Summer Set, Bonnie Rait, Murder by Death, and more
courtesy of the artist

Summer Set Music & Camping Festival

Somerset amphitheater, Friday 8.24 + Saturday 8.25 + Sunday 8.26

Before you get it twisted, Somerset is only 35 miles from the Twin Cities. That means it's far closer to us than Rochester or Duluth. Heck, we're practically spooning the host spot for the 2012 Summer Set Music and Camping Festival. Combining the powers of jam bands, electronic music, hip hop, reggae, and all of the confluences that exist among these many worlds, this year's edition should be a shock to the system. To say nothing of the camping benefits! Past the names Pretty Lights, Umphrey's McGee, and Big Gigantic, we have three living legends of rap tenting it up for the weekend too. Nas is fresh off the release of his divorce album, Life Is Good, and the mercurial duo of Mos Def (a.k.a. Yasiin Bey) and Talib Kweli as Black Star will also highlight the lyrically powerful portion of the weekend. With Matt & Kim, Cloud Cult, Zeds Dead, Yelawolf, Rebelution, and more. 16+. Tickets start at $45 for a single day and $125 for a three-day pass. 3 p.m. on August 24, 1 p.m. on August 25-26. 715 Spring St. Somerset, Wisconsin. —Reed Fischer

Murder By Death

Pretty Lights headlines the final day of the Summer Set Music and Camping Festival
courtesy of the artist
Pretty Lights headlines the final day of the Summer Set Music and Camping Festival

Triple Rock Social Club, Thursday 8.23

Murder By Death generate a rousing, evocative brand of Americana blended with spirited barroom sing-alongs — injecting their songs with both rich storytelling and stirring melodies. The Bloomington, Indiana, sextet has been together for over a decade now, switching up their style a bit from album to album. Frontman Adam Turla retreated into the isolation of the mountains of Tennessee to write the band's last album, Good Morning, Magpie, but for their new record the group reached out to fans for support. They launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund the vinyl production (which the group always does themselves) of their new record, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon. And since they just reached their goal, Murder By Death should be itching to celebrate. With Ha Ha Tonka and Trapper Schoepp & the Shades. 18+, $14, 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399.Erik Thompson

Bonnie Raitt/Mavis Staples

Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, Thursday 8.23

Bonnie Raitt recorded her first album at Dave Ray's country studio with members of Willie and the Bees, one of many Minnesota ties that make her as natural a fit for the State Fair as walleye on a stick. And particularly if she's bringing along gospel and soul treasure Mavis Staples, who was weaned on righteous activist standards during the Civil Rights Movement with her family band, the Staple Singers. Her latest, You Are Not Alone, covers more diverse material from the likes of Randy Newman, John Fogerty, and Jeff Tweedy, who also produced. As for Raitt, she's sporting her first album in seven years: Slipstream (on her own Redwing label), an inspired collection of blues, reggae, pop, R&B, and rock nuggets from the pens of Bob Dylan, Gerry Rafferty, Loudon Wainwright, and NRBQ's Al Anderson. Playing with a blazing assurance remarkable even for herself, Raitt cranks up tart and sassy revelations on her trademark slide guitar, even dallying with Bill Frisell on a few cuts, while her vocals almost enter a new expressive plane. Her soulful voice manages to pack hope, resignation, resilience, sadness, and a dozen other emotions into a succession of remarkably turned phrases, most notably on Wainwright and Joseph Lee Henry's "You Can't Fail Me Now." $34.50-$44.50. 7:30 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 800.514.3849. —Rick Mason

