The week's 7 best concerts: Aug 20-23


Blackalicious Nicole Mago

The State Fair begins on Thursday, which means that summer, if not quite officially over, is certainly ending.

But so what? Are you a child? Are you going back to school? If not, you can still go see live music after Labor Day.

Monday 8.20

Amen Dunes @ 7th St. Entry
After a decade of modest renown in the indie-verse, 2018 has proven to be a breakthrough year for Amen Dunes, the moniker of Brooklyn singer-songwriter Damon McMahon. Following 2014’s more droning and psychedelic Love, March’s Freedom is a crystallization of McMahon’s spectral folk sound. While producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Future Islands) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitar hero Nick Zinner are key contributors, the album is undeniably a new peak for McMahon as both a singer and songwriter. With Okay Kaya. 18+. 7:30 p.m. $15. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden

Elaine Elias @ Dakota Jazz Club
A makeup of dates that were postponed in May due to a family emergency, Elias will still feature songs from her April album, Music From Man a La Mancha along with a hefty catalog of original Brazilian music that has won her multiple Grammys. A legitimate double threat on piano and vocals, Elias also has exquisite taste in sidemen, including husband and distinguished jazz bassist Marc Johnson. 7 and 9 p.m. $20-$45. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here.Britt Robson

Todd Clouser @ Icehouse
Guitarist Todd Clouser’s two trio dates with John Medeski and JT Bates remain the pinnacle of music at Icehouse—no mean feat. He returns here for two very different sets: a new lineup of Chant with Big Wu guitarist Mark Joseph and trumpeter Adam Meckler as the opener, then “Cinema: Music for Unmade Filme,” a series of piano-guitar duets with pianist Bryan Nichols filling in for Clouser’s Mexico City cohort music for unrealized film with fellow Mexico City resident Alex Mercado on the keyboards. 9:30 p.m. $10. 21+. 2528 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis. More info here.Britt Robson

Complete Monday music listings here.

Tuesday 8.21

Ben Sidran @ Crooners 
Ben Sidran turned 75 last week and it’s only fitting a Twin Cities jazz venue would throw him a party. Nearly 60 years ago, Sidran was a teen in a Madison band with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs. His son Leo, who drums for him now, was reared in Madison. His bassist for these gigs, Billy Peterson, toured with him in Miller’s band. (Saxophonist Kenni Holman rounds out the quartet.) In addition to co-writing “Space Cowboy” with Miller, Sidran invented his own genre—smooth vocal jive-erudition mixed with streamlined jazz—for the Blue Thumb and Arista labels in the ’70s. He’ll be in Crooners Main Room on Tuesday and the more intimate Dunsmore Room on Wednesday. 7 p.m. $25-$30. 6161 Highway 65NE, Minneapolis. More info here.Britt Robson

Blackalicious @ 7th St. Entry
Sacramento indie-rap institution Blackalicious debuted with the 1994 EP Melodica and eventually dropped their first full-length in 1999’s Nia, which established the duo—supremely technical rapper Gift of Gab and DJ/producer Chief Xcel—as leaders in the realm of conscious rap. After a decade-long hiatus, Gab and Xcel made their worthy return with 2015's uplifting Imani Vol. 1, the first installment in a planned trilogy, though the follow-ups have yet to materialize. With Sean Anonymous, Haphduzn, and Dimitry Killstorm. 18+. 7:30 p.m. $25/$28. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden

Complete Tuesday music listings here.

Wednesday 8.22

Pedro the Lion @ Fine Line Music Cafe
The most popular and best-loved project of Seattle indie rock lifer David Bazan is back. Pedro the Lion had a good initial run from the late ‘90s to the mid ‘00s, playing a “sadcore” sound with earnest, introspective lyrics. Bazan has remained active, releasing albums under his government name (including three in just the past two years) and with the bands Headphones and Lo Tom. Devoted Pedro fans were thrilled when the band reunited last December. With H.C. McEntire. 18+. 7 p.m. $22-$35. 318 1st. Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.Michael Madden

Complete Wednesday music listings here.

Thursday 8.23

New Order @ Palace Theatre
The last time New Order performed in the Twin Cities, the Berlin Wall was still standing, Bjork was still in the Sugarcubes, and Milli Vanilli were just days away from their first No. 1 single. It was June 1989, and the pivotal British dance-rock group played the St. Paul Civic Center on a bill with Public Image Ltd and, yes, Bjork's old band. This is just their fourth ever Twin Cities date. Of course, estranged bassist Peter Hook won’t be joining singer/guitarist Bernard Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris, and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert this time, so it’s up to you to determine how No-Orderly you consider this No Order lineup. (Hook is none too pleased himself.) With Whitney Fierce. 7 p.m. $80. 17 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul. More info here. Keith Harris

Complete Thursday music listings here.