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The week's best concerts: Dec. 30-Jan. 5

Tickle Torture getting sexy, lit at the 2015 Zombie Pub Crawl

Tickle Torture getting sexy, lit at the 2015 Zombie Pub Crawl

  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra $75-$35 3 p.m. Wed. Xcel Energy Center

  • New Year's Eve 2016 2-Day Festival $50 FOR 2-DAY PASS 7 p.m. Wed. The Skyway Theatre

  • Transmission $6-$8 10 p.m. Wed. The Varsity Theater
Tickle Torture

Fine Line, Thursday 12.31

Based on his stage persona, you’d think Elliott Kozel spends most of his time making music at earth-shattering orgies. Since he went solo as Tickle Torture, Kozel, who has performed with a number of Twin Cities indie-rock bands, has developed a titillating spectacle of a live show. Typically wearing very little more than sequin-studded marble-bag underwear, a jeweled veil, gold body paint, and a headdress, Tickle Torture backs it all up with buff and gorgeous, nearly naked male and female dancers and topless bandmates. Amid revved-up electro-funk and hyper-sexual lyrics, Kozel and crew deliver a deliciously erotic, sex-positive performance that’d make early Prince blush. It’s already the stuff of local legend. Kozel, who’s known to hand out condoms with free music downloads on them, has released three records as Tickle Torture, most recently last year’s Spectrophilia EP. Kozel, who recently relocated to L.A., tells City Pages he has “a lot of weird plans in the works” for his New Year’s Eve homecoming show, which will also feature Eric Mayson, Perfume Monster, Suzie, and DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip. 18+. $20-$50. 9 p.m. 318 First Ave. N. Minneapolis; 612-338-8100. –Danny Sigelman

Kill the Vultures

7th Street Entry, Thursday 12.31

With its twisted blend of beats, surreal poeticism, boisterous rap vocals, and abstracted acoustic instruments, Kill the Vultures’ new release, Carnelian, should prove to be the hip-hop duo’s most ambitious, bizarre, musical, and brilliant record to date. The 12-track album, the group’s fourth, dropped in October via Totally Gross National Product. Carnelian explores the dark side of morality with its unpleasant and offbeat yet alluring aesthetics. Prior to Kill the Vultures, emcee Alexei Moon Casselle (Crescent Moon) and producer Stephen Lewis (Anatomy) collaborated in the group Oddjobs, a more customary hip-hop outfit that ultimately did not satisfy their creative needs. So the two began experimenting with more avant garde methods, which proved to be more fulfilling. As Casselle told City Pages in October: “[Carnelian] might not make sense to everyone ’cause it can seem abstract and very out there, but I think the world is abstract and out there and weird as fuck.” KTV will celebrate New Year’s in that world alongside standout locals the Cloak Ox, Greg Grease, and Cherry Cola. 18+. $20. 9 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. –Diane Miller

E.L.nO

Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Thursday 12.31

For far too long we’ve been told that Electric Light Orchestra were insufferable ’70s cheese, a bloated prog-rock monstrosity that valued production technique over real feeling and hovered near the top of the Reasons Punk Needed to Happen list. Truth is, there was a hell of a power-pop band beneath all those electronic strings and concept-record conceits, and even if Jeff Lynne’s bid for Beatledom fell a bit short of that lofty goal, the songs that resulted in the interim — “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Do Ya,” “Evil Woman” — are deservedly iconic. Local cover band E.L.nO — comprised of members of Accident Clearinghouse, Detroit, Billy Johnson’s Roadshow, and Manplanet — might not be entirely straight-faced in their tribute, at least if their gigantic white-dude-afro wigs are any indication, but they embrace the utopian giddiness in their homage along with the Xanadu-scoring silliness. The band said their annual New Year’s Eve party would be put to bed after last year’s gig, but they’re back for more. 21+. $12. 9 p.m. 101 Glenwood Ave. N. Minneapolis; 612-338-9491. –Nate Patrin