Alan Jackson/Jamey Johnson

Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, Friday 8.24

Alan Jackson's countless chart-topping country hits are an easy fit for the Great Minnesota Get-Together. After 20 years of releasing one platinum record after another on Arista, Jackson broke from his longtime label to start one of his own, Alan's Country Records, which just put out his new album, Thirty Miles West, in partnership with EMI. And while the songs on the new record don't break any new ground musically, the newfound freedom has seemed to refresh Jackson's spirit while he continues to craft a seemingly effortless string of hits that shows no sign of slowing down. The younger, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson opens the show with tracks from his critically acclaimed recent record, The Guitar Song, while also perhaps debuting some new numbers from his long-awaited follow-up. All ages, $40, 7:30 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., Saint Paul; 651.288.4400. —Erik Thompson

Yeasayer

First Avenue, Friday 8.24

Brooklyn trio Yeasayer have been creating some of indie's most melodically enticing avant-pop for the past half-decade. All Hour Cymbals, their 2007 debut, had two- and three-part harmonies meeting Middle Eastern and West African textures, while 2010's breakout Odd Blood brought sonic maximalism and pop clarity to songs like "O.N.E." and the excellent "Ambling Alp." In addition to their show at First Ave, this week sees the release of the band's third studio album, the 50-minute, self-produced Fragrant World. Lead single "Henrietta" is one of this summer's biggest (and weirdest) indie hits, while deeper cuts like "Blue Paper" sprawl and stutter toward dance-floor friendliness. Thumb piano, David Byrne-esque vocal phrasing, and spongy electro drums all abound. With Daughn Gibson. $25, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388.Mike Madden

Jel & DJ Abilities

7th St. Entry, Saturday 8.25

Here's something to see: Abilities plays turntables like an electric guitar, Jel plays a sampler like a live drum set, and both play together like the freestyle hip-hop lifers they are. Each has a jolting 2012 continuous-mix release, and each has made visionary music for rappers (Jel for himself and many others, Abilities for his late partner Eyedea), and their association goes back at least as far as trading grimy production on 1999's Rhymesayers-Anticon team-up Deep Puddle Dynamics. But the show's the thing with this tour — expect a good performance in Abilities' hometown. With Zavala (of Dark Time Sunshine), Void Pedal, and Crushcon7. 18+. 8 p.m. $10-$12. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775.Peter S. Scholtes

Desert Rose Band

Dakota Jazz Club, Monday 8.27 + Tuesday 8.28

Sporting a stellar crew of pickers, the Desert Rose Band had an impressive run in the late '80s and early '90s, racking up a succession of hits on the country charts while carrying forward the legacy of country-rock pioneer Chris Hillman. A founder of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Hillman tilted a bit more in favor of country when he formed the DRB with old pal Herb Pederson, a banjoist, guitarist, and talented producer; widely versatile guitarist extraordinaire John Jorgenson, a longtime member of Elton John's band and devotee of Django Reinhardt's gypsy jazz; pedal steel ace Jay Dee Maness; bassist Bill Bryson, late of the Bluegrass Cardinals; and drummer Steve Duncan, a vet of Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band and sessions with the likes of Carl Perkins and Emmylou Harris. In fact, everyone in the band is highly sought after for session work. DRB split about 15 years ago but recently has been revived in various permutations, rarely with the entire classic lineup intact, however, like these shows. This should be classic California country-rock of the finest order: stirring vocal harmonies, exceptional picking, Bakersfield dust, maybe a hint of psychedelia, and rodeo sweethearts galore. $45, 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.5299. —Rick Mason

THEESatisfaction

7th St. Entry, Tuesday 8.28

The soulful Seattle psych-funk duo THEESatisfaction is composed of Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White, two talented ladies who keep things real and positive on their highly inventive Sub Pop debut, awE naturalE. After a stellar guest spot on Shabazz Palaces' recent album, Black Up, Stas and Cat are poised to make their own waves on the national music scene with their distinct R&B sound and intoxicating beats. The unconventional capitalizations in their band name aren't the only similarities that THEESatisfaction shares with last year's breakout artist, tUnE-yArDs, as both groups feature unique female musicians who have captured a modern, unorthodox style and sound that is all their own. With Toki Wright. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

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