The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

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Thursday, April 25

1. Cornbread Harris' 97th Birthday: Since his Rock & Roll Hall of Famer son Jimmy Jam joined him at his birthday party last year, Samuel "Cornbread" Harris has enjoyed quite a year — from seeing his face splashed on the side of buildings in downtown Minneapolis courtesy the Hennepin Theater Trust to hearing there's a biography on him coming to bookstores in August from U of M Press and author Andrea Swensson. He's continued gigging like a madman, too, including his weekly Sunday afternoon sets at one of the rare bars in town older than him, Palmer's. Lots of light will be emanating at this birthday party beyong the 97 candles. (7 p.m. Hook & Ladder Theater, 3010 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls., $15-$25,

2. Rachael Kilgour: Bring your hankies as the Duluth folk music mainstay celebrates the release of her latest album, "My Father Loved Me." The album is a deeply inspired tribute to her recently deceased dad, who comes off like a hard-working, blue-collar son of a farmer who put in even more work loving his family in such heart-string-picking tracks as "How I Was Made" and the Great Lakes-tinged "Ontario." Juno Award winner Rose Cousins produced the all-acoustic collection, which furthers Kilgour's knack for writing rich everywoman tales with a Victoria Williams-style poetic familiarity and some unexpected humor, too. (7 p.m. Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., $12-$22,

3. Minnesota Sinfonia: The orchestra will cease operations this fall, so seize the day and enjoy one of the closing concerts of its "winter season." The featured soloist is a very fine Boston-based violinist, Yevgeny Kutik, who will solo on perhaps the quintessential example of German romanticism, Max Bruch's First Violin Concerto. Founder and music director Jay Fishman also will conduct a work of his own, as well as an Antonín Dvořák "Slavonic Dance" and Mozart's "Linz" Symphony. (7 p.m. Metro State University, 700 E. 7th St., St. Paul; 2 p.m. Sat. Basilica of St. Mary, 1600 Hennepin Av., Mpls., free,

4. Daniel Hope: When the concert world shut down during COVID-19, this brilliant violinist brought music to millions via his "Hope@Home" online concerts. His whirlwind Schubert Club mini-residency features two French-flavored International Artist Series recitals with pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips (7:30 p.m. Thu., 10:30 a.m. Fri. Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul), two kid-friendly FamilyJams (10 and 11:15 a.m. Sat. Schubert Club Museum, Landmark Center, 75 W. 5thFifth St., St. Paul) and baroque music with his six-piece chamber group, the AIR Ensemble (3 p.m. Luminary Arts Center, 700 1st St. N., Mpls.). (Free-$75,

Also: With eight No. 1 country songs in his catalog, Tennessee singer Dustin Lynch is touting his latest, "Chevrolet" — a repurposing of Dobie Gray's 1973 classic "Drift Away" featuring the red-hot Jelly Roll — from his sixth LP, "Killed the Cowboy" (8 p.m. Armory, $41 and up); fresh off releasing his "Summit Avenue Swingers Party" live album, inspired by house shows, Jeremy Messersmith heads up the Current's Minnesota Music Month celebration with Makr an Eris (producer Makr + Sophia Eris) and Now, Now's KC Rae (8 p.m. Fitzgerald Theater, $20); Brett Young, who has scored six No. 1 Nashville tunes including "In Case You Didn't Know," is promoting his fourth album, last year's "Across the Sheets" (8 p.m. Mystic Lake Casino Showroom, $49-$129); revived U.K. fuzz-rock band Panchiko is touring after its '90s music was unearthed when a CD-R was found in a thrift shop (7 p.m. Varsity Theater, $44); local punk vet Christy Costello plays an all-ages show to tout her new album, "From the Dark," with Con Shoal and Hutchie (6 p.m. Cloudland Theater, $12-$15).

