The weekend's 9 best concerts: May 18-20

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Wye Oak is at the Turf Club on Saturday.

OK, we all know about Art-A-Whirl.

If you're headed out to the annual arts festival this weekend, you can read all about the musical lineups here. But what if you're not in the mood for crowds, or art, or Northeast? You have other options.

Friday 5.18

Jason Moran @ Walker Art Center
Jason Moran is among contemporary jazz’s most daring innovators, yet he’s thoroughly grounded in jazz tradition. A brilliant pianist, Moran has not only has regularly pushed musical envelopes in unpredictable directions, he’s also increasingly engaged in interdisciplinary work. These gigs with longtime trio the Bandwagon (bassist Tarus Mateen, drummer Nasheet Waits) will be the world premiere of a multimedia piece, The Last Jazz Fest, which has something to do with jazz’s societal role. The visual art duo Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin, plus L.A. DJ Ashland Mines, will collaborate on the project. It’s presented in the context of Moran’s four-month, jazz-oriented multi-discipline Walker exhibition. Also Saturday. 8 p.m. $35. 725 Vineland Pl., Minneapolis More info here.—Rick Mason

David Byrne @ Orpheum Theatre
David Byrne, dodging irony, tries to start making sense of these absurd times on his first solo album in more than a decade, American Utopia. It’s a fascinating study rife with ambiguity, contradictions, and eccentric, jittery electronics built on Brian Eno rhythm tracks. Byrne’s clever lyrics are vaguely aloof, edging toward the surreal, fueling a lingering anxiety. But sly hooks, engaging melodies, and a broad sonic landscape recall some of the best Talking Heads stuff, which should also surface in concert as Byrne heads up a kinetic 12-piece band. 7:30 p.m. $61.50-$179. 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. More info here.—Rick Mason

Greg Brown @ Cedar Cultural Center
There isn’t a songwriter alive who has chronicled the rural Midwest with the wry erudition and sagacity of Brown, who lives the part on an Iowa farm. The bullfrog voice and delicious between-song asides don’t grace our stages as much this past decade, so his appearances are to be treasured. His catalog draws from at least a half-dozen stone-classic discs, but even the more obscure material enriches like a walk in the woods. 8 p.m. $44. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson

Complete Friday music listings here.

Saturday 5.19

Kid Dakota @ Icehouse
In February, Darren Jackson returned with Denervation, the first album from his low-key indie-rock project Kid Dakota in seven years. The long delay between releases was due, in part, to a horrific bike accident he suffered in 2014, his eventual recovery informing the album’s conceptual arc. Saturday’s show celebrates the vinyl rerelease of Kid Dakota’s intimate, slow-burning 2002 debut, So Pretty, the album that put Jackson on the Minnesota music map. With c.Kostra. 21+. 11 p.m. $10/$12. 2528 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden

Joey Bada$$ @ First Avenue
Rapper Joey Bada$$ was just 17 when he broke through, dutifully dusting off ’90s East Coast sounds for 2012’s 1999 mixtape. But anyone who took him for a strict revivalist was mistaken. The Brooklynite has since found pop-rap success with his EDM-influenced “Devastated” and his writing on Post Malone’s “Rockstar.” Last year, Joey released his most well-rounded and impassioned project yet, the politically aware All-Amerikkkan Bada$$. With Boogie, Buddy, and Chuck Strangers. 18+. 8 p.m. $25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden

Wye Oak @ Turf Club
It’s easy to take the Baltimore indie-rock duo Wye Oak for granted. Singer/guitarist Jenn Wasner and drummer/keyboardist Andy Stack release a good-to-great new album every two or three years without much accompanying fanfare. With the euphoric, hooky dream-pop of their excellent new LP, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, the band have finally made sure their presence is undeniably felt. With Palm. 21+. 8 p.m. $17/$20. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul. More info here.—Michael Madden

Freddie Cole @ Dunsmore Room at Crooners
In 1976, Freddy Cole released an album entitled The Cole Nobody Knows. Thirty years later, the title was repeated for a documentary of his life. Today, at age 86, the younger brother of Nat King Cole will play four sets over two days, celebrating the release of My Mood is You, which dropped earlier this week. It’s a shopworn cliché, but Freddy Cole really is singing better than ever, and if you embrace romantic cocktail music, you need to get to know this Cole. Also Sunday. 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. $45-$65 Saturday; $35-$55 Sunday. 6161 Highway 65 NE, Minneapolis. More info here. —Britt Robson

No Territory Band @ Black Dog Café
For all the justifiable hubbub over Davu Seru’s world premiere of his work, Dead King Mother, earlier this spring, the best music Seru has made over the past two years has been with his adventurous No Territory Band. The drummer-composer writes with the cerebral-blues brio of Andrew Hill and Anthony Braxton, then trusts his formidable septet to add new shapes. They are celebrating their debut release, There’s a Hole in the Wall in the Bucket. 8:30 p.m. $10 suggested donation. 308 Prince St., St. Paul. More info here. —Britt Robson

Complete Saturday music listings here.

Sunday 5.20

Power Trip @ Fine Line Music Cafe
Not only do Dallas five-piece Power Trip evoke the best thrash and hardcore bands of the ’80s, they play with a primal ferocity that suggests they could’ve held their own against those bands in real time. Their sophomore album, Nightmare Logic, was one of last year’s metal breakthroughs, highlighted by the absolutely brutal “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe).” Last month, they released Opening Fire: 2008-2014, a compilation of early, non-LP material. With Sheer Mag, Fury, and Red Death. 18+. 7 p.m. $15-$30. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden

Complete Sunday music listings here.


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