The best Twin Cities concerts: 12/4-12/10

The best Twin Cities concerts: 12/4-12/10
Photo courtesy of the artist

As we make our way into December, the Twin Cities welcomes several holiday shows. Ronnie Spector will make a two night appearance at the Dakota to perform some of her biggest holiday hits. Martina McBride makes an appearance at the State Theater just a day before the New Standards' weekend, annual holiday show. KDWB hosts the Jingle Ball on Tuesday at the Xcel Center. Other acts this week include Mason Jennings at First Avenue, Crimes at the Triple Rock, Pokey LaFarge at the Cedar and Drake at the Target Center. 

Wednesday 12.4.2013

Ronnie Spector's 
Best Christmas Ever
Ronnie Spector's Ronettes were one of four artists on probably the best Christmas album of all time, A Christmas Gift to You, more commonly known as Phil Spector's Christmas album. Issued in 1963 when the producer's innovative Wall of Sound stood tall and he still wasn't quite terminally weird, it was a glorious barrage of pop tinsel, with Ronnie's sultry tones spicing up Yuletide nuggets like "Sleigh Ride" and "Frosty the Snowman." Ronnie long ago left her ex-husband to stranger pursuits, but her episodic career is still tied to Ronettes gems like "Be My Baby" and "Walking in the Rain." Her joyously intact voice will likely tackle those along with the seasonal fare, including stuff from her nicely done 2010 Best Christmas Ever EP. -- Rick Mason
$45-$65, 7 PM

Turf Club
Holiday Event + Hymie's Record Roadshow
All Ages 6 PM, 21+ after 8 PM

Word on the Street with deM atlaS, Proper T & the Solflower Collective and Black Diet
7th Street Entry
Music Collective
18+, $5, 8 PM

Thursday 12.5.2013

Dan Mariska & the Boys Choir (album release)
7th St. Entry
On Dan Mariska's sophomore outing, Bummer Songs, the promising 22-year-old makes the leap to fully realized talent. With backing band the Boys Choir and veteran producer Knol Tate (ex-Askeleton), the album sounds triumphant even if Mariska's lyrical sentiments are anything but. "I should probably stay inside for the rest of my life/That seems to work all right," he sings. Still adept at channeling the sardonic spirit and skewed guitars of '90s college-rock, Mariska impresses most when he steps out into unfamiliar terrain, as on the heartfelt mid-tempo acoustic number "Company." With Faith Boblett, the Crash Bandits, and Blue Green. --Rob Van Alstyne
18+, $7, 8 PM

The Cactus Blossoms live album release show
Turf Club
Haunting Harmonies
21+, $7, 8 PM

Crimes with Hollow Boys and Myotis
Triple Rock
Dark Garage
18+, $5, 8 PM

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
First Avenue

In a rags-to-riches story for the ages, classic soul and R&B singer Charles Bradley spent decades doing music on the side (including as a James Brown impersonator) while working as a cook and doing odd jobs until being discovered by Daptone Records' Gabriel Roth. Two highly praised albums and a string of incendiary, acclaimed performances later, Bradley is riding high, the toast of the retro-soul brigade. Bradley's initial release, No Time for Dreaming, had a greasy, Southern soul vibe, his marvelous, gritty voice etching heartache and woe. This year's Victim of Love has a more optimistic tint, along with an infusion of horns closer to Motown than Memphis, plus a psychedelic-funk thang that somehow makes Bradley's fiery pipes burn even brighter. --Rick Mason
18+, $20, 7:30 PM

Friday 12.6.2013

Martina McBride: The Joy of Christmas
State Theatre
Holiday Show
All Ages, $54.50-$64.50, 7:30 PM

Exiles with Catbath, With a Gun for a Face and Punk Poet Paul D
Dark and Heavy
21+, $5, 9 PM

Mason Jennings with Pieta Brown
First Avenue FRIDAY 12.6 + SATURDAY 12.7
Heartfelt Lyrics
18+, $20, 6 PM

Midlake with Sarah Jaffe
Turf Club
Sea Shanties
21+, $15, 8 PM

Rap for Life with Kill the Vultures, Bomba de Luz, Dem Atlas and more
Triple Rock
Benefit for Domestic Abuse Awareness
18+, $10, 8 PM

Aaron and the Sea with Gullfoss and On and On (DJ set)
Electro Duo
21+, $6, 11 PM

Malamanya with Alma Andina
Cedar Cultural Center
All Ages, $10/$12, 7 PM  

Saturday 12.7.2013

Pokey LaFarge with The Tillers
Cedar Cultural Center
Springboard Songs
All Ages, $15/$18, 7 PM

