The week's 18 best concerts: Dec. 28-Jan. 3

KING [Photo: Alex King]

KING [Photo: Alex King]

Rounding up the week's best shows in the Twin Cities. 

  • DEATH OF A LADIES MAN: A TRIBUTE TO LEONARD COHEN Dec. 28, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • HONOR THE EARTH BENEFIT CONCERT Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m. at The Cedar Cultural Center
  • THE POUR ORGANS Dec. 28, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry

Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Thursday 12.29
2016 was a good year for unconventional young artists who essentially ignore traditional ideas of what makes for good rap music. Just consider the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, and Famous Dex, all of whom made major waves with their idiosyncrasies and youthful energy. Before the emergence of those guys, though, Father was doing his own defiant thing. Not to be confused with ’90s heartthrob Father MC, Father has built up a cultish following since 2014’s “Look at Wrist,” his viral breakout single featuring fellow Atlantans iLoveMakonnen and Key! Over the course of a handful of debaucherous mixtapes and numerous guest features, the leader of Atlanta’s Awful Records collective has proved that his quirky, minimal, and idiosyncratic style is more skillful than his seeming effortlessness lets on. His two most recent tapes, 2015’s unforgettably titled Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First? and this year’s I’m a Piece of Shit, are his strongest. With Key!, Zack Fox, DJ TIIIIIIIIIIP, and GainesFM. 16+. 7 p.m. $20. 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul; 612-285-3112. — Michael Madden

The Jayhawks
First Avenue, Thursday 12.29
It’s now a certified tradition that iconic native bands flock back to Twin Cities stages for special holiday shows. Those local heroes include the Jayhawks, who a year ago were still plotting their revival in the wake of another disappearing act by co-founder Mark Olson. But in the summer, led by Gary Louris, the Jayhawks launched a new era of their ongoing 30-year saga with Paging Mr. Proust, a kind of back-to-the-future album co-produced by Tucker Martine and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck. It juggled only lingering echoes of country-rock, focusing instead on acute references to vintage sounds (notably Crazy Horse, Brit pop, hints of krautrock, and new wave). The LP also combined distinct experimental streaks and stylish evolutions that still sound only like the ’Hawks. Lyrically, we’re offered wistful recollections and forward glances, reflecting the title’s reference to Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and the cover photos of architect Eero Saarinen’s futurist Idlewild TWA terminal. As song “Comeback Kids” suggests, the rejuvenated Jayhawks (including new guitarist Chet Lyster) again are flying high. Two Harbors open. 18+. 7:30 p.m. $32.50-$35. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. — Rick Mason

  • ARTISTS WHO ROCK UPTOWN: FOR THE HOMELESS Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m. at James Ballentine VFW Post 246
  • LAZYLIGHTNING 420 Dec. 29, 8:00 p.m. at Turf Club

First Avenue, Friday 12.30
DJ Keezy is no stranger to throwing successful dance parties that highlight women in the Twin Cities hip-hop and R&B scenes. The aptly titled KLiT•UATION is perhaps the best example of that, gathering a wide-ranging list of talent to perform and spin records in First Ave’s Mainroom. Breaking the tokenism that often pervades local showcase lineups, the KLiT•UATION series is appropriately diverse while maintaining its feminist inclinations. Its aim? Paving the way for more platforms and safe spaces for women artists and fans. Everyone on the stacked bill — including former GRRRL PRTY bandmates Sophia Eris, Manchita, and Shannon Blowtorch, plus Sarah White, BDotCroc, Maria Isa, Lady Midnight, the Lioness, Zed Kenzo, and Ness Nite — has proven her ability to hold down vibrant, powerful shows. The collective energy in the room is bound to leave a huge impression. 18+. 9:30 p.m. $10-$12. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. — Jack Spencer

  • ARTISTS WHO ROCK UPTOWN: FOR THE HOMELESS Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m. at James Ballentine VFW Post 246
  • LAZYLIGHTNING 420 Dec. 29, 8:00 p.m. at Turf Club

