toured with Bon Iver. Matsson's second TMOE album, "The Wild Hunt," is an inspired and well-played update on the old Harry Smith-anthologized American folk that inspired the young Zimmerman, and his Spanish-boots reference in the single "King of Spain" shows he has a subtle wit. Opener Nathaniel Rateliff is a blogger-buoyed strummer from Denver with a Brian Deck-produced debut on Rounder Records. (9 p.m. Sun., Varsity Theater. 18 & older. $12.) (C.R.)

Diane Birch has jammed at Prince's house, opened for Nick Jonas and scored a Top 10 hit in Japan. The daughter of a Seventh Day Adventist preacher, the Zimbabwe-raised piano popster has plenty of religious imagery on "Bible Belt," her 2009 debut album. But the collection of 13 originals is unmistakably pop, sort of a fresh-hatched hybrid of Laura Nyro and Carole King. Opening is University of Wisconsin grad Matt White, whose tunes have been heard on "The Hills," "One Tree Hill" and several movies. (8 p.m. Sun., Fine Line, $16-$18.) (C.R.)

Nickelback is the most commercially successful -- and critically despised -- rock band of this century, not to mention Canada's biggest band since Rush (no critics' darlings themselves). Since 2001, Chad Kroeger and the boys from Vancouver have been all over U.S. radio with "How You Remind Me," "Photograph" and "Rockstar," among other hits. They've filled arenas with the requisite pyros and enough unnecessary opening acts to send fans into the lobby for beers and souvenirs. Opening are Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown and Sick Puppies. (6:15 p.m. Mon., Target Center, $43-$83.) (J.B.)

One of metal's best live bands throughout the '90s, the Deftones are roaring back with their first album in four years, "Diamond Eyes," a powerful, visceral record heavily impacted by bassist Chi Cheng's debilitating 2008 car accident. Quicksand's Sergio Vega is standing in for Cheng on tour, including a fall outing that could compete with Slayer and Megadeth for the metal tour of the year, with Mastodon and Alice in Chains. First, though, a lucky few fans get to see them up close. (7 p.m. Mon., First Avenue. Sold out.) (C.R.)

One of the first bands of the British punk scene, the Buzzcocks might be one of the last standing, too. After some reunions in the late '80s and early '90s, co-founder Pete Shelley and guitarist Steve Diggle have kept the band going with a new rhythm section and a couple of strong albums. Their current "Another ... Bites Tour" is all about the early stuff, though. They'll play the first two Buzzcocks albums in their entirety. Los Angeles openers the Dollyrots are a new favorite of both Joan Jett and Little Steven. (8 p.m. Mon., Fine Line. 18 & older. $20.) (C.R.)

As cherished in Jamaica as Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals are famous for coining the word reggae (1968) and asserting the notion that "Reggae Got Soul" (the title of their 1976 album). Toots Hibbert, a sweaty and soulful showman in the tradition of Otis Redding, has been mixing R&B and reggae for more than four decades. On this week's release, "Flip and Twist," he features the Stax-evoking "Fool for You" and enough other vintage R&B references (including a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground") to make you think Hibbert grew up in Memphis or the Motor City, not Kingston. (9 p.m. Tue., First Avenue, $20.) (J.B.)

North Texas indie-folk troupe Midlake takes its affinity for vintage British Isles folk to new lows on "The Courage of Others," an album so morose and gray-sky-tinted you're liable to devour Dylan Thomas poetry and take up flute lessons after repeated listens. Good thing the band landed at the folky Cedar this time. Opener Jason Lytle's first post-Grandaddy solo album earned acclaim last year. John Grant of Denver band the Czars also performs. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Cedar Cultural Center. All ages. $13-$15.) (C.R.)

With M.I.A. and Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig as well-suited guest vocalists, the Very Best emerged from the London scene with one of this year's liveliest Afrocentric dance albums, "The Warm Heart of Africa." Singer Esau Mwamwaya is a native Malawian with a smile as infectious as his pop-crooner voice, and DJ/production partners Etienne Tron and Johan Karlberg playfully blend Londoner techno dance beats and '80s synth-pop with authentic kwaito, soca, marabi, etc. The trio's live show is a lively, madcap extravaganza that will definitely require removal of the local venue's chairs, especially since it happens to fall on Cedar director Rob Simonds' birthday. (7:30 p.m., Wed., Cedar Cultural Center. All ages. $14-$16.) (C.R.)

Modern-day British metal kings Bullet for My Valentine earned a valentine from U.S. fans a few weeks ago when their third album, "Fever," debuted at No. 3 in Billboard. The Kerrang! favorites enlisted Linkin Park cohort Don Gilmore to produce the album, resulting in more radio-friendly, melodic singles such as "The Last Fight," but there are still plenty of hard-throttling tracks, too. Michigan screamers Chiodos open with a new singer and drummer in tow. Airbourne and Arcadium also perform. (5:30 p.m. Wed., First Avenue. All ages. $22.) (C.R.)

The first of eight shows planned for the Cabooze Plaza this summer, the co-headlining tour with rap/metal hold-outs Insane Clown Posse and Kottonmouth Kings might also be the craziest and noisiest concert on the club's outdoor stage. Throw in "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper Coolio, female metal mavens Kittie and controversial New York thrash-rapper Necro, and it almost sounds like the first big rock fest of the summer. ICP and Kottonmouth Kings are two of the most cartoonish, brawny bands out there, but they're great for professional wrestling or monster-truck pulls. (5 p.m. Wed., Cabooze. All ages. $35.) (C.R.)

JAZZ

Criminally underrated and richly entertaining, singer Stephanie Nakasian has developed a small Twin Cities cult, but 2010 could be a breakout year locally for the Virginian who swings like crazy, stops time with her balladry, and can turn bar gigs into charming history lessons. In addition to another intimate club run this weekend, plus a master class at MacPhail Center for Music, she is slated to be the JazzMN Big Band's first-ever visiting guest singer come November. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists' Quarter, $12. 2 p.m. Sun., MacPhail, open to the public, $25, 612-767-5486.) (T.S.)

FOLK/WORLD

"The World on Seven Strings," a new CD by guitarist/singer and Brazil nut Robert Everest, is his most expansive and pan-global effort yet, with gems from Argentina, France, Italy, Greece, Guatemala, Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil of course and even "Mack the Knife" in the original German, plus songs he composed in Togo and Portugal -- heck, it should come with frequent-flier miles. A celebration of Everest's love affair with the "extra" seventh string on his Brazilian classical guitar, the CD gets its release in a benefit for Sam & Evan's Honduran Coffee Foundation. (7 p.m. Thu., Dakota Jazz Club. $7.) (T.S.)

For an "old-timey" musician, Bruce Molsky certainly knows how to stretch. Now he's touring in a duo with a kindred spirit from Sweden, Ale Moller, whose own music ranges from hardcore Nordic folk to Greek sounds to striking, stark hybrids of world music and jazz. Both of these guys are multi-instrumentalists, with Molsky packing his fiddle, guitar and banjo, and Moller liable to employ up to a dozen tools (mandola, bouzouki, accordion, flutes, et al.). (7:30 p.m. Thu., Cedar Cultural Center. $18-$20.) (T.S.)

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