The Infamous Stringdusters, 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. Tickets: $20-$25. Call 608-255-0901.
The Infamous Stringdusters meld traditional folk and progressive bluegrass and present it with a jam-band attitude. The five-piece band from Charlottesville, Virginia, has been together for a decade and has made a splash on the national summer music-festival scene. It also has fared well on the Billboard bluegrass charts, with two of eight albums released since 2006 reaching No. 1.
The Stringdusters are best known for their live shows featuring long improvisational and instrumental sets. Those jams are opportunities to highlight each members’ individual talents through extended solos. The band also is known for its vocal harmonies, as all five members lend their voices to the mix.
The group took shape in 2005, when banjo player Chris Pandolfi, dobro player Andy Hall and former guitarist Chris Eldridge started jamming together. They moved to Nashville and teamed up with two of Hall’s former bandmates, Jesse Cobb (mandolin) and Jeremy Garrett (fiddle) and added bass player Travis Book. Eldridge left in 2007 and was replaced by guitarist Andy Falco. Cobb left in 2011.
The Stringdusters’ released their first album, “Fork in the Road,” in 2007. They followed up with a self-titled album in 2008 and a third, “Things That Fly,” in 2010. All appeared high on the bluegrass albums chart, with “The Infamous Stringdusters” peaking at No. 1 and “Things That Fly” reaching No. 2. The band has two other No. 2-ranked albums, first in 2014 with “Let It Go” and again in ’16 with “Ladies and Gentlemen.” In January, the band released “Laws of Gravity,” an album grounded in traditional bluegrass rhythms. It reached No. 1 on Billboard’s bluegrass chart earlier this year.
Lupe Fiasco, 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. Fourth St., Milwaukee. For tickets, call 414-286-3663.
Rap and hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco is known as a pioneer of the conscious hip-hop movement, which focuses on social issues from a politically progressive viewpoint. He’s been compared to rappers Common, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Fiasco hails from Chicago, and his first album, “Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor,” addresses such subjects as absent parents, terrorism, war, prostitution, and Islam and religion.
Fiasco was raised by a mother he calls an intellectual and a father he refers to as a Renaissance man. He rejects the misogyny common in hip-hop and is strongly opposed to censorship in music.
Fiasco released his debut album, “Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor,” in 2006. It received critical acclaim and was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album. The album produced three singles, one of which won a Grammy for “Best Urban/Alternative Performance.” In the same year, GQ magazine named him its “Breakout Man of the Year,” and he also received four BET Hip-Hop Award nominations.
Fiasco has released six albums since his 2006 debut, including his latest, “Drogas Light,” earlier this year. The album features songs Fiasco had written and recorded earlier in his career and includes just a few new pieces. It debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 for the chart dated March 4 of this year.
St. Vincent, 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, Riverside Theater, 116 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. For tickets, call 414-286-3663.
St. Vincent (born Annie Clark) is a Grammy-winning artist who blurs the lines between soft rock, experimental rock, electro pop and jazz. She’s released five albums since her 2007 debut, “Marry Me,” and has won a Grammy for Best Alternative Album with the release of a self-titled album in 2014.
Clark was raised in Dallas, Texas, and began playing guitar at the age of 12. As a teen, she worked as a roadie for her uncle and aunt, Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart, of the guitar-vocal jazz duo Tuck & Patti. After graduating from high school in 2001, she moved to Boston and enrolled at the Berklee College of Music, which she attended for three years before dropping out. She then performed with a number of bands in Texas and had a notable stint in Sufjan Stevens’ touring band in 2006.
Later that year, she began recording a studio album under the stage name St. Vincent and released her debut in 2007. The album was well received by critics, who compared Clark to the likes of Kate Bush and David Bowie because of her elaborate songs and arrangements.
Clark released two more albums before recording her commercial breakthrough, “St. Vincent,” in 2014. Several publications put the album at the top of their year-end Best Album lists. The next year, she won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album for the album, making her the first woman to win the award in 20 years. The album features collaborations with Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings’ drummer Homer Steinweiss and Midlake drummer McKenzie Smith.
Clark’s latest album, “Masseducation,” was released in October and peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200, becoming her first Top 10 album in the U.S.
Kansas, 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, Capitol Theater, Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., Madison. Tickets: $55-$95. Call 608-258-4141.
The classic-rock band formed in 1970 and played in clubs and bars throughout the Midwest for several years before breaking onto the national music scene in the mid-’70s with a string of hit albums and singles.
The sextet’s first album sold about 100,000 copies, but constant touring built its following. Kansas’ second and third albums each sold about 250,000, according to the band’s website. In 1976, the band released its fourth album, “Leftoverture,” which featured the single “Carry on Wayward Son.” The album sold more than 3 million copies.
The next year, the band released “Point of Know Return,” an album that also sold more than 3 million copies and garnered two hit singles, “Point of Know Return” and “Dust in the Wind.” The group had similar success with a live album, “Two for the Show,” in ’78 and with “Monolith” in ’79. Its 1980 album “Audio-Visions” sold more than a half-million copies.
The group’s lineup changed frequently in the following years. It released two albums to moderate success in the 1990s and two more in the 2000s—“Somewhere to Elsewhere” in 2000 and “The Prelude Implicit” in 2016.