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The weekend's 8 best concerts: July 20-22

The Lowertown Blues & Funk Fest returns to Mears Park this weekend.

The Lowertown Blues & Funk Fest returns to Mears Park this weekend. Bre McGee/Star Tribune

At last, the weekend that Loverboy told us we were all working for has arrived. You wanna be in the show? Come on baby, let’s go.

Friday 7.20

Juice WRLD @ Myth
The “SoundCloud rap” explosion that produced stars like XXXTentacion and Lil Pump has now given us Juice WRLD. Better than some of his peers, the 19-year-old Calumet Park, Illinois native synthesizes emo melodies into his druggy sound, spawning hits including “All Girls Are the Same” and “Lucid Dreams” (which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100). Though Juice has some maturing to do as a lyricist, the seeming ease with which he writes hooks suggests he could be a factor in pop music for years to come. 7 p.m. $35-$100. 3090 Southlawn Dr., St. Paul. More info here.Michael Madden

Raphael Saadiq @ First Avenue
Though elusive in recent years, Raphael Saadiq remains an essential R&B artist. The one-time Prince bassist and Tony! Toni! Toné! member’s most recent solo album is 2011’s excellent, dusty soul throwback Stone Rollin’. Now 52, Saadiq has since sung on fan-favorite records by Rick Ross, executive-produced Solange’s sweeping masterpiece A Seat at the Table, and co-written Mary J. Blige’s Oscar-nominated “Mighty River.” With Ali Shaheed Muhammad.18+. 8 p.m. $35. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.Michael Madden

Lowertown Blues & Funk Fest @ Mears Park
Blues, funk and some of their Louisiana relatives take over St. Paul’s Mears Park for the fifth incarnation of this free festival. Friday’s lineup focuses more on funk and R&B. Headlining that night is the Ohio Players, the Sly Stone influenced, horn-goosed funk powerhouse that generated a string of such mid-‘70s hits like “Fire,” “Skin Tight,” “Love Rollercoaster,” and “Sweet Sticky Thing.” Despite the attrition of numerous key musicians over the years, the Players keep on keepin’ on into the 21st century. Also on the bandstand Friday will be a pair of Twin Cities funk/R&B outfits: High & Mighty and Free and Easy.4:30 p.m. Free. 221 5th St. E., St. Paul. More info here.Rick Mason

Complete Friday music listings here.

Saturday 7.21

Courtney Barnett @ Surly Brewing Festival Field
Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett was clearly a special talent right from the start. Her 2013 debut single, “Avant Gardener,” introduced her conversational, wry lyricism and a cool detachment that lent itself to effortless melodies. Barnett made her full-length debut in 2015 with Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, then found a kindred slacker in Kurt Vile, releasing the joint LP Lotta Sea Lice with the Philly indie rocker last year. Barnett’s follow-up, May’s Tell Me How You Really Feel, is more of a grower than her previous records, but what it lacks in immediacy it makes up for with pointed writing about misogyny and patriarchy on tracks like the punk scorcher “I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch” and the Kim and Kelley Deal-assisted “Nameless, Faceless.” With Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. 18+. 6 p.m. $37.50/$40. 520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden

Lowertown Blues & Funk Fest @ Mears Park
Anchoring the prime Saturday headlining spot is irrepressible piano dynamo long, tall Marcia Ball, queen of cayenne-soused triplets coaxed from the ghost of Professor Longhair. Her new, Steve Berlin-produced Shine Bright is packed with New Orleansiana party anthems, bits of Cajun, zydeco, swamp pop and gospel. When not firing up the gumbo, Ball is a talented, thoughtful writer, on Bright contributing two radiantly positive calls (the title cut, “Pots and Pans”) to sociopolitical action against the Evil Trumpire. Preceding Ball will be the Bayou Swamp Band, led by accordionist Chubby Carrier, a third-generation zydeco artist. Carrier’s brand of the blues-laced southwest Louisiana phenomenon is infused with contemporary high energy. Also up Saturday will be Chicago blues guitarist Toronzo Cannon, a powerful singer whose electric work is as fiery and focused as his songwriting. Rounding out the day will be three Minnesota outfits: Crow, the blues-rock stalwarts who had a late-‘60s hit with “Evil Woman,” the Scottie Miller Band, which features a deep New Orleans influence, and the Mae Simpson Band, which recently won Famous Dave’s Battle of the Blues Bands.Noon. Free. 221 5th St. E., St. Paul. More info here.—Rick Mason

Jimmie Vaughan & the Tilt-a-Whirl Band @ Dakota Jazz Club
Texas guitar ace Jimmie Vaughan isn’t only a Lone Star legend, his long career and mastery of all manner of blues, from jump to swaggering roadhouse, put him squarely in the circle of most influential musicians of his generation. Just for starters, Vaughan was a mid’70s co-founder of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, which introduced gritty Texas blues to much of the world, and was a mentor to little brother Stevie Ray. His terse, rippling guitar lines currently fire up his Tilt-A-Whirl Band, which offers a rollicking education in the blues. 7 p.m. $45—$65. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. More info here .—Rick Mason

Complete Saturday music listings here.

Sunday 7.22

Black Milk @ 7th St. Entry
In recent years, Detroit MC/producer Black Milk has sough to expand the tradition of live-band hip-hop. His 2014 album, The Rebellion Sessions, was a collaboration with his group Nat Turner (who’ll be performing with him tonight). And on his sixth album, Fever, released in February, released earlier this year, drummer Daru Jones and percussionist Chris Dave drive his rhythms into unexpected, ingeniously off-kilter places. With standout Minneapolis MC Greg Grease and DJ Just Nine. 18+. $15/$17. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.Keith Harris

Ostroushko Family Benefit Potluck @ St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church
It’s been a rough year for fiddler and mandolinist Peter Ostroushko, a mainstay of the Twin Cities folk scene for more than 40 years, who suffered a heart attack in December and a stroke in January. Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) headlines this benefit, and Dakota Dave Hull, Greg Brown, Dean Magraw, Ann Reed, Mary DuShane, Becky Thompson, Daithi Sproule, and Kevin Kling will also perform. Hosted by Dale Connelly. $25. Potluck at 5 p.m. Music at 7 p.m. 4537 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis. More info here.—Keith Harris

Complete Sunday music listings here.