The week's 27 best concerts: Jan. 25-31


Somi Provided

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

  • MAYHEM Jan. 25, 7:00 p.m. at Cabooze
  • TRUCKFIGHTERS Jan. 25, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • BEAR'S DEN Jan. 25, 7:00 p.m. at Fine Line Music Cafe
  • ALCEST Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m. at Turf Club
  • BLINDS (EP RELEASE SHOW) Jan. 26, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • DWEEZIL ZAPPA: 50 YEARS OF FRANK Jan. 26, 7:00 p.m. at First Avenue

Cedar Cultural Center, Friday 1.27
Born in the Republic of Georgia, Ilusha Tsinadze moved to New York City with his parents when he was eight. After studying jazz guitar in college, he began to reconnect to Georgia’s folk tradition. He visited relatives in his home country, collected songs and stories, and formed a band back in NY with some of the city’s choice folk and jazz musicians. On 2011’s Deda Ena (Mother Tongue), Ilusha led an acoustic mix of guitars, bass, accordion, clarinet, violin, and percussion on an excursion into skirling Eastern European motifs and rhythms, dark melodies, and sprightly dances. It’s sublime traditional Georgian music played non-traditionally, he says, and there are quite a few obvious threads of Western genres woven into the pieces. “Mtiuluri,” for instance, is an exuberant mountain warrior dance with Celtic overtones, particularly in the raging violin and galloping rhythms. The instrumentation and vocal harmonies (sung in Georgian) on “Mokhevis Kalo Tinao” lean to bluegrass. Plus there are jazzy flourishes laced throughout, especially on the original “Get Reel.” Local band Srazhaly open. 8 p.m. $15-$18. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-338-2674. — Rick Mason

Ordway, Friday 1.27
Somi is an exquisite, sophisticated, and sultry singer. She can dice nuance with sly imagination as well as shoot flames of passion, etching emotional highs and lows with rare finesse. Born and raised in Illinois, daughter of parents from Uganda and Rwanda, Somi calls her music New African Jazz, a distinctive fusion of jazz, soul, R&B, and a wide swath of African music, mostly Afro-pop. She upped the ante on that already powerful formula when she moved to Lagos, Nigeria, for 18 months before recording her last album, The Lagos Music Salon. It’s extraordinarily conceived and accomplished, telling vivid stories of pain, anguish, love, and empowerment with riveting intensity and beguiling charm. Angélique Kidjo shares vocals on “Lady Revisited,” which taps Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat. “Love Juju” evokes King Sunny Ade’s scintillating guitar. Rapper Common guests on “When Rivers Cry,” a tale of environmental degradation with neo-classical strings. “Four Women” picks up Nina Simone’s tale of African women’s travails. Expect Somi to preview material from her next album, Petite Afrique. 7:30 p.m. $27-$37. 345 Washington St., St. Paul; 651-224-4222. — Rick Mason

The Current’s 12th Birthday Party
First Avenue, Friday 1.27 & Saturday 1.28
Frankly, there isn’t enough room in this space to adequately praise all the acts slated to play 89.3 the Current’s two-night 12th birthday celebration. Two of Minnesota’s beloved singer-songwriters — Minneapolis’ Jeremy Messersmith, whose most recent release is 2014’s Heart Murmurs, and St. Paul’s Haley Bonar, who dropped her celebrated Impossible Dream LP last year — are slated to headline on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Non-local talent will include the thoroughly genuine Philly-based rock act Strand of Oaks (whose upcoming Hard Love LP, out next month, is something to get excited about) and the harmony-happy sister trio Joseph on Friday, then the heavily Beatles- and Beach Boys-influenced youngsters the Lemon Twigs on Saturday. The rest of the lineup largely serves as a glimpse of Minnesota’s musical well-roundedness, with highlights including (but not limited to) Afrobeat ensemble Black Market Brass on Friday, plus funky Afrofuturist experimenters ZULUZULUU and garage-rocker Monica LaPlante on Saturday. 18+. 7 p.m. $20 per night. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. — Michael Madden

  • LOUD AT THE LIBRARY: SARAH WHITE AND ERIC MAYSON Jan. 27, 7:00 p.m. at George Latimer Central Library
  • P.O.S. (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW) Jan. 27, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry (Read our print feature on P.O.S' new album, Chill, Dummy, here.)
  • GAMBLER'S DAUGHTER (EP RELEASE SHOW) Jan. 27, 8:00 p.m. at Black Dog Cafe

