Thursday, Jan. 26
1. Ice Cube: With his Hollywood acting gigs far out-paying his music career since the first "Friday" and "Barbershop" movies came out two decades ago, the Los Angeles hip-hop legend of N.W.A. and "It Was a Good Day" fame seems to return to the stage only when he's feeling the urge. There was a discernible urgency in his memorable Soundset festival appearance previously in the Twin Cities, which he said "has always been a live town" in an interview before that 2015 gig. He added a second night this time around due to demand, and might drop in a song or two from the new "Mount Westmore" supergroup album with Snoop Dogg, E-40 and Too Short. (8 p.m., also Fri., Mystic Lake Casino Showroom, 2400 Mystic Lake Dr., Prior Lake, $80 and up, ticketmaster.com)
2. Joe Rainey: One of the first and most enticing music events in the citywide Great Northern Festival, this is only the second headlining set the Ojibwe powwow singer/drummer has offered in his former hometown since last summer's release of his groundbreaking album "Niineta." The collaboration with electronic experimentalist Andrew Broder has earned press from the New York Times and Pitchfork, representing a bold new era in American Indian music that opens up its communal spirit to those outside the Indigenous community. He's performing with Broder and strings ensemble Owls (7:30 p.m. Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Av. S., Mpls., $27-$32, thecedar.org).
Also: Johnson & Drake, who made a little noise in the early '70s opening for Jim Croce and Linda Ronstadt, reunite (7 p.m. 318 Cafe, $35).
Friday, Jan. 27
3. Semisonic: Making up for lost time, the "Closing Time" hitmakers aren't just returning to the main room of their youth to revisit the old glory days or to make good on a pair of gigs postponed in September 2021. The Twin Cities-reared trio's first shows since 2019 are also the first since their 19-year recording lull ended with the truly heartwarming, classic-sounding five-song 2020 EP "You're Not Alone." What's more, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Dan Wilson is also coming home with even newer tunes to test-drive. Chastity Brown opens both shows, which are fittingly doubling as indie/local music booster 89.3 the Current's 18th birthday parties. (8 p.m., also Sat., First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., sold-out except for resale tickets, first-avenue.com) Read a review from the show at Icehouse here.
4. Lake Street Dive: Last seen opening for Brandi Carlile at Xcel Energy Center, this jazzy, alt-soul/pop ensemble is returning in a cozier, more appropriate setting. They're coming back without trumpeter and guitarist Mike "McDuck" Olson, the former Minnesotan who knew about Lake Street dives. He left the group in May 2021, two months after the release of "Obviously." Then last fall, LSD dropped "Fun Machine: The Sequel," an EP of covers of Bonnie Raitt, Shania Twain and Dionne Warwick, among others. Meanwhile, lead singer Rachael Price just issued a new duo album with Rachael & Vilray, the Tin Pan Alley-ish "I Love a Love Song." Lots of new material to choose from over two nights. Monica Martin opens. (7 p.m., also Sat., Palace Theatre, 17 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul, $40.50-$76, axs.com)
5. Robert Glasper: The celebrated, Grammy-winning keyboardist, who has been associated with jazz, R&B and hip-hop, has recorded with a who's who of modern music, including Kendrick Lamar, Esperanza Spalding and Jazmine Sullivan. In his overdue return to downtown Minneapolis (he last appeared in town in 2015 at the Walker with Jason Moran), the always spontaneous Glasper will be accompanied by bassist Burniss Travis, drummer Justin Tyson, turntablist Jahi Sundance and whichever musical guests show up. (6:30 & 9 p.m., also Sat. & Sun., the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $55-$70, dakotacooks.com) Read more here.
Also: Big Pink's 18th annual re-creation of the Band's "Last Waltz" with an all-star Twin Cities cast (and special guest drummer Vinnie Amico from Moe) has graduated to a theater (7 p.m., also Sat. Fitzgerald Theater, $25-$50); a wide range of local rock, alt-twang, soul, etc., singers are taking part in another birthday tribute to Dolly Parton at the Turf Club, including Faith Boblett, Molly Brandt, Jaedyn James, Savannah Smith and Siri "Humbird" Undlin (8 p.m., $12-$15, benefits the Women's March Minnesota); hear the "alternative" hits of the late-'80s/early-'90s via the new local tribute band 120 Minutes (10 p.m. 331 Cub, free).
