Open Mike Eagle
7TH STREET ENTRY, WEDNESDAY 7.22
Open Mike Eagle is all about humility. And humor, too, considering he hangs with guys like Hannibal Buress and packs his songs with unpredictable topics ranging from Scott Hall-Bill Goldberg WCW matches to the unconventional release of U2's Songs of Innocence. The Los Angeles-via-Chicago alt-rapper is too weary of rap clichés to even brag without reluctance: “We the best, mostly / Sometimes the freshest rhymers / We the tightest, kinda / Respect my qualifiers.” Try calling him a “joke rapper,” though, after hearing his in-the-pocket flows on last year’s Dark Comedy or this year’s A Special Episode of Open Mike Eagle EP. Taken as a pair, the projects show Mike’s wit and overall songwriting to be cohering smoother than ever before in his decade-long career, which also includes time with the groups Thirsty Fish and Swim Team. Crescent Moon/Andrew Broder, Sayth, and comedian Brandi Brown open. 18+. $8-$10. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388.
— MICHAEL MADDEN
Kevin Gates • $20-$23 • 8 p.m. Wed. • Fine Line Music Cafe
James Cotton • $35-$42 • 7 p.m. Wed. • Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
Black Joe Lewis and Caroline Smith
MINNESOTA ZOO, THURSDAY 7.23
Black Joe Lewis and his R&B- and jazz-soaked band deal in the soul-snatching, punk-infused stuff that spawned seminal blues, funk, and rock ’n’ roll. Raw, astronomically gritty, down and deliciously dirty, Lewis doesn’t sing so much as stir up a viper’s pit of ferocious passions; he howls, shouts, and grunts like a preacher riding a hot poker, weighing in on his careening electric guitar while the horns blaze atop raging rhythms. On 2013’s Electric Slave, with its vintage soul, psychedelia, and otherworldly punk, Lewis railed about vampires, young girls, and Golem. At the other end of the neo-soul spectrum is the Twin Cities’ own Caroline Smith, whose music and singing is way more subtle than Lewis’. The context of her extraordinary 2013 album, Half About Being A Woman, was ’90s R&B, an abrupt change from her erstwhile folkie inclinations. And if Lewis is all about ragged spirit, Smith is concerned with lush sensuality as a function of feminist self-awareness and actualization. $36-$48.50. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952-431-9200. — RICK MASON
Veruca Salt • $25-$28 • 7 p.m. Thu. • The Cedar Cultural Center
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah • $20 • 8 p.m. Thu. • Triple Rock Social Club
Cayucas • $12-$14 • 8 p.m. Thu. • 7th St. Entry
FIRST AVENUE, FRIDAY 7.24
Sometimes success just happens to the right people. A massive year whizzed by following the spring 2014 release of Black Diet's infectious indie-soul debut, Find Your Tambourine. The Twin Cities band returned from their first U.S. tour to storm the local summer festival circuit, play for 35,000 new fans at a Twins-Royals game, and land a feature-length TV special on TPT’s The Lowertown Line. It’s a testament to the group’s thoroughly winning live show, led by the charismatic duo of gospel-channeling Jonathan Toliver and the effortlessly cool Mugsy, and anchored by a murder’s row of local soul talent. New album The Good One, being celebrated tonight, finds the band parked at the intersection of '80s new wave and R&B. Lead single “Fever” could be the greatest Pretenders song never written, and the album crackles with instant live-show classics. 18+. $12-$15. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388.
— ZACH MCCORMICK
MINNESOTA ZOO, FRIDAY 7.24
Atlanta’s Blackberry Smoke have been around 15 years, gradually building their reputation one honky-tonk at a time. With the release this year of its fourth studio album, Holding All The Roses, the quintet has solidified its claim on Southern rock’s legacy, working in its myriad components – rock ’n’ roll, country, blues, gospel, bluegrass – with assurance and distinction. The album, produced by heavyweight Brendan O’Brien (Springsteen, Aerosmith, Neil Young), is framed by a pair of kiss-off rockers: the opening “Let Me Help You (Find The Door)” fuses raucous rock with rootsy R&B and boogie; the closing “Fire In The Hole” is a Skynyrd-esque romp with an interlude of Meters-like NOLA funk. In between are the blistering title track, the Stones-like “Rock and Roll Again,” and a pair showcasing Charlie Starr’s fine, subtle songwriting: “Too High” and “Lay It All On Me.” Chicago’s bluesy Steepwater Band opens. $37-$49.50. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley; 952-431-9200.
