The week's 28 best concerts: Sept. 13-19

Vagabon performs at the Triple Rock Social Club on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Vagabon performs at the Triple Rock Social Club on Tuesday, Sept. 19. Photo by Katie Thompson

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

First Avenue, Wednesday 9.13
X’s 1980 debut, Los Angeles, legitimized West Coast punk with music grounded more in American roots than in the garage, albeit accelerated to a noisy, blistering pace. The densely intertwined wailing of then-married couple John Doe and Exene Cervenka offered variations on classic country duets, and Billy Zoom’s guitar maelstroms were basically rabid rockabilly. The band’s lyrics had more substance than your standard one-syllable angst, and producer Ray Manzarek of the Doors established a connection to a previous generation of rock. This tour, featuring X’s original lineup (including drummer D.J. Bonebrake), marks the band’s 40th anniversary, and guitarist/drummer Craig Packham is on board so Zoom can occasionally double on saxophone and Bonebrake on vibraphone. Opening is Skating Polly, a punky Oklahoma trio whose new EP, New Trick, is an engaging dark-pop collaboration with Veruca Salt’s Louise Post and Nina Gordon. 18+. 7 p.m. $25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. —Rick Mason

Mike Stern
Dakota, 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

  • THE TOASTERS Sept. 13, 8:00 p.m. at Triple Rock Social Club
  • THAO (OF THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN) Sept. 13, 7:00 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • FAREED HAQUE AND GORAN IVANOVIC GUITAR DUO Sept. 13, 9:00 p.m. at Icehouse

Morgan Heritage
Skyway Theatre, Thursday 9.14
These five (of 29!) children of Jamaican-born, New York-based reggae singer Denroy Morgan have had a prolific, two-decade career, playing an eclectic stew of contemporary reggae. The group has a righteous core of roots riddims, often blending with dancehall, pop, R&B, and hip-hop. This spring the band released their latest, Avrakedabra, a characteristically far-reaching affair peppered with guests: Ziggy and Stephen Marley show up on the straight-ahead reggae workout “One Family,” and Bunny Ruggs appropriately checks in on another classic-sounding foray, “Tribute to Ruggs.” “Selah” is a relatively hardcore, African-tinged, culturally astute tune, while “Pineapple Wine” has hints of calypso but is mostly blatant country-pop. “Dream Girl” is mainly pop confection, and the future-gazing “We Are” features Kabaka Pyramid and Dre Island lacing verses over rapier reggae and warped synths. As is often the case, Morgan Heritage are striving to cover all things reggae and generally succeeding. 18+. 8 p.m. $20. 711 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-333-6100. —Rick Mason

Shabazz Palaces
Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Thursday 9.14
“Clear some space out, so we can space out,” Shabazz Palaces’ Palaceer Lazaro chanted six years ago on “Recollections of the Wraith,” perfectly summing up the Seattle abstract-rap duo’s experimental aesthetic. Led by Lazaro, aka Digable Planets leader Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, Shabazz Palaces first fascinated critics and rap nerds with a pair of 2009 EPs, then, two years later, released the full-length masterpiece Black Up, dense with Afrocentric lyricism and darkly trippy production that still feels ahead of its time. 2014’s Lese Majesty introduced the duo’s penchant for innovative structuring, which they explored even further with this year’s pair of connected concept albums, Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines. Based on the earthly arrival of extraterrestrial protagonist Quazarz, the albums are full of clear-headed perceptions of our strange planet’s political climate and pop culture. Kill the Vultures, three-fifths of ZULUZULUU, and Porter Ray open this Red Bull Sound Select show. 18+. 8 p.m. $5 with RSVP, $15 without. 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul; 612-285-3112. —Michael Madden

  • ROGER MCGUINN Sept. 14, 8:00 p.m. at Pantages Theatre
  • THE CRIBS Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • AYVAH Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m. at Turf Club

Downtown Boys
Triple Rock Social Club, Friday 9.15
Downtown Boys’ music has been vital and urgent from the start, even if it took some time for the Providence punks’ songcraft to catch up to their political purposefulness. Their self-titled 2012 debut was raucous to the point of messiness, as singer Victoria Ruiz’s shrieks and shouts obscured the lyrics’ meanings. In 2015, though, Full Communism brought the band wide acclaim, with the blitzing instrumentation and white-hegemony-bashing lyrics of lead single “Monstro” fully encapsulating the band’s MO. Downtown Boys’ new album and first for Sub Pop, Cost of Living, produced by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, arrived this summer to even more praise. Opening with the band’s anthemic condemnation of Trump’s wall, the album consistently evidences Downtown Boys’ evolution, whether it’s in Ruiz’s increasingly confident vocals (sometimes sung in Spanish), the sharper guitar leads, or the sax playing that distinguishes the band’s attack from otherwise like-minded acts. Kitten Forever and XOXO Tech open. 18+. 8:30 p.m. $12. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-333-7399. —Michael Madden

