Heiruspecs Holiday Classic, Concrete Blonde, and more

Have a Specs-tacular holiday season with these fellas
Keith Kaizo

Heiruspecs Holiday Classic

Icehouse, Saturday 12.22

Twin Cities hip-hop collective Heiruspecs plan to unwrap new material with a cast of local cameos at their seventh annual Holiday Classic. The show closes out a busy year that saw the first song from an upcoming studio album, "Eye for an Eye," hit the streets to benefit St. Paul Central High School. Broadening the festivities are Grant Cutler and Aby Wolf's intoxicating new outfit, Wolflords, and the on-point lyrical flow of local MC Metasota. And there should be a slew of unique, amusing collaborations throughout the jubilant night, as Heiruspecs help us celebrate the holidays as well as the thriving local music scene. 21+, $10-$12, 10 p.m., 2528 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.276.6523. —erik Thompson

Graham Parker & the Rumour

Fitzgerald Theater, Wednesday 12.19

Snarling and sneering out particularly literate bile while his lithe band of pub rockers negotiated insidiously enthralling pop hooks, Graham Parker rocketed out of England in 1976 with a pair of memorable albums that slightly presaged punk and kicked off a career that is just now coming full circle. Parker and the intact Rumour — guitarists Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont, keyboardist Bob Andrews, drummer Steve Goulding, bassist Andrew Bodnar — have reunited after 32 years, with a new album, Three Chords Good, and a key role in Judd Apatow's new film, This Is 40. Parker and the band split in 1980 after four studio albums, including '76's Howlin' Wind and Heat Treatment; the Rumour to other pursuits, Parker eventually to upstate New York and a singer-songwriter existence, albeit with a cult following, his withering invectives undiminished. The Rumour is still a particularly supple band, easily slipping into reggae, soul, and jazz, with a measure of the old careening rock surfacing on "Coathangers," a clever harangue against "reptilian brains...ready to strip your rights away" from Parker, who clearly hasn't mellowed. Live, expect lots of rummaging through those first four albums. $37, 7:30 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651.290.1200. —Rick Mason

Rock the Cause 5th Anniversary Bash

Crooked Pint Ale House, Friday 12.21 + Saturday 12.22

Nonprofit Rock the Cause is celebrating five years of volunteer activism, community engagement, and social change by throwing a celebratory two-night party. On Friday night, Enemy Planes and Dream Crusher will help lead an all-star local lineup in paying tribute to George Michael and Wham!'s unassailable catalog of hits, with guests encouraged to dress up in their best '80s holiday attire. And, if the Mayan prophecy doesn't come true, on Saturday night join the Honeydogs' frontman Adam Levy guiding Hookers $ Blow through a soulful, jubilant set that will feature plenty of local luminaries as well. 21+, $8-$10, 9 p.m. 501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.877.6900. —Erik Thompson

Peter Ostroushko's Holiday Show

Landmark Center, Friday 12.21 + Saturday 12.22

Minneapolis mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko has revived his holiday extravaganza after a year's retreat to harvest time. Carols and other wintry fare from such far-flung locales as Nordeast, Scandinavia, the British Isles, the Ukraine, and even Brazil will fuel the festive spirit with the help of such guests as percussionist Marc Anderson, bassist Joel Sayles, singer Natalie Nowytski, and fiddler Sedra Bistodeau. The shows will double as release parties for Ostroushko's brand new triple-CD Red House album, The Mando Chronicles, a remarkable survey of both the instrument's and Ostroushko's personal history. From Ukrainian Cossack, Irish and Italian dance tunes, to Bill Monroe bluegrass, Scott Joplin rags and Duke Ellington jazz, to Vivaldi, Bach, and Beethoven, Ostroushko and guests ranging from country fiddler Johnny Gimble to members of the Minnesota Orchestra adeptly pick their way to the spiritual heart of each piece. Among the gems are originals showing off Ostroushko's rich, painterly evocations of the prairie and other vivid landscapes. Sold out Friday. Saturday $15-$18 at 2 p.m., sold out at 8 p.m. 75 W. Fifth St., St. Paul; 651.292.3063. —Rick Mason

Concrete Blonde

Varsity Theatre, Saturday 12.22

Dark-toned post-punk trio Concrete Blonde, who emerged from L.A.'s early '80s rock scene, are back in action, and sporting a couple of new tunes on a genuine white vinyl 45. Actually, the band resurfaced two years ago for the 20th anniversary of Bloodletting, their most acclaimed album, and have continued touring, featuring the original duo of mercurial singer/bassist Johnette Napolitano and guitarist James Mankey, plus drummer Gabriel Ramirez. This is the fourth coming of CB, apparently still brooding and infatuated with moody melodrama. Both of the new songs depict characters haunted in one way or another. "Rosalee" is a country-tinged ballad about lonely lovers separated by a desert, while "I See the Ghost" has a punkish urgency stoked by Napolitano's dusky, anguished voice. 18+, $29.50-$32, 7 p.m. 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rick Mason

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