The week's 27 best concerts: Aug. 23-29

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Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) will perform at the Skyway Theatre on Sunday, Aug. 27.

Rounding up the week's best concerts in the Twin Cities.

Dave Rawlings Machine
Pantages Theatre, Wednesday 8.23
Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch have issued eight albums as a duo, each attributed to one performer or the other, with Rawlings getting top billing on the latest, Poor David’s Almanack. Welch is there all the way, co-writing half the songs and harmonizing throughout, but Rawlings’ expressive, reedy voice leads off, and he laces the tracks with excellent, intricate guitar work. There’s plenty of help from the likes of fiddler Brittany Haas, banjoist Willie Watson, and Dawes’ Goldsmith brothers, infusing exquisitely crafted songs like “Midnight Train” with rustic mountain spirit. Rawlings has a whimsical streak too. On the drawly, deadpan “Yup” even the devil can’t abide a farmer’s annoying wife, and the Carter Family-like “Good God a Woman” is a creation tale in which “the big man” nearly neglects lust. Finally, two electric country-rockers seem straight out of Crazy Horse’s songbook: “Guitar Man” and the magnificent, hazard-strewn “Cumberland Gap.” 8 p.m. $40. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. —Rick Mason

  • ENEMY PLANES Aug. 23, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • BIRTHDAY SUITS Aug. 23, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • THE BAREFOOT MOVEMENT Aug. 23, 7:00 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center

Debbie Duncan
Dakota, Thursday 8.24
Debbie Duncan is the Twin Cities’ First Lady of Song. Not only can her voice gyrate every which way from intimate ballads to spectacular scatting to belting the blues, but she’s a dynamic performer and great song interpreter. Duncan’s a consummate jazz singer, with streaks of Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, but she’s also comfortable with soul, gospel, funk, and pop. A Detroit native who early on sang backup for Mitch Ryder and Bob Seger, then worked in L.A., she’s been a stalwart on the local scene since arriving in the early 1980s to dazzle audiences at the bustling nightclub Rupert’s in Golden Valley. Now Duncan is headed back to the Dakota to cut a new live album 25 years after recording her first at the club. It’ll be called Full Circle and will reflect her career with fresh arrangements of some of the tunes that have punctuated her sets over the years, plus, she said, “a bunch of surprises” and one song from the original album, “(Pack Your) Suitcase Blues.” 7 p.m. $20. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. —Rick Mason

  • WASHED OUT Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m. at First Avenue
  • ILLISM (RECORD RELEASE SHOW) Aug. 24, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • HECTOR "EL TORITO" ACOSTA Aug. 24, 7:00 p.m. at Muse Event Center
  • TIM MCGRAW AND FAITH HILL Aug. 25-26, 7:30 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center
  • 2 CHAINZ Aug. 25, 8:00 p.m. at Palace Theatre
  • SIMS AND MIKE MICTLAN Aug. 25, 11:00 p.m. at Icehouse

Scientist
Triple Rock Social Club, Saturday 8.26
Fifty-seven-year-old Kingston native and dub reggae icon Scientist, born Hopeton Overton Brown, grew up as a mentee of the legendary King Tubby as well as elders like Bunny Lee, Pat Kelly, and Prince Jammy. Scientist’s favored spaciousness and echoey textures, as well as his prodigious mind as a mixer, were on full display on ’80s LPs like the essential Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires (also one of many Scientist LPs to be covered with memorably bold and cartoonish artwork). Now more than 40 years into his career, he’s recently found inspiration in working with singers like Tippa Irie, Sabrina Pallini, and Ilhame Paris, three women who all factored heavily into January’s great Scientist the Untouchable. Scientist’s performance on Saturday, a Red Bull Sound Select event, will feature his fellow Kingston native Hempress Sativa, with Peaking Lights and Psymun opening. 18+. 8 p.m. $5-$15. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-333-7399. —Michael Madden

  • CHASTITY BROWN Aug. 26, 2:00 p.m. at Franconia Sculpture Park
  • THE SIREN SIX Aug. 26, 4:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • VALET AND TENDER YEARS Aug. 26, 8:00 p.m. at The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge

Yasiin Bey
Skyway Theatre, Sunday 8.27
Brooklyn native Yasiin Bey has largely retreated from fame to a state of semi-retirement. But back in 2009, when he was still known to the world as Mos Def, he released one of the last decade’s essential indie-rap albums, The Ecstatic, with beats indebted to psych rock, Eurodance, and samba. His only release since then, a joint effort with producer Ferrari Sheppard from last December, turned out to be virtually D.O.A. Fortunately, Sunday’s show promises a front-to-back performance of the 43-year-old Bey’s classic album from 1999, Black on Both Sides. The LP stands as a defining document of Rawkus Records’ indie-rap movement in the late ’90s—confident and purposeful in its Afrocentrism, complemented by a fluid songcraft that eludes so many of the conscious rappers it influenced. 8 p.m. $30-$35. 711 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-333-6100. —Michael Madden

  • THE BRIAN MCKNIGHT 4 Aug. 27, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • DAVID BROMBERG QUINTET Aug. 27-28, 8:00 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • ENDLESS BOOGIE Aug. 27, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • LAETITIA SADIER SOURCE ENSEMBLE Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • DEVILDRIVER Aug. 28, 5:00 p.m. at Cabooze
  • PAA KOW Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center

Kevin Morby
Turf Club, Tuesday 8.29
Along with contemporaries like Adam Granduciel (of the War on Drugs), Kurt Vile, and Steve Gunn, the Kansas City, Missouri native Kevin Morby is a modern master of a style of folk-rock that evokes Dylan’s output during his post-motorcycle-wreck ’60s. Formerly of the bands Woods and the Babies, Morby has expediently released four albums in as many years, with the inevitable Dylan and Cohen comparisons becoming less apt as his singing and writing have become more distinctly his. Last year’s Singing Saw was a clear breakthrough, with Morby masterfully incorporating sweeping orchestration—take “I Have Been to the Mountain,” so majestic with its horns and backing vocals that it’s almost shocking to realize it’s only three minutes long. This June, Morby, 29, returned with the more rock- and lead guitar-oriented City Music, complete with a blast of a Ramones homage called “1234” and a stripped-down cover of L.A. punks the Germs’ “Caught in My Eye.” Shannon Lay opens. 21+. 7:30 p.m. $15. 1601 University Ave. St. Paul; 651-647-0486. —Michael Madden 

Midnight Oil
First Avenue, Tuesday 8.29
Longtime political activists and self-proclaimed agitators, the Australian rockers Midnight Oil and their seven-foot lead singer, Peter Garrett, have fittingly chosen these alarming, tumultuous times to resurface. The Oils are midway through their first tour in 15 years, touting progressive and environmental issues—and offering several new box sets, including rarities. Garrett spent most of the interim as an elected member of Australia’s Parliament and a Cabinet minister with portfolios in the arts, environment, and education. The band’s taut, incendiary rock anthems, exemplified by the hit “Beds Are Burning,” featured lyrics supporting indigenous people’s rights, social justice, and ecological protection. Garrett issued a politically charged solo album last year, A Version of Now. No word on new Oils material. Aussie punkabillies the Living End open. 18+. 7 p.m. $50. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. —Rick Mason

  • THE ALARM Aug. 29, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • INDIGO GIRLS Aug. 29, 7:00 p.m. at Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
  • VERITE Aug. 29, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry


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