The week's 27 best concerts: Sept. 6-12

The Ghanaian rapper E.L. performs at the Cedar Cultural Center on Friday, September 8.

The Ghanaian rapper E.L. performs at the Cedar Cultural Center on Friday, September 8.

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

Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’
State Theatre, Wednesday 9.6
Taj Mahal and Kevin Moore (aka Keb’ Mo’) have joined forces on the collaborative album TajMo and a subsequent tour. Mahal, at 75 a decade older than Moore, started in country blues, later exploring multiple global sounds. Moore has peppered his blues origins with infusions of contemporary pop, soul, rock, and jazz. On TajMo, their nicely multi-grained vocals trade lines with spunky spirit, as do their intertwined guitars when given a chance, as on the lovely, spare cover of Sleepy John Estes’ “Diving Duck Blues.” But such details are swamped on many tunes by busy, horn-heavy arrangements, trading nuance for hooks and guest shots by the likes of Joe Walsh, Sheila E, and Lee Oskar. “Soul” illustrates the conundrum: a Caribbean/high life vibe that’s infectious but generic, accompanying a laundry list of world locales with alleged “soul power.” Like the entire album, fun but hardly profound. $48.50-$79. 7:30 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. —Rick Mason

  • CHARLIE PARR Sept. 6, 7:00 p.m. at Electric Fetus
  • THE DEAD SOUTH Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • ERIK KOSKINEN Sept. 6, 9:30 p.m. at Icehouse

Conor Oberst
Palace Theatre, Thursday 9.7
Conor Oberst’s fans and detractors should all be able to agree that the Omaha native long ago established his own idiosyncratic style, singing consistently in a vulnerable quaver, with painfully honest lyrics that tend to be the focal point regardless of whatever instrumentation backs him. Oberst first emerged with Bright Eyes, essentially a solo act, and over the years he’s also started and rebooted other projects—his band Desaparecidos, for example, returned in 2015 after a 13-year hiatus with an excellent album of political punk, Payola. More recently, Oberst, 37, has been releasing material under his own name. He followed up last year’s vaguely Blood on the Tracks-style Ruminations with a companion album, Salutations, that featured full-band arrangements of Ruminations’ songs, plus seven new tunes. Material from those two albums fills out much of Oberst’s set lists these days, though he also makes room for a handful of Bright Eyes numbers. Phoebe Bridgers opens. 18+. 8 p.m. $30-$40. 17 W. Seventh Pl., St. Paul; 651-266-8989. —Michael Madden

  • MIDDLE KIDS Sept. 7, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • JOE PURDY Sept. 7, 7:30 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • CONOR OBERST Sept. 7, 8:00 p.m. at Palace Theatre

The Cedar Cultural Center, Friday 9.8
Thirty-one-year-old Ghana native E.L has been calling himself “the best African rapper” for years, releasing three installments of his B.A.R. mixtape series in addition to a pair of studio albums. Bold as that proclamation may be, it undersells his artistry. Nominated for multiple Ghana Music Awards year after year, E.L is a polymath of musical styles. As a rap MC, he’s swaggering and affable. But those traits also transfer over to his expertise at crafting polychromatic Afropop, and his single biggest song, the B.A.R. 2 cut “Superhero,” is overtly EDM-influenced. Considering the transatlantic boost that artists like Drake have given African musicians in recent years, E.L is seemingly one big collaboration away from the breakthrough that Drizzy has provided to the likes of Nigeria’s Wizkid (with whom E.L has recorded). For now, E.L is a bona fide West African star who still has plenty of time to capture the worldwide recognition he’s due. 8:30 p.m. $22-$44. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-338-2674. —Michel Madden

