Thursday, Aug. 4
1. We Fest: Are Twin Cities country fans willing to head to Detroit Lakes when stadium king Kenny Chesney is bringing the party to the Vikings palace this weekend? The 39th Up North camping-and-country hoedown has a strong lineup once again with Jason Aldean headlining on Thursday (with Chris Janson and Blanco Brown), Miranda Lambert shining on Friday (with Lee Brice and Clay Walker) and Luke Bryan popping beers on Saturday (with Riley Green and Tanya Tucker). (Thu.-Sat. Soo Pass Ranch, Detroit Lakes, $89 and up, wefest.com)
2. Cole Swindell: The country hitmaker of "Chillin' It" and "Never Say Never" fame participated in the last Twin Cities concert of 2021, as he and Thomas Rhett rang in the new year at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Now Swindell is back as the first act to play a full concert at Target Field after a Twins game. The crew will roll out a stage and speakers within minutes after the final out in the Twins-Blues Jays series opener, and Swindell will perform a 75-minute set. It won't be his first time singing at the Twins stadium; he opened for Kenny Chesney there in 2015. Tickets to the game are required. (6:40 p.m. game, Target Field, Mpls., $14 and up, mlb.tickets.com)
Also: The zoo's Wild Nights concert series turns bluesy with the Lamont Cranston Band, Annie Mack and Joyann Parker (6 p.m. Minnesota Zoo, $30-$40); Minneapolis' late-'70s scene heroes the Flamin' Ohs are firing it up again for downtown St. Paul's Lowertown Sounds series with openers the Scarlet Goodbye, the promising new band led by ex-Soul Asylum guitarist Dan Murphy and Jeff Arundel (6 p.m., Mears Park, free); public radio's "Live From Here" kinda folkie, kinda jazzy vocalist Madison Cunningham celebrates her new sophomore album, "Revealer" (8 p.m. Fine Line, $22-$40); St. Paul vocalist Katia Cardenas sings the songs of Sara Bareilles (7 p.m. KJ Hideaway, $15).
Friday, Aug. 5
3. Billy Strings: He plays an acoustic guitar but at times his music sounds like heavy metal. He also gets jazzy, bluegrassy and spacey. Aided by myriad effects pedals, Strings is a fast-fingered marvel able to blend genres in the same song and make enough noise to fill big venues without a drummer. His lineup is just upright bass, banjo, mandolin and his other worldly acoustic guitar. The Michigan-reared, Grammy-winning 29-year-old has three albums of original material, and he's known for throwing in a wide range covers, from Bill Monroe and Cher to the Doors and the Dead, in his trippy, two-set marathons. (7 p.m. Surly Brewing Festival Field, 520 Malcolm Av. SE, Mpls., $49.50-$54.50, axs.com)
4. Aida Shahghasemi: At age 13, she emigrated from Iran with her parents, who had attended college in the United States. Turned off by the lack of international music programs at U.S. colleges, she earned degrees in anthropology and psychology at University of Minnesota and arts politics at New York University. Then she returned to Iran to study Persian classical music. A multi-instrumentalist and singer, she has toured with Marketa Irglova and Iron and Wine and released two solo albums of emotive, meditative music. A third LP, "Event Vista," about loss, is due this month. She'll be accompanied by Nima Hafezieh and Jacqueline Ultan. (8 p.m. Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Av. S., Mpls. $14-$18, thecedar.org)
Also: Like Leon Redbone, the entertaining Pokey LaFarge puts his own spin on old-time, jazzy music with as many twists and turns as the Mississippi River (7 p.m. the Dakota, $45-$50); grade-A metal frontman Claudio Sanchez and his high-impact band Coheed & Cambria are touring for their new album "Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind," with openers Dance Gavin Dance and Mothica (6:30 p.m. the Armory, $37); Anderson East brings his blue-eyed soul outside (7 p.m. Canterbury Park, $30-$50); Eli Young Band offers "Crazy Girl," "Drunk Last Night" and other country faves (8 p.m. Fine Line, $35-$60); bluesy Rochester soul-rocker Annie Mack kicks off the Star Tribune's weekly August Music & Movies series before a screening of the Aretha biopic "Respect" (6:30 p.m., Lake Harriet Bandshell, free); channeling arty and visual rockers like St. Vincent and Lana Del Rey, Ranelle Labiche and her new Minneapolis band Elle PF celebrate the release of their debut album (9 p.m. 7th St. Entry, $12-$15).
