Let's face it -- the best part about Thanksgiving isn't the turkey, or the pie, or the relatives, or the napping. It's the fact that many of us have a four day weekend on our hands, giving us no excuse to miss the opportunity to get schlitzed at a slamming rock show or dance club. That throbbing hangover will make the food taste that much better, anyway. Here are the top shows we're thankful for this extended weekend, with a little something for everyone:
Wednesday, November 25
Ike Reilly Assassination at First Avenue
In what has become a yearly tradition, Chicago-based punk rock poet Ike Reilly returns to First Ave to celebrate the release of his latest album, Hard Luck Stories. Get there early, because Reilly has invited Martin Devaney's latest project, the Crossing Guards, to open the show with scene vets the Magnolias. 18+. $12.00/$15.00 at the door. 7:30 p.m.
This fantastic pop duo, which features former Trip Shakespeare and Flops bandmates John Munson and Matt Wilson, will play an intimate Thanksgiving Eve gig at the Nomad Pub. With Petty Demons and DJ Deep & Wide, "Minneapolis' best new beardless DJ dude duo spinning records to close the night while you get Holiday Drunk." More info on Facebook. 21+. $10. 8 p.m.
Throw the Fight at Mario's
These slick, radio-friendly heavy rock locals are in the midst of recording a new album, so chances have it their show will feature plenty of fresh material. They will be joined by 3 Pill Morning and Dying Euforia. More info on MySpace. 21+. 9 p.m. $5.
Transmission at Clubhouse Jager
DJ Jake Rudh is pulling out all the stops for his Thanksgiving Eve version of Transmission, inviting breakout Britpop band the Big Pink to join him for a special DJ set from 1-2 a.m., following their sold-out show earlier that night at the Entry. More info on Facebook. 21+. Free. 9 p.m.
E.L.nO. at Lee's Liquor Lounge
If you've never seen this amazing, afro wig-sporting, Jeff Lynne-channeling ELO cover band, tonight's the night. Frontman Dave Campbell (host of the Current's Local Show and Radio Free Current) will be joined by an all-star cast of local musicians as they pay tribute to the ultimate fun-loving '70s rock band. 21+. $6. 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 26
Heatbox and Roster McCabe at the Cabooze
Beatbox specialist and Root City Band collaborator Heatbox will headline a special Thanksgiving show at the Cabooze along with popular local jam band Roster McCabe. Take one look at Heatbox's hilarious music video, "Pizza Funk," and tell us this isn't going to be a fun show.
Ritmo Caliente at First Avenue
Some of the rock clubs will be closed on Thanksgiving proper, but First Ave will remain open for its weekly Latin dance night. Featuring DJ Christian Velasco spinning Cha-Cha, Meringue, Hip-Hop, Cumbia, Salsa, Latin House, and Reggaeton. 21+. 10 p.m. $3 before 11 p.m., $6 after 11 p.m.
The Bungalow in the VIP Room
The "Smoked Turkey Edition" of the Bungalow features DJ Verb X & DJ Nex Spinning Reggae, Hip-Hop & Reggaeton. 21+. 10 p.m. $3 before 11 p.m., $6 after 11 p.m.
Outside and Friends at O'Gara's Garage
Local hip-hop crew Outside will return to O'Gara's for another holiday show, featuring Raps Deluxe and FeedBack. 9:15 p.m.
Tim Mahoney at the School II
We mostly just tacked this on here to point out that, yes, Tim Mahoney has a gig booked every single day of the year. This one's in Chanhassen.
Friday, November 27
A Tribute to the Replacements at First Avenue
As far as "all-star" casts go, this one is unbeatable. Seemingly every notable musician in the Twin Cities is lining up to pay tribute to the seminal '80s band and celebrate the paperback release of Jim Walsh's oral history The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting (read an interview with Walsh in this week's City Pages). Holding down the fort will be the Let It Be House Band featuring Ryan Smith, Terry Eason, Pony-Hixon Smith, Peter Leggett (Heiruspecs), dVRG (Heiruspecs) and Jake Hyer. Guest vocalists include Kraig Jarret Johnson, Ed Ackerson, Adam Levy (The Honeydogs), Josh Grier (Tapes 'n Tapes), Curtiss A, Jason Miller (The Evening Rig), Sarah Nienaber (Gospel Gossip), Arzu (Staraoke), Jim Walsh and special guests Lookbook with Brutal Becomings, Story of The Sea with David Campbell, the Idle Hands, Gospel Gossip, and High On Stress.
And in the Entry: Jeremy Messersmith, Jennifer Markey, Martin Devaney, Ashleigh Still, Stook!, The Bottom Forty, The Tisdales, Patches and Gretchen, The Hard Left, Erik Koskinen & Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers, Brianna Lane, Sons of Gloria, Eliza Blue, St Dominic's Trio, John Swardson, and more. 18+. $6/$8 at the door. 7 p.m.
FLIRT at Karma
According to the Kind Beats website, this week's edition of their FLIRT DJ night at Karma will be attended by a slew of Minnesota Vikings players as part a fundraiser for Viking Karl Paymah's new charity foundation, which benefits underpriviledged kids and families. Somebody had better alert CJ. 18+. Free. 10 p.m.
The Arms Akimbo EP-release at the Kitty Cat Klub
Another in a line of Beatles-inspired indie rock bands in Minneapolis, the Arms Akimbo will release their debut EP, You Want To, this weekend with fellow Britpop lovers the Alarmists and the Invincible Kids. 21+. $7. 9 p.m.
Nitzer Ebb at the Varsity Theater
From this week's print preview by Ian Traas: "If New Order are the lovelorn elders of the British synth-rock hierarchy and Depeche Mode are their politically inclined fraternal twins, then Nitzer Ebb is the angry younger sibling, the one with black combat boots and an inclination to set things on fire." 18+. $20. 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 28
Halloween, Alaska and Haley Bonar at the Cedar
The former just released a remix album with tracks reworked by locals like Lookbook and No Bird Sing; the latter is home for the week after recently relocating to Portland. With their forces combined, this weekend's pair of intimate Cedar shows (the co-headliners are also playing Friday) are sure to be unforgettable. With Alpha Consumer. All ages. $18/$20 at the door. 7 p.m.
The Cranberries at First Avenue
Ha. Get it? The Cranberries on Thanksgiving weekend? Anyway. The '90s rockers have recently reunited after a lengthy hiatus and will return to the Main Room this weekend as part of their 20th anniversary tour. For more on the group, check out Jen Boyles' interview with lead singer Dolores O'Riordan from this week's paper. With Griffin House. 18+. $35. 6 p.m.
Eye of the Great Protector at the 501 Club
From this week's print preview by Erin Roof: "This is spook music at its finest. The disembodied vocals, ritualistic percussion, and otherworldly bleating make a loosely defined plot in a rambling ghost story." With Military Special, Bouncer Fighter, and Sharp Teeth. 21+. Free. 10 p.m.