Critics' Picks: Adele, Steely Dan, Taurus, and more

Chris Morrissey (second from left) takes center stage with Taurus

Chris Morrissey (second from left) takes center stage with Taurus

Taurus (CD-release show)

7th St. Entry on Thursday 8.25

Chris Morrissey is no stranger to the stage. But though he's clocked hundreds of hours playing bass for Mason Jennings, Haley Bonar, Wishbook, and most recently Ben Kweller, the closest he's come to the front of the stage is with his fiery jazz quartet. That makes his foray into rock songwriting all the more thrilling; Morrissey already has proven his ear for melody with his jazz compositions, and the songs he's written for new project Taurus are as focused as they are melodically inventive. Both the guitar riffs and vocal lines on Taurus's debut record, Cannon Falls Forever, take the listener in unexpected directions, avoiding well-tread pop melodies in search of something more elastic and exploratory. Morrissey has fleshed out his live band with fellow touring and session pros: Brooklyn's Aaron Lee Tasjan (the Madison Square Gardeners) and two of Morrissey's touring Ben Kweller bandmates, Mark Stepro and Rich Hinman. Two local bands, the Gang Font (featuring Greg Norton and Dave King) and Tarlton, will open the show, along with Tasjan's solo project. 18+. $7. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Andrea Swensson


Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday 8.24

There were a number of disappointed fans turned away from First Ave when Adele canceled her June show (enough to fill the entire venue), but there was really no arguing with the laryngitis that made it impossible for the British chanteuse to use her gorgeous contralto. A short couple of months later, the performance has been rescheduled, trading First Ave for the considerably larger Xcel Center to accommodate the singer's spike in popularity. Those who have tickets from the June show will be pleased to learn that those tickets will be honored at the Xcel, so no one has to miss out this time around. With Wanda Jackson. All ages. $29.50-$89. 7:30 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.726.8240. —Ian Traas

Return to Forever

Orpheum Theatre on Wednesday 8.24

The nascent Return to Forever were inspired by the electric fusion experiments of Miles Davis and have never really looked back, establishing an innovative standard for jazz-rock decisively zeroing in from the jazz end of the spectrum. The classic RTF lineup of keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Lenny White, and guitarist Al DiMeola reunited for the first time in a quarter-century in 2008 and was firing on all cylinders, the bristling rock fury still impeccably woven with the jazz licks and improvisation. With DiMeola busy elsewhere, Corea, Clarke, and White are back out with what they're calling Return to Forever IV, whose lineup includes former Mahavishnu Orchestra violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and guitarist Frank Gambale, an Australian native who has played in several other Corea bands. The group is touring behind a sparkling new double CD, Forever. The first disc features Corea, Clark, and White as an acoustic trio; the second is an electric set with Ponty adding a Hot Clubesque je ne sais quoi, original RTF guitarist Bill Connors soaring stratospherically, and Chaka Khan adding wonderful scat vocals on a few tunes. Opening will be Zappa Plays Zappa, the Dweezil Zappa-led tribute to his inimitable, relentlessly groundbreaking father of invention, Frank. All ages. $53.50-$63.50. 7:30 p.m. 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater on Friday 8.26 and Saturday 8.27

Two terrific guitarists who happen to married to one another, Susan Tedschi and Derek Trucks, have upped the ante big time with the marriage of their respective bands, giving birth to the swaggering, highly versatile, 11-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band. The outfit's debut, Revelator, is a revelation, with first-rate songs that span the Southern roots turf: blues, rock, Memphis soul, New Orleans funk, gospel, boogie, and jazz, all riddled with echoes of Trucks' other band, the Allman Brothers, Little Feat, Stax, Muscle Shoals, and the Delta. Tedeschi is a wonderful, emotionally rich, soulful vocalist of the Bonnie Raitt/Tracy Nelson school, as well as a fine blues-influenced guitarist. Trucks is a masterful slide player, often mentioned in the same breath as Duane Allman, and one of the best guitarists working today, period. When TTB's horns are fully stirred, Kofi Burbridge's Hammond B3 bubbles up magnificently, the guitars duel with loving ferocity, and the slippery rhythms slither swampward, it's a sound of incendiary potency, and so distinctly southern Spanish moss is likely to sprout on the trees around the zoo's amphitheatre. All ages. $56-$77.50. 7 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Rick Mason