Saturday, Aug. 6
5. Kenny Chesney: Country music's king of stadium concerts was scheduled to play in Minneapolis in May 2020. Since that postponement and another one in 2021, he's scored two more No. 1 singles (that makes 31), including "Half of My Hometown" with Kelsea Ballerini and "Here and Now," the title track of his current album. His usual stadium marathon has a well-stocked lineup with Carly Pearce, whose "29: Written in Stone" was one of the best country albums of 2021; Dan + Shay, who crushed it at Target Center last year, and Old Dominion, the "One Man Band" hitmakers who opened for Mr. No Shoes in 2018 at the Vikings stadium. (5 p.m. U.S. Bank Stadium, Mpls., $38-$475, ticketmaster.com)
6. Maverick City Music and Kirk Franklin: Franklin is the uncrowned king of modern gospel music and Maverick City Music are the hottest newcomers. The hyper-prolific Atlanta collective has released 11 albums — yes, 11 — in the last three years. That has led to GMA Dove Awards for best new artist and top worship album for "Old Church Basement." That record has earned the Grammy for best contemporary Christian music album. MCM teamed with Franklin on their latest project, "Kingdom Book One," and for a memorable performance on this year's Grammy Awards. With Jonathan McReynolds and Housefires. (6:30 p.m. Xcel Energy Center, 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, $36-$220, ticketmaster.com)
Also: Scott Ian leads long-lived Anthrax in a trifecta of metal vets, with Black Label Society, featuring Zakk Wylde, and Hatebreed (7 p.m. Fillmore, $49.50 and up); party Louisiana style with the always energetic Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas (8 p.m. Cedar Cultural Center, $17-$22); Daisy Dillman Band, Twin Cities country-rockers who started in the mid-1970s, continue their "Last Hurrah" tour (6:30 p.m. also 5:30 p.m. Sun., Belvedere tent at Crooners, $40-$50); Jerry Garcia's birthday will be celebrated at the Built to Last Festival featuring tribute sets by Run for the Roses, Jones Gang and China Rider (6 p.m. Hook & Ladder outside, $15); local indie-rock wiz Mike Wisti's ever-clever and prolific trio Rank Strangers celebrates another LP release, "Hotel Turpentine," with Mad Mojo Jett and Bev (8:30 p.m, Mortimer's); the second annual Ska Prom features the Von Tramps and Goodbye Mordecai (6 p.m., Palmer's Bar patio, $20).
Sunday, Aug. 7
7. OneRepublic: Who amongst modern pop-rockers would have been better to replicate Kenny Loggins' style of anthemic fist-pump themes for the "Top Gun: Maverick" soundtrack than Ryan Tedder and his Colorado band? The congenial, feel-good "Counting Stars" and "Apologize" hitmakers are flying high again with the movie track "I Ain't Worried" and touring with well-matched rockers Needtobreathe of "Multiplied" and "Brother" fame. (7 p.m. Sun., Xcel Energy Center, 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, $23-$77, ticketmaster.com)
Also: "All About It" hitmaker Hoodie Allen has segued from rap to indie pop-rock (8 p.m. Fine Line, $30-$45); Wisconsin rock vet Kurt Neumann and his remade but always-solid lineup of the BoDeans are on tap for the third of three big concerts newly offered in the spacious lot outside one of Minneapolis' best breweries (7 p.m., Utepils Brewery, $30-$100); Twin Cities showman Dennis Spears does his always charmingly dramatic thing (6 p.m. Crooners, $20).
Monday, Aug. 8
8. Khalid: The Grammy-nominated, Texas electro-R&B crooner of "Talk" fame is playing the first big concert in the Commons park outside U.S. Bank Stadium in conjunction with the MLS All-Star Game. But the show isn't just for soccer fans and actually comes at a modest price. That's good news to all the kids who packed Xcel Energy Center and drained their phone batteries for his last local gig in 2019, when he breezed through 30 songs — including "Young, Dumb & Broke" and "Location" — in 100 minutes. He's laid-back but mighty charming and talented in concert. (7:30 p.m. the Commons, 425 Portland Av. S., Mpls., all ages, $25, seatgeek.com)
9. Source Song Festival: This week-long art-song celebration returns to live concerts for the first time since 2019, offering a showcase for some fine singers, pianists and composers. Among this year's highlights are an opening concert of Minnesota women interpreting songs by Minnesota composers (7:30 p.m. Mon.); the premiere of eight composers setting poetry by Mary Moore Easter (7:30 p.m. Wed.), and tenor David Portillo performing with one of the world's great collaborative pianists, Warren Jones (7:30 p.m. Thu.). (Aug. 8-12; Westminster Hall, 1215 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $25, sourcesongfestival.org.)
Also: With the buzzy song "Silk Chiffon," Muna are enjoying indie-pop freedom now that they've landed on Phoebe Bridgers' Saddest Factory label (7 p.m. First Avenue, $31).
Tuesday, Aug. 9
10. Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen & Julien Baker: In a perfect (and perhaps less-sexist) music industry, all three of these captivating and ever-evolving singer/songwriters could fill Surly Field on their own. But they do make an excellent trifecta together on the so-called Wild Hearts Tour. Van Etten and Olsen each released one of the year's most acclaimed indie-rock albums, addressing the chaos of the past few years with dramatic songs about healing and inner-peace. Olsen's "Big Time," in particular, is a near-masterpiece. Look for those two longtime cohorts to pair up onstage. (6 p.m. Surly Brewing Festival Field, 520 Malcolm Av. SE, Mpls., $50, axs.com)
Also: Raspy-voiced "I'm the Only One" rocker Melissa Etheridge is touring behind last fall's "One Way Out," featuring material from the late '80s/early '90s that never made it onto other albums (7 p.m. Canterbury Park, $35-$55); soulful singer/guitarist Raul Midon offers easy-listening pop and lite-jazz on his latest "The Mirror" (7 p.m. the Dakota $40-$45).
Wednesday, Aug. 10
British blues-rocker Jack Broadbent, a nifty slide guitarist, is touring behind this year's full-length "Ride" (7 p.m. the Dakota, $20-$30).
Rob Hubbard contributed to this column.