Roma di Luna, Heart, Dosh, and more

WED. 12.15

Tower of Power

Dakota Jazz Club

"What Is Hip?" is among the most enduring hits of Tower of Power, the muscular, horn-driven funk, R&B, and soul outfit that began in Oakland in 1968. And for 42 years, Tower of Power has been the answer to its own question, fashioning a career that may not rack up the hits like the 10-piece band did during the 1970s, but remaining a bastion of wickedly tight precision and soulfulness whose hipness defies age. Besides "What Is Hip?," TOP ascended the charts with tunes like "You're Still a Young Man," "So Very Hard to Go," and "Shoo Doo Fu Fu Ooh!," complementing the horns with a succession of lead vocalists, whose chair is currently occupied by Larry Braggs and his classic soul pipes. When they weren't recording their own material, TOP were backing the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Santana, Little Feat, and Aerosmith. Half of the current band are original members: founding saxophonists Emilio Castillo and Doc Kupka, bassist Francis Rocco Prestia, drummer Dave Garibaldi, and trumpeter Mic Gillette, who returned to the fold last year. Also in 2009, TOP issued Great American Soulbook, the band's first collection of covers, all indelible nuggets by the likes of Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin. Classic tunes from a classic band, and timelessly hip. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., $45-$70. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Thursday —Rick Mason

FRI. 12.17

Dosh

Cedar Cultural Center

For nearly a decade, Martin Dosh has spun gorgeous, zestfully percussive music out of loops created live with a few instruments and a couple of samplers, a setup with few American equivalents outside of his pal and collaborator Andrew Bird (Argentina's Juana Molina and Toronto's Owen Pallett come close). Dosh's largely instrumental 2010 album Tommy, on the underground hip-hop label Anticon, features Bird and other frequent mates from a circle that has over the years included everyone from Will Oldham to noise-punks Skoal Kodiak. Tonight he brings it back to his core Minneapolis group of Mike Lewis, Andrew Broder, and Jeremy Ylvisaker—who will perform a short opening set with his six-year-old daughter Mija as Guitar Party. The great local classic-rock punk duo Knife World also opens. All ages. $12/$15 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. Peter S. Scholtes

Soul Asylum

First Avenue

When the alternative wrecking ball (composed mostly of grunge, flannel, and teen angst) came to level the palace of hair metal and dance-pop that the '80s had built, Soul Asylum were right there at the demolition site, their bleeding-heart lyrics and unkempt look defining a certain moment of '90s rock. Grave Dancers Union went triple platinum in 1992 on the strength of singles like "Black Gold" and "Runaway Train," and while whatever sharp edges were still left on the band's sound have been sanded down with time (they're not currently rewriting "Somebody to Shove"), the earnestness in Dave Pirner's voice hasn't flagged over the years. The band's calling card is still big choruses highlighting big issues, and the focus has earned them longtime followers who have been salivating over the chance to catch them in a setting like First Ave. It's a hometown show for fans, so whether you show up listening for old hits or new material, you'll be sure to get what you came for. With the Figgs. 21+. $18/$20 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

Yuletide Jazz: Dee Dee Bridgewater and Irvin Mayfield

Orchestra Hall

"Yuletide sizzle and jazz chestnuts" are promised for this summit featuring superbly adventurous jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, a small jazz combo, and the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Sarah Hicks. What that's likely to translate into is an array of holiday fare with creative twists seeping up from downriver and myriad other musical outposts, plus maybe some similarly spiced jazz standards. Eminently able to sparkle through it all is Bridgewater, one of the finest scat singers this side of Ella, whose distinguished 40-year career has included dynamic tributes to Fitzgerald, Horace Silver, Kurt Weill, and now Billie Holiday on this year's Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee. Her previous album, Red Earth, was a remarkable fusion of American jazz and blues with Malian traditional music. Fagan (Holiday's given name) features strikingly contemporary arrangements (by pianist Edsel Gomez) of Holiday classics that Bridgewater infuses with Billie's spirit and her own unique artistry. The holly and ivy holiday due to get the most attention in this program should fare just as well. The New Orleans-oriented combo will include pianist Ronald Markham, bassist Neal Caine, and drummer Jaz Sawyer. $22-$60. 8 p.m. 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.371.5656. —Rick Mason

