OK, so this Super Bowl thing is apparently really happening.
If you want to venture downtown for some of the free big-name concerts on Nicollet Mall, be forewarned: There was quite a traffic snarl for the first of these Friday night, and hardly any tourists have yet descended. But we’ve picked a few shows that are worth the risk regardless, as well as some concerts that you won’t have to brave the crowds to enjoy.
Davell Crawford @ Dakota Jazz Club
That Davell Crawford’s grandfather is ’50s R&B star Sugar Boy Crawford and his godmother is Roberta Flack hardly begins to summarize how much American music history flows through him. The singer and pianist embodies the New Orleans jazz and blues traditions established by the likes of Professor Longhair, but there’s no limiting Crawford’s exploration of gospel, funk, and more. Crawford is now in the middle of piecing together his six-part Piano in the Vaults archival series. Also Tuesday, Jan. 30. 7 p.m. $40/$45. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here. —Michael Madden
The Revolution, Morris Day and the Time, Sheila E @ Nicollet Mall
If you hate free live music, you could go hear Questlove spin Prince records at the Dakota for $175 next Saturday. By contrast, this Super Bowl Live show, dubbed quite simply “A Salute to Prince,” features the late legend’s most famous band, the brilliantly funky frenemy cohort he stage-managed, and the powerhouse drummer (and pop star in her own right) who served as his late ‘80s musical director. With DJ Dudley D. 4 p.m. Free. 8th St. S. and Nicollet Mall. More info here.—Keith Harris
Complete Monday concert listings here.
First Aid Kit @ Palace
The Swedish sister act of Klara and Johanna Söderberg has come a long way since a YouTube cover of Fleet Foxes’ "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" first brough the duo to the world’s attention. First Aid Kit recorded its most recent album, Ruins, in Portland, with guests Glenn Kotche of Wilco and Peter Buck of R.E.M. contributing to the Söderbergs updated Laurel Canyon folk sound. With Van William. 7 p.m. $30/$35. 17 W. 7th Pl. St. Paul; more info here. —Keith Harris
Complete Tuesday concert listings here.
Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band @ Fitzgerald Theatre
Ritter is a sharp lyricist with a literary bent and folk inclinations that blossom into Americana adventures. September’s Gathering runs as traditional as a Shaker ballad and evocation of the standard “Shenandoah,” yet also loosens up with rollicking blends of folk-rock, country-pop and gospel, and its humorous asides mask stormier forces, while seeking redemption on a Bob Weir duet that sounds like an outtake from American Beauty. Her Crooked Heart opens. 8 p.m. $35-$45. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651-290-1200.—Rick Mason
New Power Generation, Mint Condition, Dessa, Stokley Williams @ Nicollet Mall
Less iconic but more virtuosic and versatile than the Revolution, the New Power Generation were Prince’s studio band on his half-decade run of hit singles, starting with 1991’s “Cream” and “Diamonds and Pearls.” Stokley Williams will not only perform material from his long-overdue 2017 solo debut, Introducing Stokley, but with the ‘90s R&B hitmakers he’s know for fronting, Mint Condition. And Dessa has a new album next month, Chime. With DJ Brother Jules and MC Tonez. 6 p.m. Free. 8th St. S. and Nicollet Mall. More info here. —Michael Madden/Keith Harris
Complete Wednesday concert listings here.
Greg Grease, Muja Messiah, Lady Midnight @ Icehouse
Last year, the multitalented MC/producer/drummer Greg Grease of ZuluZuluu dropped his excellent solo album Down So Long, local rap veteran Muja Messiah added two excellent EP collaborations with Roc Marciano to his catalog, and stylish R&B visionary Lady Midnight worked with Afro-Keys to release the great Parables of Neptune EP. In other words, if you want to know where Minnesota hip-hop and soul are headed in 2018, your attendance here is required. With DJ Just Nine and DJ Keezy. 10 p.m. $10/$12. 2528 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis. More info here.—Keith Harris
Rae Sreummurd, André Cymone @ Nicollet Mall
Rap duo Rae Srummurd, the biggest current hitmakers performing at the free Super Bowl Live concerts, will be joined by three Prince-affiliated acts: André Cymone, who’s showcasing material from his 2017 album, 1969; New Power Soul, a project brought together by Prince’s half-brother Omarr Baker; and fDeluxe, formerly known as the Family. With Jakubi, Les Stroud, and DJ Kimuel Hailey and MC Tonez. 4 p.m. Free. 8th St. S. and Nicollet Mall. More info here. —Keith Harris
Complete Thursday concert listings here.