Music A-List

WEDNESDAY 12.19

Office and Tigercity

400 Bar

The Chicago quintet Office trade in glittery, synth-fueled pop, angular new wave, glam touches, billowy male-female vocal harmonies, and hooks as big as the curve Bert Blyleven threw back in the era they often evoke. Often reminiscent of the Cars, Bowie, the B-52's, and others of that circa-1980 period, Office's musical effervescence gets ironic twists from Scott Masson's far darker lyrics about sex, love, pop culture, and other sinister forces. A reformed London art-school student, Masson peppers his songs with surrealistic one-liners, like the seasonal reference "Under the mistletoe old missile foes are waiting." Brooklyn-based Tigercity also mine a retro sound, most often a bizarre resurrection of disco-era Bee Gees, including a stratospheric falsetto courtesy of lead singer Bill Gillim. Shimmery synths and tight dance beats reign, although occasionally things get a little funkier, drifting slightly Prince-ward on the recent EP Pretend Not to Love, which unlike Office, is notably lacking in irony. $7. 7:00 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.332.2903. —Rick Mason

THURSDAY 12.20

R. Kelly

Target Center

Celebrity outrageousness or eccentricity can be a double-edged sword. In one's art, it's a cause for public admiration and critical adulation; in one's personal life, maybe not so much. So when Chicago producer/songwriter/singer R. Kelly pushes sexual metaphors to and past their breaking points on wax, the devout and the dabblers blast and vibe on his pop R&B chestnuts the way Soulja Boy hopes you crank him. When, earlier this decade, it was discovered that Kells—allegedly, mind you—had a liking for lady jail bait and a liking for watersports play with said jail bait, the world collectively gasped and died a little inside. Videotaped evidence or no videotaped evidence, the guy seems to have received a cultural pass because, well, he's so talented, salacious, funny, and prolific—Jay-Z likes to brag about all the summers he's spent holding folks down, but he's got nothing on Kells's album-release rate and seemingly never-ending "Trapped in the Closet" serials. That trial date keeps looming, but the horndog hits keep flowing, distracting the auteur—and us—from the downer realities we'll all have to confront eventually. With Keyshia Cole and J. Holiday. $49-$79. 7:00 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. Ray Cummings

Eyedea & Abilities

Triple Rock Social Club

A duo with more local clout than Maher and Mourneau, E & A have been holding the Minneapolis underground scene down for damn near a decade, as a sort of pleasant doppelganger to the whole Atmosphere phenomenon. Although usually not as compelling either on the mic or behind the boards as their Rhymesayers counterparts, both Eyedea and Abilities make up for it with technical wizardry and genuine talent. Peep Eyedea's supreme battle skills or his ridiculous versatility (he's recently fronted both jazz and rock groups), or Abilities's numerous side projects involving everything from impressive production to battling on the wheels of steel, and you begin to get the picture. After rumors of a breakup, the two triumphantly returned for this fall's Celebration of Hip Hop, and are now in the midst of a nationwide tour, presumably to promote a 2008 follow-up to 2004's superior E&A. Take them for granted no longer. With Sector 7G and Abzorbr. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 9:00 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Jordan Selbo

FRIDAY 12.21

Soul Asylum

First Avenue

As maligned as they are revered, Soul Asylum just keep rolling along in the face of adversity. Founding member and bassist Karl Mueller passed away in 2005, and their 2006 release, The Silver Lining, was somewhat inexplicably met with near-outright hatred in these very pages and elsewhere. You might despise Grave Dancers Union now, but if you were in high school or college in the early '90s, you can still sing along with every word on that album, whether you will admit to it or not. If you were in high school or college at all between 1983 and, well, now, one of their albums was probably the soundtrack to a night involving things you still don't want to tell your parents about, but repeat to your friends as often as possible (for the record, mine involves the then-seven-year-old Hang Time.) Always viewed as part of the JV squad in Minneapolis (they actually wanted to make money as musicians, for shame!), their popularity far eclipsed other hometown favorites (Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, et al.) outside the state lines, and that says quite a bit more about us than it does about them. They have created a lasting legacy, and nobody can take that away. With the Evening Rig and Mayda. 18+. $16/$18 at the door. 8:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Pat O'Brien

SATURDAY 12.22

Rude Girl

Triple Rock Social Club

Despite some female backup vocals here and there and the pro-cunnilingus "Lover's Rock," women didn't exactly feature heavily in the Clash's music. The señorita in "Spanish Bombs" is nothing other than the revolutionary spirit herself, sullied and scarred in the age of terrorism. Yet some of the best Clash covers are by women, from Indigo Girls' "Clampdown" (on 1999's otherwise disposable Burning London: The Clash Tribute on Epic) to Amy Rigby, Sally Timms, and the Coal Porters on this year's richly rewarding curio The Sandinista! Project: A Tribute to the Clash (00:02:59). At Pi in November, local newbies Rude Girl rocked like a ramshackle distillation of all of the above, a kind of Clash Unplugged nine-girl/ten-piece with fiddle and horns sawing through every funk-reggae-New Orleans-punk classic on 1979's London Calling. Tonight they mark the fifth anniversary of the death of the Clash's lead singer and principal lyricist, whose memory has been nourished and deepened by a recent and very moving documentary, Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten. Buy the soundtrack, empty a bottle, stay free. 21+. $7. 9:00 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Peter S. Scholtes

Heiruspecs 10-Year Anniversary Show

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