The best Twin Cities concerts: 5/22-5/28

The music never stops in the Twin Cities. Third Man Records' Pokey LaFarge makes a trip to the Cedar Cultural Center while singer/songwriter Lissie (above) plays a sold out show at the Varsity Theater. Soundset 2013 takes place this Sunday with a pre-party Saturday night at the Triple Rock and an after party late Sunday in First Avenue's Mainroom. The infamous Prince makes a two-show appearance that could hurt your bank account (tickets are $259) at Myth. Lastly, the Turf Club will be hosting a benefit to help photographer Erik Hess featuring several local artists and even a secret special guest.
Wednesday 5.22.2013

Pokey LaFarge 
Cedar Cultural Center
Decked out in a fedora and vintage clothes, Pokey LaFarge might be taken for a youthful Bing Crosby. Crosby drifted popward, but LaFarge, who turns 30 this year, has embraced a broad swath of Americana to complement his jazz inclinations, creating a distinct persona that's definitely not of this century. Yet the charismatic LaFarge and his fleet-fingered South City Three generate such crackling energy live that you'd swear somebody's time traveling. Although LaFarge occasionally whips up covers of classic tunes like Fiddlin' Arthur Smith's "Chitlin' Cookin' Time in Cheatham County" and Bob Wills's "The Devil Ain't Lazy," most of his songs are originals written in the style and spirit of bygone eras. Stuff like "Drinkin' Whiskey Tonight" and "Hard Times Come and Go" also resonate in modern times. Following up last year's Live in Holland, LaFarge next month will put out a new, eponymous studio album on Jack White's Third Man Records. --Rick Mason
$12-$15, 7:30 PM  

In This Moment with Gemini Syndrome
Mill City Nights
Dark and Sinful
18+, SOLD OUT, 7:30

Hot Club of Cowtown 
Dakota Jazz Club
Elana James, Whit Smith, and Jake Erwin love to swing. But their obsession has a split character, its potent dichotomy right there in their trio's name: Hot Club (as in Django Reinhardt's and Stephane Grappelli's Paris-based Gypsy jazz) of Cowtown (as in deep in the heart of Texas where Bob Wills's Western swing sprang). The Cowpokes' thing has been reconciling swing one and swing two with a Seussian sense of wonder and élan, firing up their virtuosic picking skills -- fiddle, guitar, and bass, respectively -- and igniting a magical flame that defies the decades. Last time out the trio dug into the sagebrush and wrangled up their first full-fledged tribute to Wills and his Texas Playboys on What Makes Bob Holler. With Rendezvous in Rhythm, due out next week, they head across the Atlantic to immerse themselves in the French part of the quotient, kicking things off with the Russian folk song "Ochi Chornye," languid at first but quickly building to a scorching instrumental duel. Evoking their 1930s Parisian counterparts, the trio romps through dynamic arrangements of ReinhardtGrappelli nuggets like "The Continental" as well as standards of the era like "Crazy Rhythm" and "Melancholy Baby." James and Smith share charming vocals, but all three fly high on the swing flings  --Rick Mason
$25, 7 PM

Bush with Bloodnstuff
First Avenue Mainroom
Mega Platinum Rock
18+, $30.$35, 7 PM

Varsity Theater
Raw Vocals
18+, SOLD OUT, 7 PM

Author with The Still Sound, American Youth and Hunting Club
7th Street Entry
Gentle Careful and Refined
18+, $8, 7 PM

Thursday 5.23.2013

Rory Block 
Dakota Jazz Club
Soon after picking up the guitar at age 10, Rory Block became enthralled with the blues and was fortunate enough to track down giants such as Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, and Rev. Gary Davis, who imparted their wisdom and encouraged her fledgling skills. Some 40 years later, Block herself is revered as one of the finest living practitioners of acoustic country blues, a brilliant fingerpick stylist, slide master, and formidable singer whose raw, stripped-down approach nails the traditional essence of the blues like few contemporary artists. Her new album, Avalon, due June 4, is a tribute to Hurt. It's the fourth in her extraordinary Mentor Series, previously honoring Davis (I Belong to the Band), House (Blues Walkin' Like a Man), and Mississippi Fred McDowell (Shake 'Em on Down), plus Robert Johnson on The Lady and Mr. Johnson. On each, Block captures the style and spirit of her mentors while showing off her own artistry. Avalon tackles Hurt nuggets like "Candy Man" and "Stagolee," Block picking out their heart and soul while singing their harrowing lyrics as if her life depended on it. On "Spike Driver Blues," almost every phrase is a cauldron of conflicted emotions ranging from defiance to despair.--Rick Mason
$25, 7 p.m. 

Sick of Sarah with Eden and Yasen Marie
7th Street Entry
Gritty Basslines
18+, $10/$12, 8 PM

Friday 5.24.2013

Joe Krown Trio 
Dakota Jazz Club
Featuring veteran stalwarts of the Crescent City scene, the Joe Krown Trio has long held down the Sundaynight slot at the Maple Leaf in Uptown New Orleans. Keyboardist Joe Krown neatly fits into a lengthy tradition of accomplished NOLA piano professors, but is also adept at stirring up soulful clouds of joy on the Hammond B-3 organ. He spent years anchoring Gatemouth Brown's band in addition to solo work and a variety of other ensembles. Guitarist Walter "Wolfman" Washington cooks up a New Orleans roux of funk, blues, R&B, and jazz, leading his own bands since the 1970s. He's also played notable stints with NOLA icon Lee Dorsey and the fabulous soul and jazz vocalist Johnny Adams, who helped develop his vocal chops. Drummer Russell Batiste Jr. also lays down the quirky New Orleans groove with the Funky Meters and is part of the multi-generational Batiste musical family. To coincide with this month's Jazz Fest, the Trio issued Soul Understanding, a tasty assortment of mostly originals that toss together soul-jazz, second-line funk, and R&B. Washington coaxes a Wes Montgomery vibe while crooning on a few sleek ballads. Elsewhere the band works up a sweat on funky instrumentals that reference the likes of Jimmy Smith and the Meters.  --Rick Mason
$25, 8 PM

Matthew Santos with Twinkie Jiggles Broken Orchestra
7th Street Entry
Homegrown Hybrid
18+, $10, 8 PM

Hugh Bob and the Hustle with Red Daughters and Sleep Study
Turf Club
Honky Tonk Roots
21, $8, 9 PM

Kitty Cat Klub
Rare Funk and Soul 
21+, $5, 9 PM

The Honeydogs with Six Mile Grove
Bright Guitars
21+, $10, 11 PM

Forever Young Prom
First Avenue Mainroom
Late90s/ Early 00s Dance Party
21+, $10/$12, 9 PM

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Larry Graham and Graham Central Station will be at the Dakota Monday and Tuesday, a 7 and 9 show each night I believe

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