De La Soul, Kid Rock, and more

Longstanding blues staple Bonnie Raitt
courtesy of the artist


Bonnie Raitt

Minnesota State Fair Grandstand

While names such as Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, or Ida Cox might initially come to mind when thinking of classic female blues singers, it'd be hard not to include Bonnie Raitt among the names of the best blues singers—male or female—who followed. And she can play, too. Despite having released 15 studio albums, Raitt might best be known for her biggest commercial success, the 1991 hit "Something to Talk About," which peaked at the fifth position on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart. She's tallied nine Grammy Awards in her nearly 40 years of recording, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2000, a testament to her influence on generations past and generations still yet to come. Nowadays Raitt continues hitting the road diligently; this summer she and Taj Mahal have taken on some 30 dates, the first tour the duo has done together and one that will certainly lend the 2009 Minnesota State Fair one of its most engrossing performances. All ages. $36.50. 7:30 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 651.642.2262. —Chris DeLine

De La Soul

First Avenue

For 20 years, De La Soul have made pop music funkier, hip hop more humane, and the interplay between funk and humanity more mysterious and personal—like a secret club for the whole world. They've also rocked a show or five, and keep surpassing themselves at First Avenue: This priced-to-sell-out gig features a 10-piece live backing band behind the two rappers and DJ, Los Angeles's Rhythm Roots All-Stars, who promise a percussive take on an unstoppable canon. De La have yet to release an album not worth owning, right up through this year's Nike-sponsored running mix on iTunes, Are You In?—a fresh version of rap-rock-techno in 45 bracing minutes, with production by Detroit's Young RJ and Chicago duo Flosstradamus (the latter mixing the results into a single continuous track). Posdnuos, Dave, and Maseo remain a clubhouse you can laugh and grow old in; take the running mix to heart, and you might grow older with them. With Kenan Bell. 18+. $20. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes


Dearling Physique

501 Club

It's been a whirlwind summer for local electro-pop band Dearling Physique. In addition to gigs at more eclectic events like art exhibit openings and live theater showcases, the band has opened for notable touring acts such as Bat for Lashes and the Noisettes. Dearling Physique's willingness to play such wide-ranging shows is indicative of their adaptive, experimental nature, as lead singer Dom Davis has always been one to color outside the lines; his last musical project, Trimmed Hedges, melded together rock, jazz, and R&B with antics like pretending to launch an invisible space ship off the stage. His latest group, Dearling Physique, ventures into darker territory with the addition of brooding electronic whirs and pops, but Davis's enigmatic personality still takes center stage. Regardless of the band backing him, Davis has proven to be a forward-thinking artist capable of merging unlikely genres and audiences to great effect. For Friday night's show, his band will play with Alpha Consumer and the Few Nice Words. 21+. Free. 501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.3848. —Andrea Swensson


Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd

Minnesota State Fair Grandstand

It might not make complete sense to call it the "CMT generation," but the country music channel has certainly had an undeniable effect on the face of the genre. Historically, there's clearly been crossover appeal between the country standards and Southern rock bands, but the past decade has seen an unusual collision between country, pop, and rock. Though not quite as unlikely as Def Leppard performing with the likes of Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw (both of which actually happened), much of this change has had to do with musicians like Kid Rock leaning heavily on their Southern-fried influences. After befriending Hank Williams Jr., Rock gradually moved away from his Bawitdaba rapping with Joe C. and Uncle Kracker, and built a fan following around his countrified songs with the support of CMT. His 2007 album found what might be the ultimate balance between the ever-shifting face of rock-influenced country; the album would go on to sell some four million copies worldwide and help solidify the Detroit native as one of the nation's premier mainstream crossover rock stars. But just as his career would be different without the backing of certain outlets, Rock would be nothing without his influences, and there are few more important to the history of Southern rock than Lynyrd Skynyrd. The legendary band has been touring with him this summer will bring their show to Minnesota as they join Rock for what is likely to be one of the year's most boisterous showcases. All ages. $41-$66. 7 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 651.642.2262. —Chris DeLine


Kelly Clarkson

Minnesota State Fair Grandstand

Few artists have seen such levels of both success and criticism in 2009 as Kelly Clarkson. Take her latest release, for example; All I Ever Wanted debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and has already outsold 2007's My December. In January, the album's first single, "My Life Would Suck Without You," leaped from #97 to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the largest jump in the chart's history. But even as Clarkson's rejuvenated career has been going full-tilt, detractors have still found ways to get theirs. Following the album's release and a variety of public appearances—including a rousing performance on Saturday Night Live—Clarkson was cruelly criticized for her "weight gain" in the media. Most recently there has been an uproar over a cover of SELF magazine in which Clarkson appears to be ridiculously photoshopped, something that was orchestrated by editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger, not Clarkson—though that has done little to stop people from attacking the singer. But despite all the nonsense that has accompanied her most successful release in years, Clarkson has allowed little of it to get in her way. The result? Clarkson continues to take the stage with the same beautiful voice and powerful presence that she's been performing with for years. All ages. $35. 7:30 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 651.642.2262. —Chris DeLine


Vivian Girls

7th St. Entry

None of the three members of NYC's Vivian Girls is actually named Vivian, and they don't front with identical Christian names like the Donnas used to; they're Cassie Ramone, Kickball Katy, and Ali Koehler. Like it or don't, take it or leave it. Their albums—last year's Vivian Girls and the forthcoming follow-up Everything Is Wrong—are much the same. Multi-girl harmonies. Stumbling, bare-assed garage-punk arrangements. Lo-fi fish-lens production. A half-hearted, almost disinterested vocal presence. The songs are short and blurry and buzzy, a la, say, Mika Miko; they tend to shut down before you've had a chance to really get a grip on the burnt melodies or blazing lyricism. The Vivian Girls are like female gang debs who will, fer shure, kick your ass around the block and back. But you don't really mind, and they don't really care how you feel about it. With the Beets and the Sleaze. 18+. $8/$10 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ray Cummings


Buckwheat Zydeco

Dakota Jazz Club

Before discovering the myriad pleasures of zydeco after signing on as an organist with zydeco king Clifton Chenier, Stanley Dural Jr. was infatuated with R&B, soul, and funk. Those elements, along with rock, helped distinguish Dural's own incarnation of zydeco after Chenier inspired him to pick up the accordion and launch his own band. On the 30th anniversary of re-emerging as Buckwheat Zydeco, and newly signed to Alligator Records, Buck has issued his most eclectic album, Lay Your Burden Down, which is rife with rock and R&B, as well as his fine, soulful vocals, gospel, calypso, reggae, and swamp pop. Sometimes there's precious little zydeco involved, and Buck eschews accordion entirely in favor of organ or synth, although there's a nice taste of the genuine article on Buck's Mardi Gras anthem "Throw Me Something, Mister." Still, it's a masterfully realized album, produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, who also contributes sax, joining an all-star guest roster that includes Trombone Shorty, J.J. Grey, and Warren Haynes. Another Chenier alum, Sonny Landreth, contributes searing guitar to a wicked cover of Memphis Minnie's (and Led Zeppelin's) "When the Levee Breaks," Buck's contribution to the post-Katrina canon. Elsewhere, he convincingly covers Grey, Haynes, Springsteen, Jimmy Cliff, and even Captain Beefheart. But Buck never strays far, so expect him to pump the squeezebox for all he's worth and regale the Dakota with a blissful bayou blowout. $28 at 7 p.m.; $17 at 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

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