The week's 27 best concerts: July 19-26


Waxahatchee Jesse Riggins

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

  • SUBLIME WITH ROME July 19, 7:30 p.m. at First Avenue
  • AMOS LEE July 19, 7:00 p.m. at Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
  • HAR MAR SUPERSTAR July 20, 7:00 p.m. at Amsterdam Bar and Hall
  • DRED I DREAD July 20, 8:00 p.m. at The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge

Mary Bragg
The Warming House, Friday 7.21
Singer/guitarist Mary Bragg, originally from small-town Georgia, has racked up a slew of songwriting awards, most recently in the country category at MerleFest for “Lucky Strike,” the title cut of Bragg’s new album, which almost never happened. She was considering concentrating solely on songwriting when album co-producer Jim Reilley (of the New Dylans) heard her new material and insisted that she record it. The result is an impressive collection that addresses frustration, resilience, and uncertainty. Using economical yet evocative language, Bragg presents characters often caught in limbo, whether due to former lovers who never really leave, yearned-for passion just out of reach, contentment slipping away in an absence of hope or, in the title song, Bragg’s own fractured stabs at New York success. Bragg’s voice is plaintive but not saccharine, and Rich Hinman’s pedal steel and electric guitar add impressive dimension. Local singer-songwriter Sarah Morris opens. 8 p.m. $10-$12. 4001 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-824-4906. — Rick Mason

Andrew Bird
First Avenue, Friday 7.21
Andrew Bird has always been faithful to the spirit of American folk music, but never at the expense of his own originality—the Illinois native’s songcraft is inimitable. After making records in the ’90s as a member of Squirrel Nut Zippers and Bowl of Fire, Bird broke through as a solo performer with a pair of albums in the mid-aughts, his musical acumen coalescing on the 2005 chamber-pop swirler Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs and the more guitar-driven Armchair Apocrypha in 2007. In the decade since, his projects have been varied, ranging from a 2014 collection of Handsome Family covers to a 2015 experimental instrumental album to his work scoring the FX series Baskets. The 44-year-old’s most recent studio album is last year’s warm, accessible Are You Serious, featuring the whiskey-soaked Fiona Apple duet “Left Handed Kisses,” which the two performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Goulden Balls open. 18+. 8 p.m. $36. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. — Michael Madden

Ghostface Killah
Cabooze, Friday 7.21
Even as he approaches his 50s, Wu-Tang Clan rapper and NYC native Ghostface Killah has remained creatively restless, rarely misfiring. He broke through on the Clan’s deathless 1993 debut and further established his economical but vivid mafioso storytelling on the solo LPs Ironman and Supreme Clientele, to say nothing of the integral role he played on Raekwon’s classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.... But GFK has always had an affinity for lushly arranged instrumentation, and in the decade following 2006’s masterful Fishscale, he’s explored that side like never before, making records with composer Adrian Younge (the two Twelve Reasons to Die concept albums), Brooklyn soul band the Revelations (36 Seasons), and Toronto instrumental trio BadBadNotGood (Sour Soul, featuring Doom and Danny Brown). Through it all, he’s been uncompromisingly East Coast, his feet firmly planted in the dusty, jagged Wu aesthetic. Carnage the Executioner and Raw Dawg open. 18+. 9 p.m. $20-$25. 917 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612-338-6425. — Michael Madden

Triple Rock Social Club, Friday 7.21
Waxahatchee, the project of Alabama-bred, Philly-based indie rocker Katie Crutchfield, has been on an upward trajectory since 2012 debut American Weekend, a charmingly lo-fi record whose reputation grew steadily via word of mouth. With 2013’s Cerulean Salt, Crutchfield added full-band instrumentation without sacrificing intimacy, and 2015’s even more confident Ivy Tripp solidified her reputation as one of indie rock’s finest young talents. Her brand-new fourth album, Out in the Storm, is yet another step forward. Produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile), Crutchfield and her band climb to glorious power-pop heights on songs such as the leadoff cut “Never Been Wrong.” There are acoustic numbers that have spiritual predecessors in the quiet songs of American Weekend, yet Crutchfield’s clear-headed lyricism on the breakup-inspired record is equally felt during its hardest-rocking moments. Cayetana and Snail Mail open. 18+. 8 p.m. $15-$17. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-333-7399. — Michael Madden

  • LOWERTOWN BLUES AND FUNK FESTIVAL 2017 July 21, 4:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. at Mears Park
  • BLONDIE AND GARBAGE: THE RAGE AND RAPTURE TOUR July 21, 7:00 p.m. at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
  • J. COLE July 21, 8:00 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center
  • ROCK THE GARDEN 2017 July 22, 1:00 p.m. at Walker Art Center
  • ACTUAL WOLF July 22, 2:00 p.m. at Franconia Sculpture Park
  • NIGHTCHURCH XXL July 22, 9:00 p.m. at First Avenue

Colin Stetson
Turf Club, Sunday 7.23
Although he plays multiple instruments, often in unorthodox ways, Colin Stetson’s personal style is best exemplified by the instrument he’s most closely associated with: bass saxophone. That rare, massive horn requires strenuous exertion just to move it, never mind the hurricane force necessary to coax notes out of it nor the array of odd techniques Stetson employs to elicit all manner of unexpected noises, including percussion, electronica-like burbling, and quirky vocalizations—all delivered simultaneously, and without overdubs. On his new solo album, All This I Do for Glory, Stetson also plays alto, tenor, and contrabass clarinet, creating a distinctive mélange of avant-garde jazz, metal, drone, classical, minimalism, and post-rock. On the title track, otherworldly meditations and ethereal melodies snatched from the ether flirt with grunge and industrial stomp, while extraterrestrial creatures scurry conspiratorially on “Like Wolves on the Fold.” Experimental jazz/ambient trumpeter Justin Walter opens. 7 p.m. 21+. $15. 1600 University Ave., St. Paul; 651-647-0486. — Rick Mason

  • VANS WARPED TOUR 2017 July 23, 11:00 a.m. at Canterbury Park
  • THE REVOLUTION July 23, 7:00 p.m. at First Avenue
  • GLAM DOLL VARIETY SHOW July 23, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • WHEELER WALKER JR. July 24, 7:30 p.m. at Turf Club
  • BENT KNEE July 24, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • PUNK ROCK BOWLING July 24, 10:00 p.m. at Memory Lanes

Pharoah Sanders
Dakota, Tuesday 7.25 & Wednesday 7.26
One of the architects of free jazz, whose searing abstractions obliterated musical conventions, tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders gained renown in the 1960s forging that revolutionary sound alongside John Coltrane. The ferocious, sprawling squalls he created on his harmonically vibrant horn have remained part of Sanders’ influential signature throughout his subsequent long, distinguished solo career. But he’s also incorporated R&B, East Asian motifs, African rhythms, and African-American spiritual elements, even sometimes covered standards, all while retaining his trademark intensity (even on quiet ballads) and continuing to hone his “hard-edged lyricism.” Sanders, 76, was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2016. Although he continues to tour, his local appearances have been extremely rare in recent decades. Sanders’ quartet will feature his longtime pianist, William Henderson. $30-$45 at 7 p.m. $25-$40 at 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. — Rick Mason

  • T.E.E.: TUESDAY EARLY EVENING July 25, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at 331 Club
  • LINDA PETERSON July 25, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Crooners Lounge & Supper Club
  • MURA MASA July 25, 7:30 p.m. at Fine Line Music Cafe