Fine Line Music Cafe, Saturday 12.31
Returning for one final Minneapolis show in 2016, the locally rooted dream-pop/R&B trio KING are three weeks on the heels of their Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album alongside the likes of Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Rihanna’s Anti-. The nomination is for We Are KING, the Los Angeles-based group’s long-awaited debut album and follow-up to 2011’s The Story EP. That EP introduced Amber Strother and Anita Bias as extraordinary singers, and Paris Strother (who, like her twin sister, is originally from the Twin Cities) as an ambitious producer. Five years later, with the arrival of We Are KING, they lived up to the hype and then some. Besides the Grammy nom, it was also named Spin’s No. 21 best album of 2016, a deserved honor: The LP is shimmeringly gorgeous, masterfully crafted, and makes zero compromises to boost its odds of landing a hit single (though the infectious “The Greatest” turned out to be its most popular song). With Tiny Deaths, K.Raydio, and DJ Willie Shu. 18+. 9 p.m. $20-$50. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8100. — Michael Madden

Snowta NYE
Minneapolis Convention Center, Saturday 12.31
Promoted as “an experiential, multi-stage New Year’s Eve festival made for the Midwest,” Snowta NYE is slated to feature a musical lineup primarily consisting of electronic and rap acts. Saxophone- and drum-powered Colorado duo Big Gigantic, prolific British solo artist Tipper, and legendary Israeli duo Infected Mushroom lead the charge of electronic artists collectively set to bring a vast variety of futuristic sounds. On the hip-hop side, electrifying Atlanta trap-rapper Waka Flocka Flame is the biggest star, though a few Minnesota artists will also be present, including Rhymesayers’ Prof (one of the best performers in Minnesota music, period), Stand4rd member Bobby Raps (who recently served as a co-writer/producer on the Weeknd’s world-conquering Starboy), and DJ Abilities. The night will also feature attractions including interactive art galleries, a Ferris wheel, a giant slide, a skateboard competition, virtual reality simulations, and more. On Friday night, two separate pre-parties will feature performances by D.R.A.M., Allan Kingdom, Finding Novyon, Michal Menert, and others; check out for more info. 18+. 6 p.m. $99-$160. 1301 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-335-6000. — Michael Madden

Click here to see every freaking NYE event we could find

  • THE TEMPTATIONS Dec. 31, 3:00 p.m. at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
  • NEW YEAR'S EVE WITH ZULUZULUU Dec. 31, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • FIRST AVENUE'S NEW YEAR'S EVE DANCETERIA Dec. 31, 8:00 p.m. at First Avenue
  • NEW YEAR'S DAY WITH DAVINA AND THE VAGABONDS Jan. 1, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

Terence Blanchard & E-Collective
Dakota Jazz Club, Monday 1.2 & Tuesday 1.3
New Orleans trumpeter Terence Blanchard has enjoyed a lengthy career as a hard-bop player and bandleader, as well as a composer of numerous film scores, including nearly all Spike Lee’s. But on his last album, 2015’s Breathless, he and his new E-Collective ensemble ventured into a groove-oriented fusion of jazz, soul, R&B, funk, and blues. And he dove headlong into sociopolitical commentary: The title was inspired by “I can’t breathe,” the words uttered by Eric Garner in 2014 as he was choked to death by police on Staten Island, and subsequently an activists’ rallying cry. Blanchard is prepping material for a sequel, Caravan, which he and E-Collective will record live these two nights in Minneapolis, closely followed by two in Cleveland and one in Dallas. On his website, Blanchard said the locations were chosen because they were “three cities scarred by the escalation of tension between law enforcement and unarmed African Americans.” Whatever music and message Blanchard comes up with is sure to be powerful, moving, and beautifully played. 7 p.m. $40-$50. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. — Rick Mason 

  • KEVIN FLUEGEL Jan. 2, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • AVERAGE MAMMALS Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry