The week's best concerts: Jan 27-30

Amber Liu will be at the Varsity on Tuesday.

Amber Liu will be at the Varsity on Tuesday. Press photo

Can you believe it's the last week of January already? 

Monday 1.27

Bailen @ 7th St Entry
Daniel, David, and Julia Bailen specialize in fuzzy, eclectic coffeehouse rock, with an air of traditionalism thanks to the prim precision of the vocal arrangements. On their debut album, last year’s Thrilled to Be Here, the trio blend their voices in such ringing, intricate multipart harmony it’s heartbreaking to imagine one or another sibling leaving to become a solo star. With Superior Siren. 18+. 7 p.m. $14. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Lucas Fagen

Complete Monday music listings here.

Tuesday 1.28

Amber Liu @ Varsity Theater
A decade ago, Amber Liu moved from Los Angeles to Seoul to join the (excellent) girl group f(x); now she’s back, singing in English, to pursue solo stardom in the States. Her new X EP cultivates a summery, kinetic pop-R&B vibe, peaking with “Other People,” the bounciest and most exuberant of wounded breakup songs. With Meg & Dia and Justice Carradine. 6:30 p.m. $28-$45+. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis. More info here.—Lucas Fagen

Badi Assad @ Crooners Supper Club
Assad invests her music with a distinctively Brazilian manner of tensile restraint. Guitar Player named her the Best Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitarist in 1995, and her vocals, in both Portuguese and English, can waft in wistful saudade or hone forward with tender conviction. Now in her 50s, she’s played with jazz cats Larry Coryell and John Abercrombie, covered Skrillex and U2, written a book about her influences, and been the subject of an award-winning documentary. Catching her solo in a small venue like Crooners’ Dunsmore Room might be the best introduction for new listeners. 7:30 p.m. $30-$35. 6161 Highway 65 NE, Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson

Love & Law: A Century of the ACLU @ Dakota
This pricey but worthwhile benefit honors the 100th birthday of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has done more to protect and promote free speech than any organization in the world. Those who lay out $100 for a ticket receive the book The Fight of the Century, featuring essays on the notable legal triumphs in the ACLU’s history by writers such as Louise Erdich and Marlon James. Erdich will be on hand, along with musicians Chastity Brown, T. Mychael Rambo, Prudence Johnson and many others. 7 p.m. $100. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson

Complete Tuesday music listings here.

Wednesday 1.29

Wesley Stace, Dylan Hicks @ Hook and Ladder
He was born Wesley Stace, became a topically witty singer-songwriter under the name John Wesley Harding, pivoted to a series of novels and a steady stream of music reviews for various publications under his birth name, and has lately issued music under both monikers. Dylan Hicks, who recorded a series of singer-songwriter discs in the ’90s, then wrote novels and journalism (he was arts editor for this paper for awhile) for various publications, and also has relatively new music to play, would seem the ideal opening act, eh? 21+. 7:30 p.m. $20/$25. 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson

Complete Wednesday music listings here.

Thursday 1.30

Poppy @ Amsterdam
Since Poppy has heretofore specialized in covertly middlebrow electropop satires on fame, the internet, the plasticity of pop stars, and other pressing social issues, her sudden turn toward industrial metal on her new I Disagree is a welcome development: chaotic, #edgy avant-pop dabbling doesn’t entertain unless it’s in truly absurd bad taste. On “Concrete” and “Bloodmoney,” she officiates the unholy marriage of glitzy thrash and bloodcurdling scream. With Vowws. 6 p.m. $25. 6 W 6th St., St. Paul. More info here.—Lucas Fagen

Afro-Cuban All Stars @ Dakota
The Afro-Cuban All Stars are led by Juan de Marcos González, who’s been called the Quincy Jones of Cuban music. A musician, conductor, arranger, and composer, he was instrumental in assembling and acting as musical director of the group that became renowned as the Buena Vista Social Club, which essentially evolved in the All Stars. The current, 14-piece intergenerational orchestra exuberantly plays the full panoply of Cuba’s rich musical heritage, mixing classics with contemporary twists, last captured on 2017’s audio/video release Absolutely Live II. It’s a scintillating dose of irrepressible tropical flair. 7 & 9:30 p.m. $35-$50. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here.—Rick Mason

Mandolin Orange @ Palace Theatre
North Carolina’s Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz create sepia-toned music rooted in tradition but with tendrils stretching into today. The duo weaves mandolin, fiddle, acoustic guitars and sweet but shaded harmonies on originals evoking Appalachian folk, vintage country, gospel, and bluegrass. The lyrics are poetic ruminations on life, love, and loss, the latter especially on their sixth album, Tides of A Teardrop, about bittersweet acceptance of lingering grief. Still, it’s hardly maudlin stuff, spiked by the now expanded quintet’s sprightly arrangements, as well as judicious electric and steel guitar. Kate Rhudy opens. 18+. 7 p.m. $27.50-$30. 17 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul. More info here.—Rick Mason

Paul Watkins with the Minnesota Orchestra @ Orchestra Hall
Cellist and conductor Paul Watkins makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut with pieces from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. His cello prowess will be most in evidence during the Cello Concerto in A Minor from C.P.E. Bach, son of Johann Sebastian, sandwiched between Benjamin Britten’s ode to his music teacher, Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, and, after intermission, Beethoven’s 4th Symphony. 11 a.m. Also Friday at 8 p.m. $29.75-$102.75. 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson

Complete Thursday music listings here.