John Lennon tribute, Zero 7, Doomtree Blowout, and more

WEDNESDAY 12.2

The Hidden Cameras

7th St. Entry

"Ratify the New," the leadoff track on the Hidden Cameras' Origin: Orphan, begins with a two-and-a-half-minute drone that accurately presages the often ponderous, dirge-like orchestral pop that permeates the rest of the album. Although a Middle Eastern sensibility briefly surfaces along with some swirling psychedelia, Joel Gibb's operatic vocals and accumulated bombast nearly send "Ratify" through the roof. The sunny, impish playfulness that Gibb is renowned for injecting into the Cameras' so-called "gay church folk music" is mostly out of the picture. Instead, Serious Intent seems to dominate. "Walk On" is a grandiose crawl, the title track is bleak, and "Silence Can Be a Headline" strains so hard to end things with a grand statement that it essentially blows up into a massive headache. A human pulse surfaces here and there, most significantly on the catchy new wavy workout "In the Na," but the Cameras' current focus is a bit askew. The group's customary over-the-top stage show should make amends. Opening will be fellow Toronto singer-songwriter Gentleman Reg—a.k.a. Reg Vermue—whose well-crafted indie-pop remains sprightly. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rick Mason

THURSDAY 12.3

Bebel Gilberto

Hold on tight: Downtempo U.K. duo Zero 7 are blowing into town
Sammy Green
Hold on tight: Downtempo U.K. duo Zero 7 are blowing into town

Dakota Jazz Club

Although she has sung since childhood and royal Brazilian musical blood flows through her veins, Bebel Gilberto only found her distinctive expression when she began merging the seductive grooves of bossa nova and samba with cutting-edge European pop and electronica. Daughter of iconic bossa nova guitarist João Gilberto and heralded Brazilian singer Miúcha, Bebel already sang with a sly, breezy charm that sparkled like the waves at Ipanema. Subtle electronica elements and crafty, innovative production—initially courtesy of the late Suba—gave Bebel's music focus and definition. Her latest, All in One, is a beguiling collection mostly about love, neatly weaving multiple threads that tie into her musical heritage. Working with a variety of producers, including Carlinhos Brown, Mark Ronson, and Didi Gutman, Bebel covers her father's "Bim Bom" in a sinuous vocal duet with Daniel Jobim (grandson of Antonio Carlos Jobim), Bob Marley's "Sun Is Shining" as if he were from Bahia, Stevie Wonder via a song recorded by Sergio Mendes ("The Real Thing"), and even Carmen Miranda's "Chica Chica Boom Chic" in a playfully surreal, carnavalesque romp lush with sultry electronics jouncing alongside cuicas and cavaquinhos. Bebel's originals, meanwhile, range from the intimate chamber pop of "Port Antonio" to the exquisite "Ela (On My Way)" (co-written with Brown), which simultaneously sways, glides and simmers with effervescent joy. $45. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

FRIDAY 12.4

Total Babe (EP-release)

7th St. Entry

Though their EP has already garnered a bit of positive press locally, Total Babe's debut, Heatwave, has yet to be made available to the public. Tonight's show will celebrate the official release of this promising young band's disc, which features the stellar pop songwriting and '60s bubblegum melodies of 17-year-old frontwoman Clara Salyer. Unlike most teenaged bands just coming to terms with their personalities and stage personas, Total Babe have already begun to work the local club circuit, blending in among the pastiche of more seasoned bands as if they'd been playing together for years. Their EP-release party is made all the sweeter with the addition of a couple of other local bands on the rise: Larger-than-life rock two-piece Red Pens were the clear forerunners in this year's Picked to Click poll, while opener Communist Daughter marks the triumphant return of Friends Like These frontman Johnny Solomon, whose own refined ear for pop melody has been missing from the local scene in recent years. With La Crosse indie-rockers Porcupine. 18+. $6. 9 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Andrea Swensson

Soul Asylum

First Avenue

Local-music awareness is a fickle beast. For the observer of our goings-on, there seem to be two tools—the telescope and the microscope. While bands like the Replacements get Chuck Close portraits decades after their breakup, and Dante and the Lobster score Picked to Click rights, modest titans like Soul Asylum seem relegated to a more devoted, memorial set. Their major-market successes are few, but Soul Asylum remains a big-print affair for thousands of local listeners. What slew Nirvana, Soul Asylum survived—they've endured the bursting of the grunge bubble, the advent of formidable new forms, and the death of a bandmate. And to top it off, they're still Mainroom material. That's a hardy makeup. Listen to their more recent materials, see them live, and you can hear the existential callouses. Others may have climbed farther, but few have walked farther. There's no two ways about it—Soul Asylum is our treasure. With the Tomatoes. 18+. $18/$20 at the door. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. David Hansen

SATURDAY 12.5

Doomtree Blowout V

First Avenue

What does one do when only hyperbole fits? Let's run it down—a rap troupe of singular size and longevity? Local currency at an all-time high? Sold-out Mainroom shows on the year, every year? An endless propensity for experimentation? This poses a major dilemma. How does one write about Doomtree without sounding like a kiss-ass? Well, call it kiss-assery if you must. But the 1,800-plus that are sure to pack First Ave for this year's Blowout are doing anything but kissing ass. This is a hard-won loyalty, gained with sweat and bulletproof rhymes, with spilled blood and beats that could sculpt diamonds. A throne isn't taken with luck or with lazy talent. In fact, thrones are never taken. They are given by the public. In our local empire, the monarchs are elected by ticket sales, albums moved, and decibels screamed. 18+. $15. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —David Hansen

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