The week's 29 best concerts: Nov. 30-Dec. 6

Michael Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka Phil Sharp

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

Children of Bodom
Mill City Nights, Wednesday 11.30
I Worship Chaos — is there a better, more fitting album title for any band in the world? That’s the name of the latest from Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom. Since 1993, the sometimes punishing, sometimes elegiac group have desecrated venues across the world with their fearless, industrial aesthetic, dropping nine albums in the process. Released last year, I Worship Chaos shows no fatigue or desensitization, even after 23 years of viscera. Children of Bodom’s Minneapolis stop includes an appearance from fellow Nordic death metallers Abbath, who, based on the power of their brutal 2016 self-titled debut, could wind up as legendary as the headliners in two decades’ time. Exmortus and ONI also perform. The evening of heavy music carries with it heavy-hearted significance: This will be the final show ever at Mill City Nights, which announced its impending closure back in September after four years in business. 16+. 7 p.m. $25-$50. 111 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612-333-3422. — Jerard Fagerberg

A Darlene Love Christmas: Love for the Holidays
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday 11.30
With Ronnie Spector’s recent Minneapolis visit and now Darlene Love’s St. Paul appearance, the Twin Cities will have achieved a rare near-confluence of the key vocalists from what may be the greatest Christmas album of all time: A Christmas Gift to You from Phil Spector. The 1963 disc featured the genius producer and future wacko’s stable of girl groups riding his famous Wall of Sound. The Ronettes did three tunes. Love sang “White Christmas,” “Marshmallow World,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Love’s marvelous siren of a voice also notched such hits as “Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home” and “A Fine, Fine Boy,” as well as “He’s a Rebel” under the guise of the Crystals. That sterling résumé landed her in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She also earned an Oscar for her role in the 2013 backup-singer documentary 20 Feet from Stardom. Expect tunes from her 2015 album, Introducing Darlene Love, which sported contributions from Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello. If all that doesn’t jingle yer rock ’n’ roll bells, forget it. $38-$111.50. 7:30 p.m. 345 Washington St., St. Paul; 651-224-4222. — Rick Mason

  • LADY MIDNIGHT PRESENTS: MIDNIGHT SPECIAL Nov. 30, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • STANDING ROCK BENEFIT Nov. 30, 9:00 p.m. at Nomad World Pub
  • NOOKY JONES AND DEM ATLAS Nov. 30, 11:00 p.m. at Icehouse

Jim James
State Theatre, Thursday 12.1
My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James’ second solo album, Eternally Even, came out shortly before Election Day; James had earlier declared it would speak to the issues in “these absolutely insane times.” His comment nailed the last bit, but EE’s lyrics are mostly obscure, usually opting for an amorphous yearning for peace and love. Oddly, that fits the tone of the music, an often brooding, sometimes unsettling, constantly shapeshifting array of elegant textures — a trippy experiment in vintage psychedelia, soul, and funk. On the opening “Hide in Plain Sight,” sweeping clouds of organ, strings, and synthesized luminescence drift. Then, following juicy bass dollops and slippery grooves, James’ languid vocals splash around in pools of mercurial soul. This exquisitely nuanced approach peaks on the Muscle Shoals-infused “The World’s Smiling Now” and the Marvin Gaye-like “Here in Spirit.” But EE’s message rises to “What’s Going On” territory on “Same Old Lie,” a subtly urgent call to avoid the tiresome shit the country again stepped in three weeks ago. Twin Limb will open and back James. 7 p.m. $36. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. — Rick Mason

  • CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN Dec. 1, 7:00 p.m. at Myth
  • PAT DONOHUE AND THE PRAIRIE ALL-STARS Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. at History Theatre
  • CMND + CTRL Dec. 1, 10:00 p.m. at Icehouse
  • C.KOSTRA (RECORD RELEASE SHOW) Dec. 2, 11:00 p.m.
  • AMANDA SHIRES Dec. 2, 8:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • IMPALER'S ANNUAL MERRY KRAMPUS SHOW Dec. 2, 9:00 p.m. at Eagles Club #34

Mason Jennings
First Avenue, Saturday 12.3
Mason Jennings has a tradition of playing First Avenue’s Mainroom at least once every December. The 41-year-old singer-songwriter has kept busy since his 1997 debut album and victory in City Pages’ Picked to Click poll two years later; he keeps releasing albums with varying sonic identities at a steady clip: 2004’s Use Your Voice and 2010’s The Flood showed what Jennings could accomplish with just his voice and acoustic guitar, 2011’s Minnesota was piano-centric, and 2009’s Blood of Man was more rock-oriented. His latest, this year’s Wild Dark Metal, gets the job done in various ways, whether it’s with something smooth and steady (the poppy melodies of “Old Daze,” the elegant fingerpicking of “Future King”) or something more aggressive (the shadowy and Nebraska-esque “Everglades,” the rollicking “Two Dollar Man”). It may not bring anything revelatory to the table, but it’s one of Jennings’ strongest albums overall, reaffirming his status as one of our state’s most consistent troubadours. Dusty Heart opens. 18+. 7 p.m. $25. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. — Michael Madden

