The best Twin Cities concerts: 8/28 - 9/3

The best Twin Cities concerts: 8/28 - 9/3
Photo by Kii Arens

In case you haven't noticed, it's hot outside. Make sure you are prepared for all the outdoor fun. The State Fair is hosting all sorts of great music. Be sure to check out Usonia and Bad Bad Hats Thursday, MN Music-on-a-Stick on Friday, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Saturday and many more. The legendary Diana Ross will be performing at the Orpheum Wednesday while Conor Oberst's Desaparecidos hits the First Avenue Mainroom.

Wednesday 8.28.2013

First Avenue
Roaring back to life last year after decade of silence, Conor Oberst's post-punk quintet Desaparecidos miraculously sound even more angry and alienated as adults than they did as a bunch of barely legal dudes. The three 7-inch singles they've released since reuniting still are politically charged and aggressively played as their anti establishment predecessor, 2002's Read Music/Speak Spanish. All the calls for class warfare ("The Left Is Right") and shout outs to Chilean communist youth leaders ("To Amo Camila Vallejo") would feel perhaps a smidge too didactic but for the music, which is irrepressibly catchy and triumphant. With Birthday Suits. --Rob Van Alstyne
18+, $25, 8 PM

The White Buffalo with The Lonely Wild and Roadkill Ghost Choir
7th Street Entry
Honesty and Reflection
18+, $14/$15, 7:30 PM

Tree Blood with Myotis and Fury Things
Distorted Chaos
21+, FREE, 10 PM

Diana Ross
Orpheum Theatre
Diana Ross's last new material was 2007's unremarkable I Love You, but with a full-size band in tow and multicolored dresses more extravagant than those she wore during Motown's prime, she still puts on a strong live show. There's also her music: One of the few vocalists who found a footing in the pop landscapes of both the mid-'60s (as leader of the confectionary Supremes) and the early '80s (with effervescent disco-era hits like "I'm Coming Out"), Ross has embedded God knows how many melodies in the collective subconscious of every generation since the baby boomers. With so much historic pop inevitable, it's doubtful there's another event late this summer that both you and Grandma 
can get so nostalgic over. --Mike Madden
$45-85, 8 PM 

Thursday 8.29.2013

Birds of Chicago
7th St. Entry
The collective Birds of Chicago is built around the beguiling vocals and sublime, roots-infused songs of Allison Russell and JT Nero, a.k.a. Jeremy Lindsay. Late last year the pair released the effusively praised eponymous debut album of their new entity, which can quickly expand with accordions, horns, extra vocalists, and more. Here, they'll be joined by drummer Nick Chambers and bassist Chris Merrill. Both Russell and Lindsay have charmingly idiosyncratic voices, supple blends of brittle country, radiant gospel, resilient soul, mountain folk, and creaky pop, marvelously entwining to create a timeless, diaphanous intimacy. The songs, characterized by a sort of rustic surrealism, initially seem as breezy as the music. But they're haunted by loss, sorrow, alienation, even murder; their poetry is as exquisite as the parlor-like arrangements, floating on banjo lines, irony etched by a clarinet. -Rick Mason
18+. $10-$12. 8 PM

Usonia and Bad Bad Hats
State Fair
Local Grooves

'Cat Vid Fest After Party' w/ 
Kitten Forever & DJs Black Lacquer, 
Ben Lashes & more
Kitty Cat Klub
21+, FREE, 10 PM

Friday 8.30.2013

MN Music-On-A-Stick
MN State Fair Grandstand
The yearly tradition that is MN Music-On-A-Stick is a testament to the State Fair's 
magical drawing power -- both for the fans and the musicians performing. The 89.3 the 
Current-assembled lineup features Duluth party pickin' experts Trampled by Turtles, 
folk vet Mason Jennings, Rhymesayers rapper P.O.S, and hip-hop trio the Chalice. Each 
says plenty for the diverse and wonderful scene cultivated recently, but then there's 
the Suburbs. They became one of the state's most revered and danceable acts of the 
'80s, buoyed by hits like "Love Is the Law" and "Rattle My Bones." Then they broke 
up in 1987. Now, the creative fuselage of Chan Poling, Beej Chaney, Hugo Klaers, and 
a couple of newer recruits has worked its way back to a full reemergence this year. 
Marking the occasion is Kickstarter-funded Si Sauvage, ranging from the fun-filled 
sneer at "Dumb Ass Kids" to "Turn the Radio On," a wistful, but catchy portrait of 
Poling dancing with his departed wife. This show marks the album's release, and it's 
the only local Suburbs gig on the calendars for the foreseeable future. --Reed Fischer 
$28, 5 PM

Fire in the Northern Firs with Driftwood Pyre, The Persian Leaps (Record Release Party) and GLOSS 
Sonic Waves
21+, $5, 9 PM

The Love Language
Turf Club
Recorded with rotating players and produced by the Twin Cites' very own BJ Burton, the Love Language's third album, Ruby Red, approaches the Arcade Fire's expansive anthems. Frontman Stuart McLamb's impassioned crooning fits the cinematically inclined material, which spans swooning orchestral-pop ("Hi Life") and spiky garage-rock ("First Shot"). Wall-of-sound indie-rock can still feel bracingly immediate in the right hands, and the Love Language's epic tunes ultimately feel predestined for similarly big rooms. --Rob Van Alstyne
21+, $10, 8 PM