Saturday, Jan. 28
6. Green Room opening party: The former Pourhouse/Coup d'Etat location in Uptown is being reborn into a full-time music venue, and the opening-night bash demonstrates why there's optimism the 300- to 400-person space could mark a stronger return of live music in that once-vibrant corner of Minneapolis' nightlife district. Punky pop rockers Gully Boys top off the lineup with a revised sound to unleash, including their impressively slow-building, electro-pop-flavored new single "See You See." They'll be preceded by an eclectic roster of other local buzzmakers of the day, including dramatic groove-rockers FenixDion, scorching punk band Scrunchies and radio-friendly pop/rocker Colin Bracewell. (7 p.m. Green Room, 2923 Girard Av. S., Mpls., $15-$20, greenroommn.com)
7. Minnesota Orchestra: The orchestra will mark the Lunar New Year with works from China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, the U.S. and Italy. With Junping Qian on the podium, the concert will feature as soloists baritone Joo Won Kang and Yiwen Lu, one of the world's great virtuosos on the erhu, the violin's two-stringed Chinese cousin. Among the offerings are Tan Dun's groundbreaking "Internet Symphony 'Eroica'" and selections from Bao Yuankai's folk song suite, "Chinese Sights and Sounds." (8 p.m. Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $34-$77, minnesotaorchestra.org)
Also: Def Jam's mid-2000s rap star Jeezy of "Soul Survivor" hitmaking status is back on tour (10 p.m. Skyway Theater, $35-plus); psychedelic soul-rocker Thomas Abban returns home for a gig next door to Semisonic's second Mainroom show (9 p.m. 7th St. Entry, $15); Kiss the Tiger is reviving its theatrical stage show "Stone Baby" with an early and a late performance, both with Chicago's Naked Brunch opening (6 and 10 p.m. Icehouse, $20); Erin Schwab, a Twin Cities entertainer equal parts musical and humorous, presents her Evening with the Divine Miss E, a tribute to Bette Midler (7 p.m., also 3 p.m. Sun. Capri Theater, $25); Minneapolis songbird Connie Evingson warms things up with songs from her bossa nova album, "Sweet Happy Life" (4 .m. Crooners, $20-$30).
Sunday, Jan. 29
Guitarist Paul Bergen's cool twang-groove band Astronauts of Rhythm and Sound play a special afternoon set with Room 95 (5-8 p.m., Dusty's Bar); North Shore singer-songwriter Michael Monroe knows winter as demonstrated in his "Wintersong" concert (4:30 p.m. Crooners, $35-$45).
Monday, Jan. 30
Free-form drummer/keyboard wiz Dosh winds down his adventurous January residency pairing up with pals Truth Maze, Jacqueline Ultan and JG Everest performing as Sans Le Systeme, followed by another set with Liz Draper and Tasha Baron (8 p.m. Icehouse, $12); the Cactus Blossoms' own January run also comes to an end with Iowa folk-rock favorite Pieta Brown (7:30 p.m. Turf Club, $25).
Tuesday, Jan. 31
8. Albert Lee: During his six-decade career, the well-traveled guitarist has worked with Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton, the Everly Brothers, Bill Wyman, Vince Gill and countless others. If the British picker, who relocated to the States in 1974, has a signature song, it would be "Country Boy," but he plays mostly covers. Whether it's by Fats Domino, Jimmy Webb, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Little Feat or whoever, this guitarist's guitar player, puts his own spin on it. (7 p.m., also Wed., the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $40-$45, dakotacooks.com)
9: Dead Man Winter: Fresh off playing the last of the 50 U.S. states left for his other band Trampled by Turtles — Hawaii, which will explain the tan — singer/guitarist Dave Simonett is staving off winter in Minnesota again by bringing back his electric side project, with MVP guitarist Erik Koskinen and TBT bassist Tim Saxhaug usually among the collaborators. Look for some new songs in the group's first Twin Cities show since COVID. Grand Rapids-based twangers Wild Horses open. (8 p.m. Turf Club, 1601 University Av. W., St. Paul, $35, axs.com)
Wednesday, Feb. 1
10. Phil Cook: While his brother and former Megafaun bandmate Brad Cook has become an in-demand producer for the likes of Nathaniel Rateliff and Waxahatchee, Phil continues to put together interesting bands and put out inspired solo albums. The Eau Claire, Wis., native — who also played with Justin Vernon in his pre-Bon Iver band DeYarmond Edison, as well as in Gayngs and Hiss Golden Messenger — returns to town for a solo piano performance as part of the Great Northern festival. (7:30 p.m. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., $25, theparkwaytheater.com)
Also: Back from a recording excursion to Tucson, local Americana/alt-twang favorite Erik Koskinen has a standing gig every first Wednesday of the month at Icehouse (8 p.m., $15); classic pop-punkers the 99ers kick off their February residency at Mortimer's with other women-helmed local rocks bands Surly Grrly, the Black Widows and Tang & the Tabs (8:30 p.m., $7).