Friday, April 26

5. Sierra Ferrell: There was something of a no-duh reaction when this West Virginian twanger won the emerging artist award at last year's Americana Music Awards. She sings like Dolly Parton, writes like she's one of the o.g.'s of outlaw country, and her albums are rife with authentic bluegrass, gypsy twang and traditional folk influences, including her latest and best yet, "Trail of Flowers." Her current run of club gigs precedes big summer gigs with Zach Bryan and the Avett Brothers, plus a set at Wisconsin's Blue Ox Music Fest in late June. (9 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., resale tickets only,

Also: After earning lots of raves for their Entry show last year, Canadian throwback power-pop rockers Daniel Romano's Outfit are back in a bigger room touting a new album, "Too Hot to Sleep" (9 p.m. Turf Club, $21); singer Doreen Shaffer is the only original member of Jamaica's enduring ska band, the Skatalites, who are celebrating their 60th anniversary (8 p.m. Parkway Theater, $30-60); St. Paul's visionary R&B/neo-soul singer PaviElle is presenting her "Sovereign Suites" concert with Queen Drea, Ted Godbout, Tiyo Siyolo and more (9 p.m. Icehouse, $15-$25); back permanently from Los Angeles, Barbara Cohen has reassembled Little Lizard (7:30 p.m., also Sat., Open Eye Theater, $25-$30); Indian Music Society of MN presents violinist Ambi Subramaniam and vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty (7:30 p.m. Fitzgerald Theater, $33 and up); local pop-rocker Landon Conrath, whose Ber collaboration "Funeral Home," heads up a homecoming party after touring to both coasts (8:30 p.m. Fine Line, $20-$40); San Francisco's psychedelic indie-rocker Glenn Donaldson settles in for a two-night Twin Cities stand with his band the Reds, Pinks & Purples (7 p.m., also Sat., Cloudland Theater, $18); beatbox and rap maestro Carnage the Executioner hosts his Collaborative 4th Fridays improv music series (8 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, free); the annual Ben's Birthday FoodShelf Drive will feature jammers Kung-Fu Hippies, Lolo's Ghost and Tom Freund (8 p.m. Hook & Ladder, $16-$22).

Saturday, April 27

6. Nicki Minaj: Last year's soundtrack megahit "Barbie World" with Ice Spice put an exclamation point on the fact that Minaj has had one of the most enduring careers in hip-hop — going back to when Lil Wayne's Young Money label released her 2010 debut album, "Pink Friday," with interim hits including "Super Freaky Girl," "Anaconda" and "MotorSport." The bawdy, Trinidad-born rapper hasn't cashed in accordingly as a live performer until now, though. Her first major arena headlining tour is reportedly a dazzling display of kaleidoscopic color. Word of warning: Her start times at many of the shows have also apparently kept fans waiting. (8 p.m. Target Center, 600 S. 1st St., Mpls., $80-$650,

7. Alejandro Escovedo: Forty-six years after his first band the Nuns opened the Sex Pistols' notorious you've-been-cheated concert at the Winterland in San Francisco, the Tex-Mex music hero is sounding like a punk rocker again on his wild new album, "Echo Dancing." He might test the Dakota's sound system this time around. In the interim, of course, Sheila E's uncle has waved the many flags of Texas music, from rowdy alt-twang to elegant Mexican folk, landing him such honors as an Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction and No Depression magazine's artist of the decade for the 1990s. Veteran sideman and producer James Mastro opens. (7 p.m. the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $50-$60,

Also: Three-time Grammy winner Larry Campbell, a former Bob Dylan sideman who has recorded with everyone from Paul Simon to Shania Twain, is touring with his wife, singer Teresa Williams, touting their new "All This Time," another fine collection of Americana featuring the Delaney & Bonnie-evoking "Desert Island Dreams" (8 p.m. Parkway Theater, $35-$40); Goo Goo Dolls bring "Name," "Iris" and other rock faves to the PACER Center benefit (8 p.m. Minneapolis Convention Center, $100); members of Poliça and Marijuana Deathsquads will be experimenting together for the Totally Gross National Product Night at Berlin jazz club (8 p.m., $10); Steve Cole Super Band features the University of St. Thomas sax man as jazzy bandleader as well as an all-star local cast including Brandon Commodore on drums, Jeff Bailey on bass and Kavyesh Kaviraj on keyboards (6:30 & 8:30 p.m. the Dakota, $25-$35); local vocal powerhouse Thomasina Petrus joins the Selby Avenue Brass Band for a New Orleans-flavored program (4:30 p.m. Crooners, $25-$35); Ryan Olcott steps out again with the new lineup of his reverberating band 12 Rods (8 p.m. Fine Line, $28-$50).