Joe Hysell
Turf Club, Saturday 1.28
Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter Joe Hysell is the former leader of the underrated, now-defunct country/roots band the Dirt Road Ramblers. And, whether you’ve followed him through the years or not, his songwriting is now fully formed. That’s evident on his short but potent EP from November, Workin’ Too Hard, for which Saturday’s show at the Turf serves as the release party. It’s an efficient, consistent, and unpretentious five-song collection that leans outlaw country, with the deep-voiced Hysell proving himself to be a captivating singer and storyteller. His accompaniment, from three-piece band the Ramblin’ Mercenaries, keeps things dynamic throughout, with crackerjack backing vocals from Myra Joan and rollicking piano playing and drumming. Any song on the thing could be a listener’s favorite. With the Ramblin’ Mercenaries, Dan Neale, and the Long Odds. 21+. 7:30 p.m. $8-$10. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-647-0486. — Michael Madden

50 Cent
Myth, Saturday 1.28
Between his first two solo albums — 2003’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and 2005’s The Massacre — Queens rapper 50 Cent was wildly popular for his combination of unshakeable choruses and East Coast gangsta rap steeliness. His songs were so infectious that, with 2005’s Olivia-featuring “Candy Shop,” he may have had your little brother, sister, or cousin singing about oral sex whether they knew it or not. Fast-forward to 2017 and he’s long since solidified his iconic status in American popular culture. His last major hit was 2012’s “My Life,” with longtime collaborator Eminem and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, but in recent years he’s remained relevant by other metrics. The 41-year-old has displayed both a loyalty to his East Coast hip-hop origins and a willingness to adapt to rap’s current post-regional state. 2015’s The Kanan Tape showed him embracing younger artists like Sonny Digital (“I’m the Man”) and Post Malone (“Tryna Fuck Me Over”), and he’s recently guested on Bompton rapper YG’s excellent loosie “I Wanna Benz.” Fans are still (im)patiently waiting on 50’s sixth solo album, Street King Immortal. All ages. 6 p.m. $50-$200. 3090 Southlawn Dr., St. Paul; 651-779-6984. — Michael Madden

Twin Cities Winter Jazz Festival
Various St. Paul locations, Saturday 1.28 & Sunday 1.29
As the frosty version of summertime’s Twin Cities Jazz Fest, the two-day T.C. Winter Jazz is leaner and more hunkered down. But it has a fiery spark at its core in the guise of headliner Nicholas Payton, renowned New Orleans trumpeter and cultural activist/philosopher. Payton will play the spotlight gig at the St. Paul Hotel Sunday evening with his latest ensemble, performing material from his forthcoming double album, Afro-Caribbean Mixtape. Acclaimed for his technical trumpet mastery, Payton initially emphasized traditional New Orleans jazz roots, particularly Louis Armstrong’s work. His inherent eclecticism gradually followed those NOLA tendrils far and wide, chasing the musical threads of the African diaspora from bebop to hip-hop with dozens of stops in between. Payton calls his stuff postmodern New Orleans music. This year’s festival also includes screenings of historic jazz films, shows in St. Paul clubs and on the St. Paul Winter Carnival’s outdoor stage in Rice Park, and performances by Chicago pianist Jon Weber, local pianist Sam Rosenstone, and a Women’s All-Star group of local jazz artists led by singer Patty Peterson. $25-$75. See full schedule at — Rick Mason

  • JOE CAREY (CD RELEASE SHOW) Jan. 28, 9:00 p.m. at Aster Cafe
  • HOLLERADO Jan. 28, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry\
  • THE ULTRASOUNDS Jan. 28, 9:00 p.m. at Triple Rock Social Club
  • DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m. at First Avenue
  • ILLISM (RECORD RELEASE SHOW) Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • AFI Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m. at First Avenue
  • DREAM OF THE WILD AND MMYYKK Jan. 30, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • CHERRY GLAZERR Jan. 31, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • HOUSE OF DOSH Jan. 31, 9:00 p.m. at Icehouse
  • DAN LAYUS Jan. 31, 8:00 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center