Big V's

Fans of country-folk take note: There's a new up-and-comer in town, and her name is Bethany Larson. On her debut EP, Sticks and Stones, Larson's voice comes across softly and sweetly, backed by acoustic guitars and shuffling snare drums. But live, her music takes on a more vivacious persona, adding in electric guitar flourishes and slide guitar wails to achieve something approaching alt-country. Fans of Lucinda Williams, Patsy Cline, and locals Roma di Luna will all find something to enjoy in Larson's developing, slightly edgy folk-rock songs, and Big V's seems like the perfect dive bar in which to watch her cut her teeth. With Fever in the Ox and Mike Behrends. 21+. $5. 9 p.m. 1567 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.645.8472. —Andrea Swensson


Big Head Todd and the Monsters

First Avenue

Burgeoning singer-songwriter Bethany Larson
Burgeoning singer-songwriter Bethany Larson

It's been 16 years since Big Head Todd and the Monsters' major-label debut, Sister Sweetly, went platinum and earned a top 10 single with the laidback "Broken Hearted Savior." Fortunately, the Boulder, Colorado, quartet had the presence of mind to realize their Cream of Wheat-bland bluesy rock balladry wasn't built for hit making, opting instead to embrace their natural role as a pleasantly inoffensive, hardworking live act. The strategy has paid off with a devoted fan following and the necessary live albums intermingled with occasional new releases, such as "Blue Sky," a tribute to the space shuttle program that was later used by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. In recent years, BHTM have made annual early-winter stops in the Mainroom. With this visit falling just before New Year's, it's an ideal opportunity to celebrate another year of mediocrity with a band that's made a career out of living off past glories. With Ken Valdez. 21+. $25/$27. 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Jeff Gage

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