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Best concerts in the Twin Cities: July 8-15

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves

Salt-N-Pepa

MINNESOTA ZOO, WEDNESDAY 7.8

As one of the first all-female rap groups, Salt-N-Pepa paved the way for future generations of women in hip-hop. Unforgettable earworms like “Push It,” “Shoop,” and “Whatta Man” garnered these legendary ladies a Grammy, multiple MTV Video Music Awards, and a VH1 reality show. Almost 30 years after their debut album dropped, the MCs from Queens are still touring and spitting rhymes from five studio LPs. Onstage, members Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandy “Pepa” Denton, and Deidre “Spinderella” Roper preach independence, respect, and frank conversations on sex. Expect feminist anthems, freaky beats, and – one can only hope – a crop top or two. Nostalgic '80s babies and newfound fans rejoice! Local DJ Shannon Blowtorch opens. All ages. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952-431-9200.

— ERICA RIVERA

Toad the Wet Sprocket • $32-$35 • 7:30 p.m. Wed. • Mill City Nights

Strange Names • $12-$15 • 8 p.m. Wed. • 7th St. Entry 

Kacey Musgraves

MINNESOTA ZOO, THURSDAY 7.9

As soon as she hit the scene, it was clear dime-store cowgirl Kacey Musgraves was going to shake up Nashville’s clichés and prevailing bromance. Her 2013 debut, Same Trailer Different Park, had some bite but didn’t blow Music City slickers away so much as undercut their pomposities and hypocrisies with cleverness, humor, and down-home common sense. Her just-released sophomore album, Pageant Material, is an even more subtly subversive – and thoroughly charming – advance in the name of true country music. In a mostly laid-back, trad-country context of galloping rhythms, pedal steel, and banjo, Musgraves’ sweet, limpid voice is siren-like in asserting her independence and progressive leanings. The native Texan insists on being true to herself (“I’d rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain’t”), encourages others to do the same (“we’ve all got the right to be wrong”), and promotes tolerance (“mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy”) while enumerating the pleasures and foibles of small town life. The bonus hidden track, “Are You Sure,” is a wonderful duet with Willie Nelson on his vintage tune. Sugar & the Hi-Lows open. $59-$71.50. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952-431-9200.

— RICK MASON

Defunk • $12 • 9 p.m. Thu. • Mill City Nights

The Ataris • $15-$17 • 8 p.m. Thu. • Triple Rock Social Club

Max Dvorak • $15 • 9 p.m. Thu. • Lee's Liquor Lounge

Basilica Block Party

BASILICA OF SAINT MARY, FRIDAY-SATURDAY 7.10 & 7.11

Not unlike a swig of delicious holy wine, this one's a little easier to swallow since the canning of Archbishop John Nienstedt. (None of the profits ever went to the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis directly, but still). The church-y bash has a killer 2015 lineup with nerd-rock heroes Weezer returning to BBP on Friday, plus fun. leader Nate Ruess and local pop-punk stars Motion City Soundtrack. Saturday brings your tasteful dad's favorite band, the always spectacular Wilco, along with twangy indie-pop favorite Jenny Lewis and alt-country stud Jason Isbell. The dreaded PreferredOne Stage caters to the Cities 97 crowd each day, with O.A.R. and Mat Kearney on Friday followed by Fitz & the Tantrums and Echosmith on Saturday. You can find us at the all-local stage during those sets. Exactly how many times must the block be rocked before the Basilica is finally restored? Unclear, but this BBP bill is improved tenfold from the one that trotted out Train and Ben Harper last year. $55-$375 per day; $100 two-day passes. 5-10 p.m. 88 N. 17th St.; 612-317-3457.

— JAY BOLLER

James Murphy

FIRST AVENUE, FRIDAY 7.10

Since disassembling his beloved band LCD Soundsystem in 2011 with Jerry-and-Elaine levels of well-adjusted grace, the effortlessly cool James Murphy has done everything but climb up onstage. Between opening Williamsburg wine bars and soundtracking Williamsburg-centric films, he is stepping out of his gentrified borough with a handful of DJ sets this month. Ever since Murphy blew up with the sarcastic braggadocio of “Losing My Edge,” he's flaunted enviable taste in music that is at once impeccably curatorial while still remaining wide-eyed and ecumenical. In his DJ sets, a trendy Italo-disco cut can give way to a less fashionable AM radio act like Chicago, but those conflicting textures are always kneaded into something that remains body music through and through. It will be interesting to see how much of a spectacle Murphy makes of himself in the Mainroom. A couple years back, the man designed speaker stacks inspired by the long-abandoned idea that a DJ should never be the star of the party. We’ll see how bright the crowd and club ask him to shine. 18+. $20. 701 N. 1st Ave.; 612-338-8388.

