Nostalgia is abundant this weekend in casino showrooms, with plenty of Motown and ’80s music, but the most intriguing show on any roster presents a combination of spirituality, uplift, poetry and history. Nahko and Medicine for the People just celebrated the release of its third album, “HOKA,” which is what the band is calling its current show, which will be at the MontBleu on Sunday, Jan. 15.
While riding into battle, Crazy Horse used to shout “Hoka,” a Lakota word for a call to action. The songs in the album reflect many of Nahko’s favorite themes (discovery, forgiveness and love) as well as the intriguing mix of heritage (Puerto Rican, Apache and Filipino) and of style (hip-hop, rock and folk).
Nahko was adopted as a 9-month-old baby and set out in his 20s to discover his roots, ultimately learning his mother was a 14-year-old forced into human trafficking. He then found out about his father, who had been murdered. He visited the murderer in prison to forgive him, which is reflected in the song “San Quentin.”
Another song, “Tues Pies” (or “Your Feet”), was inspired by the Pablo Neruda poem about loving the feet that walked over mountains and through valleys to find him. “HOKA: A Call to Action Tour” has as guest stars the Late Ones (8 p.m.; general admission, over 21 only; $30; Ticketmaster)
Motown shows up this weekend in two tribute shows: Thunder Valley has “Legends of Motown” on Sunday, Jan. 15 (7 p.m.; $29.75-$37.75; thundervalleyresort.com); and the MontBleu brings in a Nathan Owens production, “Pop, Rock & Soul,” that’s heavy on the Motown but goes beyond it, for instance, into the music of Prince (Friday-Saturday, Jan. 13-14 at 8 p.m.; $25; Ticketmaster)
There are some pretty potent singers helping bring in 2017 as well, especially R. Kelly, best known for hits like “Bump ’N’ Grind,” “Ignition” and “I Believe I Can Fly.” Billboard named him the most successful R&B artist of the past quarter-century for his three Grammys and production work on albums for the likes of Michael Jackson, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z. He’s at the Grand Sierra in Reno Saturday, Jan. 14, as part of his “Buffet” (the title of his new album) tour. (8 p.m.; $54-$420; grandsierraresort.com)
Another veteran, Frankie Beverly, brings to Cache Creek a large roster of hits he scored since he founded Maze in San Francisco in 1976. His new 20-track double CD appropriately is called “Anthology.” (9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 13, and 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14 $75-$99; cachecreek.com)