John Prine/Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
Northrop Auditorium, Friday 9.8
Icon, institution, treasure, legend—however you want to characterize John Prine, he’s a brilliant songwriter with a wry, irreverent sense of humor who’s been defining/pillorying/satirizing/illuminating the American condition for more than four decades. His classic, pretty good, not bad songs about Paradise, Montgomery, and illegal smiles are still relevant today, and you can complain about that as you sing along. Health problems have ravaged his 70-year-old voice, but it’s still full of spunk. He hasn’t issued an album of new songs in over a decade, but last year collaborated with a bevy of female singers on a country classics collection (For Better, Or Worse) and he’s recently released September’ 78, a prime Prine live show with a sprawling electric band. Opening are Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, just about to release their second terrific album, Contraband Love, a rowdy scrum of country, rock, gospel, and blues. $62.50-$102.50. 8 p.m. 84 Church St. SE, Minneapolis; 612-624-2345. —Rick Mason

  • OAN OSBORNE SINGS THE SONGS OF BOB DYLAN Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m. at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium
  • EVERCLEAR Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m. at Cabooze
  • JOHN PRINE Sept. 8, 8:00 p.m. at Northrop

Prof Outdoors 4
Cabooze Outdoor Plaza, Saturday 9.9
Prof Outdoors—billed as “the biggest show in the history of Prof” year after year—has reliably become a kind of late-summer mini-Soundset, and the 2017 lineup may be the event’s most well-rounded yet. Prof, the titular Minneapolis rapper and Rhymesayers/Stophouse Group wildman, isn’t the only long-established Twin Cities royalty slated to perform. PO4 will also feature Doomtree spinoff group Shredders (P.O.S, Sims, Lazerbeak, and Paper Tiger), who emerged this summer with an aggro debut EP and a follow-up single that premiered on HBO’s Ballers. Also performing will be a pair of out-of-state acts: the Underachievers, the Brooklyn psych-rap mystics whose recent Renaissance LP has been unjustly overlooked, and Mac Lethal, the Kansas City, Missouri, native who’s best known for the viral freestyles he’s uploaded to YouTube throughout the 2010s. The PO4 bill is rounded out by Minneapolis’ young Finding Novyon (returning to the 612 after recently relocating to L.A.), plus St. Paul native and new Stophouse Group signee Cashinova. 4 p.m. $25-$30. 917 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612-338-6425. —Michael Madden

  • INQUISITION Sept. 9, 7:00 p.m. at Triple Rock Social Club
  • BRIAN JUST (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW) Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m. at Turf Club
  • AVANT GARDEN 2017 Sept. 9, 5:00 p.m. at Walker Art Center
  • NATALIE LOVEJOY Sept. 10, 7:00 p.m. at Icehouse
  • J FLIGHT Sept. 10, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • POCHANGA CHICHA SUMMIT 2017 Sept. 10, 7:00 p.m. at The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge
  • MAKANA WITH JOHN CRUZ Sept. 11, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • ROYAL CANOE Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • REGINA MARIE WILLIAMS CABARET SERIES Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m. at Orpheum Theatre

Mike Stern
Dakota, Tuesday 9.12 & Wednesday 9.13
In 2016 jazz guitarist Mike Stern tripped over some debris, breaking both arms and suffering nerve damage in his right, picking hand. Stern is apparently back to full strength, his speed and precision intact, although he now has to literally glue a pick to his fingers to compensate for persistent nerve issues. He pulls into town with a quartet featuring renowned trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassist Tom Kennedy, and drummer Dennis Chambers. Stern’s fiery, fleet-fingered electric guitar work draws from bop, blues, funk, and rock, and his new-this-week, all-star-laden album Trip is laced with sly references to his ordeal, starting with its title. The album includes barnburners like the funky fusion scorcher “Whatchacalit” and sizzling swinger “Scotch Tape and Glue,” a couple lyrical ballads, and “B Train,” a clever interpretation of Ellington/Strayhorn. $32-$42 at 7 p.m. $22-$32 at 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299.—Rick Mason

  • OH WONDER Sept. 12, 6:00 p.m. at First Avenue
  • MIKE STERN QUARTET Sept. 12, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • RED PLANET WITH BILL CARROTHERS Sept. 12, 7:00 p.m. at Crooners Lounge & Supper Club