Mos Def at Fridays at Sunset
With a successful movie career and regular gig hosting a "Def Poetry Jam" on HBO, being your favorite rapper is low among Mos Def's priorities. The lack of fanfare for his last release, which arrived without cover art or liner notes, would support that notion. Yet, rap's Renaissance man continues to be a distinctive part of the hip-hop landscape, proving that maybe it's the music that matters. The mighty Mos Def headlines this week's Fridays at Sunset, starting June 8 at 6:30 p.m. with Maryland's Fertile Ground. Mos Def comes onstage at 8 p.m. $25. Call 644-8515 or visit www.fridaysatsunset.com. Craig Belcher
Robbie Fulks at Ashland Coffee & Tea
Hearing Robbie Fulks in concert might help folks decide if they want to buy his new album, "Revenge!" which features live recordings of some of last year's shows. If he's good now, he was probably good then, too. Fulks is known for his disdain for modern country, in addition to his diverse music-making abilities acoustic to electric, country to rock. But disdain knows how to keep a beat anyway. Fulks plays Friday, June 8, at 8 p.m. $16-$21. 798-1702. Sarah Mogin
Sting discovered Vinx when he ventured into a nightclub to escape the rain. He ended up getting the eclectic percussionist a record deal, producing his first album and letting him become his opening act. Vinx has continued to steadily build a devoted fan base, one album at a time, attracting artists like Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock and Branford Marsalis to record with him. With smooth vocals that recall jazz crooner Will Downing (get well soon) and a ferocious appetite for percussion, Vinx remains a good reason to come into a nightclub. The Richmond Jazz Society brings Vinx to the Canal Club Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. $10-$20. 643-1972. C.B.
Tool at the Richmond Coliseum
The band, progressive metal or post-apocalyptic symphonic rock or whatever, has been touring since "10,000 Days" came out last year. Tool seems content to tour for as many days, playing the festivals and big venues of this great nation and throwing out thoughtful, ridiculous and often deeply philosophical messages. The group brings its art-rock sound to the Richmond Coliseum Thursday, June 7, at 8 p.m. $35-$52.50. Call 262-8100 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. Brandon Reynolds
Live at Innsbrook After Hours
Live debuted in 1991 with "Mental Jewelry," but it was 1994's sophomore effort, "Throwing Copper," that launched the group to chart-topping heights. Thirteen years and six albums (including a "best of") later, the band has yet to really throw any more copper. Still, it might be nice to tie a flannel shirt around your waist, leave your MP3 player in the car and spend an evening in the '90s. Live plays at the Snagajob.com Pavilion Wednesday, June 6, at 6 p.m. $10-$15. Call 423-6589 or visit www.innsbrookafterhours.com. S.M.