— ANDY PENKALSKI

The Green • $20 • 8 p.m. Fri. • Triple Rock Social Club

Ceremony • $13-$15 • 4 p.m. Fri. • 7th St. Entry

Grumpy's Bash 15

GRUMPY'S BAR & GRILL, SATURDAY 7.11

Often surreal, sometimes noisy, consistently frenetic, and always unpredictable: For more than 10 years Cows were a signature band for Amphetamine Reptile, a label with nothing but signature bands. Internationally, they destroyed stages from Minneapolis to Madrid. Locally, they somehow managed to be both beloved and criminally under-appreciated; their 1998 breakup was neither bang nor whimper. If there's an applicable metaphor, they basically snuck out your back door with your mom's pearls. For years, conventional wisdom has been that a Cows reunion was impossible, but no one said anything about Cowz. Featuring three-forths of the last Cows lineup (Shannon Selberg, Kevin Rutmanis, and Freddy Votel) with Hammerhead's Paul Sanders stepping into Thor Eisentrager's guitar role, Cowz promise to hit Grumpys Bash 15 with a set as brutally loud and fully absurd as the band ever did in its heyday. We haven't even mentioned perennial AmRep sludge favorites the Melvins or the also recently reunited Run Westy Run, both also set to perform. Le Butcherettes, Hepa-Titus, and Gay Witch Abortion round out the bill. 2-10 p.m. $48. 1111 Washington Ave. S.; 612-340-9738.

— TIGGER LUNNEY

Funk on First Vol. 3

FIRST AVENUE, SATURDAY 7.11

The local soul revival scene is alive and kicking with the third installment of Funk on First. This edition will celebrate the release of Stay Up, the new full-length release from Hustle Rose that takes musical cues from the likes of Parliament Funkadelic and Prince. Hustle Rose boasts a full horn section, synth, bass, and drums, with frontman David Glen on vocals, guitar, and talk box. Originally hailing from Minneapolis, the garage, soul, and funk band spent the past two years playing the Chicago scene and touring the Midwest. It should be a rowdy homecoming. They'll be joined by local favorites New Sound Underground, Crunchy Kids and #MPLS, three acts that will add a unique blend of jam band, R&B and hip-hop into the mix. Dress to sweat, and be sure to wear your dancing shoes! +18. $10. 701 N. 1st Ave.; 612-338-8388.

— SARAH STANLEY-AYRE

Whitesnake • $45 • 7:30 p.m. Sat. • Myth

Trampled by Turtles • $25-$30 • 4 p.m. Sat. • Bayfront Festival Park

DJ Rekha • $18-$20 • 7 p.m. Sat. • The Cedar Cultural Center

Spank Rock • $12/$3 w/ RSVP • 8 p.m. Sat. • Kitty Cat Klub

Bastille Day Block Party feat. PaviElle, Gramma's Boyfriend, Suzie, Toki Wright & Big Cats, and more • Free • 3-10 p.m. Sun. • The corner of Irving & Lagoon avenues 

Ghostface Killah and Raekwon • $28.50 • 7 p.m. Sun. • Cabooze

Corey Taylor • $25 • 7 p.m. Sun. • Turf Club

Torche • $15 • 7:30 p.m. Sun. • 7th St. Entry

Morrissey

FITZGERALD THEATER, MONDAY 7.13

Twin Cities concertgoers are due for some good karma. After Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, and Nickleback all nixed shows in the Land of 10,000 Lakes this year, notorious no-shows Death Grips came through two weeks ago at First Avenue and killed. And while Morrissey is no stranger to crossing Minnesota off his tour schedule – most recently canceling shows in 2012 and 2013 – the erstwhile Smiths frontman and internet cat companion looks primed to bring his moody spectre to the Fitzgerald. Moz will visit St. Paul after a successful string of shows, including a supposedly vegetarian tour sendoff at Madison Square Garden that was later soured by the presence of meat. Here's hoping the Fitz remembers to cut sliders and brats from the menu, 'cause Midwest fans have waited too long for this show just to have Moz storm out over chicken fingers. The principled cult hero is touring in support of his 2014 album, World Peace Is None of Your Business. Sold out. 7 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651-290-1200.

— JERARD FAGERBERG 

Empires • $10 • 8 p.m. Mon. • 7th St. Entry

Frankie Teardrop • $6-$8 • 8 p.m. Mon. • Turf Club

Dawes • $30-$35 • 5 p.m. Tue. • Cabooze

Good Old War • $15-$17 • 7 p.m. Tue. • The Varsity Theater

Jessica Pratt • $12-$15 • 7 p.m. Tue. The Cedar Cultural Center