Fitzgerald Theater

Now in its fifth year and spanning three separate shows, the New Standards Holiday Concert has become a celebratory annual treat for local music fans. The swank confines of the Fitz are ideal for framing the group's sparse yet surprisingly rich renditions of holiday classics, with the Suburbs' Chan Poling and Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare's John Munson trading off vocal duties while masterful vibraphonist Steve Roehm crafts a shimmering, stylish backdrop for their melodies and harmonies. The trio will be joined by what is being billed only as "an orchestra of stunning guest accompanists" including "upcoming singer-songwriters to some of the most esteemed local and international rock stars to poets, dancers, and storytellers," which should make for an eclectic and highly entertaining kickoff to the frenzied holiday season. Note to families: Sunday's matinee performance is said to culminate in an appearance by St. Nicolas himself. All ages. $20-$32. 8 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul, 651.290.1200. Also Saturday and Sunday —Andrea Swensson



7th St. Entry

Andrew Bird brings his intricate indie ballads to First Ave
Cameron Wittig
Andrew Bird brings his intricate indie ballads to First Ave

Location Info


7th St. Entry

701 1st Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403-1327

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

While grunge was taking over everything in the mid-'90s, Minneapolis's Arcwelder chose a slightly different path. Less pop-friendly, more abrasive, and ultimately more sincere than much of what was happening nationally (on the popular front, at least), brothers Rob and Bill Graber along with Scott MacDonald crafted a volatile mix of post-punk and hardcore, putting a nice shine on it to make it enticing to a larger crowd. By rights they should have sold millions, but had the misfortune of being from the Midwest and not the gloomy Northwest. Luckily for us, they're still around, and while they haven't released any new material in more than a decade due mostly to non-band (read: real-life) commitments, they still play out every so often, and this is your chance to make things right. One night with this band will have you pitching your Melvins albums into the alley, ready to replace them not with something that mattered, but that matters still—and not in that nostalgic "They were so great when I was 16" sort of way, either. Arcwelder's live show is a stunning, tinnitus-inducing study in catharsis and is not to be missed. 18+. $6. 9 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Pat O'Brien

Sleeping in the Aviary (CD-release)

Kitty Cat Klub

Lo-fi power-pop? Playful indie folk? Call it what you will, Sleeping in the Aviary are celebrating the release of their third record, Great Vacation!, at the Kitty Cat Klub on Saturday. The Minneapolis-by-way-of-Madison band continue to evolve their lively sound, drawing influence from 1990s slacker rock to more nuanced indie folk without sounding like either. Great Vacation! offers a continuing evolution of the band's sometimes absurd lyricism paired with big pop chops that drive the melodies. Making use of dynamic shifts and a fair share of nontraditional instrumentation—mostly from accordion player Celeste Heule—the arrangements take on a quirky, unpredictable feel that is defined by Elliott Kozel's wavering and emphatic vocals and the band's rambunctious, sing-along stage presence. With Buffalo Moon, Chelsea Boys, and Crimes. 21+. $5. 9 p.m. 315 14th Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 612.331.9800. —Loren Green


Broken Bells

First Avenue

If you're a follower of pop music, you know that Danger Mouse can't be left to his own devices—he gets into too much trouble. After the Grey Album legal debacle that directly contributed to Mouse's fame, the bushy-haired beatsmith took on a number of collaborators, forming unlikely pairs that explored the landscapes of pop, rock, and hip hop. Working with Cee Lo Green (as Gnarls Barkley), MF Doom (as Danger Doom), and Damon Albarn (as the producer of Gorillaz's massive Demon Days) proved that Danger was truly versatile, not just another dilettante out to make a buck. March saw the debut from Broken Bells (surprise!—it's yet another duo), comprised of Danger and James Mercer, ex-frontman for indie darlings the Shins. It's a surprisingly melancholy outing for both artists, yet it still manages to maintain a convincing facade of winning hooks and big drums; the sound smiles just wide enough to hide its pain. Given how short-lived some of their other groups have been, you should catch them while you can. With Maps and Atlases. 18+. $29.50. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

KDWB's Jingle Ball

Target Center

Even without the star sass of, say, Katy Perry, this annual Top-40 revue from Clear Channel taps new hit-makers—Atlanta rapper B.o.B., the Ready Set, Taio Cruz, Enrique Iglesias, Sara Bareilles, Selena Gomez, Mike Posner, 3OH!3—at a particularly good moment for new hit-making, and with styles cross-pollinating so freely within a clearly understood template that it all really does feel like one music. (Club laser glam rock?) The sing-along hit of ball games, weddings, and school buses, Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" seems typical: overjoyed, digitized, and deeply schooled in house music. It's as if radio fell asleep on a stack of United State of Electronica CDs six years ago and woke up remembering that even rap is disco. All ages. $28.75-$101.30. 6:30 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. —Peter S. Scholtes

Ravi Coltrane Quartet

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