Sunday, April 28

8. Fred Armisen: It's billed as "Comedy for Musicians (But Everyone is Welcome)," guaranteeing a mix of comedy and music. Armisen, the sometimes drummer on Seth Meyers' late-night talk show, muses about music, plays a few different instruments, does song parodies, riffs on his "Portlandia" days and "Saturday Night Live" nights and maybe he'll do his Prince impression since this gig is in Minneapolis. Armisen's musical knowledge is deep and wide to the point where he invariably hits a funny bone in many contexts. (7 p.m. Fillmore, Mpls., $61 and up,

Also: Settle in for groovy vibes and fun instrumental jams for the eponymous album-release party by the Neighborhood Quartet, featuring New Standards vibraphonist Steve Roehm and other ace sidemen Nick Salisbury, Dan Schartz and Greg Schutte, with Dylan Hicks & Small Screens opening (7 p.m. Parkway Theater, $20); Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials, who were inducted into the Blues Foundation's Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis this year, bring their house rockin' Chicago blues to downtown Minneapolis (7 p.m. the Dakota, $30-$35); two different branches of the North Mississippi blues family tree are intertwined in the Burnside Kimbrough Experience (7 p.m. Hook & Ladder, $25); bassist Liz Draper is back at Berlin for another instrumental set with Bryan Murray and Mike Vasich (7 p.m., free); and if you can't make Cornbread Harris' 97th birthday on Thursday, he's doing his usual Sunday afternoon set this week, too (5-7 p.m. Palmer's Bar, free).

Monday, April 29

9. Judy Collins: Last fall at the Parkway Theater, the legendary singer proved that she still has the voice, the wit and the charm. She sampled a few songs from 2022′s "Spellbound," her first album of all original material among her 55 records, and, of course, did her hits "Send in the Clouds" and "Both Sides Now." The American musical treasure returns to the intimacy of the Dakota for two nights. (7 p.m., also Tue., the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $85-$125,

Tuesday, April 30

Land of Talk finds Montreal indie rocker Lizzie Powell shifting from piano-based to guitar-driven tunes on the new "Performances" (8 p.m. Icehouse, $27.69); Texas' psychedelic noise-punk trio Cherubs, who've recorded for the both the Amphetamine Reptile and Butthole Surfers-affiliated Trance Syndicate record labels, top off a wild bill feature local faves Citric Dummies and Murf (8 p.m. Turf Club, $15-$20).

Wednesday, May 1

10. David Foster and Katharine McPhee: Known as the Hitman, super-producer/songwriter Foster has earned 16 Grammys working with the likes of Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and Michael Buble. The king of over-the-top pop, he's touring with his wife, the "American Idol" runner-up and star of TV's "Smash." Expect a combination of his hits and her favorites from TV as well as Broadway's "Waitress" in which she did a stint. (7:30 p.m. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $60-$100,

Also: Kathy Mattea, known for the country hits "Where've You Been" and "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" and hosting West Virginia's nationally-distributed public radio show "Mountain Stage," returns to the hometown of her songwriter husband, Jon Vezner (6:30 & 8:30 p.m. the Dakota, $30-$40); the Cedar Cultural Center's Nordic Roots series brings Scandinavian folk trio Northern Resonance to town (7:30 p.m., $25-$30); rootsy Ontario indie-rock band the Strumbellas are back out with a new album, "Part Time Believer" (8 p.m. Fine Line, $25-$45); Southside Aces clarinetist Tony Balluff leads the instrumental trio the Pick-a-Rib Three (7-10 p.m. Berlin, free).

Classical critic Rob Hubbard contributed to this column.