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The week's best concerts: March 30-April 5

Iggy and the band, presumably rolling town to town in a drop-top.

Iggy and the band, presumably rolling town to town in a drop-top.

  • Laulu: With Sam Cassidy, and the Heighburners., 7:30 p.m. Wed., $5. Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-647-0486, turfclub.net.

  • Skating Polly: With Catbath, Cherry Cola, and Bruise Violet., 7:30 p.m. Wed., $8. 7th St. Entry, 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-338-8388, first-avenue.com.

  • Thao & the Get Down Stay Down: With Saintseneca., 7:30 p.m. Wed., $20, first-avenue.com/event/2016/03/thao. Fine Line Music Cafe, 318 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-338-8100, finelinemusic.com.
Le1f

7th St. Entry, Thursday 3.31 

New York City’s Le1f spent years as a hot producer in the NYC avant-rap scene, producing mainly for Das Racist before putting together his masterful, subversive 2015 LP Riot Boi. With one-ups from Dev “Blood Orange” Hynes, Junglepussy, and Evian Christ, Riot Boi became a statement of the grime-filled Manhattan underground and remains one of last year’s most enduring listens. Oscillating between sublime reprieves and aggressive breakdowns, songs like “Swirl” and opener “Rage” show Le1f’s full breadth as a performer. It’s nearly irresponsible to put such an explosive artist in a room as crowded as the Entry. Buzzy locals Ness Nite and Slamdunkapher will be on opening duty. 18+. $20. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388; 612-338-8388. —Jerard Fagerberg

Iggy and the band, presumably rolling town to town in a drop-top.

Iggy and the band, presumably rolling town to town in a drop-top.

  • Big Gigantic: With Melw, and Louis the Child., 8 p.m. Thu., $25-$30. Skyway Theatre, 711 Hennepin Ave. 2nd floor, Minneapolis, 612-333-6100, skywaytheatre.com.

  • Delta Rae: 7 p.m. Thu., $25-$30. The Varsity Theater, 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis, 612-604-0222, varsitytheater.org.

  • Grayshot (Album Release Show): With Breanne Duren., 7:30 p.m. Thu., $10. Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-647-0486, turfclub.net.
Quilt

7th St. Entry, Friday 4.1

Where over-exhausted bands like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers give folky alt-rock a bad name, groups like Quilt pick up that slack, though the quartet would likely cringe at those comparisons. The Boston-based twee group that evokes folkier Beatles songs released their debut album, Held in Splendor, in 2014, and followed it up with last month’s Plaza. Founding members Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler have shimmery voices that carelessly alternate over psychedelic effects, making Quilt’s music sometimes feel like the soundtrack to Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Rising Iowa City pop-rock group Halfloves and local trio Val Son open. 18+. $10-$12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. —Grace Birnstengel

  • Shellac: With Mono., 8 p.m. Fri., $15. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-338-8388, first-avenue.com.

  • TAUK: 8:30 p.m. Fri., $8. Cabooze, 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-338-6425, cabooze.com.

  • American Scarecrows: With Ben Lubeck, and Jim Pullman Band., 8 p.m. Fri., $10-$12. Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-647-0486, turfclub.net.
Gary Clark Jr.

First Avenue, Saturday 4.2

Blues music began as a genre to express the struggles of Black America, and Austin, Texas-based singer/guitarist Gary Clark Jr. — one of the biggest names in contemporary blues — puts a hi-fi spin on African-American pain. For his latest album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, Clark tackles his new role as a father providing for his family in a “world gone crazy,” as he sings in single “Hold On.” The video for the track features Clark staring hard into the camera while images of civil-rights protests and police brutality flash behind him. It serves as a beautiful portrait of his perspective on race in a post-Black Lives Matter America as his soulful falsetto soars and guitar wildly bites. Stern yet hopeful, the bluesman’s face conveys his demand for America: “Let’s not fuck up the world for our children,” as he told music blog the Fader. Carson McHone opens. 18+. Sold out. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-332-1775. —Jared Hemming

Kitten Forever

Triple Rock Social Club, Saturday 4.2

There are a lot of 1990s adjectives dropped when people talk about Kitten Forever, but it’s best to just see their unique live show firsthand instead playing the “sounds like” game. The guitar-less Minneapolis punk band delivers coarse, feedback-steeped aggression that’s harsh and serious on first take, but it's ultimately angry party music in tune with the “kitten” in their name. There’s a hand clap for every scream, and once the three-piece swaps their instruments among members, as they do often, the room is all smiles. Set to release their second full-length, 7 Hearts, this Saturday, the trio will be taking turns at microphone, bass, and drum at Triple Rock. They'll be joined by friends Bruise Violet, Cherry Cola, and Royal Brat. 18+. 9 p.m. $7. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612-333-7399.

  • Earth, Wind & Fire, and Chicago: 7:30 p.m. Sat., $29.50-$125. Xcel Energy Center, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651-726-8240, xcelenergycenter.com.

  • Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus: 35th Anniversary Concert: 8 p.m. Sat., $25-$53. Northrop, 84 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, 612-625-6003, northrop.umn.edu.

