It’s the Absolute Best Week for Live Music in August 2023 (So Far) in Your Complete Concert Calendar: August 1-7.
Pretty much all the music you can catch in the Twin Cities this week.
12:27 PM CDT on August 1, 2023
Marijuana is legal in Minnesota now, and if you haven't tried it yet... well, you're in for a treat! Here's some music you can check out, stoned or straight.
Tuesday, August 1
- Legalized It with Rep. Ilhan Omar, Marijuana Deathsquads, New Primitives, Maria Isa @ First Avenue—Did you hear? We legalized it, man. That fact isn’t lost on the organizers of this celebration, which will benefit The Great Rise. Headliners include Rep. Ilhan Omar and "the Music Rockers," a group that's apparently a re-branded version of longtime experimental bruisers Marijuana Deathsquads. Also appearing are local reggae vets New Primitives, rapper-turned-lawmaker Maria Isa, jazz/funk quintet JoJo Green, and a whole mess of DJs. No narcs.
Wednesday, August 2
- Rema @ Uptown Theater—You might not realize it here in the musical backwater that is the 21st century U.S., but this Nigerian pop star is huge. "Calm Down" may or may not be the most popular African song ever, as some have claimed, but it's certainly the continent's biggest hit from the streaming era, and it ain't hard to hear why: it's smooth, catchy, with an insinuating beat derived from South African amapiano music. It even eventually became a hit over here—though of course they had to tack on a Selena Gomez feature first.
- Paramore @ Xcel Energy Center—There’s something that’s been very healing to me about watching Hayley Williams and Paramore thrive. (I know, I know, parasocial relationships are bad and weird, but… what about ParaMOREsocial relationships?) She literally invented having bright orange hair , and now she runs her own super-cute dye brand. Just last year, she started performing “All I Wanted” live, something fans long speculated would be impossible given the dramatic vocal range the song requires. There’s just a tremendous sense of ease, and also joy, about her these days, and from the live videos I’ve seen it’s translating into an incredible show-going experience.
Thursday, August 3
- Jaedyn James with Twin Citizen @ Mears Park—Proper, functioning cities should rock. With the annual, free, weekly, outdoor Lowertown Sounds program, St. Paul is privy to this in ways Minneapolis could really learn from. When this year’s lineup was announced, organizers noted that over half of the acts are new this summer. Non-musical offerings include great beer from Utepils and Wabasha Brewing Co., wine from Alexis Bailly Vineyard, and a rotating cast of 20 food truck
- Nur-D, Fanaka Nation @ Minnesota Zoo—Imagine a zoo with nary a child, one where you can sip wine and watch animals do their thing as the sun sets. Impossible, you say? Nope! We’re talking about Wild Nights at the Minnesota Zoo, a summer series for grownups. During these events folks can explore all the trails and exhibits until 8 p.m. (hilariously, they note that food and drink is not allowed in the Llama Trek walk-through exhibit). Each installment will feature a variety of concerts, all themed that night around a specific genre and tonight it's "hip hop and reggae," which is a rather expansive category.
Friday, August 4
- With Iowa In Between and Doggy @ Mortimer's—I added With Iowa in Between on my local playlist this week and Doggy last week. This is the last show for both of them. Good thing I don't believe in any woo woo shit or I'd start to think there's a Racket Curse. This double as a release show for WIIB's new album I Tried.
- The Teskey Brothers and Joy Oladokun with Thomas Abban @ Palace Theatre—A queer, Black child of Nigerian immigrants based in East Nashville, Oladokun offers great support for “not all country music” arguments, though she’s a bit too stylistically hybrid to slot neatly as Americana. What’s most country about her latest album, Proof of Joy, is how she conveys sincerity through plainspoken commonplace lyrics like “If we can't be family/Better friends than foes.” Key to her effectiveness is emotional restraint. The tiniest bit of self-pity would sink a memory like “In the school yard when I was a kid/I gave everyone my address/Said come on over/And it turns out that nobody did. Swimming alone's how I spent my eighth birthday.” As sung it’s as devastating as the upbeat “We’re All Gonna Die” is inspiring. Co-headliners the Teskey Brothers are soulful and bluesy in the engaging, brawny manner of Chris Stapleton, though hardly world-altering.
- Lionel Richie and Earth, Wind & Fire @ Xcel Energy Center—A night of R&B comfort food. Richie has always been a charming cornball, crafty with a tune not groove-averse, comfortably unhip even when he was holding his own on the pop charts. Critic Jason King once called Earth, Wind & Fire "more than just a musical act—it's the concept of a band as a sensual rhythm machine," and that's just the sort of spirit they inspire. EW&F evolved over time from an ambitiously conceptual early '70s jazz-funk outlet to the sleek hitmakers whose songs you'll hear tonight. Some of the original members have passed (RIP especially to Maurice White, who we lost in the great musician die-off of 2016), but the concept—and the band—remains.
Saturday, August 5
Sunday, August 6
Monday, August 7
- Nickelback @ Xcel Energy Center—Has any rock frontman ever had a more fitting name than Chad Kroeger? He doesn't sing—he kroegs.
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