The week's 25 best concerts: June 14-20


Garland Jeffreys, photo courtesy of Sacks & Co.

Rounding up the week's best concerts in the Twin Cities.

  • SURFER BLOOD June 14, 7 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • ROBERT EARL KEEN June 14, 7:30 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK June 14, 7:30 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center

Pokey LaFarge
First Avenue, Thursday 6.15
“Riot in the Streets” kicks off St. Louis-based Pokey LaFarge’s Manic Revelations with a horn-driven dissection of the incendiary circumstances of suburban Ferguson’s police shooting and subsequent uprising by frustrated residents. The new album’s other revolutionary revelation is the decades-forward shift of LaFarge’s sound from early jazz, old-time country, and blues to ’50s and ’60s pop and soul — particularly the latter, with horn charts swiped from the Asbury Jukes. His reedy voice still drifts among decades, but here it flirts with the Everlys, tempers his soul with a twangy touch, and zeroes in on doo-wop on “Better Man Than Me.” And LaFarge continues to write witty narratives about bad behavior and twisted romance, with additional jabs at chaotic political times in “Silent Movie” (“The truth is a lie”) and the blues-noir escape “Going to the Country.” But just as LaFarge’s soul is laced with sneaky hints of vintage Americana, his ambivalence about the changing world is encapsulated in the line “I will, I will, I will never change”—three wills to one never. Versatile Americana singer/songwriter/fiddler Lillie Mae opens. 18+. 8 p.m. $15-$18. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. — Rick Mason

  • BUDDY GUY June 16, 7 p.m. at Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
  • JOHN MORELAND June 16, 8 p.m. at Turf Club
  • TIGERS JAW June 16, 6 p.m. at Cabooze

Garland Jeffreys
Dakota, Friday 6.16
Jeffreys came out of Brooklyn 73 years ago, multi-racial, multicultural, multi-talented — a distinctly New York-centric cat throughout his artistically acclaimed but episodically obscure career. He’s a masterful, poetic songwriter with a rock ’n’ roll heart and a soul that embraces blues, R&B, and reggae, and his tidal highlights include the searing 1973 social commentary “Wild in the Streets” and 1981’s Escape Artist, featuring members of the E Street Band and the Rumour. His new 14 Steps to Harlem is full of reminiscences: childhood survival in the scorching “Schoolyard Blues,” his hardworking parents in the title track, hanging with the Clash in “Reggae on Broadway,” and late pal Lou Reed in a riveting cover of the Velvets’ “Waiting for the Man.” Jeffreys addresses the nation’s racial divide on “Colored Boy Said,” with its now bittersweet refrain, “I got a president who looks like me.” There’s also a brilliant, poignant version of the Beatles’ “Help,” the line about being “younger than today” particularly apropos; a reminder how much we do appreciate Jeffreys “being ’round.” 7 p.m. $30-$35. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. — Rick Mason

  • BUDDY GUY June 16, 7 p.m. at Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
  • JOHN MORELAND June 16, 8 p.m. at Turf Club
  • TIGERS JAW June 16, 6 p.m. at Cabooze
  • STONE ARCH BRIDGE FESTIVAL 2017 June 17, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. at Stone Arch Bridge
  • MAVIS STAPLES June 17, 7 p.m. at Fitzgerald Theater
  • DEATH OF A LADIES MAN June 17, 9 p.m. at Triple Rock Social Club

David Bazan
Turf Club, Sunday 6.18
Prolific Seattle songwriter David Bazan has never shied away from taking his music in previously unexplored directions. Beginning in the mid-’90s, he was the warm, understated frontman of Pedro the Lion, a Jade Tree Records mainstay until their breakup in 2006. Bazan’s foray into electronics, a 2005 album with the short-lived but beloved band Headphones, holds up well as a document of mid-aughts indietronica. He began his solo career in earnest in 2006, with his past couple years particularly productive: Both 2016’s Blanco and 2017’s Care showed his affinity for synths and other electronic instrumentation while reviving songwriting tricks from his indie rock and slowcore past. On the horizon is the imminent release of his first album with Lo Tom, a new band also featuring members of Pedro the Lion, Velour 100, and Starflyer 59. Rana May opens. 7 p.m. $20. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-647-0486. —Michael Madden

  • BOZ SCAGGS June 18, 7 p.m. at Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
  • VILE CREATURE June 18, 7 p.m. at Seventh St. Entry
  • REGINA MARIE WILLIAMS June 18, 7 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
Dakota, Monday 6.19
Canadian soprano saxophonist/flautist Jane Bunnett first visited Cuba 30 years ago, became fascinated with the island’s rich treasure trove of music, and has subsequently spent most of her career immersed in its eclectic sounds, often collaborating with the finest Cuban jazz musicians. In 2013 she formed Maqueque, which means “the energy of a young girl’s spirit,” a sextet of young, talented female Cuban musicians, with Bunnett assuming a mentoring role comparable to Art Blakey in his Jazz Messengers. Maqueque’s eponymous first album won Canada’s Juno Award for Best Group Jazz Album. Its second, Oddara, out last fall, is a luminous Afro-Cuban odyssey that dives deep into a scintillating realm of complex rhythms and piquant melodies. Songs range from the glistening, classical-tinged “Little Feet” to the sly rumba “El Chivo” (featuring the dynamic piano of Danae Olano), and the highly caffeinated “Café Pilon” a carnavalesque wonder of bristling percussion and brash group vocals highlighted by the serpentine soaring of Bunnett’s soprano. 7 p.m. $30-$35. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. —Rick Mason

  • SUSTO June 19, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • LAND OF TALK June 19, 7:30 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • FRANKIE LEE AND FRIENDS June 19, 7 p.m. at Clown Lounge At The Turf Club
  • ROBERT ROBINSON June 20, 7 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • OFF WITH THEIR HEADS June 20, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • ZACC HARRIS & FRIENDS June 20, 7:30 p.m. at Black Dog Cafe

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