  • First Avenue's New Year's Eve Danceteria $5-$20 8 p.m. Thu. First Avenue

  • New Queers Eve: Done Dirt Cheep $8-$10 9 p.m. Thu. Triple Rock Social Club

  • Frankie Lee & Friends Magical New Year's Eve Celebration $20 8 p.m. Thu. Turf Club

  • Shannon Blowtorch $5 9 p.m. Fri. Hell's Kitchen

  • Hope Country $7-$10 7 p.m. Fri. 7th St. Entry

  • Freewheelin' First Fridays $6 7 p.m. Fri. Harriet Brewing
The Jayhawks

First Avenue, Saturday 1.2

This performance by the Jayhawks is something of a post-holidays gift to their hometown fans. The Jayhawks — those rootsy, alt-country pioneers influenced by the likes of Gram Parsons, Buffalo Springfield, and the Band — aren’t even on tour. The band is currently a quartet, with longtime members Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, Karen Grotberg, and Tim O’Reagan. Still missing is founding member Mark Olson, whose songwriting and unique, arid harmonies with Louris are Jayhawks touchstones. Olson initially left the band in 1995, but returned for 2011’s Mockingbird Time, only to go back to his solo projects. Also departed (recently, although he worked on the album) is guitarist Kraig Johnson, reportedly busy with the resurgent Run Westy Run. As for new material, this fall the band recorded 17 tracks in Portland, Oregon, with producers Tucker Martine (who’s worked with Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, and the Decemberists) and Peter Buck of R.E.M. The tunes, the band reports, range from “patented Jayhawks pop perfection to envelope-pushing creativity that will surprise even the most ardent fans.” 18+. Sold out. 8:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. –Rick Mason

  • KFAI Vinyl Voices FREE 1:30 p.m. Sat. Harriet Brewing

  • Evening of Tributes $7-$10 8 p.m. Sat. Turf Club

  • New Year's Reggae Sunsplash $8 9 p.m. Sat. Cabooze
James Brown Tribute

Dakota Jazz Club, ?Sunday & Monday 1.3-4

Sonny Knight’s youthful music career may have been sidetracked for decades by a truck drivin’ job. But the classic soul, R&B, and funk vocalist is more than making up for it these days as he leads the blistering horn and rhythm ensemble, the Lakers. You really couldn’t ask for anyone more appropriate to front a tribute to James “Godfather of Soul” Brown than Knight, who in the last couple of years has exploded on the scene after decades of obscurity with a fine studio album and a live one. Knight’s soulful pipes and exquisite timing, plus the Lakers’ tight, sweaty, take-no-prisoners precision and glorious swagger, should stir up a wicked incarnation of JB. Adding to the genuine vibe will be the presence of Brown associates (and themselves monumental figures): trombonist Fred Wesley and drummer Jabo Starks. Both longtime members of Brown’s band, Wesley was also its leader and musical director, while Starks, along with fellow JB percussionist Clyde Stubblefield, is considered the most sampled drummer ever. Guaranteed to make you feel good. $20-$35 7 & 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. –Rick Mason

  • Jazz Brunch with Midwestern Standard Time FREE 10 p.m. Sun. Turf Club 
  • Charlie Parr $10 7 p.m. Sun. Turf Club
  • Wave Chapelle $7-$10 8 p.m. Sun. 7th St. Entry
  • JT's Jazz Implosion $8 All Day Icehouse
  • The Roe Family Singers FREE 9 p.m. Mon. 331 Club
  • Record Wranglers FREE 10 p.m. Mon. Lee's Liquor Lounge
  • Meinong's Jungle (Album Release Show) $5-$7 8 p.m. Tue. 7th St. Entry
  • Coloring Time FREE 10 p.m. Tue. Icehouse
  • January Conspiracy Series: Brianna Lane FREE 9:30 p.m. Thu. 331 Club