Thursday, Aug. 11
Californian electro-pop singer Lauv of "I Like Me Better" fame returns touting a new album, "All 4 Nothing," with Hayley Kiyoko opening (7:30 p.m. the Armory, $31-$43, all ages); the annual Minnesota Bluegrass August Festival features nationally known Po' Ramblin' Boys, Della Mae and Appalachian Roadshow as well as such area favorites as Becky Schlegel, Dean Magraw and Mother Banjo (Thu.-Sun. El Rancho Manana, Richmond, Minn. $15 and up); country singer Cam of "Burning House" fame performs with buzzy Tennessean opener Amythyst Kiah (8 p.m. Fine Line, $25); Twin Cities pop-punk dad band Saint Small, led by former Current program director Jim McGuinn, references Slim Dunlap, Hüsker Dü and other cool Minnesotans on their new EP, "Thank You Friends," which they're celebrating sandwiched between the Shackletons and Mood Swings (7:45 p.m., Turf Club, $10); New York's reggae-tinged, Judaism-infused singer/rapper Matisyahu is back out with a clean, new look and his first album in five years (7 p.m. Varsity Theater, $35); two of six Trampled by Turtles members, Dave Simonett and Dave Carroll, play a stripped-down set across the state line (7 p.m. Tatersall Distilling, River Falls, $25-$30); Native musicians and storytellers from across the nation(s) team up for the Welcome to Indian Country show (7 p.m. Cedar Cultural Center, $15-$20); the Neil Young tribute band Tired Eyes, led by Rich Mattson and Low's Alan Sparhawk, gig outside with Who Are They (7 p.m. Hook & Ladder, $15-$20).
Friday, Aug. 12
1. Bayfront Blues Festival: Need an uplift this summer? Then a trip to Duluth for this 33rd annual, three-day, two-stage fest might be the answer. The blues lift you up and don't bring you down. Just think about how Canned Heat boogied at Woodstock with "Going Up the Country" and "On the Road Again." More than 50 years later, the revamped band is still around, with lone original member Adolfo de la Parra on drums leading them into Friday's headline slot at Bayfront. Topping Saturday's bill is Ruthie Foster, the underappreciated, soulful Texas gem whose music is equal parts gospel, blues, soul and folk — with a dash of country. Other performers include Janiva Magness, Duke Robillard, Sena Ehrhardt & Cole Allen, John Primer, Mud Morganfield, Reverend Raven, Lamont Cranston and Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, who close the festivities on Sunday. (Fri.-Sun. Bayfront Park, 350 Harbor Dr,, Duluth, $65 and up, bayfrontblues.com),
2. Lakeside Guitar Festival: This annual free two-day, three-stage fest at Como Park Pavilion features some top-notch Twin Cities musicians (Pat Donohue, Turn Turn Turn, Javier Trejo, Wanaka, Paul Metzger, to name a few) and two world-class guitarists, James Blood Ulmer and Keb' Mo'. Ulmer famously played with jazz sax giant Ornette Coleman before launching his own career in the 1970s as a guitar innovator mixing free jazz concepts with blues traditions. (7:30 p.m. Fri.) Bluesman extraordinaire Mo' was a treat with his band last month opening for Sheryl Crow at the Ledge Amphitheater. Always smiling, he's working solo this time (3 p.m. Sat.). The festival is a fundraiser for Music Mission, a nonprofit that provides music gear and instruction to underserved communities in Mexico, Central America and the United States. (6-9:30 Fri. and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat., Como Park Pavilion, 1360 Lexington Pkwy N. St. Paul, free, musicmissionmusic.com)
3. Davu Seru and Zeitgeist: The Twin Cities' foremost new music ensemble joins one of its most innovative and exciting free jazz drummers for "Do Hay," a Seru composition for three bass drummers and audience. The premiere will take place atop a hill at St. Paul's Frogtown Farm, a lovely park and urban agricultural mecca. Known for his work with singer Mankwe Ndosi, guitarist Dean Magraw and the bands Click Song and Merciless Ghost, Seru always has something intriguing to offer. (6 p.m. Frogtown Farm, 946 W. Minnehaha Ave., St. Paul, free, zeitgeistnewmusic.org.)
