Critics' Picks: Adele, Steely Dan, Taurus, and more

Taurus (CD-release show)

7th St. Entry on Thursday 8.25

Chris Morrissey is no stranger to the stage. But though he's clocked hundreds of hours playing bass for Mason Jennings, Haley Bonar, Wishbook, and most recently Ben Kweller, the closest he's come to the front of the stage is with his fiery jazz quartet. That makes his foray into rock songwriting all the more thrilling; Morrissey already has proven his ear for melody with his jazz compositions, and the songs he's written for new project Taurus are as focused as they are melodically inventive. Both the guitar riffs and vocal lines on Taurus's debut record, Cannon Falls Forever, take the listener in unexpected directions, avoiding well-tread pop melodies in search of something more elastic and exploratory. Morrissey has fleshed out his live band with fellow touring and session pros: Brooklyn's Aaron Lee Tasjan (the Madison Square Gardeners) and two of Morrissey's touring Ben Kweller bandmates, Mark Stepro and Rich Hinman. Two local bands, the Gang Font (featuring Greg Norton and Dave King) and Tarlton, will open the show, along with Tasjan's solo project. 18+. $7. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Andrea Swensson

Adele

Chris Morrissey (second from left) takes center stage with Taurus
Shervin Lainez
Chris Morrissey (second from left) takes center stage with Taurus

Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday 8.24

There were a number of disappointed fans turned away from First Ave when Adele canceled her June show (enough to fill the entire venue), but there was really no arguing with the laryngitis that made it impossible for the British chanteuse to use her gorgeous contralto. A short couple of months later, the performance has been rescheduled, trading First Ave for the considerably larger Xcel Center to accommodate the singer's spike in popularity. Those who have tickets from the June show will be pleased to learn that those tickets will be honored at the Xcel, so no one has to miss out this time around. With Wanda Jackson. All ages. $29.50-$89. 7:30 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.726.8240. Ian Traas

Return to Forever

Orpheum Theatre on Wednesday 8.24

The nascent Return to Forever were inspired by the electric fusion experiments of Miles Davis and have never really looked back, establishing an innovative standard for jazz-rock decisively zeroing in from the jazz end of the spectrum. The classic RTF lineup of keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Lenny White, and guitarist Al DiMeola reunited for the first time in a quarter-century in 2008 and was firing on all cylinders, the bristling rock fury still impeccably woven with the jazz licks and improvisation. With DiMeola busy elsewhere, Corea, Clarke, and White are back out with what they're calling Return to Forever IV, whose lineup includes former Mahavishnu Orchestra violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and guitarist Frank Gambale, an Australian native who has played in several other Corea bands. The group is touring behind a sparkling new double CD, Forever. The first disc features Corea, Clark, and White as an acoustic trio; the second is an electric set with Ponty adding a Hot Clubesque je ne sais quoi, original RTF guitarist Bill Connors soaring stratospherically, and Chaka Khan adding wonderful scat vocals on a few tunes. Opening will be Zappa Plays Zappa, the Dweezil Zappa-led tribute to his inimitable, relentlessly groundbreaking father of invention, Frank. All ages. $53.50-$63.50. 7:30 p.m. 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater on Friday 8.26 and Saturday 8.27

Two terrific guitarists who happen to married to one another, Susan Tedschi and Derek Trucks, have upped the ante big time with the marriage of their respective bands, giving birth to the swaggering, highly versatile, 11-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band. The outfit's debut, Revelator, is a revelation, with first-rate songs that span the Southern roots turf: blues, rock, Memphis soul, New Orleans funk, gospel, boogie, and jazz, all riddled with echoes of Trucks' other band, the Allman Brothers, Little Feat, Stax, Muscle Shoals, and the Delta. Tedeschi is a wonderful, emotionally rich, soulful vocalist of the Bonnie Raitt/Tracy Nelson school, as well as a fine blues-influenced guitarist. Trucks is a masterful slide player, often mentioned in the same breath as Duane Allman, and one of the best guitarists working today, period. When TTB's horns are fully stirred, Kofi Burbridge's Hammond B3 bubbles up magnificently, the guitars duel with loving ferocity, and the slippery rhythms slither swampward, it's a sound of incendiary potency, and so distinctly southern Spanish moss is likely to sprout on the trees around the zoo's amphitheatre. All ages. $56-$77.50. 7 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Rick Mason

Audio Perm Block Party

Shuga Records on Saturday 8.27

The young and ambitious local hip-hop producer crew Audio Perm is getting in on the summer block party game with the Audio Perm Block Party, an all-day all-rap show in the parking lot of Shuga Records. The trio has put together a nice slice of local artists, encompassing both major figures (Kanser, Rhymesayer's Toki Wright, and I Self Devine) and some names you should become familiar with (Niles Miller, Bobby Raps), and put them all alongside SoCal crew Pac Div, whose brand of hip hop blends multiple eras of West Coast rap into a tight and playful whole. This all-ages event runs from 2 p.m. till 10, all at a price that would run you the same as seeing some of these acts alone. There's a lot of quality bubbling in the Twin Cities rap scene, and here's the place to take it all in. All ages. $10/$15 at the door. 2 p.m. 165 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.455.6285. Jack Spencer

Peter Bjorn & John

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