Audio Perm Block Party

Shuga Records on Saturday 8.27

The young and ambitious local hip-hop producer crew Audio Perm is getting in on the summer block party game with the Audio Perm Block Party, an all-day all-rap show in the parking lot of Shuga Records. The trio has put together a nice slice of local artists, encompassing both major figures (Kanser, Rhymesayer's Toki Wright, and I Self Devine) and some names you should become familiar with (Niles Miller, Bobby Raps), and put them all alongside SoCal crew Pac Div, whose brand of hip hop blends multiple eras of West Coast rap into a tight and playful whole. This all-ages event runs from 2 p.m. till 10, all at a price that would run you the same as seeing some of these acts alone. There's a lot of quality bubbling in the Twin Cities rap scene, and here's the place to take it all in. All ages. $10/$15 at the door. 2 p.m. 165 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.455.6285. —Jack Spencer

Peter Bjorn & John

First Avenue on Saturday 8.27

Indie pop as a genre isn't known for its adventurousness (maintaining a polite atmosphere and crafting immaculate hooks seem to be its only reasons for existing), but that doesn't mean that the musicians making it are devoid of ambition. Swedish imports Peter Bjorn and John recently released a video that doesn't stop at one song—they've created a single visual project that encompasses the entirety of their most recent album, Gimme Some. Likewise, PB&J haven't been content to merely write catchy songs; they want their songs to be the catchiest you've ever heard (hence "Young Folks"). The trio are clearly aiming for the superlative...and hitting it. With BNLX. 18+. $18. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

The War on Drugs

7th St. Entry on Sunday 8.28

After being somewhat criminally (and critically) ignored following the release of their stellar debut, Wagonwheel Blues, the War On Drugs revamped their lineup (parting ways with Kurt Vile in the process) and refocused their efforts to construct their majestic new record, Slave Ambient, which is packed with dusty, distinguished gems that are bound to get everyone's attention this time around. The War On Drugs is the brainchild of Adam Granduciel, an earnest, impassioned frontman who has assembled a strong group of musicians behind him that has helped inject his project with a newfound urgency and ambition. This Philadelphian quartet now seems quite ready for their inevitable close-up, as they've composed a stellar batch of stirring tunes that are colored by the renowned tradition of American road songs, while being buoyed by their own modern pulse and restless spirit. With Caveman, Ocean Cats. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Steely Dan

Minnesota State Fair Grandstand on Tuesday 8.30

Pretzel Logic was the name of one of Steely Dan's classic albums from the mid-'70s. That title also could refer to the music of Dan principals Donald Fagen and Walter Becker: a hipsterish summit of rock and jazz with plenty of pop hooks strategically situated among twisted, unpredictable arrangements; a certain cool reserve, occasional dissonance, and lyrics skewing to the cryptic and surreal. The resurgent Dan has been touring periodically of late. This excursion is dubbed Shuffle Diplomacy Twenty Eleven, with all the hits as well as deep album cuts promised. Fagen and Becker will be backed by the horn-spiked, eight-piece Miles High Big Band plus a female vocal trio called the Embassy Brats. Munching on a greasy state fair pretzel during the show might be logical. With Sam Yahel. $45-$55. 7:30 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 651.642.2262. —Rick Mason

TV on the Radio

First Avenue on Tuesday 8.30 and Wednesday 8.31

The untimely passing of bassist Gerard Smith put TV on the Radio's tour on hold as the band mourned their dear friend and bandmate. The back-to-back April shows in Minneapolis were rescheduled for August—which seemed like forever to fans eager to hear selections from most recent album Nine Types of Light—but TVOTR disciples understood the need for the break. Now, rejoice! The rescheduled dates are upon us, with the band making up both shows and ready to give the Twin Cities what they've been patiently waiting for—two stage-igniting sets from one of the best live bands in all of modern rock. With Seulah. 18+. $20. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas