The week's 27 best concerts: March 15-22

Juicy J: Come aboard, he's expecting you

Juicy J: Come aboard, he's expecting you

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

  • COLD WAR KIDS March 15, 7:30 p.m. at First Avenue
  • RAKIM March 15, 7:30 p.m. at Amsterdam Bar and Hall
  • CHUCK PROPHET & THE MISSION EXPRESS March 15, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • LITTLE MIX March 16, 3:00 p.m. at Mall of America Best Buy Rotunda
  • THE IKE REILLY ASSASSINATION March 16, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • ARIANA GRANDE March 16, 7:30 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center

Juicy J
Myth, Thursday 3.16
Juicy J may just be the most durable rapper of the past 20 years. In the mid-’90s, as a co-founder of Three 6 Mafia, he help pioneer the Memphis crew’s uncompromisingly dark “horrorcore” sound, planting the seeds of trap rap in the process. After a temporary struggle to remain relevant, he came back in the early 2010s by flooding the streets with mixtapes (notably his Rubba Band Business series with producer Lex Luger) and re-entering the mainstream with the irresistible 2012 single “Bandz a Make Her Dance” and a guest appearance on Katy Perry’s number-one hit “Dark Horse.” Just when it seemed like Juicy had maxed out his supremely high, strip-club-inhabiting rap supervillain persona, he released last year’s wickedly fun TGOD Mafia: Rude Awakening along with Wiz Khalifa and 808 Mafia producer TM88. Due soon is a fourth solo album, Rubba Band Business, preceded by the singles “Gimme Gimme” (with Rae Sremmurd livewire Slim Jxmmi) and “Ain’t Nothing” (with Wiz and Ty Dolla $ign). Belly and Juicy’s brother Project Pat open. 8:30 p.m. $32-$115. 3090 Southlawn Dr., St. Paul; 651-779-6984. —Michael Madden

Vince Staples
First Avenue, Thursday 3.16
Vince Staples has refined an approach to modern street rap that’s somehow both urgent and blasé. His solid early projects, his powerful Def Jam debut Summertime ’06 and last year’s follow-up Prima Donna, paint a bleak, incisive picture of his tumultuous Long Beach upbringing with razor-sharp lyrics and a classically minded sense of bounce. On his latest single, “BagBak,” a prime example of his inimitable style, he coarsely condemns the current political landscape atop electronic club beats — hopefully it’s an indication that more new music’s on the way. Inspired by the Wes Anderson movie, Staples’ Life Aquatic Tour (promoted with a nautical illustration of Staples manning a raft in orange hat and matching Chucks) is his biggest yet as a headliner. Atmospheric singer and frequent Staples collaborator Kilo Kish opens. All ages. 6 p.m. $20/$25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. —Jack Spencer

Mobb Deep
Prive, Thursday 3.16
After something of a false start with their 1993 debut, Juvenile Hell, the Queens duo of Prodigy and Havoc left an eternal mark on hip-hop two years later with The Infamous, a paranoid, cinematic hardcore-rap masterpiece anchored by the instantly recognizable and absolutely essential “Shook Ones, Pt. II.” They followed up strong with the next year’s Hell on Earth, then finished the decade with one of their best singles, “Quiet Storm.” But their greatest chart success was yet to come: They appeared on the official remix of 50 Cent’s “Outta Control,” a No. 6 hit in 2005, and kept the momentum going with Blood Money, which heavily featured 50 and members of G-Unit at the height of that crew’s relevance. Then Prodigy served three years in prison, followed by a feud with Havoc, leading to an indefinite hiatus not broken until 2014 and the double album The Infamous Mobb Deep, its second disc a collection of unreleased tracks from the original Infamous recording sessions. Minneapolis’ Sti-Lo Reel and Lyric Marid are among the other artists set to perform. 21+. 8 p.m. $30-$70. 315 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-990-5058. —Michael Madden