Jimmy Eat World
Skyway Theatre, Saturday 12.3
It just takes some time, little girl, but Jimmy Eat World are in the middle of a career renaissance in 2016. The early-aughts pop-punk stalwarts took things to a darker, more intense extreme for their ninth album, October’s Integrity Blues. A nostalgic 15 years removed from Bleed American, JEW’s aching songwriting has not waned, though they’ve grown out of their awk-boy theatrics and into more tortured milieus. A decade and a half of being written off as emo can invoke some bitterness, and Integrity Blues sneers with the Arizona vets’ most jaded stylings yet. Then again, they still know how to play to a crowd that grew up ingesting their emotional journey. And if 2013’s gig at First Avenue is any indication, the classics — most notably 2001 mega-hit “The Middle” — will not be neglected. The band might even dip into “My Enemy,” their anti-Trump protest song that arrived weeks before the election. 7:30 p.m. $30. 711 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-333-6100. — Jerard Fagerberg

  • THE NEW STANDARDS HOLIDAY SHOW Dec. 3, 2:00 p.m. at Historic State Theatre
  • THE CRASH BANDITS (EP RELEASE SHOW) Dec. 3, 8:30 p.m. at Reverie Cafe + Bar

Michael Kiwanuka (Editor's note: This show was canceled due to vocal issues)
Cedar Cultural Center, Sunday 12.4
Michael Kiwanuka has a classic soul voice that’s been compared to music giants of the ’60s and ’70s: Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, the list goes on. It’s one thing to warrant surface comparisons to those legends, but Kiwanuka seems well on his way to backing them up. The 29-year-old London native’s early EPs were good enough to lead to his victory in the 2012 BBC Sound poll over the likes of Skrillex and Frank Ocean. He then elevated his sound to another level entirely with his sophomore album, July’s Love & Hate. Made with producers Danger Mouse and Inflo, it’s an intricate, towering achievement assisted by a couple dozen session musicians, initially sweeping the listener away with the 10-minute opener “Cold Little Heart.” Basically, the album consists of a bunch of seeming variations on Hayes’ prog-soul classic “Walk on By,” showing off Kiwanuka’s affinity for lush backing vocals and string arrangements, not to mention his own Hendrixian lead guitar work. Cloves open. 8 p.m. $18-$20. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-338-2674. — Michael Madden

  • ANDY CALHOUN Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m. at Icehouse
  • NICHOLAS DAVID: A CELEBRATION OF JOYFUL GIVING Dec. 4, 7:00 p.m. at Pantages Theatre
  • KEVIN DEVINE AND THE GODDAMN BAND Dec. 4, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry

Jingle Ball
Monday, Xcel Energy Center 12.5
Don’t worry: Those shrill screams coming from St. Paul are ones of (loosely holiday-themed) joy. That’s because Jingle Ball, the annual traveling cavalcade of Top 40 hitmakers, is teeny-bopping its way back to Xcel Energy Center with headliners Fifth Harmony, G-Eazy, Diplo, and Backstreet Boys. Pop group Fifth Harmony scored a smash-hit with this year’s bangin’ double-entendre marathon “Work From Home”; rising rapper G-Eazy rode his greaser aesthetic to fame with “Me, Myself, and I” (not to be mistaken with the far superior De La Soul song); mega-producer Diplo is getting radio play with his Major Lazer project’s Justin Bieber collab “Cold Water”; and the Backstreet Boys are back — alright? Other Jingle Ballers include Lukas Graham, Alessia Cara, Gnash, Tove Lo, and Hailee Steinfeld (the last two performers were on last year’s JB roster). As always, 101.3 KDWB DJs will emcee the marathon night of quickie sets. 7:30 p.m. $38.50-$148.50. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651-726-8240. — Jay Boller

  • OUR LAST NIGHT AND HANDS LIKE HOUSES Dec. 5, 5:00 p.m. at The Garage
  • THE KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW Dec. 5, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • DRAGONETTE Dec. 5, 7:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry

Stevie Nicks
Xcel Energy Center, Tuesday 12.6
It’s been two years since the fantastically scarf-draped witch released her most recent album, 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault, a collection of tunes Nicks wrote between 1969 and 1995 but hadn’t yet gotten around to recording. An extended tour with her old band, Fleetwood Mac, kept Nicks from going on the road by herself until now. And after that extended delay she’s going to take some cues from the local hero who inspired (and played synthesizer) on her huge 1983 hit “Stand Back.” “We’re gonna go on for like two hours then we’re gonna go and do what Prince would, which is then go find a club and play the other 14 songs,” Nicks told Rolling Stone in September, adding, “I feel really sad that Prince’s journey didn’t continue until he was 95.” Let’s hope this 68-year-old legend’s journey will itself continue that long. Chrissie Hynde’s indispensable Pretenders crewed up for the first time since 2012 to serve as openers. 7 p.m. $49-$150. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651-726-8240. — Keith Harris

  • A TRIBE CALLED RED Dec. 6, 8:00 p.m. at Skyway Theatre
  • BRYAN CEE (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW) Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHT SWEATS Dec. 6, 7:00 p.m. at First Avenue