The best concerts in the Twin Cities this week: 12/25 - 12/31

Dawes are set to play two nights at Varsity Theater to close out 2013
Dawes are set to play two nights at Varsity Theater to close out 2013
Photo By Erik Hess

Happy Holidays, internet pals! While not too many acts are playing venues this Christmas, plenty of bars are still open for business. There's also plenty of places to ring in the New Year, including First Avenue's Dance Night, The Turf Club's Cover Band Show, Davina and the Vagabonds at the Dakota or Solid Gold at the Icehouse (plus MANY more). Either way, if you're going out, be sure to celebrate with the people (or cats) you love and have a happy holiday season! 

Wednesday 12.25.2013

Merry Christmas! 

Thursday 12.26.2013

The Bad Plus
Dakota Jazz Club THURSDAY 12.26 - SUNDAY 12.29
Not your everyday avant-garde-jazz-punk-classical-garage trio, the Bad Plus return for their annual extended Christmas visit to the Dakota, their sleigh undoubtedly packed with deliriously twisted baubles to be meted out over the first three eves of their residency. That could mean deconstructed covers of anyone from Nirvana to Ornette Coleman to Roger Miller, plus equally quirky originals. But the spectacular gift, the Plus's equivalent of the Red Ryder BB Gun, is reserved only for Sunday: the run through Igor Stravinsky's groundbreaking The Rite of Spring. The aim of Ethan Iverson, Dave King, and Reid Anderson usually is unerringly true, so there's little chance they'll shoot their eyes out.  --Rick Mason
All Ages, $40, 7PM + 9 PM

Grant Hart with Catbath and Frankie Teardrop 
Triple Rock 
Hüsker Dü Solo 
18+, $10, 8 PM

Midwest Assembly's Funky Christmas II with Dead Larry, Headband Jam, Shakedown City and Space Monster
7th Street Entry
Post Holiday Tunes
18+, $8, 8 PM

Friday 12.27.2013

Run Westy Run
First Avenue
The mid-'80s were a great time for ragged-but-right rock in the Twin Cities. It's easy to remember Soul Asylum and the Replacements, but the scrappers in Run Westy Run made up an equally strong band that somehow fell between the cracks. With just three records over the course of their decade-long stint, their recorded legacy is admittedly a bit too small and spotty to claim legendary Minnesota-music status on its own, but their reputation as a live band is on par with the biggest names of the era. Friday: With San Dimas and the Goondas. --Rob van Alstyne
18+, $20, 8 PM

Varsity Theater
Pop Punk
18+, $20/$24, 7:30 PM

The Giving Tree with Ginstrings and The Last Revel
7th Street Entry
Brotherly Love
18+, $10, 8 PM

Arcwelder with Self-Evident and Delta Lyrae
Turf Club
All Encompassing Rock
21+, $8, 8 PM

Saturday 12.28.2013

AQ's Final Weekend Jam
Artists' Quarter, FRIDAY 12.27 + SATURDAY 12.28
Faced with the imminent passing of a Twin Cities institution, the local jazz community should be out in full force for this final weekend of the venerable Artists' Quarter. A lot of history has been made over the years at the AQ, a host of memorable gigs and notable recordings while owner/drummer Kenny Horst kept the torch burning against all odds. No one knows for sure who will lug their instruments into the AQ for a final go-round, but the last chapter's almost guaranteed to add to the joint's legend. As jazz connoisseur Pat Courtmanche wrote in the AQ's last calendar: "One can only imagine the combination of fireworks and waterworks."  --Rick Mason
$10, 9 PM

Nicholas David with Ashley Dubose
First Avenue
Vibrant and Dynamic
18+, $20/$25, 7:30 PM

Likehell with Neil Dynamite & the Heartlights, Young & Tender and Terry Hughes Music
7th St Entry
Dark and Brooding
18+, $10/$12,  8 PM

The Sudden Lovelys with The Sunny Era
Amsterdam Bar & Hall
Agressive Folk
21+, FREE, 9 PM

Lizzo Lizzobangers release show
Triple Rock 
Lizzo's evolution in the Twin Cities music scene has been so rapid that every show, every single, every collaboration, and every wig expresses something different than her last time out. Lizzobangers, her collaboration with Doomtree's Lazerbeak, is her growth and raw potential captured in loud, bold strokes. As a rapper, the 2013 Picked to Click champ is unfiltered, funny, and reflective in a single line from "Batches & Cookies," and "Go" shows she sings from the heart. But don't take the record as anything close to the full picture. As her bubbly persona as part of the Chalice and GRRRL PRTY already has established, Lizzo is to be experienced in the front row. This will be a party to remember. With Plain Ole Bill and Lazerbeak.  --Reed Fischer
18+, $12/$15, 8 PM 

Run Westy Run with San Dimas and the Tisdales
Turf Club
Night Two
21+, $25, 8 PM

The Big Wu and Refriderager
Fine Line 
Jam Band
21+, $12, 8 PM


Sunday 12.29.2013

Ryan Ruff Smith with Brian Just (Solo)
Amsterdam Bar & Hall
Folky Tunes
21+, FREE, 8 PM

Pledge Empire Records End of the Year Bash feat Sti-Lo Reel, CED Linus, Inspire $ Issues and Louie P
7th Street Entry
Hip Hop Showcase
18+, $5/$10, 7 PM

A Night of Radiohead feat. Kid Villian with The Teddy Holiday
Paranoid Android
21+, $10, 9:30 PM

Monday 12.30.2013

Dawes/Field Report
Varsity Theater MONDAY 12.30 + TUESDAY 12.31
Even though they're from L.A. and often sound like they're from the 1970s, Dawes have a fervid Twin Cities following. Dawes initially emerged seemingly as a long-lost remnant of Laurel Canyon's halcyon days, with a folk-rock sound that didn't so much rehash things as refresh the canon and bridge the generational divide. On this year's Stories Don't End, the quartet expanded its scope a bit, although the canyon abides via billowy ballads and simmering rockers. Opening will be Wisconsin's Field Report, whose eponymous debut is a fine collection of quietly intense folk and rock-tinged narratives haunted by skeletons of an American wasteland. --Rick Mason
18+, M: SOLD OUT, 8:30 PM, T: $75/$125, 9:30 PM

The Word Party (Final Show) with Kingfisher and Chalk
7th Street Entry
Eclectic and Energetic
18+, $5, 7:30 PM

Hot Rash with Cozy and Shakin' Babies
Triple Rock
Throwback Style
21+, $5, 8 PM

Tuesday 12.31.2013

New Year's Eve with Carole Martin
Artists' Quarter
This is it, jazz fans, the iconic, underground jazz hotspot that is the AQ will close its doors after one last classy New Year's Eve show -- the 19th in the tradition, if you're keeping score -- from Twin Cities jazz chanteuse Carole Martin. She's a classic torch singer who etches every lyric with the wisdom and experience of her long career, and practically inhabits the songs. Martin has a deep history with the AQ. Not only is renowned drummer and AQ owner Kenny Horst her son-in-law, she recorded her last album, Songs From My Heart, there. So if the AQ must close, it couldn't go out in grander style. --Rick Mason
$65, 9 PM 

Phillip Morris, Black Diet and Rapper Hooks
Rap and Soul
21+, $10, 9 PM

First Avenue's New Year's Eve Danceteria
First Avenue
Dance in 2014
18+, $5/$20, 8 PM

New Year's Eve with Night Moves, Pony Bwoy, Carroll and The Fatty Acids
7th Street Entry
Glittering Rock
18+, $10/$12, 8 PM

New Years Eve with Davina and the Vagabonds
Dakota Jazz Club
Sassy and Saucy
All Ages, Dinner show $102, Cocktail Show $82, 6 PM, 10:30 PM 

New Years Eve with Solid Gold (Full Band)
Electronic Pop
21+, $80 Food Only, $100 Food Wine and Music, $20 Music only, 5 PM

New Years Eve with Buildings, Bloodnstuff, Red Daughters and Speeds the Name
Triple Rock
Agressive Rock
18+, $8/$10, 9 PM

Cover Band Show 
Turf Club
feat. sets by David Bowie, The Doors and more
21+, $10, 9 PM

Kitty Cat Club
Dance Patry to Deepcuts 
21+, $10, 10 PM


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