Critics' Picks: Snoop, the Current's birthday party, and more

Snoop Dogg

Tuesday 1.25 at Cabooze

Snoop Dogg burst onto the hip-hop scene in 1992 as a relative unknown on Dr. Dre's landmark solo debut, The Chronic, managing to upstage Dre while solidifying his status as one of the major new voices in rap. Since then, his fame has only grown, to the point where people who don't even listen to hip hop still know exactly who Snoop is, even though his recent recording output has sadly been reduced to occasional cameos and guest verses. But Snoop still knows how to work a crowd with the best of them, and he brings enough smash hits with him on stage to keep audience members' hands in the air all evening. Everyone was a bit surprised when this show was announced, as people were not exactly sure how well Snoop Dogg and the Cabooze would mesh. But obviously more than enough fans were curious to find out, and the show quickly sold out; Snoop graciously added a show earlier in the evening for those who didn't get tickets the first time around. Snoop Dogg is a born entertainer and one of the most magnetic artists in the music industry; seeing him in the intimate confines of the Cabooze is bound to be quite an uplifting experience. All ages at 5:30 p.m.; 18+ at 8:30 p.m. $35. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. Erik Thompson

Lissie

Iconic rapper Snoop Dogg prepares for back-to-back shows at the Cabooze
Iconic rapper Snoop Dogg prepares for back-to-back shows at the Cabooze

Thursday 1.20 at Cedar Cultural Center

Lissie Maurus has certainly come a long way since her largely ignored self-titled debut EP. She crossed paths with singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt and Band of Horses bassist Bill Reynolds, who helped record her stellar follow-up EP, Why You Runnin', which finally managed to get everyone's attention. And in the process, this burgeoning artist strengthened her vocals as well as her resolve, resulting in last year's catchy and charismatic full-length, Catching a Tiger. Now that everyone seems to be listening, Lissie has become more adventurous with her live shows as well, expanding on her sound while giving the songs an added bite, plus throwing in some unexpected covers that she certainly makes her own. Her rescheduled live return to Minneapolis is not to be missed. With Dylan LeBlanc. All ages. $15. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Erik Thompson

Nellie McKay

Thursday 1.20 and Friday 1.21 at Dakota Jazz Club

With her sweet, gossamer voice, vivacious smile, blond curls, and affection for Doris Day, Nellie McKay would seem to be the epitome of the ditzy, amiable lightweight. But McKay, an actress, former standup comic, multi-instrumentalist, and razor-sharp lyricist, takes her music seriously and often readily subverts her gee-willikers image with lacerating satire about the troubled state of the world. Her savvy, irony-free arrangements of Day's canon and just-sly-enough, supple voice put Normal As Blueberry Pie on many 2009 album-of-the-year lists. McKay's followup, the all-originals Home Sweet Mobile Home, widely roams from '50s pop to indie rock via reggae, trad jazz, Latin, blues, and soul, while she coyly rails about shadowy dark forces and injustice. She returns to the Dakota, leading her own versatile sextet for the first time. $32. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

Gay Beast (CD-release)

Friday 1.21 at 7th St. Entry

Gay Beast, the trio with the least Google-friendly name in the Twin Cities, are about to spread their subtly melodic art rock across the pond for the second time in as many years. At a show that's part pre-tour warm-up, part release celebration, the band will celebrate their third full-length, To Smithereens, with the home crowd first. In addition to guitar and drums, the band members use keyboards, electronics, saxophone, and piano to create driving, exploratory songs that challenge the rhythmic pop structure without losing sight of melody. With To Smithereens, the band continue their distinct balance between mathematic time changes and traditional patterned rock. With Tips for Twat, Condominium, and Camden. 18+. $7. 9 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Loren Green

Angelique Kidjo

Friday 1.21 at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Show-woman enough to command a stage shared by Black Eyed Peas at last year's World Cup kick-off celebration, Benin-born Afro-dance superstar Angelique Kidjo is unstoppable live, even if her eclectic Africanized neosoul can feel soft-focus in its idealism. Having come of musical age in Holland, Paris, and New York, she's been an international crossover diva since breaking in discos with 1994's "Aye," and she remains the biggest link between Miriam Makeba (whom she covers) and Joss Stone (whom she counts as a collaborator, along with Bono, Roy Hargrove, and John Legend). All ages. $15-$25. 7:30 p.m. 345 Washington St., St. Paul; 651.224.4222. Peter S. Scholtes

The Tribe and Big Cats! (CD-release)

Friday 1.21 at Cause Spirits & Soundbar

The Tribe and Big Cats! debut album, Forward Thinkers, Movers, Shakers, succeeds in appealing to a wide audience of rap fans. Big Cats! and DJ Pete's beats are awash in synths, soul samples, and drum slaps, arranged in a variety of styles but with a consistency that brings everything together. Similarly, MC Truth Be Told weaves between a number of themes smoothly and seemingly effortlessly, sounding equally adept at recounting tales of inner-city struggle as he is with non-sequitur punch lines (often times in the same song). The Tribe and Big Cats! will be joined by I.B.E., Mally, and special guests at their CD-release show (and will also be playing a free, all-ages set earlier in the day at Fifth Element). For more on the Tribe and Big Cats!, check out gimmenoiseblog.com. 21+. $7. 9:30 p.m. 3001 Lyndale Avenue S., Minneapolis; 612.822.6000. Jack Spencer

89.3 The Current's 6th Birthday Party

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