Critics' Picks: Bootsy Collins, Iron & Wine, and more

He's got the funk!

He's got the funk!

Bootsy Collins

First Avenue on Thursday 6.9

After James Brown, the funkiest outfit on this planet (or any other) has to be George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic collective, one of whose leading funkateers is bassist, composer, singer, and ringmaster Bootsy Collins (who in fact started with JB). On Tha Funk Capitol of the World, his first album in five years, Bootsy conjures up a relentless onslaught of wickedly slippery grooves laced with psychedelia and deep-space declarations direct from the Mothership, played with impeccable tightness and simmering intensity. Meanwhile, a dizzying array of guests (Clinton, Béla Fleck, Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dogg) chip in for an overall message that's part history lesson (Al Sharpton on JB; excerpt from a Hendrix interview), part state of the funk, part just get-down exultation. 18+. $31. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rick Mason

Gruff Rhys

Triple Rock Social Club on Wednesday 6.8

Charismatic Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys has made a career out of keeping people guessing. Just when critics and fans alike think that they have him and his idiosyncratic sounds figured out, Rhys changes directions and challenges himself and his listeners anew. Whether it's releasing a solo album sung entirely in Welsh or directing a documentary of his search for his relatives in Patagonia, Rhys has faithfully followed his various muses wherever they take him. He just released his third solo record, Hotel Shampoo, another batch of whimsical pop that is at once enjoyable but, like most of Rhys's work, gets darker the deeper you dig. His solo show at the Triple Rock (with the Welsh band Y Niwl serving as his opener as well as his backing band) should both entertain and bemuse his longtime fans, as he's been doing his entire career. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Erik Thompson

Iron & Wine

First Avenue on Wednesday 6.8

Sam Beam didn't need to be bolder. As the lone voice behind the Iron & Wine moniker, Beam made his name on beauty and restraint, whispering his way to critical acclaim (and, um, a candy commercial). But he's proved restless, and even if his growth as an artist has been deliberately plotted, over the past few years he's stepped away from the simplicity of his breakthrough work to move toward a sturdier, more muscular sound. The studio has become Beam's tool rather than just a space to record in, and his ambition could similarly transform the stage in a live setting. With the Head and the Heart. 18+. $29. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

Little Anthony & the Imperials

Dakota Jazz Club on Wednesday 6.8 and Thursday 6.9

Emerging from the doo-wop tradition and street corners of Brooklyn, Little Anthony and the Imperials climbed the charts in 1958 with "Tears on My Pillow," an exquisite teen melodrama fueled by tight harmonies and Anthony Gourdine's glorious falsetto. A cavalcade of iconic hits continued through the '60s, including "Shimmy, Shimmy Ko-ko Bop," "Hurt So Bad," and "Goin' Out of My Head." The group, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, is a rarity these days in that it's three-quarters intact—original members Gourdine, Ernest Wright, and Clarence Collins (all around 70), joined by Robert DeBlanc—the dynamic vocal interplay still resonates, and half-baked nostalgia isn't on the menu. The old tunes on 2008's You'll Never Know sport fresh, jazzy arrangements; the new ones have a distinct vibrancy while settling into a classic R&B groove, including a title track duet with Deniece Williams. $45-$75. 7 and 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

Architecture in Helsinki

Varsity Theater on Thursday 6.9

It's taken the idiosyncratic Australian pop band Architecture in Helsinki four years to follow up the cosmopolitan, global-music-trotting Places Like This with far icier, synthesizer-permeated Moment Bends. The opening tune, "Desert Island," has a sparse reggae pulse, and the follow-up, "Escapee," percolates sufficiently to generate a little warmth. But the majority of Bends is a study in frigid electronic pop whose relative hooks are tied to minimalist arrangements that are jewel-like when at their best ("W.O.W.") but simply meager elsewhere. Rigid, mechanical rhythms contribute to the sense of severe reserve, although things loosen up a bit on the Prince-like "Denial Style." With Hooray for Earth. 18+. $15. 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rick Mason

Naughty by Nature

Cabooze on Saturday 6.11

The surprisingly charming and female-empathetic infidelity ode "O.P.P." was only the first in a string of great '90s rap singles from New Jersey's Naughty by Nature, each one balancing chopped hardcore finesse with sing-along hooks and samples from heaven's barbecue—"Everything's Gonna Be Alright," "Uptown Anthem," "Hip Hop Hooray," "Feel Me Flow," "Jamboree." DJ Kay Gee worked with Next, and rappers Treach and Vin Rock recently recorded a Daytrotter session with Solid Gold. But their deepest connection to the Twin Cities might be their legendary live show, which they bring back reunited behind hot new recordings: If last year's gritty "I Gotta Lotta" is any indication, the forthcoming Anthem Inc. is well-titled. With Carnage the Executioner and Divine Collection. 18+. $20/$25 at the door. 9 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. —Peter S. Scholtes

Panic! at the Disco

First Avenue on Saturday 6.11

Panic! at the Disco (the exclamation point has found its way back) aren't embarrassed by their pop aspirations. For most bands, that translates simply to being catchy, but Panic! are invested in pop to the point that their rock songs carry the heft and production hallmarks of the slickest R&B-flecked modern radio cuts. It's a crowd-pleasing tactic that shoves past accessibility and moves straight toward world domination, huge overdrive choruses burrowing their way into your brain and nesting somewhere near your cerebral cortex. It's not subtle or nuanced in any way, but subtlety doesn't matter much when you're going straight for the jugular. With Fun and Funeral Party. All ages. $25. 5:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

Okkervil River

First Avenue on Sunday 6.12

Most descriptions of Okkervil River include some variant of the "folk" label, and whether that makes you prick up your ears or groan in disgust, it stops short of what the band actually does. Yes, acoustic guitars make their appearance, and yes, there's an earnestness that grabs for your heartstrings, but the modesty and middling tempos that are usually at play in folk music are tossed out in favor of a rollicking grandiosity. Nothing in OR's repertoire is played completely straight; it's fractured and rebuilt larger than you thought it could be.  In this case, bigger is most certainly better. With Titus Andronicus and Future Islands. 18+. $17/$18 at the door. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

The Go-Go's

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater on Tuesday 6.14

Nothing about the Go-Go's' "Our Lips Are Sealed" seems to have aged in 30 years, its oddly complacent beauty and conspiratorial sisterly aura as shimmering as ever—except now the jelly-shoe synthesizers signify nostalgia and endless summer as much as the surf guitars and girl-group harmonies ever did. Seven other great Go-Go's pop singles followed in the '80s, each holding up as well because the cheeriness in Belinda Carlisle's singing felt earned and paid for, her punk toughness more apparent with distance. They quit after three albums, but keep reuniting, recording, and touring—there they were, rocking like the Soviettes on the Dancing With the Stars finale a few weeks ago. All ages. $58. 8 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Peter S. Scholtes

Taylor Swift

Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday 6.14 and Wednesday 6.15

She's the bestselling digital artist of all time not only because middle-schoolers buy that way but because her hold on that group is total: Has there been a point of consensus as strong since moonwalk-era Michael Jackson? She's tasteful Nashville country filtered through R&B-loving pop and pop-punk as Top 40 digests it, but with a personal and compassionate streak; a good role model for a phenomenally famous young person and a great POV lyricist, plus more proof that kids are kinder and more feminist than adults credit. If we sing her at weddings some day, you can bet it won't be premature ones. All ages. $27-$71.50. 7 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.726.8240. —Pete S. Scholtes