Maria Isa packs more balls and bombast in her tiny frame than should be physically possible. Equally proud of her Puerto Rican heritage and St. Paul residency, Isa crafts a sound that is uniquely "Sota-Rico" by mashing up hip hop, R&B, and reggaetón into a feisty blend that induces feverish late-hour booty shaking. Singing about love and freedom and "Minnesota Nice," Isa transitions flawlessly between soulful crooning and spitfire raps as she fluctuates between English and Spanish lyrics. Backed by her Baker's Dozen Band, including a trumpet player and two percussionists, Isa brings a refreshing big-band allure that manages to sound enormous but not overwhelming. "Die Not Kill" is emotional and politicized, while "No Son Celos" is sure to be a crowd pleaser. You may have no idea what she's singing, but damn if it doesn't sound cool. With headliners Alkaholiks. 21+.
Fri., April 25, 8 p.m., 2008