— RICK MASON
The Velvet Teen • $15-$17 • 7:30 p.m. Fri. • The Varsity Theater
The Honeydogs • $12-$15 • 7 p.m. Fri. • The Cedar Cultural Center
The Cactus Blossoms • $10 • 8 p.m. Fri. • Turf Club
Lowertown Blues Festival
MEARS PARK, SATURDAY 7.25
Experiencing live music in verdant Mears Park is one of the great summertime pleasures of this northern metropolis. This second-annual blues fest is a nice mix of national and local talent, the main stage anchored by veteran blues guitarist Elvin Bishop, whose long career stretches back to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He was an integral part of the San Francisco psychedelic scene, scored a couple of bona fide hits in the ’70s (“Traveling Shoes,” “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”), and has been a consistent presence since. Last year’s Can’t Even Do Wrong Right collected a slew of blues awards and a Grammy nomination. Preceding Bishop on the main stage will be another veteran guitar ace, Walter Trout, whose fiery blues-rock licks have graced John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Canned Heat, and his own groups. Rounding out the lineup is a solid array of locals: Jimmi & the Band of Souls, Lisa Wenger & Her Mean Mean Men, Jimi Prime Time Smith, Big George Jackson, and the Dee Miler Band. Get set times and the complete lineup at www.LowertownBluesFestival.com. Free. Noon. 221 E. 5th St., St. Paul.
— RICK MASON
On an On
ICEHOUSE, SATURDAY 7.25
Since releasing their 2013 debut album, Give In, local band On an On have quietly grown a sizable national profile. A European tour and plenty of glowing press even helped the group triumphantly overcome their inborn SEO issues. The moody, vibe-heavy dream-pop trio teamed with big-shot producer Joe Chiccarelli (My Morning Jacket, the Shins) on new LP And the Wave Has Two Sides, which drops Friday and will be celebrated Saturday at Icehouse. Gleeful in espousing the virtues of dance-floor redemption, Wave single “It's Not Over” is spiritually similar to Walk the Moon hit “Shut Up and Dance,” albeit in a hazy, '80s new-wave style; another new track, “Drifting,” with its stark, sparse synth throbs and acoustic flitters, takes on a much darker tone. DEM YUUT opens. 21+. $12. 10:30 p.m. 2528 Nicollet Ave. S.; 612-276-6523.
— JAY BOLLER
Mason Jennings • $39 • 7 p.m. Sat. • Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
The Pandoras • $20 • 7 p.m. Sat. • Turf Club
Sage Francis • $16-$18 • 8 p.m. Sat. • First Avenue
One Direction • $39-$99 • 7 p.m. Sun. • TCF Bank Stadium
Vans Warped Tour • $38.50 • 11 a.m. Sun. • Canterbury Park
The Okee Dokee Brothers • $20 • 6:30 p.m. Sun. • Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
Strand of Oaks • $12 • 7:30 p.m. Mon. • Turf Club
The Crash Bandits • $8 • 7 p.m. Mon. • 7th St. Entry
JT's Jazz Implosion • $8 • 9:30 p.m. Mon. • Icehouse
TARGET CENTER, TUESDAY 7.28
She’s baaack! After a long hiatus and a stint in Vegas, the Canadian queen of pop-country, Shania Twain, is touring the nation in what she says will be her final tour. We could make some cheesy, “That Don’t Impress Us Much” joke, but we’ll refrain in respect to the icon. Shania promises to bring an entirely new feel to her stage show this time around. After all, she’s gone through a lot in the past few years, including a spouse swap with her (former) best friend and the frightening, temporary loss of her voice. However, that can’t hold Shania and her collection of hits down. Literally every person on earth loves at least one Shania Twain song, so throw on something in her trademark leopard print and go! Twain's last album, Up, came out way back in 2002. Gavin de Graw opens. All ages. $46-$136. 7:30 p.m. 600 1st Ave. N.; 612-673-1300.
— KARA NESVIG
Snow Tha Product • $15 • 8 p.m. Tue. • Fine Line Music Cafe
A.A. Bondy • $13-$15 • 7:30 p.m. • Turf Club
Heaters • $8 • 8 p.m. • 7th St. Entry