It’s tough summarizing Monáe’s career, simply because she excels at everything she does: acting (an award-winning turn as a NASA engineer in Hidden Figures), activism (her LGBTQ advocacy and support for the Black Lives Matter movement) and music. Her latest album—the much-lauded Dirty Computer—boasts plenty of Prince-isms; witness the interstellar funk of “Make Me Feel.” But it’s also an eclectic personal and political statement that relishes flouting sonic boundaries, as it combines futuristic hip-hop, sinewy R&B, throwback soul and futuristic synth-pop. Live, Monáe is a commanding presence, an electric and nimble performer who elevates her music with bold choreography. She’s no “next [insert superstar here],” but a mold-breaking artist with her own powerful platform. With St. Beauty. June 26, 7:30 p.m., $37-$78; the Pearl, 702-944-3200.
If Morissette had released Jagged Little Pill and then quit music, her status as a groundbreaking artist would still have been secured. Released in 1995, the confessional album challenged rock, pop and folk conventions, and ushered in an era of empowered songwriters who placed women’s agency squarely at the forefront. In the decades since, Morissette has continued to be an avowed feminist and artistic chameleon who has never shied away from reinventing her sound (e.g., her many acoustic reimaginings) or career direction (a turn as God in Kevin Smith’s Dogma). A musical based on Jagged Little Pill is currently playing to raves in Boston, a sign that her message and music continues to endure. June 22, 8 p.m.; $59-$259, the Pearl, 702-944-3200.
A Gillian Welch concert is a cleansing, cathartic experience. The Nashville-based musician and her long-time musical foil, David Rawlings, captivate with well-wrought characters—the free spirit of “Look at Miss Ohio,” the tradition-bucking narrator of “Revelator”—and richly detailed songs that dart between whispered folk, brisk bluegrass and gothic country. Although Welch hasn’t released a new album since 2011’s The Harrow & The Harvest, her songs are woven into the fabric of modern Americana. I’m With Her covered “Hundred Miles” on their recent debut, while Horse Feathers’ take on “Orphan Girl” surfaced on a new compilation. Welch’s Las Vegas set has no opening act, which means her and Rawlings will be performing two full, luxurious sets. June 23, 8 p.m., $30, House of Blues, 702-632-7600.