SAT. 12.18

Heart

Mystic Lake Casino

Achieving an entertaining metamorphosis that took them from innocent-faced folksingers to spitfire rock-'n'-rollers, Heart is one of the most badass sister duos on the planet. Singer Ann and lead guitarist Nancy Wilson have had an impressive slew of chart-topping singles over the decades; the growly seduction of "Magic Man" and the glistening riffs on "Never" and "Alone" barrel down on the listener without mercy and then hypnotize them into hazy adoration. This is true even today, when Heart perform these favorites live; at Lilith Fair this past

summer, they had the whole Target Center wound up in a nostalgic frenzy. For tonight's show at Mystic, they've thankfully got the bill all to themselves, and it promises to be one hell of a ride. $49-$75. 8 p.m. 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake; 800.262.7799. Jen Boyles

SUN. 12.19

Roma di Luna Christmas Show

Cedar Cultural Center

Riding high following the release this fall of their fine new album, Then the Morning Came, local alt-folkies Roma di Luna will perform two Christmas shows this year at the Cedar. The 3:30 p.m. family affair will be kid-friendly, with some coloring projects and storytelling before the performance, as well as lots of tolerance for running around and screaming by kids (and maybe bigger folks too). Plus, singer Channy Moon Casselle promises that the band will be on its best behavior. The evening show will be a regular performance with fewer juvenile antics (regular audience excepted), and the sextet "trying to shower down some vitamin D on the audience to beat out the winter blues," Casselle says. The repertoire for both shows will be drawn from Roma's 2009 Christmas EP, which juggled a couple of seasonal originals with Yuletide nuggets and Joni Mitchell's "River." Their moody, understated version of "Silent Night" is a quiet jewel lustrous with Channy's angelic voice. "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" is a gentle Appalachian lullaby, while "Blue Christmas" is a country saunter laced with a twangy guitar interlude. The band's also working up more seasonal delights along with some brand new originals. All ages. $10/$12 at the door. 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

MON. 12.20

Ronnie Spector

Dakota Jazz Club

For nearly five decades, it simply hasn't been Christmas until the sweet and sultry, siren-like voice of Ronnie Spector rolls out of the speakers with her now-iconic versions of such Yuletide nuggets as "Sleigh Ride," "Frosty the Snowman," and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." Ronnie's group, the Ronettes (2007 Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductees), recorded those holiday baubles with famed (now infamous) producer Phil Spector for his A Christmas Gift for You album in 1963, when his trademark Wall of Sound was in full flower. Aside from Christmas, the Ronettes were and remain profoundly influential, just beginning with the likes of Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, the Ramones, Amy Winehouse, and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their hits included "Baby I Love You" and "Walking in the Rain," both produced by Phil Spector, along with "Be My Baby," the still-thrilling 1963 single that's near perfection. Meanwhile, the bee-hived erstwhile Veronica Bennett practically secreted attitude, earning her latter-day citations as rock's original bad girl. Her short marriage to Phil Spector was unfortunate at best, but she retains the Spector name and has periodically resurfaced over the years, always at Christmas. This year she has a new EP out, Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Ever. Which it isn't, if only in comparison to her grand legacy, but it is sufficiently delightful to shake your tinsel, her voice wonderfully undiminished, and the title track in particular approaching the magic of those '60s sessions. A few days after appearing on Letterman, Ronnie and her band pull into the Dakota for a pair of Christmastime shows that should be considered cherished gifts of the season. $45-$65. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Sunday —Rick Mason

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