The week's 27 best concerts: July 5-11

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Big Thief play the Cedar Cultural Center on July 5. Photo by Michael Buishas

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

Big Thief
Cedar Cultural Center, Wednesday 7.5
Led by Minnesota native Adrianne Lenker, Brooklyn’s Big Thief have become something of a breakout indie act over the past year, though not by making grand gestures. Instead, the four-piece create folksy indie rock that grows on listeners—a characteristically subtle, quiet Big Thief song might seem like background music till wiggling its way into your head or wrecking you emotionally after a few more plays. Lenker and guitarist Buck Meek had worked together for a couple records before the pair formed Big Thief and made their acclaimed debut, Masterpiece, on Saddle Creek Records last year. They quickly followed it up with Capacity, released last month. Recorded while Big Thief lived together on an upstate New York farm, the dense full-band songs have a palpable, intimate chemistry, while Lenker, an exacting singer and specific lyricist, shines during solo moments. Twain open. 7:30 p.m. $12-$15. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-338-2674. —Michael Madden

  • ESME PATTERSON July 5, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • MAUD HIXSON July 5, 8:00 p.m. at Vieux Carre
  • MIKEL WRIGHT & THE WRONGS July 5, 8:00 p.m. at Bunker's Music Bar & Grill

The Dustbowl Revival
Dakota, Wednesday 7.5
Ten years in, L.A.’s eclectic Americana roots outfit the Dustbowl Revival have nailed down a flashy rep as a wild and wooly, foot-stomping, blow-your-hat-off live band. Their rabid fans are known to show up literally wearing lampshades in honor of the rousing country breakdown “Lampshade On.” Yet country is only one of the string-and-brass octet’s far-roaming tendrils, which have reached into swing, gospel, trad New Orleans jazz, blues stretched from Beale to State streets, and numerous folk incarnations. On their just-released eponymous album, the Revival dive headfirst into soul and funky R&B, while still playing acoustic instruments. Bluegrass fiddle swirls inside gritty funk, mandolin does a hip-hop strut, and Liz Beebe unleashes her siren of a voice on the first single, “Busted,” a swaggering tale of romantic woe with dirty, blazing horns. 7 p.m. $25-$32. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 512-332-5299. —Rick Mason

  • NOW, NOW July 6, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • PETER WOLF CRIER July 6, 8:00 p.m. at Triple Rock Social Club
  • ANDREW COMBS July 6, 7:30 p.m. at Turf Club

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
Palace Theatre, Friday 7.7
Since his days with the Drive-By Truckers, thoroughly Southern man Jason Isbell has written detailed, character-driven songs that often deal with common people marginalized by uncontrollable forces, bad choices, or both. Isbell’s new The Nashville Sound addresses changes that have come at last—good, bad, and otherwise—while balancing turbulent rockers, jangly country, and straight-up folk. He channels the quiet desperation of those at odds with the modern world (“Last of My Kind”) and sings about a nation at war with itself, race, and gender (“White Man’s World”). Even love and the joy of his young daughter are shadowed by death (“If We Were Vampires”) and stinging angst (“Anxiety”). But ultimately, TNS gives a positive spin to the future: “Hope the High Road” is a soaring Southern rock adrenalin jolt to transcend the last “son-of-a-bitch” year and find “Something to Love,” the buoyant Appalachian finale. The Mountain Goats open, no doubt focusing on Goths, John Darnielle’s fine new album about the nature of outsiders. 8 p.m. Sold out. 17 W. Seventh Pl., St. Paul; 651-502-2259. —Rick Mason

  • BASILICA BLOCK PARTY July 7-8, 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. at Basilica of St. Mary
  • MIKE DOUGHTY July 7-8, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • CHICANO BATMAN July 7, 8:00 p.m. at Turf Club

Palm
Turf Club, Saturday 7.8
Though their catalog is small so far, Philadelphia-via-New York band Palm have quickly established an identity for themselves, purveying mathy, experimental rock informed by the propulsive clangor of post-punk. Co-fronted by Eve Alpert and Kasra Kurt, the four-piece turned heads with 2015’s promising Trading Basics LP before relocating to Philly and signing to Carpark Records, which released their Shadow Expert EP last month. Though brief—six songs in 17 minutes—the record has already proved momentous for the band, thanks, in part, to lead single “Walkie Talkie,” a prime example of what Alpert and Kurt can achieve with their vocal interplay. The band’s new home city has earned a reputation as a DIY rock mecca in recent years, but no matter how dense Philly grows with exciting young bands, expect Palm to be a factor for as long as they stay in town. With Palberta and Double Grave. 21+. 8 p.m. $10-$12. 1601 University Ave. St. Paul; 651-647-0486. —Michael Madden

Muja Messiah
Icehouse, Saturday 7.8
The Legacy Series is a new run of concerts at Icehouse dedicated to giving local music veterans a chance to perform a set of their all-time best songs, accompanied by a live band. First up is Minneapolis rapper Muja Messiah, whose catalog dates back to his material with the Raw Villa crew around the turn of the century. In a city not known for street lyricism, Muja has fit in with area introspectives like Slug and Brother Ali while standing out as a whip-smart MC who reflects on his gram-bagging, cop-dodging hustler’s ambition. In the last couple years, he’s solidified his status as a local legend, releasing a full-length album with I Self Devine, the astrology-inspired 9th House, and his latest solo album, PyrExpeditioN, almost entirely produced by Minneapolis’ Tek. That hot streak will presumably continue when Muja releases Saran Rap, his upcoming record with the supremely grimy New York rapper and producer Roc Marciano. With Sophia Eris and “special guests.” 21+. 11 p.m. $10. 2528 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-276-6523. —Michael Madden

  • JARED & THE MILL July 8, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • SAWYER FREDERICKS July 8, 8:00 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • MICHELLE BRANCH July 8, 8:00 p.m. at Fine Line Music Cafe

Los Texmaniacs
Dakota, Sunday 7.9
San Antonio’s Los Texmaniacs, an outstanding Tex-Mex quartet, perpetuate several rich legacies while enthusiastically forging their own. Their roots are in conjunto, the Rio Grande Valley-bred blend of traditional Mexican music and the polka beat of German and Czech immigrants; Tejano, which factored in jazz and pop; and subsequent rock, country, and blues-influenced bands like Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados. Texmaniacs leader and bajo sexto ace Max Baca was a protégé of iconic accordionist and Tex-Mex innovator Flaco Jiménez (who at 78 still plays with Los Maniacs at times) and toured with the Tornados. The band put on a terrific show last year at the Minnesota State Fair, instigating a festive South Texas party at the Bandshell with a characteristically diverse, cross-genre repertoire, fueled by nephew Josh Baca’s accordion and the resilient rhythms of bassist Noel Hernandez and drummer Lorenzo Martinez. Live, expect Baca originals from LTM’s all-star-laden (Joe Ely, David Hidalgo, Augie Meyers) Americano Groove, conjunto classics, and Sir Doug and Tornados covers. 7 p.m. $25-$40. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. —Rick Mason

  • CYMBALS EAT GUITARS July 9, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • POSH LOST July 9, 8:00 p.m. at Triple Rock Social Club
  • JESSICA HERNANDEZ AND THE DELTAS July 9, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • NATALIE MERCHANT July 10, 7:00 p.m. at Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
  • ROZWELL KID July 10, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • JT'S JAZZ IMPLOSION July 10, 9:00 p.m. at Icehouse
  • DIANA ROSS July 11, 7:00 p.m. at Northrop
  • MATTHEW SWEET July 11, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • SWEETZ P. AND FRIENDS (RECORD RELEASE PARTY) July 11, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry


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