It's the last weekend before Halloween, which is traditionally celebrated by going to see live music. OK, I made that up.
Hailu Mergia @ Cedar Cultural Center
In the ’60s and ‘70s, Hailu Mergia was a top Addis Ababa bandleader and a key practitioner of Ethio-jazz, an instrumental subgenre that fused jazz, funk, and rock with Ethiopian folk music and its traditional pentatonic scales. Mergia and his Walias Band survived the first years of the repressive Derg, but he eventually immigrated to the U.S., where for several decades he carried on as a musical hobbyist while driving a cab in D.C. His autumn-years renaissance came after the Awesome Tapes from Africa label reissued 1985’s Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument/Shemonmuanaye, a homesick set of vampy instrumentals on which Mergia layers accordion, synths, and electric piano over percolating analog drum-machine patterns. Hipsters are known to overrate hissy esoterica, but this is rewarding stuff; Mergia isn’t a grand conceptualist or a flash virtuoso, but he’s an expressive player, and the album’s textures are seductively out of time: ’80s music anticipating how ’90s electro-nostalgists would hear the ’70s. He fronts a jazz trio on his new album, Lala Belu, a likeable if not triumphant return to the studio highlighted by the pensively funky title track and an album-closing solo piano ballad. Our own Yohannes Tona Band opens. 8 p.m. $25 ($20 for Walker members). 416 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis. More info here.–Dylan Hicks
Mitski @ First Avenue
Two years ago, with her breakthrough album, Puberty 2, and its standout single “Your Best American Girl,” Mitski Miyawaki emerged as an indie-rock revelation, an evocatively melancholy new voice in a genre increasingly viewed as stagnant. None other than Iggy Pop would later call her “probably the most advanced American songwriter that I know.” For her new, fifth album, August’s Be the Cowboy, Mitski builds on the lo-fi fuzz of her preceding work with glimmering synths and chamber-pop instrumentation, and she eschews the previous album’s aching introspection in favor of fiction and narrative. (There’s a song called “Me and My Husband”; Mitski isn’t married.) But even with those alterations, her songs still feel deeply honest and intimate. They’re also sneakily catchy, suggesting the already masterful songwriter is getting even better all-around. With Overcoats. 18+. 8 p.m. Sold out. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.— Michael Madden
Yaeji @ Fine Line
It’s only taken Kathy Yaeji Lee two EPs to emerge as one of electronic music’s most exciting newcomers, blending deep-house and trap while also showing flashes of pop potential. Having grown up in Queens and Seoul, Yaeji sings (and quasi-raps) in both English and Korean, and there’s a cultural progressiveness at the heart of her music. Still, some of Yaeji’s best songs, like “raingurl” and “drink i’m sippin on,” are just simply, addictively fun. With Beta Librae and Nancy Cheng.18+. 9 p.m. $20/$35. 318 1st. Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden
Complete Friday music listings here.
Masego @ Fine Line
The debut album from Jamaica-born, Virginia-raised singer and multi-instrumental Masego offers one clear takeaway: The dude is just an incredible all-around talent, with seemingly infinite potential. Though the 25-year-old has dubbed his own sound “trap house jazz,” the new LP Lady Lady is an intoxicating, sweeping synthesis of various forms of black music, like a slightly lower-key version of the recent breakthrough of another musical polymath, Anderson Paak’s Malibu. With VanJess. 18+. 9 p.m. $20-$35. 318 1st. Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians @ First Avenue
In 1988 Edie Brickell & New Bohemians sashayed out of Dallas with a wonderfully quirky, musically intriguing left field hit album, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, and single, “What I Am.” Others followed in 1990, 2006 and now, with the original band intact, Rocket. Meanwhile, Brickell married Paul Simon, issued a few solo albums and dipped into bluegrass with Steve Martin. Rocket soars on the band’s enduring charms: Brickell’s whimsical phrasing and wordplay; breezy tunes twisting among rootsy pop, bristly R&B, reggae and, on the infectious “What Makes You Happy,” spiraling jazzbo funk.18+. 7:30 p.m. $30—$35. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Rick Mason
Complete Saturday music listings here.
Kevin Gates @ Myth
Baton Rouge rapper Kevin Gates’ career has experienced some turbulence; he’s spent his year bouncing back from a prison stint and trying to re-ascend to the level he elevated to via 2016 hits “Really Really” and “2 Phones.” Before those singles, Gates was a prolific regional star, cranking out both granite-hard street-rap and confessional storytelling. The new, third installment in his fan-favorite Luca Brasi mixtape series proves that if pop stardom eludes him in the future, he’ll still enjoy cult-hero status. With Yung Bleu and Tokyo Jetz.8 p.m. $37.50. 3090 Southlawn Dr., St. Paul. More info here.—Michael Madden
Nirmala Rajasekar @ Cedar Cultural Center
Rajasekar, who resides in Plymouth, is one of the top handful of veena players in the world. (The veena is a stringed East Indian instrument akin to the oud or guitar, only more resonant.) This gig celebrates the release of Maithree, which means “friendship,” and deftly crosses genres and cultures with the expert aid of cellist Michelle Kinney, Pat O’Keefe on reeds, Tim O’Keefe on percussion, and another profound East Indian master, Thanjavur K. Murugaboopathi, on percussion. 3 p.m. $12 ($15 day of show). 416 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson
Clara Osowski and Jeremy Walker @ The Dakota
Another CD release party, this one for the debut album Haunted Blue, a poetry-and-music affair by international award-winning mezzo-soprano Osowski and pianist Jeremy Walker. Osowski was vital to Walker’s 7 Psalms, and the tenor vocalist from that project, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, is also on board, with the redoubtable bassist/cellist Anthony Cox rounding out the band. 6 p.m. $20. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson
Complete Sunday music listings here.