The best Twin Cities concerts this week: 3/20-3/26

While the rest of the nation is thawing out for spring, plenty of touring acts are headed to the Twin Cities this week. Martha Wainwright makes a stop at the Cedar Cultural Center Thursday, while Glasgow natives, Frightened Rabbit, play the Varsity Theater. Saturday, L.A.-based band Local Natives returns to First Avenue, and the Fitzgerald Theater welcomes Low. The Xcel Energy Center hosts Rihanna on Sunday and while Wiping out Thousands headline the 7th Street Entry.

Wednesday 3.20.2013

Darwin Deez with Caged Animals and Strange Relations
7th Street Entry
Wonky Beats
18+, $10/12, 8 PM

Major Lazer with Lunice and Paul Devro
First Avenue Mainroom
Future Dancehall
18+, $20/$22, 8 PM

Thursday 3.21.2013

Martha Wainwright with Chris Koza
Cedar Cultural Center
From her mother, Kate McGarrigle, Martha Wainwright inherited an acute sense of melody, a certain way of expression, and a fine, reedy vocal timbre. From her father, Loudon, she inherited a penchant for soul-baring brutal honesty. Loudon slathers his with humor. Martha's is couched in Kate's artistry. But both can be unsettling, even jarring. On Martha's striking Come Home to Mama, her first album of original material in four years, she grapples with Kate's death, her apparently fragile marriage, other fractured relationships, her sometimes overwhelming sadness, worries about her child's future, and other harrowing subjects. She also covers Kate's final song, "Proserpina," a mythology-based look at mother-daughter relationships. But the album is far from maudlin. Instead it's a compelling expression of powerful emotions paired with an intriguing, idiosyncratic blend of folk, pop, and rock. Ciba Matto's Yuka Honda's production lends a cool theatricality to the proceedings, enhanced by support from such ace musicians as guitarist Nels Cline, cellist Erik Friedlander, and Sean Lennon on bass. Local singer-songwriter Chris Koza will open.  --Rick Mason
AA, $15-$18. 7:30 PM

Electric Six with Mark Mallman and Carroll
First Avenue Mainroom
Driving Rock
18+, $12, 8 PM

Gospel Gossip with Ex-Nuns, Flavor Crystals and Hollow Boys
7th Street Entry
Dreamy Reverb
18+, $5/$7, 8 PM

Frightened Rabbit with The Twilight Sad
Varsity Theater
Scottish Rock
18+, $17-$30 (SOLD OUT), 8 PM 

France Camp with Ever Ending Kicks, Soft Releases and Diva 93
Turf Club
Pop Melodies 
21+, $7, 9 PM

Soul Rumination and Cait Leary
Rhythmic Fingerpicking
21+, FREE, 9 PM

Friday 3.22.2013

Starfucker with Blackbird Blackbird
The Varsity Theater
With a too-hot-for-the-FCC moniker like Starfucker, Portland musician Joshua Hedges clearly isn't too interested in courting the mainstream, even as his highly danceable indie-pop continues to evolve in a direction that would appear to make Phoenix-like success a distinct possibility. Starfucker's recently unveiled third album, Miracle Mile, is the first time Hedges has opted to record with his touring bandmates rather than go it alone in the studio, resulting in a slightly more visceral and full-bodied sound still strictly in keeping with the razor-sharp synth-dominated dance numbers of 2011's excellent Reptilians. Hedges's talk-sung tenor is passable at best (and seemingly always intentionally low in the mix), as are his largely pedestrian lyrics, but it hardly matters when the music behind him is so propulsive and undeniably infectious. With Blackbird Blackbird. -Rob Van Alstyne
18+, $13-$15, 8 PM

Calvin Love with IS/IS and Robust Worlds
Turf Club 
Sonic and Dark
21+, $8, 9 PM

Blues Harmonica Blowout with Mark Hummel, Corkey Siegel and Billy Boy Arnold
Dakota Jazz Club
Harmonica Masters
AA, , $25, 7 PM and 9 PM

G. Love & Special Sauce with John Fullbright
First Avenue Mainroom
Back Road Blues
18+, $25, 8 PM

Como Avenue Jug Band with Martin Devaney and Brian Laidlaw & the Family Trade
Acoustic Americana
21+, $5, 9 PM

Hope Thrives: With the Ben Johnson Band
Fine Line
Proceeds benefit Faith's Lodge
AA, $25-75, 8 PM

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