Also: Scheduled to play the X the Friday everything shut down because of COVID-19, Colorado's happy hippie strummers the Lumineers of "Ho Hey" fame finally make up the date with a hopeful new record to promote, "Brightside," (7 p.m. Xcel Energy Center, $27-$195); honey-voiced Los Angeles strummer(s) Lord Huron sounded as warm as ever on last year's peak album "Long Lost" (7 p.m. Surly Festival Field, $47.50); the 42nd annual Irish Fair is importing musicians, including Galway Celtgrassers We Banjo 3 and Glasgow Celt rockers Skerryvore, as well as presenting such U.S. musicmakers as Gaelic Storm, the Sweet Colleens and Wild Colonial Bhoys (Fri.-Sun. Harriet Island, St. Paul, $15-$45); "Walking in Memphis" hitmaker Marc Cohn, who has performed at the Minnesota Zoo so many times he must have a time share in the Twin Cities, trades tigers for race horses, with Randall Bramblett (7 p.m. Canterbury Park, $35-$55); spellbinding Sounds of Blackness star Jamecia Bennett brings her glitzy and glorious blues/jazz/soul show to Chanhassen for the first time (8 p.m. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, $40 and up); blues piano ace Mark Naftalin, who landed in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Paul Butterfield Blues Band, makes a rare hometown appearance (5 p.m. Hook & Ladder, free); Grand Country Nights festival tapped two Nashville duos as headliners: veterans Big & Rich (Fri.) and Brothers Osborne (Sat.), with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others also scheduled (Fri.-Sat. Grand Casino Hinckley, $99 and up); soulful, high-voltage Atlanta bluesman Eddie 9V makes his Twin Cities debut (7 p.m. Dakota, $20-$30); folk duo Storyhill kick off another two-day Storyhill Fest campout with guests Ben Kyle, Peter Mayer, Edie Carey, Ira Wolf and more (Clearwater Forest Camp in Deerwood, storyhillfest.com).
Saturday, Aug. 13
4. Jack White: He's a hard one to peg, that Mr. White. Fifteen years since the last White Stripes show, the bluesy mad-scientist rocker continues to put out inventive and sometimes baffling solo records, including two this year: the manic rock set "Fear of the Dawn" and the mellower and more accessible (and much better) "Entering Heaven Alive." He's picking from both albums and offering a decent batch of oldies with a new band on tour, where he almost always impresses no matter the game plan. (8 p.m. the Armory, 600 S. 5th St., Mpls., $82.50, ticketmaster.com)
5. Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine: This pairing of two cultishly revered, sneakily charming indie Americana songmen makes sense musically and personally. The two kindred spirits have been sharing stage time together on tour as well as playing separate sets. Sam Beam will go first playing I&W songs solo acoustic. Bird will end the night with a full band promoting last year's tellingly titled, lushly arranged album "Inside Problems." Oh, and the incomparable Meshell Ndegeocello opens, too (6:30 p.m., Surly Brewing Festival Field, 520 Malcolm Ave SE, Mpls., $43.50, axs.com).
6. Word.Sound.Power: Likened to Jamaica's sound-system gatherings of the 1950s-'60s, this one-day block party in northeast Minneapolis will bring Kingston reggae singers Mykal Rose (ex-Black Uhuru), Johnny Osbourne ("Truth and Rights") and Turbulence to town and pair them with old-school dub mix-master the Scientist as well as some younger hip-hop and dancehall stars spread across five different stages. Foremost among the latter acts are revered turntablist Cut Chemist and Jurassic 5 rapper Charli 2na, while local vets Prince Jabba and Truth Maze will also be mixed in alongside a dozen-plus younger upstarts. (Noon to 10 p.m. 56 Brewing, 3055 NE Columbia Av., Mpls., $50-$100, theticketing.co)
7. Fitz & the Tantrums: Ever since their Twin Cities debut at Bunkers in 2011, this colorful Los Angeles combo has been keeping the party going here — from First Avenue to Basilica Block Party. It didn't matter if the latest recording was blue-eyed soul, New Wave-y or alt-something, Michael (Fitz) Fitzpatrick and the Tantrums were fun, fun, fun. Last year, he released his solo debut, "Head Up High," but he's promised a Tantrums project this year. They've already teased with the summery single "Sway," a delicious dance-party ditty with tastes of doo-wop and reggaeton. With "Honey, I'm Good" singer Andy Grammer. (7 p.m. Palace Theatre, 17 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul, $46-$66, axs.com)
Also: Fresh from the Bayfront Blues Festival, Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys tear it in the Twin Cities (6 p.m. Wilebski's, $15); two of the Twin Cities finest soul singers, Gwen Matthews and Kathleen Johnson pay tribute to Aretha Franklin (7 p.m. the Dakota, $30-$40); the Band's Last Waltz is recreated by an all-star Minnesota cast including Dan Israel, Molly Maher and Julius Collins (6 p.m. Como Park Pavilion, $33); country singer Jamey Johnson of "In Color" fame hasn't released an album of original material in a dozen years but the gems on his "The Lonesome Song" and "The Guitar Song" make a trip to Mankato worthwhile (7 p.m. Vetter Stone Amphitheater, Mankato, $37-$97); all-woman Clash tribute band Rude Girl rocks outside with Extraterrestrials and Heartless (6:30 p.m. Palmer's Bar patio, $15); surfy instrumental rockers Hot Pastrami also have a patio gig (6-9 p.m. Psycho Suzi's, free); Eddie Spaghetti is back with his Seattle grunge-twang band the Supersuckers (9 p.m. Turf Club, $20); who better to stage an evening of century-old British music — dubbed An Imaginary Concert at Downton Abbey — than Minneapolis maestro Phillip Brunelle and soprano supreme Maria Jette? (5 p.m. Crooners, $20-$30).
