(Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand) R. Kelly's slow descent into pop culture parody belies the infallibility of his talents—no matter which bizarre sublevels they may occupy. While Kelly's professional praises continue to be sung—most recently by Billboard magazine, who listed him as the #1 R&B artist of the last 25 years—it's been a long time since our corn-rowed king believed he could fly. Subsequent experimentalism following his salad days included the oddly fascinating hip-hopera Trapped in the Closet, and likely the single most entertaining song of the last 10 years in Double Up's "Real Talk." It's with one foot in both worlds of Kelly's milieu that Dig a Pony's birthday bash is likely to celebrate. Featuring the smooth croons of Leroy Jerome and a worthy DJ tandem of Nathan Detroit and Freaky Outy, your chance to bask in the golden shower of Kelly's 45th will definitely be a dancey one. (And—ew—Dig a Pony is offering lemonade drink specials.) RYAN J. PRADO


(Red Lion on the River, 909 N Hayden Island) Americana-, bluegrass-, and roots rock-deprived throngs seeking out a folky fix ought to look no further than the respite of the seventh annual RiverCity Music Festival. With an eye on substance over style (think a wintertime, indoor Pickathon), this weekend's lineup features world-famous guit-pickers like Tommy Emmanuel, regional bluegrass wunderkinds Northern Departure, and mandolin prodigy Sierra Hull, who performs with her group Highway 111, fresh off the success of her sophomore album Daybreak. Ray Wylie Hubbard, Peter Rowan Band, and the time-capsule country of Dale Watson deftly fill in the void left by American ex-pat Jesse Winchester's cancellation, and round out a potent three days of riverside revelry. Capped by a Saturday night square dance, workshops maestro'ed by the masters, and the free, kids-only (ages seven to 17) Chick Rose School of Bluegrass program, this is one hoedown you don't want to miss. RJP