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The weekend's best concerts: Jan. 25-27

Noname headlines First Avenue on Friday night.

Noname headlines First Avenue on Friday night.

Friday 1.25

Noname @ First Avenue
There are a few unorthodox things about Noname’s rise in the rap world. The Chicago native was a dedicated spoken-word poet before she ever started rapping, none of her songs could be unironically described as a “banger,” and she doesn’t shoot music videos or post much on Instagram. She’s even been called the “anti-Cardi B.” But with her refreshing style and careful quality control, she’s reached a new height in her career with her debut album, Room 25, her first project since the 2016 mixtape Telefone. Rapping over softly pattering beats, Noname (fka Noname Gyps) is a supreme lyricist, unspooling memorable line after memorable line, sometimes about race in America: “Maybe I’m an insomni-black/Bad sleep triggered by bad government,” she raps on “Blaxploitation.” All in all, it’s been an unconventional path for the 26-year-old, but her arrival as a voice-of-a-generation talent is solidified. With Elton. 18+. 8 p.m. $25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden

Drone Not Drones @ Cedar Cultural Center
Now in its sixth year, the marathon music experiment Drone Not Drones returns to raise money for the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders. This year, the 28-hour stretch of uninterrupted drone music brings back alumni like Low’s Alan Sparhawk (whose band is just a few months removed from Double Negative, their best-received album since the early 2000s) and Duluth folkie Gaelynn Lea, among dozens of others. And yes, you’re welcome to bring a pillow. 7 p.m. $20/$30. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis. More info here.Michael Madden

Nao @ Fine Line Music Cafe
Things happened fast for London’s Neo Jessica Joshua once her group the Boxettes dissolved and she entered the alt-R&B vanguard under the moniker Nao. Her first two EPs, particularly 2015’s February 15, led to waves of acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic and, within a year, a co-writing credit on Ariana Grande’s “Be Alright.” Nao has since kept busy with more collaborations, even contributing to Nile Rodgers & Chic’s comeback album It’s About Time, and her own “wonky funk” sound, releasing her astrology-themed sophomore LP in October’s Saturn. With Xavier Omar.18+. 9 p.m. $25. 318 1st. Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.Michael Madden

Complete Friday music listings here.

Saturday 1.26

Neil Young @ Pantages
Many refer to the 1980s as Neil Young’s “lost decade,” but for his Minnesota fanbase, that term may as well refer to the 2010s—the Canadian musical chameleon hasn’t visited the Twin Cities since a solo Northrop show in 2010. He’ll be making up for lost time over the next week with four Minneapolis theater shows, beginning with this performance at Pantages. You’re likely to hear Neil standards such as “Heart of Gold,” “After the Gold Rush,” and “Ohio,” but beyond those classic rock staples that allow the 73-year-old to charge three big ones for the best seats in the house, the composition of his upcoming setlists is anyone’s guess—but our wishlist is here if you’re curious. 7:30 p.m. $50-$300. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. More info here.Alex Rice

Mineral @ Turf Club
Mineral’s original existence was relatively brief and modest, with the Austin emo band breaking up before the release of their second (and, to this day, last) album. But their music itself—especially 1997’s explosive The Power of Failingand the starkly softer but still dynamic EndSerenading—was good enough to live on, eventually making 2014 high time for reunion shows and album reissues. Finally, the band’s first new song in 20 years, the eight-minute “Aurora,” surfaced late last year, followed by a retrospective book in light of the band’s 25th anniversary. With Tancred. 21+. 8 p.m. $30. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul. More info here.Michael Madden

Joan Hutton Jazz Project @ Jazz Central
The ever-resourceful pianist Laura Caviani has been playing out with Hutton more recently—they have a duo concert in Hastings next month—providing a strong third on the front line astride Hutton’s saxophones and David Milne’s woodwinds. Drummer Jendeen Forsberg assures the quintet is majority female and bass Kameron Markworth rounds out the Project, which is dedicated to workshopping Hutton’s originals and are thus her most noteworthy gigs. 8:30 p.m. $10. 407 Central Ave. SE, Minneapolis. More info here.Britt Robson

MØ @ Fine Line
Karen Marie Aagaard Ørsted Andersen—better (and more simply) known as MØ—may still be unestablished as a pop persona, but she’s a star nonetheless. The Danish singer has had an unmissable run of addictive singles and collaborations over the past half decade, often attached to major pop and EDM names, including Charli XCX and the late Avicii. Four years after her full-length debut, MØfinally released her sophomore album in October, Forever Neverland, largely produced by pop secret-weapon du jour Stint. With Abra. $30-$45. 318 1st. Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden

The Lemon Twigs @ First Avenue
Multi-instrumentalist D’Addario brothers Brian and Michael are the Twigs, whose sophomore album, Go To School, branches far out from the theatrical pop-rock of their debut. School is a musical in the Broadway/rock opera sense, its glam-packed, rococo tunes weirdly hung on a story of a chimp treated like a human child. Bizarre (metaphors included), over-the-top and intriguing, the D’Addarios’ cluttered tracks reference quirky singer-songwriters like Harry Nilsson, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, ragtime, and bossa nova, plus power-poppers Big Star and Todd Rundgren, who contributes vocals. Jackie Cohen opens. 18+. 8 p.m. $20/$25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.Rick Mason

Complete Saturday music listings here.

Sunday 1.27

Charlie Parr @ Turf Club
Duluth roots singer-songwriter Charlie Parr is once again venturing south to St. Paul for a residency at the Turf, performing each Sunday in January. Though we didn't get a new studio album from Parr in 2018, his latest, 2017's Dog, stands as one of his essential records, and he did low-key release two live albums though Bandcamp during the spring, taken from performances in the Netherlands and Switzerland. With Tommy Santee Klaws.21+. 7 p.m. $10/$12. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul. More info here.—Michael Madden

Complete Sunday music listings here.