WED. 12.8

Dark Dark Dark

Cedar Cultural Center

It's been quite a successful year for the quasi-local sextet Dark Dark Dark, who have released both a stellar EP and their inspired sophomore full-length, Wild Go, within the last 12 months, as well as touring around much of the world in support of the record. The band will just be wrapping up an extensive European and U.K. tour prior to their show at the Cedar, so their songs and their live show will certainly be road-tested and precise, while playing to a receptive hometown audience should make for a special night all around. Their music has only grown bolder and more expansive as the group have found their footing, with the lush arrangements and subtle experimentation layered within their songs luxuriantly coloring each of their recent releases. Marshall LaCount and Nona Marie Invie's vocals bring a depth and raw emotion to their poignant numbers, which is only augmented by the stirring chamber-folk tones of the band. It will be interesting to hear how the intricate international elements found within Dark Dark Dark's music have been affected or amplified by touring the lands that so inform their sound. The hypnotically hazy local trio Brute Heart opens, and should set the pensive mood quite nicely for the headliners and everyone who shows up early to hear them. Also sharing the bill is Madison's the Weather Duo. All ages. $8/$10 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. Erik Thompson

McCoy Tyner Trio with Gary Bartz

Dakota Jazz Club

Continuing the celebration of the landmark jazz club's 25th anniversary, the Dakota lined up two evenings with seminal jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, who was an early visitor to the nascent club's original digs in St. Paul's Bandana Square. Among a handful of the most influential pianists of the modern era, Tyner established an eternal legacy while still in his early 20s as a member of John Coltrane's classic, seismic quartet, which also included drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison. Over four and a half subsequent decades, Tyner has burnished his rep as a fierce, transcendent improviser, composer, and leader of big bands and small. Tyner's latest release, Solo: Live in San Francisco, from a 2007 theater performance, shows off his characteristic strengths in resplendent form: stormy, percussive onslaughts tempered by lyrical, still incisive nuances that make the music glow; blues-based passages that negotiate rhythmic and harmonic intrigues laced with swing, stride, and occasional romanticism, all restless and profound. Accompanying Tyner will be three longtime associates: bassist Gerald Cannon, Twin Cities-based master drummer Eric Kamau Grávátt, and alto saxophonist Gary Bartz, the last deeply influenced by Coltrane but also an eclectic adventurer who played with Miles Davis and has explored funk, rap, and reggae. $30-$50. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Thursday —Rick Mason

THU. 12.9

The Queers

Triple Rock Social Club

There's an air of seriousness around some punk-rock bands, groups that are born out of conviction or righteous political dissent, bent on screaming the truth over a squall of guitars; the Queers have none of this. They're the pranksters slamming every last beer at the party and then stealing your car so they can make it to their own show before last call, but over the course of a 28-year career, they've polished their brand of snotty three-chord punk until it gleams. Their pop hooks might as well be anchors, grounding what would otherwise be paper-thin jokes with a style ripped right out of the Ramones' playbook (with some secondhand Beach Boys thrown in for laughs). It's not groundbreaking, and you might consider songs about easy drugs and cute girls almost offensively juvenile, but the Queers are intent on taking the hot air out of rock 'n' roll with bouncy, short, confectionery-sweet songs that stick around like gum in your hair. There's no way they're stopping now. With Kepi Ghoulie, the Riptones, and International Espionage! 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Ian Traas

FRI. 12.10

BNLX (CD-release)

7th St. Entry

Cryptic duo BNLX are set to bring their incendiary live show to the 7th St. Entry to celebrate the release of their appropriately titled new EP, #4. This time out, the new batch of four songs are all covers, featuring Ed and Ashley Ackerson's imaginative re-workings of familiar tracks that have either inspired them or refused to leave their heads over the years. As you would expect from the group, these interpretations are hardly color-by-number affairs; they inject these tracks with their own explosive energy while making them their own in the process. One only needs to listen to their volatile version of "When Doves Cry" to know that this isn't just a tired retread meant to get Prince's attention; it's a tempestuous rendition that is meant to leave the original in the dust. This isn't only a record-release party, either, it's a fulfillment of Stage Four of BNLX's First One Year Plan, one that found e.a. and a.a. (as well as knobby and blinky) consistently meeting and/or exceeding our expectations with unfailingly inventive releases, and even more experimental live performances. Who knows what Year Two will bring for the band, but for now, this dynamic covers EP is clearly worth celebrating. Also on the bill are fellow Picked to Click bands Red Pens (2009 winners) and Voytek (2010 finalists), who should both kick-start the night with a rousing bang, as well as the only local performance in the foreseeable future of Farewell Continental, featuring Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack, who will also be releasing their own EP (produced by Ed Ackerson) at the show. 18+. $6. 9 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Daryl Hall & John Oates

State Theatre

Where so much big-'80s pop now seems cute but harmless—still robo-anonymous, but quaintly so—time has revealed something deeper in the pristine hits of Daryl Hall & John Oates from just before and after the dawn of MTV. Even an abbreviated list—"Kiss on My List," "You Make My Dreams," "Private Eyes," "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," "One on One," "Say It Isn't So," "Out of Touch," "Method of Modern Love"—is astonishing. What once felt slick or facile about this string of ebullience turns out to be its own kind of sincerity: a faith in, and excitement about, pop craft and Philadelphia soul, as touching and naive as the purest punk cry. Last year's beautifully sequenced box, Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates, revealed a career worth loving and exploring before and after the bouffant/mustache peak, from '70s hits ("She's Gone," "Sara Smile," "Rich Girl") up through the more recent title track. But the joy was always there in the sure and clarion edge of Hall's falsetto, and in the upbeat musicality of the duo's beats, which were hypnotic hip hop well before De La Soul sampled "I Can't Go For That." All ages. $38.50-$103.50. 7:30 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. Peter S. Scholtes