  • SMITHEREENS & MARTHA AND THE MOTELS March 17, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • P.O.S March 17, 8:00 p.m. at First Avenue
  • HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS March 17, 8:00 p.m. at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

Miranda Lambert
Xcel Energy Center, Friday 3.17
Miranda Lambert isn’t just the greatest mainstream country artist of the past decade (no duh) — she’s smarter, craftier, and (it should go without saying) more fun than a whole lot of singer-songwriters solemnly cherished by the respectable Americana crowd. The Weight of These Wings, released last fall, is hardly the best introduction for newcomers: It’s a 24-song double album that would’ve been more aerodynamic if she’d tossed six of ’em overboard, starting with the uncharacteristically soppy “Tin Man.” (“If you ever felt one breakin’/You wouldn’t want a heart” — Miranda, no!) Much more Lambert’s speed are the album’s two singles: the rowdy “We Should Be Friends” (“If you use alcohol as a sedative/And ‘bless your heart’ as a negative”) and the decadent “Vice,” about how screwing up your life again and again is like listening to your favorite song on repeat. 7 p.m. $27.25-$57.25. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St Paul; 651-265-4800. —Keith Harris

  • PASSENGER March 18, 6:00 p.m. at First Avenue
  • LIV WARFIELD March 18, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • MAYA ELENA March 18, 7:30 p.m. at Turf Club

The Orwells
Triple Rock Social Club, Saturday 3.18
The Orwells are a rarity in 2017, maybe even a small miracle: a young-as-fuck garage-rock band signed to a major label. Led by singer Mario Cuomo and hailing from the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, the five-piece showed loads of potential on their 2012 lo-fi debut, Remember When, released before they’d graduated from high school. Then their confident sophomore album, Disgraceland, scored them widespread popularity after a fervent and reputation-establishing 2014 Late Show with David Letterman performance of “Who Needs You,” one of the definitive rock cuts of the past five years. Working again with producer Jim Abbiss (best known for handling the Arctic Monkeys’ debut and Adele’s 19 and 21), the Orwells struck the perfect balance of polish and weirdness on their latest record, Terrible Human Beings. Their second release for Atlantic, it boasts the raw, uncompromising power of records released on indies like In the Red and Castle Face. The Walters open. 18+. 9 p.m. $18-$21. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-333-7399. —Michael Madden

  • BEBE REXHA March 19, 7:00 p.m. at Fine Line Music Cafe
  • ROBAT (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW) March 19, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • ZACC HARRIS TRIO March 19, 7:00 p.m. at Riverview Cafe & Wine Bar
  • ELIZABETH COOK March 20, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • STRAND OF OAKS March 20, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • HOWIE DAY March 20, 9:30 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

Fine Line Music Cafe, Monday 3.20
If you loved only one metal record in 2013, chances are it was Sunbather. Deafheaven’s sophomore album made them one of metal’s most widely acclaimed bands, but they’re also among its most curious, fearlessly blending black metal, post-rock, shoegaze, and more. The band first signed with Deathwish Inc. and released their full-length debut, Roads to Judah, in 2011, but Sunbather changed everything. George Clarke still let loose with vocals as searing as any metal frontman’s, yet the band’s new sound, including skying guitar leads that were downright uplifting, made the album a crossover success. Clarke, guitarist/bassist Kerry McCoy, and drummer Daniel Tracy recorded Sunbather as a trio, but they expanded to a five-piece for their 2015 follow-up, New Bermuda. Though the latest album is less experimental than its predecessor, moments like the insane wah-wah guitar solo four minutes into highlight “Baby Blue” are just as thrilling. This Will Destroy You and Emma Ruth Rundle open. 18+. 8 p.m. $18-$30. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8100. —Michael Madden

  • SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY AND THE ASBURY JUKES March 21, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • COLOR TAB March 21, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • DREAMLAND FACES (RECORD RELEASE SHOW) March 21, 7:30 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center