Two very different artists—Bettye Lavette and the Internet—put out two of the best albums of 2018. You can see either, or both if you're more ambitious, on Wednesday night.
Minus the Bear @ Varsity Theater
Seventeen years is a good run, but with this final tour the Minus the Bear saga comes to a close. Their wide-ranging mix of rock styles has always been unique—prog verging on math rock, emo adorned with unclassifiable electronics, and you can get one last taste of that admixture later this week, when they release their final EP, Fair Enough. With Caspian. 18+. 7 p.m. $25. 1308 SE 4th St., Minneapolis. More info here.—Keith Harris
Complete Monday concert listings here.
Years & Years @ First Avenue
Years & Years’ big, shiny, euphoric synth-pop has made them one of the UK’s fastest-rising bands. The London trio’s 2015 debut, Communion , quickly cemented them as instinctive hitmakers, with one of its eight singles, “King,” reaching No. 1 in the UK. Led by singer and indie film actor Olly Alexander—who could probably become a solo star if he wants—the band returned this summer with Palo Santo, featuring their catchiest song yet, “If You’re Over Me.” With Cyn and Jess Kent.18+. 7 p.m. $25/$28. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden
Complete Tuesday music listings here .
The Internet @ Varsity Theater
In the early 2010s, Los Angeles alt-R&B crew the Internet was a curious offshoot of the wildly inventive, miscreant rap collective Odd Future. By 2015’s supremely chill, Grammy-nominated Ego Death, it was clear the band was the real deal. Their sound has increasingly become the product of thorough collaboration and democracy, each member rightfully earning songwriting credits. Singer Syd—a rising queer icon whose solo Fin was one of last year’s best R&B albums, and who recently cameoed in Drake’s “Nice for What” video—may be the group’s star, but guitarist Steve Lacy, keyboardist Matt Martians, and bassist Patrick Paige II also released well-received solo records ahead of the band’s fourth and best album, this July’s Hive Mind. Where Ego Death enlisted more help from outside collaborators like Janelle Monáe and Tyler, the Creator, the band’s core lineup crystallizes on the new album, highlighted by songs like the sneaky funk earworm “La Di Da.” 15+. 7:30 p.m. $31.50-$85. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis. More info here . — Michael Madden
Bettye Lavette @ Dakota Jazz Club
If the idea of a collection of Bob Dylan covers excites you in 2018, you should probably get out more. But that doesn’t mean the reality of a collection of Bob Dylan covers can’t be pretty damn exciting. Most of the tunes that the brilliant soul interpreter Bettye Lavette tackles on this year’s Things Have Changed, are second if not third tier entries in the maestro’s songbook. Or at least they were till Lavette reimagined them—and, more importantly, recontextualized them. The political landscape of Dylan’s songs is often apocalyptic and absurd, but for Lavette it sounds grim yet ordinary, littered with obstacles it might not be impossible to overcome. 7 p.m. $45-$50. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis More info here. —Keith Harris
Emmylou Harris @ Ordway
Emmylou Harris finally received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award this year, and there’s a new Harris exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, but the 71-year-old is still keeping herself busy. She’s on the road this fall, and in June, she also released an expanded edition of her 1985 “country opera,” The Ballad of Sally Rose, inspired by her ill-fated early collaborator Gram Parsons. She also wrote about Parsons’ early death on her latest solo LP, 2011’s Hard Bargain.7:30 p.m. $48-$111. 345 Washington St., St. Paul. More info here. —Michael Madden
Troye Sivan @ State Theatre
As an openly gay young pop star, the South African-born, Australian-bred Troye Sivan is a rarity and a potential revolutionary. On August’s Bloom, Sivan goes big, like on the instant pop-song-of-the-year contender “My! My! My!,” but he nails its quieter moments too, like the folk-pop apology “The Good Side.” He’s on the kind of modestly arty trajectory that’s also made singers like Lorde among our most interesting stars. With Kim Petras. $35-$68.50. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; more info here.—Michael Madden
Complete Wednesday music listings here.
Gladys Knight @ Ordway
We lost the Queen of Soul when Aretha Franklin died in August, but its Empress is alive and active. Now nearly 60 years into her career (including 29 in earnest as a soloist), Gladys Knight hasn’t put together a lengthy tour in a while, but she’s stayed sharp by playing shows in bunches. The Atlanta native’s most recent album is 2014’s gospel turn Where My Heart Belongs, and you might’ve seen her last week honoring Franklin at the American Music Awards.7:30 p.m. $58-$111. 345 Washington St., St. Paul. More info here.— Michael Madden
Complete Thursday music listings here.