Doomtree Blowout VI

First Avenue

Timed to coincide with a season that keeps locals in town and out-of-towers away, the Doomtree hip-hop crew's annual Blowout at First Avenue is an alternative-rap fan's dream on the cheap, and just for us: eight-odd vital performers (rappers, singers, DJs) all worth seeing solo and even better in combination, where their Marx Brothers energy takes hold. Expanding to two nights this time, these shows cap a particularly heady year for Doomtree, which is saying something: 2010 marked their first major national tour as a crew, and brought a string of essential and expansive releases: Lazerbeak's synth-pop debut (Legend Recognize Legend), Paper Tiger's instrumental hip-hop opus (Made Like Us), and Dessa's assured mixture of lithe singing and meaty rapping on her own full-length solo album (A Badly Broken Code), plus a hot new single from Sims available at the show. Other performers include P.O.S., Cecil Otter, and Mike Mictlan. 21+ Friday; all ages Saturday. $12/$15 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Also Saturday —Peter S. Scholtes

SAT. 12.11

Katie McMahon's Celtic Christmas

O'Shaughnessy Auditorium

Just in time for her annual Christmas show, local singer Katie McMahon has issued her second holiday album, Christmas Angels, a couple of months after delivering her second child, Rachel. Angels is an entirely apropos title for the new disc, since McMahon's lovely, soaring, silvery soprano seems to originate in celestial realms. A Dublin native who studied classical voice and harp at Trinity College, McMahon became the lead vocalist for the Riverdance phenomenon, which she toured the world with before settling in Minnesota. On Angels, as on her previous holiday release, Celtic Christmas, the arrangements (most by McMahon) are as exquisite as the singing, capturing the warmth and wonderment of the season while spanning the centuries from the ancient mists of tradition to Dickensian frolics and even a relatively modern doo-wop tune, Michael McGlyn's "Angels Are Singing." The repertoire also spans nations, tackling familiar and more obscure carols from Ireland, England, France, Germany, and America. Singers Jenny Russ, David Moore, and Neil Seeley contribute rich choral harmonies, while fiddler Zack Kline, guitarist Karen Mueller, and percussionist Marc Anderson (plus McMahon's harp) weave sublime instrumental accompaniments. All will be at O'Shaughnessy except Anderson; Michael Bissonnette will handle percussion. The Corda Mor Irish Dance Troupe will also be on hand. All ages. $26. 7:30 p.m. 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651.690.6700. —Rick Mason

SUN. 12.12

Trailer Trash's Trashy Little Xmas Family Matinee

Cedar Cultural Center

The only downside of having a world-class honky-tonk band in your hometown do an annual weekly holiday residency at a vintage bar is this: It's in a bar. Which is actually no downside at all for many, but the family men in Trailer Trash added this matinee show at the Cedar to let everyone in on the fun, including those under 21. They do a mean "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," plus many scores of other holiday classics, worn and obscure, in their catalogue of some 1,000 songs. This is also one of the few Twin Cities bands with Christmas albums worth owning, so bring cash for more than milk for baby and beer for you. All ages. $12. 11:30 a.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Peter S. Scholtes

MON. 12.13

Sounds of Blackness: The Night Before Christmas II

Guthrie Theater

The Sounds of Blackness are by now so synonymous with soul music and the holidays that the film Precious placed their 1992 hit "Soul Holidays" in the '80s—as timeless as comfort food. No matter, the joyous, ever-shifting 40-singer Minneapolis ensemble has been around for 40 years under the leadership of Gary Hines, with a multi-Grammy-winning run beginning in the '90s and a new album last year, the gospel-tinged, Obama-election-inspired The 3rd Gift: Story, Song & Spirit. Tonight's family-friendly multicultural holiday musical revue (complete with Rudolph the Rappin' Reindeer) is one more reason it's good to be home for the holidays. All ages. $16.50-$32.50. 7:30 p.m. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612.377.2224. —Peter S. Scholtes

TUE. 12.14

Tricky

Varsity Theater

As he was leaving Massive Attack to focus on his own material (namely, 1995's demon-expelling Maxinquaye), Tricky's music had a gray cloud hanging over it, a feeling that his songs were willing to delve into the shadowy recesses of urban London and pull out the crummy wiring that made it tick. It was trip-hop, sure, but it didn't seem to have the faint smell of rising blunt smoke that his contemporaries trafficked in; his smoke was all industrial, the grimy product of a thousand machines coughing up blackness, all of it buried under creeping, weighty echoes. Now that syrupy, dub-influenced music is (slowly) on the rise, last year's re-release of Maxinquaye seems impeccably timed, but Tricky has already moved past his old work, now painting with a palette that includes more dance and world beat than before. It might not have the same heft as his mid-'90s masterpieces, but like Tricky himself, his music is unafraid, willing to branch out in knotty, tangled ways and reaching for the rarefied air of the unfamiliar. 18+. $18. 7:30 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Ian Traas

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