The best concerts in the Twin Cities this week: February 13-19

Photo by Shervin Lainez
Valentines Day week has arrived! Whether you plan on celebrating Valentines Day with a special someone, alone, or with your multiple cats, be sure to check out Lucy Michelle & The Velvet Lapelles' Greatest Valentines Mixtape show at the Cedar Cultural Center. On Friday synth-pop band Usonia releases their new CD in the 7th Street Entry while Kishi Bashi plays to a sold out Triple Rock crowd. Zach Sobiech will be playing a show amongst other local musicians at the Varsity on Saturday to benefit his Osteosarcoma Fund at Children's Cancer Research Fund. Sunday, the State Theatre will be celebrating the life of songwriter John Denver and Monday the Triple Rock hosts a tribute to Dr. Dre with Dre Day 2013. This year make local music your Valentine, get out there and support it! 

Wednesday 2.13.2013

Whitehorse with The Ericksons
7th Street Entry 
Folk Power Duos
18+, $10/12, 8 PM

Stacey Kent

Although she hails from New Jersey, sublime jazz vocalist Stacey Kent evokes a sophisticated European vibe. Kent's understated voice relies on sly, elegant phrasing and an ability to convey complex emotions with subtle charm and clarity, while her arrangements, most by husband/saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, gracefully work the edges of those emotions. Case in point is the exquisitely wistful reading of Rodgers & Hammerstein's standard "It Might As Well Be Spring" on her first live album, Dreamer in Concert, recorded at La Cigale in Paris. It slides from melancholy to optimism on her knowing vocals and Tomlinson's breezy sax solo. The rest of the set ranges from lilting sambas to French chanson to Great American Songbook nuggets.  --Rick Mason 
AA, $40 at 7 PM., $25 at 9 PM on Wednesday; $40 (+$60 for dinner) at 6 PM, $25 at 9:30 PM

Thursday 2.14.2013

The All-Time Greatest Valentine's Day Mix with Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles
The Cedar Cultural Center
Conscious of the fact that no one likes spending Valentine's Day alone, Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles have kindly spent the last few V-Days hosting romantic-minded concert shindigs at the Cedar Cultural Center. This year's installment, dubbed the All-Time Greatest Valentine's Day Mixtape, will find LMVL covering classic love songs with assistance from Big Trouble, a revolving cast of local scene veterans that for this installment will feature the likes of Heiruspecs keyboardist DeVon Gray and 89.3 the Current DJ David Campbell. With Big Trouble. --Rob Van Alstyne
AA, $14/16, 7 PM 

The Broken Bicycles EP Release with Persian Leaps 10,000 Blades and Exiles
Kitty Cat Klub
Punchy Guitars
21+, FREE 8:30 PM

Camper Van Beethoven
Burnsville Performing Arts Center

Last month, influential indie-rock pioneers Camper Van Beethoven released La Costa Perdida, their first album in nine years, 30 years after the band's northern California birth. Still delightfully, dizzyingly eclectic in its mash-ups of globe-spanning folk genres with hazily psychedelic country rock, CVB prove themselves virtually inimitable despite the legions of bands they have inspired over the years. For example, it's tough to think of anyone else capable of so adeptly pulling off the ska-punk romp through Celtic/bluegrass standard "Shady Grove" that they've dubbed "Peaches in the Summertime." Perdida also sports Laurel Canyon blues, an imaginary Gram Parsons Beach Boys session, crafty remnants of progressive rock, Tex-Mex, fractured mariachi, and lots more from the clever, surrealistic/ironic wit of David Lowery and company. Cracker, CVB's Southern-fried alter ego, will open. --Rick Mason
AA, $35, 7:30 PM

Valentine's Day Dance Party with Moustache Jim & The Straight Razors and Gypsy Nouveau Cabaret
Ragtime Feel
21+, $6, 9 PM

Friday 2.15.2013

Usonia CD Release Show with the Envy Corps and The Golden Bubbles
7th Street Entry
Electro Keys Groove
18+, $8/10, 8 PM

Cormega and Termanology
The Cabooze

Hailing from the glory days of the early '90s, Cormega makes dyed-in-the-wool East Coast street rap, detailing inner-city struggle with a precise lyrical deftness and eye for detail. A former member of rap supergroup the Firm, the raw lyricist has steadily released albums since his heyday, with the upcoming collaboration with Large Professor, called Mega Philosophy, promising to be a gift to true-school fans. Co-headliner Termanology has also been trying to keep the boom-bap sound alive since his mid-2000s beginnings, with collaborations from DJ Premier and Statik Selektah. With Tony Bones, Anchormen, Mike the Martyr, Rex Rap, and more. Hosted by Meta. --Jack Spencer
18+, $15/20, 9 PM 

Benjamin Francis Leftwich with Shahar Eberzon and Asleigh Still
Turf Club
Raspy Heartfelt Acoustic
21+, $10/12, 8 PM

Kishi Bashi
Triple Rock Social Club

Initially making his mark over the course of the '00s as a touring violinist for the likes of Sondre Lerche, Regina Spektor, and Of Montreal while also fronting Brooklyn-based indie band Jupiter One, 37-year-old singer/multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi finally struck out on his own with last year's wondrous solo debut, 151A. It's a dizzying collection of densely layered psychedelic pop, and some of Bashi's joyous pixie-stick-snorting sing-alongs have already been tagged to soundtrack hip commercials for the likes of Microsoft and Sony. Could serious mainstream attention be close behind? With Plume Giant. --Rob Van Alstyne

18+, $12, 8 PM

Fuck Knights and Liquor Beats Winter
331 Club
Blues Based, Trumpet Laced
21+, FREE, 10 PM

George Strait
Xcel Energy Center
Hailed as a new traditionalist when he kicked off his career 30-some years ago, George Strait hasn't strayed far from his honky-tonk and western swing roots. A country artist who could fill arenas, he earned his King George moniker both for artistic authenticity and astounding numbers: 59 number-one singles (the most ever), 39 albums, 69 million albums sold. Strait turned 60 last spring and in the fall announced a two-year farewell tour with his well-honed Ace in the Hole Band, pulling into town with Martina McBride, a traditionalist gone eclectic, opening. Dubbed the Cowboy Rides Away Tour, the shows so far have mixed massive hits, obscure album cuts, and cool covers (Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, Etta James) from both Strait and McBride.. --Rick Mason
AA, $71-91, 7:30 PM

First Avenue Mainroom 
Eastern-European Drive
18+, $25, 8 PM

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