Maudlin with Reina Del Cid and The Word Party
Energetic and Wild
21+, $5, 9 PM

Soulcrate with MaLLy and Rapper Hooks
Triple Rock
High Energy Hip Hop
18+, $12/$15, 8 PM

Diego Garcia with Jenn Grant
7th STreet Entry
Romantic Sound
18+, $12, 7:30 PM

Actual Wolf with Frankie Lee, Tara Fox, and Lydia Hoglund
Turf Club
Outlaw Folk
21+, $10, 8 PM

Into the Void
The Soap Factory
Multimedia Outerspace
21+, $8, 9 PM

The New Standards Holiday Show
State Theater SATURDAY 12.7 + SUNDAY 12.8
Holiday Tradition
All Ages, $35-$100, 8:30 Saturday/6:00 Sunday

Sunday 12.8.2013

Target Center
Toronto rapper Drake initially had about as much artistic maturity as we'd expect from a Canadian teen-soap vet. The 2009 So Far Gone mixtape was marred by clumsy lyrics and repetitive production. But following 2010's improvement Thank Me Later was 2011's even better Take Care, at the end of which he made a suddenly meaningful assertion: "My junior and senior will only get meaner." With September's follow-up Nothing Was the Same, he made good on that promise. (Or half of it, anyway.) His flow has become a thing of beauty, and he maximizes it whenever he's not cooing bittersweet R&B melodies. On the production end, Noah "40" Shebib, who's been Drizzy's right-hand man this whole time, proves to be one of today's boldest sonic manipulators. With Future and Miguel. --Mike Madden
$49.75-$99.75, 7 PM

Glow Mechanics with Rapper Hooks, Beat Head and Chantz Erolin
7th Street Entry
Hip Hop Duo
18+, $5, 7 PM

Bill Frisell's Big Sur Quintet
Cedar Cultural Center
Guitarist Bill Frisell's Big Sur ensemble is a fusion of two of his recent groups: the string band 858 Quartet and bop-tinged Beautiful Dreamers. The resulting outfit -- violinist Jenny Scheinman, cellist Hank Roberts, violist Eyvind Kang, drummer Rudy Royston -- joins Frisell's endlessly evocative guitar in painting a portrait of that wild California coast on their album of the same name. Frisell, who wrote the Big Sur material during a 10-day retreat there, captures its majestic natural beauty using his customary broad palette of American elements, stretching from jazz to country, presented in a chamber-like context. Although richly detailed, the music isn't sedate, often having an insistent pulse courtesy of Royston, and peppered with brilliant witticisms: the soaring avant-bluegrass of "Hawks," the "Wipe Out" references on "The Big One." --Rick Mason
$30-$45, 7:30 PM

John Lennon Tribute & Minnesota Beatle 
Project Release
First Avenue
For the 34th time, the inimitable Dean of Scream, Curtiss A, will lead a magical mystery tour honoring John Lennon on the anniversary of the wrenching day the Beatle was gunned down in New York. Personifying Lennon's rock 'n' roll spirit, Curt will tackle a slew of Beatles classics and Lennon solo nuggets with a little help from innumerable friends. This year they'll include the Suburbs, the Cactus Blossoms, and Sonny Knight and the Lakers, who all have notable Fab Four covers on Minnesota Beatle Project Vol. 5. All net proceeds from this final installment will again support music education in Minnesota. The 'Burbs' biting "Taxman," Knight's sweaty R&B "Day Tripper" romp, and the Cactus lads' countrified "This Boy" rank among the most memorable of this year's crop of Minnesota interpretations of Beatles standards. Others range from Zoo Animal's "Dig a Pony" to Dosh's spacey "Blue Jay Way" to a stirring instrumental version of "Please Please Me" by Duluth's Denfeld High School Jazz Band. --Rick Mason
18+, $15, 6 PM

Monday 12.9.2013

Hot Rash with The Dimensionals and Mystery Date
Triple Rock
Fuzzy Rock
21+, $5, 8 PM

Crooked Saws, Shazanimal and Unstaboline
7th Street Entry
Gritty Blues
18+, $5, 7 PM

Chance the Rapper with DJ Rashad & Spinn
First Avenue
Turntables and Loops
18+, $20, 8 PM

Tuesday 12.10.2013

KDWB Jingle Ball
Xcel Energy Center
This Year's All Stars
All Ages, $38-$153, 7:30 PM

Anna Von Hausswolff with Noveller
7th Street Entry
Dark Majestic Grandeur
18+, $10, $7:30 PM

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