Triple Rock Social Club, Friday 5.18

The venerable California alt-rock quartet Redd Kross's recent reunion — they split in the late '90s — has been a welcome one. Here's a killer live band with spirited songs that still have plenty of life left in them. Along with an infectious back catalog, they have a brand new record, Researching the Blues, due out on Merge in August. This show should not only be a nice look back at a band who never really got their due, but also a glimpse of where they'll take their sound in the future. With Mannequin Men and FMWired. 18+. 9 p.m. $13 adv./$15 door. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Erik Thompson

Van Halen

Xcel Energy Center, Saturday 5.19

Rick Ross: Forgiveness is so overrated
courtesy of the artist
Rick Ross: Forgiveness is so overrated

When Van Halen dropped back in '78, punk-addled rock critics didn't take too well to their KISS-gone-supernova racket. "This music belongs on an aircraft carrier," Robert Christgau huffed, in one of those odd dismissals that a lot of people might read as an accidental endorsement. But after three decades of increasingly dour hard-rock bands turning heaviness and volume into an unfun, self-serious trudge, it's good to have a reminder of just how flat-out adventurous the original VH lineup sounds. Eddie's canonization as an uber-technician shouldn't overshadow the fact that his flashiness isn't just some self-satisfied dick-wrangling. Those guitar tones he cranked out were and remain defiantly weird, phased into spaceship flybys and revving V-12 motors and sinister chuckling asides. And David Lee Roth hit on the confounding, yet inspired, idea of becoming the missing link between Robert Plant and Louis Prima, a presence that nails the showbizzy sincerity of pop music as vaudeville and kicks the po-faced reverence of Ye Olde Rock Canon to the curb as sure as anyone this side of Prince. The disco-sucks contingent might grimace at Kool & the Gang as an opener, but their early-'70s funk material is sneakily compatible. $47.50-$147.50, 7:30 p.m. 199 Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651.726.8240. —Nate Patrin

Xiu Xiu/Dirty Beaches

Triple Rock Social Club, Friday 5.19

Two incredibly inventive and idiosyncratic bands, the avant-garde California outfit Xiu Xiu and the Vancouver-based one-man-band Dirty Beaches, are sure to enthrall experimental music fans of all stripes. Xiu Xiu are celebrating a decade of making music together with a tour in support of their eighth album, Always, an artfully discordant collection that continues to push the boundaries of what can constitute a song. Dirty Beaches should serve as a perfect complement to Xiu Xiu's innovative style, as Alex Zhang Hungtai boldly blends many different genres into his constantly evolving music, crafting evocative soundscapes that wash over you like waves. With Father Murphy. 18+. 9 p.m. $11-$13 door. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Erik Thompson

Ramsey Lewis & His Electric Band

Dakota, Sunday 5.20 & Monday 5.21

After playing almost exclusively in an acoustic trio format for well over a decade, jazz piano icon Ramsey Lewis traded his Steinway grand for a Fender Rhodes, plugged in, and expanded his trio (bassist Joshua Ramos, drummer Charles Heath) to a quintet, adding guitarist Henry Johnson and keyboardist Mike Logan (replaced on tour by Tim Gant). The resulting album, Taking Another Look, and now subsequent tour revisit Lewis's mid-1970s period, when he added funk, soul, and R&B elements to his already trademark blend of jazz, pop, gospel, and classical. In fact, more than half of TAL consists of smart new, but not radically different, versions of songs from 1974's Sun Goddess, which was produced by former Lewis sideman Maurice White, who also played on the album with members of his band, Earth, Wind & Fire. The band achieve a fine, slippery cohesion on TAL, working up tasty jazz-funk grooves that peak on Stevie Wonder's "Living in the City" and "Jungle Strut" while the 76-year-old Lewis's keyboard work remains lithe and vibrant. $50-$65 at 7 p.m., $40-$50 at 9 p.m., 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason


First Avenue, Monday 5.21

A lot of MCs rap about how much they like cars, women, and weed, but New Orleans's Curren$y makes that the defining aspect of his personality. After a hot streak of great albums, from the Ski Beatz-laced Pilot Talk I and II to Alchemist teamup Covert Coup to Weekend at Burnies, he's turned out to be the type of rapper who can pick up the expected themes and go to outlandish places with them. ("Michael Knight" still ranks up there with the best of recent late-night-hotboxing soundtracks: "I got highed up so I could autograph the sky.") He values laid-back smoothness over amped-up anthems — more basement rec room than VIP section — and that could be a reason why, even after stints on star-making labels No Limit and Cash Money, he's still something of an underrated cult figure. That could change once The Stoned Immaculate drops later this spring: Guest spots from Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, and 2 Chainz, along with beats from the Neptunes and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, seem like the kind of co-signs that could raise Curren$y's profile without compromising his fogged-up, easygoing poise. With the Jets, Smoke Dza, Fiend 4 Da Money, Corner Boy P, Trademark, and Young Roddy. 18+, $18, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., 612.332.1775. —Nate Patrin

Kurt Vile and the Violators

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