Eddie Vedder, the Black Keys, the Monkees, and more

The ever-dapper Elvis Costello

The ever-dapper Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello and the Imposters

State Theatre on Wednesday 6.29

Anybody who's seen Declan MacManus hosting his grand Spectacle television program knows that close beneath the surface of his intellectual facade lurks the guise of a carnival barker and impresario. Along with, of course, his renaissance rocker alter ego, Elvis Costello. His current road trip, the Spectacular Spinning Songbook tour, brings it all together, as Costello presides over an extravaganza complete with caged go-go dancers and an enormous wheel that audience members get to spin to determine which songs the band will play. Few have catalogs as rich, deep, and diverse as Costello's, meaning spinners may spark anything from lacerating punk to country weepers via soul, the odd flamenco, a bit of Tin Pan Alley, maybe something from his recent National Ransom album. Or, as Costello has promised, songs about love, sex, death, and dancing, "but not necessarily in that order." All ages. $49-$89. 7:30 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Stephen Marley

First Avenue on Wednesday 6.29

The raspy-voiced second son of Bob Marley sang with the Melody Makers from childhood onward, but made his deepest mark as a producer bringing hip hop into the fold of his father's legacy and vice versa—most spectacularly on brother Damian Marley's recent albums, including last year's essential collaboration with Nas, Distant Relatives. Stephen Marley's own albums have gone somewhat overlooked by comparison, but yield many riches, with the same sophisticated breadth of Jamaican styles, roots to dancehall, absorbed into an edgy R&B-inflected reggae. The new Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life emphasizes the one-drop and acoustic-orchestral side of things (check out "Now I Know") while still making room for dub, ragga, and his many famous brothers. 18+. $20. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes

An Horse

Varsity Theater on Wednesday 6.29

Although the Aussie indie-rock outfit An Horse consists only of guitarist/lead singer Kate Cooper and drummer/vocalist Damon Cox, the duo fires up a full, bristling sound peppered with abundant, ripe hooks. Cooper's sprawling, squally electric work stirs up a persistent, anthemic, ringing buzz that Cox propels into an infectious gallop, yielding shadowy power pop with an amiably punkish attitude. Cooper's relatively deliberate phrasing nicely contrasts with the more turbulent instrumental work, while her sinewy tone adds textural definition, particularly on "Dressed Sharply" and "Trains and Tracks" from AH's new sophomore release, Walls. She can also sound a bit plaintive on more acoustic songs like the title track. But either way, her musings about romantic travails are skewed just enough to make them consistently fresh. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rick Mason

Taj Mahal and Mavis Staples

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater on Wednesday 6.29

A pair of veteran treasures synonymous with African-American roots music, Taj Mahal and Mavis Staples each have etched enduring careers and legacies with compelling visions and performances. Taj parlayed an early fascination with country blues into an extraordinary journey along the trail of the African diaspora, following its influential tendrils into jazz, soul, folk, ragtime, and myriad international genres, from reggae to Hawaiian. Staples is a powerful singer who literally grew up in her family's gospel/soul/pop group, the Staple Singers, who were an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement. Mavis's marvelously spirited versions of gospel and civil rights standards are wonders—part history lesson, part revival. Plus she's a great interpreter of diverse material. Her Jeff Tweedy-produced You Are Not Alone covers Randy Newman, Allen Toussaint, John Fogerty, Pops Staples, and Tweedy himself. All ages. $47. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Rick Mason

Bill Callahan

Cedar Cultural Center on Friday 7.1

Gil Scott-Heron covered Smog's "I'm New Here" for what turned out to be his final album, giving that release the same title, and you can tell what the late genius must have heard and been moved by in singer Bill Callahan's warm, oaken croak. With a poetic sing-speak worthy of Kermit the Frog, Callahan is wry and poignant but cool, minimalist in the way underground types were in the '90s. He's grown into his own style of understated chamber folk-pop, and his new album on Drag City, Apocalypse, is typically beautiful, though he keeps the guitar distortion and loopy experimentation of old on stand-by. For more on Callahan, see our interview on p. 40. All ages. $15. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Peter S. Scholtes

The Monkees

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater on Friday 7.1 and Saturday 7.2

A band conceived entirely for an NBC television series debuting in 1966, the Monkees lived down and broke away from their cynical "prefab four" origins just a couple of years into their brilliant career—with the end of their show and the self-mocking psychedelic cult film Head, co-written by Jack Nicholson. Still, it took the '80s embrace of MTV, Minor Threat, and Run-DMC (sampling "Mary, Mary") for another generation to consider them cool, with Rhino reissues, live comebacks, and widespread recognition of an undeniable hit list to follow. This reunion, minus Michael Nesmith, seems handsomely mounted, with video breaking up the hits and obscurities, and outrage over "prefab" itself now seeming quaint. All ages. $65-$77.50. 7 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Peter S. Scholtes

Dan Israel (CD-release show)

Aster Cafe on Saturday 7.2

Dan Israel has quietly made quite a music career for himself, one filled with honest, affecting songwriting that equally captures both the euphoric highs and gloomy lows of modern living, all without a hint of pretension or posturing. He's currently celebrating the release of his 11th album, Crosstown Traveler, a compelling new batch of tunes that smoothly blends his quieter, more reflective songs with a louder, more robust roots-rock sound, all the while colored by Israel's astute lyrics and his rich, weathered vocals. He's always been a musician who deserves a wider audience, and hopefully with this new collection of strong, striking songs, the acclaim and recognition will come to one of the area's most consistent songwriters. With Slim Dunlap and Terry Walsh. All ages. $8. 9 p.m. 125 SE Main St., Minneapolis; 612.379.3138. —Erik Thompson

Eddie Vedder

Orpheum Theatre on Saturday 7.2

The year 2011 is shaping up to be quite a memorable one for Pearl Jam. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary in the music biz with a two-night blow-out festival at Alpine Valley later this summer, as well as the subsequent release of a Cameron Crowe-directed documentary on their venerable career. And on top of all of that, PJ's frontman, Eddie Vedder, has just released a unique new solo album, Ukulele Songs, a deeply personal batch of songs that feature Vedder starkly strumming away on a ukulele. And while the swirling guitars of his principal band have been stripped away, the new tunes are all injected with Vedder's percipient worldview and his unmistakable gravelly croon. This intimate theater show should feature a diverse cross-section of songs from throughout Vedder's distinguished career, as well as quite a few choice covers that will serve as a knowing nod from the singer to those who have influenced him along the way. With Glen Hansard. All ages. $79. 7:30 p.m. 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Erik Thompson

The Black Keys

Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Sunday 7.3

The Black Keys have blown up. They have gone from a band that had trouble filling up the Entry back in the day, to consistently packing First Avenue on multiple-night stands, to their biggest local gig yet, an immediately sold-out stint at Roy Wilkins. After releasing one of the strongest, most assured records of their career with Brothers, Akron duo has been on a natural ascension, one filled with a consistently growing audience, multiple Grammy Awards, and a near-ubiquitous presence on current TV advertisements. But the music is ultimately what matters most, and their soulful sound is a modern mix of garage rock and old-school blues that has certainly found its audience, while their raucous live show is always incendiary and a guaranteed good time—if you're lucky enough to have a ticket, that is. With Cage the Elephant. All ages. $39.50. 7:30 p.m. —Erik Thompson