Critics' Picks: Charlie Parr, Friends Like These, Dom, and more

Friends Like These reunite and release a new CD
courtsey of the artists

Martha Reeves & the Vandellas

Dakota Jazz Club on Wednesday 1.11 and Thursday 1.12

It may be a little cold for dancing in the streets, but the heat wave has certainly helped out and, after all, all you need is sweet music supplied by Martha Reeves and her Vandellas. Rising from the mists of the golden age of Motown, Martha & the Vandellas arrive for a rare visit with a trick bag stuffed with gems from the renowned Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team, including "Quicksand," "Nowhere to Run," "I'm Ready for Love," "Jimmy Mack," and of course the incendiary "Heat Wave." Always among Motown's premier powerhouse singers, the blues- and gospel-soaked Reeves led the group on a glorious ride through the '60s, finally splitting in 1972. Following a less successful solo career, Reeves revived the Vandellas with sisters Lois (a Vandella since the mid-'60s) and Delphine, but reportedly still sometimes performs with original members Annette Sterling and Rosalind Ashford. Here, the sistas will be doin' it for themselves and for everyone else, who'll likely be unable to resist "Dancing in the Streets." $40-$65. 7 and 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason


7th St. Entry on Thursday 1.12

Dom has successfully turned his proclivity for good times into some catchy, low-fi pop songs, crafting two exuberant EPs out of his youthful, often intoxicated adventures. After frontman Dominic (no last name, to add to his mystique) quickly assembled a group around him to help realize his hazy musical ambitions, the hype surrounding the quintet rapidly spread from their Worcester, Massachusetts, home to all points of the U.S., buoyed by the group's decidedly tongue-in-cheek anti-anthem "Living in America." But when you get past the feverish publicity surrounding them, you'll find that Dom have written some sun-drenched garage-pop melodies that indeed warrant the attention they have received. Whether their fuzzy, ramshackle sound translates well live, you'll just have to find out for yourself in the Entry. With Nice Purse and Squares. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Erik Thompson

April Verch Band

Cedar Cultural Center on Thursday 1.12

Ontario's April Verch has won a slew of fiddle awards in Canada, mostly showing off her agility as a disciple of the Ottawa Valley school and its melting pot of French, Irish, Scottish, and Polish influences. As she's matured her influences have diversified, not only sneaking in blues, jazz, and Latin elements, but also embracing country, bluegrass, and old-time music from Appalachian traditions. Verch's That's How We Run, released last summer, is meant as a flat-out tribute to those Southern mountain roots, which it is. Except that she has woven them so thoroughly with the Great White North stuff, including her originals, that the lines are becoming increasingly blurred. That's particularly true of her impressive vocals, which wander into Allison Krauss/Dolly Parton territory on the Flatt & Scruggs cover "Waiting Until You Call Me Darling" and her own countrified "Still Trying." She'll be backed by guitarist Clay Ross and Cody Walters on bass and banjo. Opening will be Minnesota's own Roe Family Singers, who also like to stir what they freely admit to be "subversive and punk" influences into their old-timey meanderings. Check out the evidence when they crank up trad fare like "The Crawdad Song" and "O Susannah" from last summer's second Roe disc, The Owl and the Bat and the Bumblebee. All ages. $18/$20 at the door. 7:30 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

Friends Like These

Triple Rock Social Club on Friday 1.13

While best known these days as the frontman for somber folk-rock sextet Communist Daughter, in a former musical life Johnny Solomon cranked his amps up to 11 with Friends Like These. Despite uniform local acclaim, the pieces never quite fell into place for the ever-embattled group due to a combination of record label and substance abuse problems, with the high-voltage power-pop quartet only managing to release one official full-length and two limited-edition EPs before petering out by early 2007. That wrong gets righted at tonight's reunion gig, which also doubles as a CD-release show for a new eponymous collection featuring highlights from the band's slim-but-spectacular back catalog alongside numerous previously unreleased tracks. Those enamored of Solomon's acoustic ruminations in Communist Daughter and unfamiliar with his prior work will be pleasantly surprised to find that his knack for writing raucous rock riffs is equally strong. 18+. $8. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Rob van Alstyne

Farewell Milwaukee/Romantica

Cedar Cultural Center on Friday 1.13

This is the type of shows that we need around here to make it through a long Minnesota winter. Both Farewell Milwaukee and Romantica bring their Midwestern-tinged Americana sound to the Cedar for a double shot of impassioned roots rock that should warm everyone up on a cold January night. Farewell Milwaukee are still riding high from their successful second album, When It Sinks In, a stirring collection of new songs that not only expanded their fan base but also landed them on the recent Cities 97 Sampler. Local music fans are still waiting patiently for a new record from Romantica, but until then their always captivating live show will have to suffice. This should prove to be a lovely night featuring plenty of emotive, intimate songs from two local bands who continue to make music that's perfect for swooning. All ages. $15. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Erik Thompson

Charlie Parr (CD-release show)

Cedar Cultural Center on Saturday 1.14

This show will celebrate the release of Charlie Parr's latest, Keep Your Hands on the Plow, a striking collection of mostly traditional gospel nuggets that positively glows thanks to Parr's meticulously soulful arrangements and the glorious acoustics of Duluth's Sacred Heart Church. With critical but appropriately spare help from wife Emily, Brandy Forsman and Tim Maloney of Duluth's Four Mile Portage, and Low's Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, Parr brings well-worn, ancient standards like "Daniel in the Lion's Den" to vivid, Technicolor life while honoring each song's gritty origins. Parr's soaring, harrowing voice over the ominous thump of Parker's drum on "Poor Lazarus" could probably raise the dead, while gorgeous multi-part harmonies on "Farther Along" offer heartfelt solace. This is one of only a handful of performances tied to the new release (another will be January 27 at the Bayport BBQ) while Parr awaits the release of his next, Barnswallow. Trampled By Turtles' Dave Simonett and Four Mile Portage will do opening sets at the Cedar and later join Parr along with other unspecified guests. All ages. $15. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

Peter Asher

Dakota Jazz Club on Monday 1.16 and Tuesday 1.17

During the '60s British Invasion, Peter Asher was half of Peter & Gordon, a pop-folk duo with a string of hits led by the chart-topping "World Without Love," written by none other than Paul McCartney. They also scored with covers of Buddy Holly and Del Shannon, along with the Lennon-McCartney tunes "Nobody I Know" and "I Don't Want to See You Again," plus the novelty hit "Lady Godiva." But Asher had a greater role as a witness to and/or participant in many key moments in pop history. McCartney was dating Asher's sister Jane when he and Lennon wrote "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in the basement of Asher's parents' house and gave him the first listen. John Lennon and Yoko Ono met at an art exhibit in a London gallery Asher co-owned. Asher became head of A&R for the Beatles' Apple Records, where he discovered James Taylor. After moving to the U.S., Asher became a highly successful and influential producer, manager, and label exec, working with Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross, 10,000 Maniacs, and many others. There's even a rumor that Asher's bespectacled '60s appearance was the inspiration for Mike Myers's Austin Powers character. Asher and Gordon Waller started playing together again in the mid-2000s, but Waller died in 2009. Asher's current show is a multi-media affair dubbed A Musical Memoir of the '60s and Beyond, which mixes stories (guaranteed to be fascinating to anyone who loves the era) and performances of P&G classics. $40. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

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Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

1010 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403


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