Sunday, Aug. 14
8. The Stadium Tour: That decidedly generic tour name belies its participants being four of the flashiest if not cleverest rock acts of the 1980s. Def Leppard headline with a not-bad new record to tout, "Diamond Star Halos." Mötley Crüe are back for the first time since their two-year Final Tour; but it's questionable if they're really back. Poison will put on its usual nothing-but-a-good-time set. And the show's lone Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Joan Jett, precedes them, following opening band Classless Act. (4:30 p.m. U.S. Bank Stadium, 401 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., $49-$850, ticketmaster.com)
Also: Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, hosts a tribute to his dad's old band for Rochester's Down by the Riverside series (7 p.m., Mayo Park, Rochester, free); golden-voiced and versatile Jennifer Grimm does Gumm, better known as Judy Garland (8 p.m. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, $40 and up); those jazzy and super-talented Petersons salute the grand dame of Twin Cities jazz, the late Jeanne Arland Peterson, in a program called "Songs Our Mother Loved" (7 p.m. Crooners, $30-$40).
Monday, Aug. 15
9. The Decemberists: With their crazy-good 2019 gig still holding up as one of Rock the Garden's best-loved headline sets ever, Portland's literary indie-folk heroes finally return for another outdoor Twin Cities gig (one originally booked for 2020) — actually the fourth Surly Field concert in an impressive seven-day run. Frontman Colin Meloy colorfully described the tour as "wiping away the accumulated grime from windows," because it's their first since their last album came out in 2018. Sounds fun. (7 p.m. Surly Brewing Festival Field, 520 Malcolm Av. SE, Mpls., $45, axs.com)
Also: Twin Cities jazz men Larry McDonough and Joel Shapira salute jazz piano great Bill Evans (7 p.m. the Dakota, $15-$20).
Tuesday, Aug. 16
10. Gov't Mule: Guitar hero Warren Haynes will give those Canterbury race horses a big ol' Mule kick with his rockin', bluesy jam band. After a dozen studio albums, last year's "Heavy Load Blues" is their first project devoted exclusively to blues. Haynes and company interpret songs by Elmore James, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Ann Peebles and Leroy Carr, among others. They give Howlin' Wolf's "I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)" a heavy Hendrixian feel, and Tom Waits' "Make It Rain" has never sounded more menacing. Haynes' originals impress, too, especially the smoldering blues ballad "If Heartaches Were Nickels," with deeply felt vocals and equally emotional guitar. (7 p.m. Canterbury Park, 1100 Canterbury Rd., Shakopee, $35-$60, tickets.canterburypark.com)
Also: Idaho indie-rock guitar guru Doug Martsch paired up with a couple Brazilian musicians to form a new lineup of Built to Spill, making its local debut following Sub Pop's release of the strong new album "When the Wind Forgets Your Name" (7:45 p.m. First Avenue, $30); oddball, costume-wearing, gimmick-loving California techno-rap psyche-pop star Oliver Tree is touring for a new album, "Cowboy Tears" (7 p.m. the Armory, $33-$43); bossa-nova-loving local jazz-rock kids Honeybutter rise to the Dakota (7 p.m., $12-$15).
Wednesday, Aug. 17
Jane Monheit, the New York jazz thrush with superb technique and taste, returns in support of 2021's "Come What May," her first album in five years (7 p.m. the Dakota, $45-$55).
Rob Hubbard contributed to this column.