St. Paul’s got your nightlife and music needs covered this weekend. Check out the highlights of Thursday, July 16 through Wednesday, July 22:
Fancy Ray and John Conroy at Station 4
If the name Fancy Ray doesn’t seem familiar, his face will. Chances are you’ve seen him hawking products in local commercials looking like a dead ringer for Little Richard, for which he’s become relatively well-known since the mid 1980s. When he’s not being a TV pitchman, running for governor of Minnesota (which he did in 1998), or auditioning for realty TV shows like America’s Got Talent, the self-proclaimed “Best Looking Man in Comedy” also happens to have a comedy act. Though his slapstick act may elicit more groans than belly laughs, it’s worth seeing for the sake of witnessing a longtime local fixture. (8 p.m. Free. 21-plus. 201 E. 4th St., St. Paul. 651-298-0173.)
Also Thursday: Renowned folk singer Arlo Guthrie at the Fitzgerald Theater…Music in Mears featuring The Melismatics in Mears Park…The University Of Minnesota’s Noontime Concert Series featuring Chris Koza at the St. Paul Student Center…Golden Animals, The Suits and Hildur Victoria at the Turf Club.
Junior Vasquez at Myth
Internationally-celebrated DJ, remixer and producer Junior Vasquez has been kicking out the jams since the ‘80s, gaining national prominence beginning in 1989 during his residency at the original Sound Factory in Manhatten’s Chelsea district. He’s counted Björk, Marilyn Manson and Madonna as fans, and is perhaps most famous for his very public beef with Madonna. Expect a Studio 54-themed night of club-friendly remixes and beat-driven house. (10 p.m. $10-15. 18+. 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood. 651-779-MYTH.)
Also Friday: Country rockers Slim Cessna’s Auto Club at Turf Club…Famed blues musician Keb Mo at the Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater…Highland Fest kicks off with retro-soul cover band The Irresistibles at Highland Park. (Find out more on this year’s Highland Fest on Juleana Enright’s St. Paul STAYcation blog Off the Beaten Path.)
The Alarmists + Romantica at Highland Fest
Though local blues man GB Leighton (8 p.m.) is headlining day two of this year’s Highland Fest, it’s two of the bands playing earlier in the day that are worth checking out. Power-pop rockers The Alarmists (3 p.m.) recently reformed with three original members (plus three new guys) to record a critically-praised follow-up to their 2007 debut. Meanwhile, americana/folk band Romantica (1 p.m.) has been getting immense national attention since it released 2007’s America. (10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Free. All ages. Highland Park, Cleveland Ave. & Ford Pkwy., St. Paul. www.highlandfest.com)
Also Saturday: Celtic Crawl IV at O’Gara’s Garage featuring The Serfs, The Hounds of Finn, The Dregs and The Durty Nellys…Midwest record label Crustacean Records hostsa 15-year anniversary show featuring The Skullcranes, The Von Ehrics, 20 Dollar Love and Six Six Crush at Turf Club.
School of Rock All Stars Midwest Tour at O’Gara’s Garage
The All Stars – the top student musicians among thousands from the Paul Green School of Rock Music – make their stop in St. Paul during their 10 shows, 10 cities in 10 days tour. The teen rockers will perform covers of rock ‘n roll classics for the third year running at O’Gara’s. (6 p.m. $12. All ages. 164 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul. 651-644-3333.)
Billy Squier at Myth
Classic rock staple Billy Squier’s string of arena rock hits in the ‘80s – “The Stroke,” “In the Dark,” “Rock Me Tonite,” “All Night Long,” the list goes on – were ubiquitous, and he famously collaborated with Queen frontman Freddie Mercury on Squier’s 1986 release Enough Is Enough. The rocker hasn’t released an album of new material since 1998 and hasn’t had a hit single since 1984, but fans will be happy to hear the rocker stick to the hits. (8 p.m. $27-30. 21+. 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood, 651-779-MYTH.)
9 Nights of Music: Eelpout Stringers at Minnesota History Center
Get on your bolo tie and head down to the Minnesota History Center for the Eelpout Stringers quartet. The old-timey folks band from Walker, Minn. bring their brand of banjo-plucking, fiddlin’, guitar-strummin’ Southern instrumental tunes to the Center’s Tuesday night summer series, 9 Nights of Music. (6:30 p.m. Free. All ages. 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul. 651-259-3000.)
Future of the Left at Turf Club
The gleefully angry Welsh band Future of the Left have single-handedly taken the post-hardcore/math rock genre and made it fun. The band’s sardonic-yet-witty lyricism and fast-and-tight sound make for what should be a massively entertaining live show. (8 p.m. $10-12. 21+. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul. 651-647-0486.)
Also Wednesday: Folk rock band The Isles and singer-songwriter Thomas Kivi play on the patio of the Eagle Street Grille…Local jazz collective Tesfa Combos perform at the Artists’ Quarter.