Transmission's Tribute to John Hughes
First Avenue Mainroom
80s Kid Dance Night
18+, $6/$8, 8 PM

Red Daughters, Speed's the Name,  The Goondas and Southside Desire
Varsity Theater
18+, $8, 7 PM

Rosie Flores with Kenny Neal and Robert Randolph
MN State Fair Bandshell FRIDAY 8.30 & SATURDAY 8.31
This two-day lineup at the Bandshell should get a blue ribbon. Rockabilly filly Rosie Flores, here leading her Rivetors, can be subtle guitarist but also spit lightning on electric, a singer who can do heartache as well as wire-tough and a clever writer to boot. Her latest, Working Girl's Guitar, stretches from roots rock to hard country, surf and swing, winding up with a terrific, jazzy, acoustic version of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Baton Rouge's Kenny Neal learned the blues from his illustrious father, harmonica ace Raful, but focuses on a stinging guitar style influenced by longtime associate Buddy Guy. He's also a soulful vocalist, while his family band plays blues dripping with the hoodoo spirit of the Louisiana swamps. Finally, sacred steel guitar 
wizard Robert Randolph and his more formally named Family Band arrive with an energetic new album, Lickety Split.  --Rick Mason
Free with fair admittance. Various times. State Fairgrounds, St. Paul.

El Ten Eleven with Eliot Lipp 
7th St. Entry
Power Duo 
18+, $12/$14, 9 PM

Kenny Loggins with Blue Sky Riders
State Theatre
Singer/Guitar Slinger
$46.50-$56.50 8 PM

FOODSTOCK MN 2013: With MN Fats, Muja 
Messiah, La Madness, the Jelly Project, 6-1-Stew, & more.
Proceeds benefit MN Foodshelves
18+, $10,  7:30 PM

Saturday 8.31.2013

The Lower 48
Triple Rock
Nearly four years after moving to Portland, ex-locals the Lower 48 return to town older, wiser, and far grittier in sound. Their new self-titled EP, recorded as a trio after splitting with a longtime member, finds core vocalists-songwriters Sarah Parson and Ben Braden now worshiping at the altar of the Kinks rather than the Decemberists. Sha-la-la- and handclapheavy, the band's foray into British Invasion imitation at times adheres closely to the sounds of yesteryear, but the group are clearly talented classicists. With Umami, Cjell Cruze. --Rob Van Alstyne
18+, $8, 8 PM

Sick Puppies with Pinwheel and Battlefish
Mill City Nights
Alt Rock for Cheap
18+, $9.37, 8 PM

Get the Led Out
Zep. Trib.
18+, $22-$25, 7:30 PM

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: with Talib Kweli, and Chance the Rapper
Minnesota State Fair Grandstand
Top 40 Rhymes
SOLD OUT, 7:30 PM 

Titus Andronicus with Lost Boy  
7th St. Entry
Raucous Machine
18+, $15,  8 PM

Sunday 9.1.2013

Adam Ant
Mill City Nights
It's one of the great shames of the '80s American rock scene that we didn't know what to do with Adam Ant. He arrived on our shores with an outsized persona and a bag full of happy post-punk, but is remembered for the bare minimum of his excellent singles. After roughly two decades, Ant has now formed a new backing band -- The Good, the Mad and the Lovely Posse -- and is touring on a new album. That album stretches from twangy Americana to wispy British pop, proving an odd pairing with Ant's beat-driven anthems from the Reagan era. Still, Ant's showmanship remains untouched, and he's aiming to deliver his entire oeuvre in a single jolt of electricity. With Prima Donna. --Ian Traas
21+, $25, 8 PM

Bleeding Rainbow with Strange Relations and Driver Dress
7th Street Entry
Minimal Noise Pop
18+, $8, 8 PM

Triple Rock 
Austra certainly aren't the only band marrying thumping drums to dark gothic overtones, but they win at being the most emotive. Frontwoman Katie Stelmanis airs her grievances for a brightly-lit disco in a quavering voice, and flips house music over to examine its psychological underbelly. Arpeggiated basslines lay the groundwork for Stelmanis to exorcise personal and political demons via her classically-trained singing, and the results emit a haunted pulse that slinks and startles like some sexy ghost. With Diana. --Ian Traas  
18+, $15 , 8 PM 

O'Brother with Native, Daylight and Animal Lover
7th Street Entry
Three Guitar Attack
18+, $10/$12, 7 PM

Flume with Gigamesh and Touch Sensitive 
First Avenue Mainroom
No-Holds-Barred Attitude
18+, $15, 8 PM

Monday 9.2.2013

Guys. It's Labor Day. Go grill or something.

Tuesday 9.3.2013

Brian Laidlaw & the Family Trade with Very Small Animal  and We Are the Willows
21+, 10 PM

Where I'm Going:

Cat Video Festival and Usonia @ The State Fair

Red Daughters, Speed's the Name @ The Varsity

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