  • GYPSY SWING & OTHER THINGS Sept. 15, 7:00 p.m. at The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge
  • ACTUAL WOLF (VINYL RELEASE SHOW) Sept. 15, 8:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • WIDOWSPEAK Sept. 15, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry'
  • ERIN MCKEOWN Sept. 16, 8:00 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • ZZ TOP Sept. 16, 8:00 p.m. at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
  • RAINER MARIA Sept. 16, 9:00 p.m. at Triple Rock Social Club

First Avenue, Sunday 9.17
Over the past decade, artists as stylistically diverse as Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Suicidal Tendencies have sought out Los Angeles singer and electric bassist Thundercat (born Stephen Bruner) for his idiosyncratically fat, wobbly bass lines. But Thundercat has increasingly become an undeniable, inimitable solo artist as well. After two proper albums and a 2015 EP that featured his supremely funky breakthrough single, “Them Changes,” the 32-year-old Bruner’s 23-track album from earlier this year is a kaleidoscopic mishmash of funk, jazz, and rap simply called Drunk, featuring a WTF guest list that ranges from Lamar and Wiz Khalifa to Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. It’s a culmination of Thundercat’s career so far, a refreshing mix of virtuosity and whimsy that proves there’s much more to his skillset than his bass playing. Saco & Uno open. 18+. 7:30 p.m. $20-$25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. —Michael Madden

  • THE FLAMING LIPS Sept. 17, 6:00 p.m. at Myth
  • ROY ROGERS & THE DELTA RHYTHM KINGS Sept. 17, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • VACATION Sept. 17, 8:00 p.m. at Triple Rock Social Club
  • ANDREW W.K. Sept. 18, 7:00 p.m. at First Avenue
  • BEST COAST Sept. 18, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • 2017 GLOBAL ROOTS FESTIVAL Sept. 18, 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • YOUNGBOY NEVER BROKE AGAIN Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. at Fine Line Music Cafe
  • DEAD CROSS Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. at First Avenue
  • SEPTEMBER CONSPIRACY SERIES: NEON BLAQUE Sept. 19, 8:30 p.m. at 331 Club

Triple Rock Social Club, Tuesday 9.19
Few new indie artists show as much potential as the Cameroon-born, New York-based singer-songwriter Laetitia Tamko, better known as Vagabon. After her 2014 EP, Persian Garden, Tamko became one of NYC’s best-kept secrets, eventually emerging to a broader audience with this February’s Infinite Worlds, a musically varied debut album that shows her growth as a songwriter. While she’s a sucker for soft-to-loud rock dynamics (as on opener “The Embers”), there’s also the glinting synth-scape “Mal á L’aise” and the whispery acoustic closer “Alive and a Well.” While other contemporary acts share sonic similarities with Vagabon (Waxahatchee, for one), Tamko’s lyrics about racial identity afford the record a sense of cultural significance that’s rare in indie rock these days. As a woman of color in a traditionally white- and male-dominated musical realm, Tamko could be an iconic talent for years to come. Nnamdi Ogbonnaya opens. 18+. 8 p.m. $10-$12. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-333-7399. —Michael Madden

Betsayda Machado y la Parranda el Clavo / Vox Sambou
Cedar Cultural Center, Tuesday 9.19
Recent news from Venezuela has been grim, but the sound of iconic singer Betsayda Machado, reunited with her home village’s band, is pure joy. Led by Machado’s stunning, declarative voice, the group delves into Afro-Venezuelan traditional music, featuring high-flying close vocal harmonies buoyed by a scintillating rush of polyrhythms. Its forthcoming debut is Loé Loá: Rural Recordings Under the Mango Tree. Parranda is celebratory music tied to call-and-response singers who take to the streets at Christmastime, rooted in the heritage of rebellious slaves brought to the area to work on cacao plantations. Haitian-born Vox Sambou is a prominent member of the rap Kreyòl movement and a founder of the Montreal hip-hop collective Nomadic Massive. His multilingual lyrics address political and social issues accompanied by a dynamic, bristling mix of Haitian roots, Afro-Beat, reggae, jazz, and Latin music. Free as part of the Cedar’s Global Roots Festival, but reservations are encouraged. 7:30 p.m. with local artists on the plaza beginning at 6. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-338-2674. —Rick Mason