The best Twin Cities concerts: 5/1-5/7

The first week of May begins with an exciting lineup. James Blake returns to First Avenue's Mainroom Wednesday while Veils rock the 7th Street Entry. Electric boy/girl duos Purity Ring and Crystal Castles play First Avenue Thursday and Sunday. Minnesota's local member of Cult Records (Julian Casablancas's label) Har Mar Superstar plays the Turf Club Saturday Night while Haley Bonar and Carroll each play a set at Icehouse.

Wednesday 5.1.2013

James Blake
First Avenue
At the same time dubstep started to get massive, James Blake cranked down the volume. His circa-2010 singles for the Hessle Audio and R&S labels — "The Bells Sketch," "CMYK," "Klavierwerke" — revealed a musician more interested in percussive nuance than crushing bass, and called up sounds of desolate, subtly driving beauty better than most of his 2-step peers since the first Burial releases. The following year's self-titled debut album took things even further — now he was a vocalist, as much a singer-songwriter as a super producer, with delicate melodies and neo-soul falsettos (and a cover of Feist's "Limit to Your Love") pushing him even further from bass music's increasingly raucous turf into the arms of indie-pop. As hinted at by the EPs he released in the wake of James Blake, however, this year's Overgrown refines the debut's mood and finds Blake reasserting his dance-music roots, even as his fragile but piercing voice has found more up-front footing. —Nate Patrin
18+, $20, 8 PM

Zion I with Botzy and Duenday
Triple Rock
Electronic Underground
18+, $15, 8 PM

7th St. Entry
Fresh-faced Rough Trade records rookies a decade ago, London-based shadow-rockers the Veils have endured a near constant churn of members and record labels in the ensuing years, with frontman Finn Andrews remaining the sole constant. The Veils' self-released fourth album, Time Stays, We Go, is their first in four years and finds Andrews's rotating cast still favoring a dark and stormy sound that often feels like the European answer to the Walkmen and is every bit as barbed and beautiful (albeit boasting a bit of Brit-rock slickness). Highlights include the atypically sunny strum-along "Turn From the Rain" and album-closing epic "Out From the Valleys and Into the Stars." -Rob Van Alstyne
18+, $15, 8 PM

Bill Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers
Dakota Jazz Club (Wednesday 5.1 & Thursday 5.2)
The Beautiful Dreamers trio is just one of the seemingly endless projects of prolific and innovative guitarist Bill Frisell. Joining him is Eyvind Kang on viola and drummer Rudy Royston, who both approach their instruments with the same virtuosic, wide-ranging versatility as Frisell and have collaborated with him in other contexts. As Beautiful Dreamers, the trio issued an eponymous 2010 album on Savoy Jazz that includes 10 Frisell originals synthesizing his jazz, Americana, blues, and rock influences. But particularly telling are the brilliantly idiosyncratic covers: Little Anthony's soul nugget "Goin' Out of My Head" precisely plucked with an Appalachian flair; a playful, hot-club-like swing through Benny Goodman's "Benny's Bugle"; a wistful "Tea for Two"; a lovely but surrealistic version of Stephen Foster's title tune; a twangy, rocking "Keep on the Sunny Side"; and a scuffling, bitter reading of Blind Willie Johnson's "It's Nobody's Fault But Mine." Deconstructed and reassembled with loving affection for both the tune and the other musicians' work, each is a revelation.—Rick Mason
AA, $40, 7 PM

Thursday 5.2.2013

DJ Shadow
Mill City Nights
It's hard to believe that we're almost 20 years removed from DJ Shadow's breakthrough MoWax single "Lost and Found (S.F.L.)." Not just because abstract, downtempo instrumental hip-hop still seems like a pretty contemporary development, but because Shadow himself carries a sort of ageless quality around him. From micro-press psychedelic oddities to the dustiest corners of fusion jazz, those energetic mutations have made him a sort of Herbie Hancock of the MPC and put a characteristic stamp on career-defining albums like Endtroducing..... and The Private Press. But he also seems ageless because he keeps up, even at the risk of alienating the part of his fanbase still waiting breathlessly for him to reendtroduce his '96 self. Engaging with the cream of Bay Area hyphy rappers on 2006's The Outsider or flipping rock crossover from metal to new wave to indie-pop on 2011's underrated The Less You Know, the Better may not have drawn favorable critical comparisons to his early work. But so what? As long as Shadow keeps moving forward — and bringing the pyrotechnic, catalogue-transforming thrills that make him a must-see live act — he'll be worth getting excited about. —Nate Patrin
18+, $25, 8 PM

Purity Ring with Blue Hawaii
Lullabies for the Club
18+, $15.50, 7:30 PM

Acid Mothers Temple with Tjutjuna
7th Street Entry
Japanese Psych
18, $10/$12, 8 PM

Friday 5.3.2013

Secret Stash Soul Revue
Secret Stash, the local label specializing in digging up neglected musical nuggets of the past, unearthed a treasure trove of vintage local R&B that had mostly fallen off the radar and last year released the collection as Twin Cites Funk & Soul: Lost R&B Grooves From Minneapolis/St. Paul 1964-1979. Besides resurrecting gems from still-working musicians like Willie Murphy (then leading his intrepid Bumblebees) and Willie Walker (who now teams up with the Butanes), there are tracks from bands like the Prophets of Peace, Band of Thieves, and the Valdons, who all laid the groundwork for the Minneapolis Sound of Prince and the Time. One benefit of the release is that some material is again being played live and new projects are in the works, both of which will be evident at this two-night showcase. This revue will feature the reformed Valdons, their sleek vocal harmonies and funky grooves intact. Their lineup now includes Sonny Knight, once a member of the funk band Haze, who now is also leading a new outfit called the Lakers, who will play a late-night set at the Dakota Saturday. Also in the revue will be singer/saxophonist Maurice Jacox, a longtime member of the Bees, and Jackie Harris, who had a mid-'60s hit on Chess, played with local R&B outfits and was a radio DJ, and singer Chastity Brown, to neatly tie the classic material into the contemporary scene.—Rick Mason
AA, $25, 8 PM

The Greycoats with Van Stree and Usonia
Turf Club
Dance Beats
21+, $8, 8 PM

Vonnie Kyle with Speed's the Name and Reina Del Cid
Triple Rock
18+, $7, 9 PM

Caleb Hawley with Chris Lawrence
7th Street Entry
Powerhouse Soul
18+, $10/$12, 8 PM

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