The week's best concerts: Nov. 2-8

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Rounding up the week's best concerts in the Twin Cities. 

  • THE SAINT PAUL CHAMBER ORCHESTRA Nov. 3, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • WATSKY Nov. 3, 6:00 p.m. at First Avenue
  • ZULUZULUU'S ASTRAL BEAT SERIES Nov. 3, 10:00 p.m. at Icehouse
  • THE WOOD BROTHERS Nov. 4, 7:00 p.m. at The Varsity Theater
  • BUCKS FOR BILJAN: A BASHIN' BARNSTORMIN' BIRTHDAY FUNDRAISER Nov. 4, 7:00 p.m. at James Ballentine VFW Post 246
  • TOUSSAINT MORRISON (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW) Nov. 4, 10:30 p.m. at Icehouse

Lupe Fiasco
Skyway Theatre, Friday 11.4
If Lupe Fiasco retires early, an idea he has indeed entertained, he may go down as a highly underrated rapper. But that’s only because the 34-year-old Chicago native so often steered clear of hip-hop trends that may have given his popularity a boost. In the mid ’00s, he arrived with a knack for storytelling and an adventurous ear for beats. His first two albums — 2006’s Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor and 2007’s Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool — are arguable classics, though he would later waver with 2011’s disappointing and uncharacteristically commercial-sounding Lasers. In fact, last year, Lupe himself volunteered to destroy physical copies of that album with an actual laser. Fortunately, he’s returned to form. Lupe’s latest LP, last year’s Tetsuo & Youth, had plenty to offer longtime enthusiasts of his lyricism. Hell, its first proper song, the instantly legendary “Mural,” is a nine-minute avalanche of imagery and wordplay, making no room for a chorus. After initially saying he intended to drop three albums in 2016, Lupe has yet to release a single one; instead, he’ll be touring throughout most of November and December. 18+. 8 p.m. $35-$65. 711 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-333-6100. — Michael Madden

  • FESTIVAL DE LAS CALAVERAS 2016 Nov. 5, 7:00 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • SO CONTAGIOUS: PRAIRIE FIRE LADY CHOIR AND MATT LATTERELL Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m. at McNally Smith College of Music
  • KEITH URBAN Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m. at Target Center

Hiss Golden Messenger with Tiff Merritt
Turf Club, Saturday 11.5
Hiss Golden Messenger is anchored by North Carolina singer-songwriter MC Taylor. His sixth HGM album, last month’s Heart Like a Levee, is a rich, bittersweet meditation on the conflicting natures of love, ambition, and responsibility set to a grand pastiche of Southern music. Although Taylor has long worked in supple forms of country-folk, gospel, rootsy rock, and bluegrass, Levee shifts toward Muscle Shoals and Memphis. Electric piano, organ, and chortling saxophones now conspire with banjo, Dobro, and pedal steel, mostly wielded by members of the Bon Iver/Megafaun extended clan, while Tift Merritt leads chirpy, gospelly harmonies. The levee of the title track seems to hold back fears and tears, as Taylor grapples with competing demands of family and career, fighting uncertainty (“Do you hate me, honey / As much as I hate myself”) amid resilient mountain picking. On “Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer” his pinched falsetto flirts with harrowing diffidence over a wickedly spooky Memphis groove. On the languid finale, “Highland Grace,” Taylor finds some while echoing Van Morrison’s soulful Tupelo reveries. Merritt will open and play with HGM. 21+. 8 p.m. $15. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651-647-0486. — Rick Mason

Steve Earle & the Dukes
Pantages Theatre. Saturday 11.5
Steve Earle burst onto the Nashville scene 30 years ago with Guitar Town, an impressive debut album that had sufficient twang and drawl for a pair of country Grammy nominations. But it also had plenty of outlaw rebelliousness and rock ’n’ roll attitude, presaging the unpredictable, badass renegade path Earle often would take over ensuing decades. Marking its anniversary on the current tour, Earle and his band will play Guitar Town in its entirety in their first set, then dive deep into the eclectic Earle songbook. His catalog echoes his gnarly, troublesome character, rankling and charming by equal measures, traversing hard country, snarly rock anthems, rootsy bluegrass, and folkie introspection. He even had the distinction of being murdered in the French Quarter, in his role as a street busker in the music-centric TV drama Tremé. His latest album, Colvin & Earle, a collaboration with Shawn Colvin, is a folk-oriented collection of jointly penned originals, plus curious covers by the likes of the We Five and Rolling Stones. Earle’s previous release, 2015’s Terraplane, was gritty originals in a variety of vintage blues contexts. 8 p.m. $48.50-$58.50. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. — Rick Mason

Tonight Takes Everyone
Icehouse, Saturday 11.5
For his Tonight Takes Everyone showcase, Minneapolis’ DJ Fundo, best known for being Prof’s DJ and a member of the Get Cryphy crew, will present a pair of rappers with plenty of personality and energy. For the past five years, Seattle’s Nacho Picasso has been one of rap’s funniest and wittiest MCs, proving as much with the dozen or so projects he has under his belt. He has the punchlines and wordplay of someone like Ab-Soul, with a penchant for debauched subject matter and slightly nerdy pop culture references (sample song title: “David Blowie”). Come to think of it, he has a few things in common with Fundo’s buddy Prof. Meanwhile, J. Plaza is one of Minneapolis’ fastest-rising rappers, a guy who boasts a versatile skill set. “None of my songs sound alike,” he told Go 95.3’s Mr. Peter Parker earlier this year, a statement that remains true. Plaza has quickly built up a strong SoundCloud presence, and his accomplishments so far include a performance at Summer Set Music & Camping Festival back in August. 21+. 11 p.m. $8-$10. 2528 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-276-6523. — Michael Madden

  • DAVE SIMONETT Nov. 6, 6:00 p.m. at Aster Cafe
  • JAI WOLF Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. at First Avenue

Nicolas Jaar
First Avenue, Monday 11.7
Though his new LP, September’s Sirens, is often considered his second album, electronic producer Nicolas Jaar has been sneakily prolific. Following 2011’s Space Is Only Noise, a widely acclaimed debut that’s more accessible than most music with prominent downtempo and ambient elements, the 26-year-old Chilean-American’s recordings have varied in format: There’s the album he made alongside Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington (under the name Darkside) and his alternate soundtrack to the 1969 film The Color of Pomegranates. Plus, there are all of his EPs, his remixes, and his widely circulated Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 from 2012. Still, Sirens has drawn most eyes toward Jaar. Sonically varied and more political than it immediately lets on, the self-released LP is a clear display of its creator’s singular artistry. While it’s a grower of an album that rewards patient listening, it offers easy entry points with the Alan Vega-esque moments of “The Governor” and “Three Sides of Nazareth,” as well as the dusky doo-wop of closing song “History Lesson.” 18+. 7:30 p.m. $20-$25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. — Michael Madden

  • THE HUNNA Nov. 7, 7:00 p.m. at Triple Rock Social Club
  • JEFF ROSENSTOCK Nov. 7, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • SUZANNE VEGA Nov. 8, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • MC CHRIS Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • ACCORDO Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. at Icehouse
  • LECRAE Nov. 9, 6:00 p.m. at First Avenue
  • K.FLAY Nov. 9, 7:00 p.m. at Fine Line Music Cafe