The Shins, Jonathan Richman, Walker Kong, and more

Walker Kong

Bryant Lake Bowl, Saturday 6.02

Even in the pre-Facebook era — yes, that was a thing — there was Walker Kong. The infectious Minneapolis art-pop outfit's history spans back to the late '90s, but the group's new release, Phazes of Light, shows no sign of wear. If anything, "Strangers in Love" is an inspired bit of twee pomp with harmonies destined to make even the pins at Bryant Lake Bowl grin. Singer-guitarist Jeremy Ackerman has a confident ease about him throughout Phazes, and having his wife, Alexandra, backing him up surely doesn't hurt. The night opens with the indie-rock bliss of Prissy Clerks, featuring Total Babe alum Clara Salyer, so this should be a night for the old-fashioned, face-to-face type of social networking, people! $6-$8, 9:30 p.m. 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.825.8949. —Reed Fischer

Ted Leo/Wyatt Cenac

Bright things ahead for Walker Kong
Kim Ha
Bright things ahead for Walker Kong

Fitzgerald Theater, Friday 6.01

Two insightful entertainers are set to converge on St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater on Friday night, as accomplished comedy writer Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show, King of the Hill) joins indie-punk troubadour Ted Leo as part of MPR's ongoing Wits series. Host John Moe will lead his guests through what is sure to be an engaging, illuminating discussion about issues both topical and preposterous, and Leo will no doubt stir things up with a jagged live performance featuring his masterful falsetto and catchy riffage, all set in the regal confines of the Fitzgerald. $32, 8 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651.290.1200. —Erik Thompson

The Shins/The Antlers

Orpheum Theater, Day 6.01

The setting for the Shins' long-anticipated return to Minneapolis has shifted from the Brick to the rather lavish Orpheum Theater, a move that will suit frontman James Mercer's tranquil new numbers perfectly. Mercer is the only constant in the Shins' continually rotating cast of musicians, and his new record, Port of Morrow (released on Mercer's own imprint, Aural Apothecary), reflects his singular artistic vision and style. While the Shins have never been the most captivating live band, their prodigious back catalog should bolster this show — no matter who Mercer has alongside him on stage. Brooklyn dream-pop trio the Antlers are well worth showing up early for. $35-$38, 8 p.m. 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.455.9500. —Erik Thompson

Armin Van Buuren

Epic, Friday 6.01

Armin Van Buuren's brand of dance music is not in the usual vein. He has carved out a space in which he functions as an electronic folk singer of sorts. Without singing himself — he has guests on nearly all of his singles — he stirs up emotions by pushing buttons and mixing ultra-catchy beats that are a bit similar to that of a Bon Iver record, no joke. This is a night of dancing that doesn't include every goofy '80s song. While he'll never be appreciated here quite like he is in Europe, where he's consistently in the top three on yearly "Best DJ" lists, Armin Van Buuren is the ticket for a blissed-out, sweaty, and thought-provoking good time. 18+, $35, 5 p.m. 110 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.3742. —Pat O'Brien


Epic, Saturday 6.02

With a laundry list of both arrests and platinum-selling number-one albums, the troubled rapper DMX has had a storied career of ups and downs since 1998's It's Dark and Hell Is Hot. This back and forth has made for some compelling music, incorporating dual themes of murder and the Gospel to represent a torn soul. As likely to bark like a dog as he is to hold a prayer circle in concert, the New York Ruff Ryder carries an unpredictable aura of raw power with him that makes this rare performance a must-see. Legal troubles have caused delays on his new album, Undisputed, but classics like "Party Up" and "Get It on the Floor" remain as fresh as ever. A recent interview with DMX finds him back in good form since his six-year hiatus, dissing Drake and making light of his bizarre arrest for drunkenly impersonating a federal agent, and it's evident he hasn't lost his edge or his charisma in the time he's been off the grid. With Tank and MN Ruff Ryders. 18+, $25-$40, 10 p.m. 110 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.968.6636. —Jack Spencer

Jonathan Richman

Cedar Culteral Center, Sunday 6.3

Treasured pop eccentric Jonathan Richman long has had the aura of an outsider savant, tapping a kind of naively perceptive genius to celebrate life's essential qualities, including truth, beauty, love, art — and rock 'n' roll, particularly early in his career as leader of the proto-punk, Velvet Underground-inspired Modern Lovers. Over four decades, Richman has become more acoustic and folk-pop oriented, while relying on sparer arrangements often featuring only his own acoustic guitar and drummer Tommy Larkins. Meanwhile, his lyrical concerns have evolved from simple, childlike delights ("I'm a Little Airplane") to more nuanced pleasures ("That Summer Feeling") and in recent years to a more philosophical and sometimes strikingly poetic approach. Intact are Richman's remarkable senses of wonder and whimsy. His last album, 2010's O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth, includes ruminations on love and existence, along with classically quirky Richman charmers like "These Bodies That Came to Cavort." Then, following one of Richman's occasional foreign language forays (French, in this case), there's the wacky "My Affected Accent," in which he apologizes decades after the fact for conjuring a fake accent in high school, casually dropping the appallingly hilarious line, "I should have been bullied more than I was." Some things never change, thankfully including Jonathan Richman. The Prizefighters, a local ska band, will open. $15, 7:30 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

O'Death/Charlie Parr

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