This weekend’s selections prove you don’t have to go to the fair to have a good time. Though we slipped one Grandstand show in here, just for good measure.
Lil Baby @ Varsity Theater
Groomed by famed Quality Control Music co-founders Coach K and Pee, Atlanta’s Lil Baby just started rapping in 2017, but he’s already practically at rap’s forefront. Given his melodic, post-Young Thug sound and steady output (four mixtapes and an album so far), it’s a status Baby was on his way to achieving even before May’s Drake collaboration, “Yes Indeed,” launched him to a new level. Lil Baby has grown from release to release, most recently on his studio debut, Harder Than Ever. With YK Osiris. 15+. 8 p.m. $32. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden
Happy Apple @ Dakota Jazz Club
Call it prog-jazz, jazz-punk, or the place where drummer Dave King found the code for his mojo; Happy Apple are one of the more enriching, integral, and influential ensembles to grace the Twin Cities in the past quarter-century. Although they haven’t cut an album in more than a decade, the music will be of the moment, with bassist Erik Fratke and saxophonist Michael Lewis ready to share King’s love of catchy melodies and splattered dissonance as tandem tonics. 7 & 9 p.m. $20-$25. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson
Seu Jorge @ Pantages Theatre
North American audiences know Seu Jorge mostly from his indelible cameos in Wes Anderson’s 2004 film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, where he sings David Bowie songs in Portuguese, and his subsequent run of Bowie tribute concerts. But recent shows suggest this gig will be Seu Jorge the samba-funk star from the Brazilian favelas, who will emphasize a treasure trove of his own bracing music along with the occasional cover of Bowie and other far-ranging artists. All ages. 8 p.m. $33.50-$48.50. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson
Complete Friday music listings here.
Trampled by Turtles @ Minnesota State Fair Grandstand
Duluth bluegrass heroes Trampled by Turtles returned in May with Life Is Good on the Open Road, their first album in four years and third to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s bluegrass chart. The album followed a hiatus the band took to pursue other endeavors (including frontman Dave Simonett’s 2017 post-divorce album as Dead Man Winter), and they sound successfully recommitted and chemistry-fueled. TBT is the only Minnesota act headlining a Grandstand performance at this year’s State Fair. With Lord Huron and Lissie. 6 p.m. $35. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul. More info here.—Michael Madden
Alejandro Escovedo & Joe Ely @ Dakota Jazz Club
These extraordinary Texas troubadours join forces for a rare, song-swapping evening. Ely came out of the Panhandle with a wind-whipped, border-wall-defying array of rootsy rock, honky-tonk, Tex-Mex, and country, juggling a solo career with membership in the Flatlanders and Los Super Seven. The Austin-raised Escovedo negotiated punk, glam, and alt-country on his way to epitomizing the rock ’n’ roll spirit. The son of Mexican immigrants, Escovedo’s forthcoming album, The Crossing, addresses his experience with a slew of guests, including Ely and MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer on the scorching lead single, “Sonica USA.” 7 p.m. $45—$60. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here.—Rick Mason
Michael Franti & Spearhead @ Minnesota Zoo
Franti gigs are best outdoors because the hop-around dynamo of energy he invariably generates fills the space anyway. And because he is a good-natured dude in more ways than one; his amalgam of hip-hop, reggae, funk, and rock is viscerally communal. With a new film/album ( Stay Human), a happy marriage, and a kid on the way, Franti will be on cloud 10—and hoist you up there by the end of the gig. All ages. 7:30 p.m. $55-$67.50. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley. More info here.—Britt Robson
Complete Saturday music listings here.
Black Pumas @ Turf Club
Every now and then a voice comes along that interrupts your routine with its resonance. Eric Burton is one of those voices, reminiscent of old souls ranging from Al Green back to Jackie Wilson to Sam Cooke in its amiable fluidity. Burton’s band, the Black Pumas, is produced by Grupo Fantasma honcho Adrian Quesada and billed as psychedelic soul. But make no mistake: Burton is the epicenter, and it’ll definitely be worth catching this phase of his promising career.21+. 7 p.m. $12-$15. 1611 University Ave., St. Paul. More info here.—Britt Robson
Asleep at the Wheel @ Dakota Jazz Club
Who says you can’t reinvent the Wheel? Certainly not Ray Benson, who’s repeatedly spruced up the purple sage as leader of Asleep At The Wheel since 1970. The latest incarnation of the iconic Western swing band will issue New Routes, its first album of new material in a decade next month. Terrific singer/fiddler Katie Shore is among a mostly new but typically masterfully tight and rollicking lineup. They help AATW scamper through an inspired set of originals and covers, running from Trixie Smith to Johnny Cash to an Avetts-assisted Nelson tribute, “Willie Got There First.” 6 & 8 p.m. $30—$45. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here.—Rick Mason
Complete Sunday music listings here.