  • Iration: With Hirie, the Expanders, and Amp Live. 16+., 6 p.m. Sat., $20-$25. The Varsity Theater, 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis, 612-604-0222, varsitytheater.org.
SFJazz Collective

Dakota Jazz Club, Sunday-Monday 4.3-4

SFJazz Collective is an all-star ensemble assembled annually to immerse itself in the music of a modern master, creating new, innovative arrangements. Over a dozen years, the group has covered the likes of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, and Chick Corea. This year the band is focusing on Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. “Arranging this music so that it becomes a vehicle for improvisation while maintaining its essence — infectious grooves and melodies — is truly a challenging task,” writes pianist Edward Simon in the liner notes of SFJazz’s newly released live recording of Jackson material. But, as always, the band succeeds admirably, shining on dynamic arrangements of MJ classics like “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” and “Thriller.” The current lineup is a virtual who’s who of contemporary jazz: saxophonists Miguel Zenón and David Sánchez, trumpeter Sean Jones, trombonist Robin Eubanks, bassist Matt Penman, drummer Obed Calvaire, Warren Wolf on vibes, and Simon on piano. $25-$45. 7 p.m. & 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. —Rick Mason

  • Magcon Tour: Featuring Cameron Dallas. All ages., 1:45 p.m. Sun., $27-$48. Myth, 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood, 651-779-6984, mythlive.com.

  • Mutemath: With Paper Route., 7 p.m. Sun., $25-$27. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-338-8388, first-avenue.com.

  • P.O.S.: With Milo, and CMJ., 9:30 p.m. Sun., $12. Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, 612-276-6523, icehousempls.com.
Iggy Pop

Northrop, Monday 4.4 

At 68, Godfather of Punk Iggy Pop is still sinewy in body, mind, spirit, and especially music, having just launched a new album, Post Pop Depression, and tour. The album, which Iggy avers will be his last, was recorded on the sly, a collaboration with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. On it, the erstwhile James Osterberg essentially takes stock of his current state of Iggyness — not revisiting the Stooges’ primal punk, but rather his post-Stooges Berlin residency with David Bowie. In fact, all the songs on the current tour reportedly are drawn from that era and the new disc, where Iggy’s feral croon often suggests he’s channeling Bowie. Depression skirts that slippery slope, but it is generally ruminative and doused with melancholy. And it’s not without one last fuck-off rant as the band rages on “Paraguay,” the finale of the album and maybe of Iggy’s unparalleled career. The touring band includes Homme, plus other members of QOTSA, Arctic Monkeys, and Chavez. Noveller opens. $59-$105. 8 p.m. 84 Church St. SE, Minneapolis; 612-624-2345. —Rick Mason

  • X Ambassadors: With Seinabo Sey, and Savoir Adore. All ages., 6:30 p.m. Mon., $21. Myth, 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood, 651-779-6984, mythlive.com.

  • Yuck: With Big Thief., 7:30 p.m. Mon., $15. 7th St. Entry, 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-338-8388, first-avenue.com.

  • Barns Courtney: 7 p.m. Mon., $12.50-$15. Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-333-7399, triplerocksocialclub.com.
Mobb Deep

Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Tuesday 4.5

The first quarter of 1995 was already a high-water mark for mainstream rap. It brought two universally acclaimed solo albums from members of the freshly galvanized Wu-Tang Clan (Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Raekwon), a debut by up-and-comer Big L, and a pre-prison confessional from 2Pac. That’s a lot of legendary bars for less than half of a year. Not to be forgotten is The Infamous, the notoriously bleak gangster rap opus from Queens duo Mobb Deep that cemented their status as cold-blooded vagabonds of rap’s East Coast renaissance. While they never quite graduated past the success of that album, and floundered after some verbal sparring with Jay Z, MD rappers Havoc and Prodigy are still widely considered two of hip-hop’s most brutally skilled and outspoken, albeit volatile, MCs. Muja Messiah and Slipmats Radio DJs open. 21+. $20-$25. 7 p.m. 6 W. Sixth St. St. Paul; 612-285-3112. —Raghav Mehta

Lucinda Williams

Dakota Jazz Club, Tuesday-next Saturday 4.5-9

Along Interstate 20 are many mileposts in the life of singular singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, whose traverses stirred memories that inspired her extraordinary new album, The Ghosts of Highway 20. The mood is often stark, even harrowing as Williams reflects on tattered shreds of the past. The songs — 14 stretched across two discs — also grapple with mortality and salvation. Death hovers, especially that of her father, poet Miller Williams, whose adapted “Dust” kicks off the album with eloquent ache. Throughout Ghosts, Williams’ textured drawl is marvelously expressive, sometimes creaky, slurred, little more than a murmur, but full of nuance and sneaky power. Significantly enhancing Williams’ adventurous arrangements — a sublime blend of folk, country, blues, rock, jazz — are the deftly entwined electric guitars of Greg Leisz (who also co-produced) and Bill Frisell. The resulting road trip, littered with emotional potholes, crosses decades and Southern gothic landscapes sculpted by literary imagery and rich, poignant music. Sold out. 7 p.m. Tuesday & Wednesday; 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. —Rick Mason

  • Acoustic Africa: Featuring Habib Koite, and Vusi Mahlasela., 7 p.m. Tue., $30-$35. The Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-338-2674, thecedar.org.
  • Milk & Bone: With Warehouse Eyes, and Bae Tigre., 7:30 p.m. Tue., $10-$12. Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-647-0486, turfclub.net.
  • The Joy Formidable: With Everything Everything., 7 p.m. Tue., $20. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-338-8388, first-avenue.com.