The week's best concerts: Dec. 9-15

Vince Staples will rep Long Beach on Sunday at Fine Line.

Vince Staples will rep Long Beach on Sunday at Fine Line.

  • Ramsey Lewis Quartet: Sound of Christmas$50-$30 7 p.m. Wed. Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant 

  • Justine Skye $13 8 p.m. Wed. Fine Line Music Cafe

  • J Fernandez $8-$10 7:30 p.m. Wed. 7th St. Entry

  • The 1975 $30 6 p.m. Thu. First Avenue

  • Riff Raff $25-$45 7 p.m. Thu. Cabooze

  • Bongzilla $16-$18 8 p.m. Thu. 7th St. Entry
Katie McMahon’s Celtic Christmas


When the French carol “Angels We Have Heard on High” drifts o’er the snowy plains during this essentially joyous season, you can almost hear Katie McMahon’s glorious, silvery soprano. McMahon’s angelic voice — she was classically trained at Dublin’s Trinity College — is about perfect for expressing the magic of the true Christmas spirit. And she’s been doing it magnificently in her long-running annual Celtic Christmas shows. The former Riverdance lead singer’s songs have Irish origins, but also have an international scope. In that spirit, this year’s performance will have a Ukrainian twist, thanks to the presence of special guest Peter Ostroushko, ace fiddler and mandolinist, and cultural aficionado of all things Ukrainian. The duo reportedly have worked up several collaborative pieces, including the Ukrainian nugget “Carol of the Bells,” which was a spectacular highlight of Ostroushko’s own holiday shows of the past. The Corda Mor Irish Dance troupe will add to the performance. $10-$28. 7:30 p.m. 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651-690-6700. –Rick Mason

Mixed Blood Majority


Mixed Blood Majority started out as a side project between Joe Horton (No Bird Sing), Crescent Moon (Kill the Vultures), and Lazerbeak (Doomtree) in 2013. Like so many bands, it began with some friends getting together to make music, with no concrete plans or intentions. They never explicitly said it was a one-time thing, but that was the feeling. Then the Twin Cities music vets took the stage, felt the energy and the response, and the super side project took on a life of its own. Mixed Blood Majority have been relatively quiet this past year, but they return with a vengeance on their new album, Insane World, a no-holds-barred call for action. “To me this record is about not being shy about having a certain philosophy about life,” Horton tells City Pages, adding the declarative mission state: “Fuck that, let’s make some shit that cuts.” Local rap hero P.O.S and Lizzo’s GRRRL PRTY crew open Friday’s release party. 18+. $16. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-332-1775. –Loren Green

Rio Nido Reunion


Except for a couple of one-offs a decade or so ago, Tim Sparks, Tom Lieberman, and Prudence Johnson — founders of the beloved, critically acclaimed local vocal jazz trio Rio Nido — hadn’t played together for 30-odd years. Things went so well at a benefit gig last year, however, the group decided to do it again, this time at the Dakota. Formed in the ’70s, Rio Nido specialized in vintage jazz from the likes of Stuff Smith and Chick Webb, diving into the intricate vocal work of artists like the Boswell Sisters and the Cats and the Fiddle. In the late ’80s, the group edged more toward vocalese, then disbanded. Johnson’s many post-Nido projects have in recent years included musical theatre; Lieberman recently issued a solo album; and Sparks has built a sterling rep as a superb, highly innovative fingerstyle guitarist. At the Dakota, Rio Nido will play music from its first album, I Like To Riff, a few tunes from the Roger Hernandez-era Hi-Fly, plus songs from each member’s solo careers. $25-$35. 7& 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. –Rick Mason

  • The Blenders: Holiday Soul Tour $37.50-$42.50 8 p.m. Fri. Pantages Theatre

  • Slick Rick the Ruler $20-$25 8 p.m. Fri. Amsterdam

  • The Honeydogs (7" Release Show) $20 6:30 p.m. Fri. The Southern Theater
Amsterdam Bar & Hall 4th Anniversary


89.3 the Current and Deschutes Brewery — two favorites among the coolest of Twin Cities dads — present Amsterdam Bar and Hall’s fourth anniversary show. After four years in downtown St. Paul, Amsterdam has established itself as one of the city’s best concert venues. Hate music? It also won our 2012 award for Best French Fries. After seven years in the local indie-rock game, minimalist grunge-pop favorites Zoo Animal will play their final show at Saturday’s anniversary bash. Also appearing are fellow grungers Bruise Violet, who are about 37 days away from becoming the biggest thing to ever come out of Minnesota. The punky, spunky, downright musically spelunky Swimsuit Area also perform. Both of those latter bands were finalists in this year’s Picked to Click tally. 18+. $8-$10. 8:30 p.m. 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul; 612-285-3112. –John Thomas

  • Sounds Of Blackness: The Night Before Christmas – A Musical Fantasy $40-$20 7 p.m. Sat. Fitzgerald Theater

  • The Okee Dokee Brothers $15-$20 7 p.m. Sat. The Cedar Cultural Center

  • All the Way Rider (10-Year Anniversary Show) FREE 10 p.m. Sat. 331 Club
Vince Staples


“With so much drama in the L-B-C, it’s kinda hard being Snoop D-O-double-G,” began Snoop Dogg on 1994’s “Gin and Juice.” But Snoop never elaborated on that statement of localized distress quite like Long Beach, California’s gritty Vince Staples. Between his four mixtapes, one EP, and his debut double album, June’s Summertime ’06, the 22-year-old Staples has crusaded for truth and believability in rap; he’s at his most potent when depicting the motivations, hustles, and dire concerns of Long Beach’s troubled youth. Just listen to last year’s timely anti-police brutality anthem “Hands Up,” or this summer’s “Norf Norf,” with its “I ain’t never ran from nothing but the police” hook. His beats are shadowy, sinister productions, and they tend to be just as interesting as his lyrics. If all of that sounds unconventional for a West Coast rapper signed to Def Jam, it is. But Staples can still turn up; he’s a high-energy performer who’ll stage dive seemingly to alleviate himself from the gun-to-head intensity of his narratives (as he did at this year’s Soundset). All ages. $20. 7 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8100. –Michael Madden

  • Communist Daughter$12 7 p.m. Sun. The Southern Theater

  • Kat Perkins$30 7:30 p.m. Sun. Plymouth Playhouse

  • Sarah White$7-$10 7 p.m. Sun. 7th St. Entry


Led by Bradford Cox and secondary songwriter Lockett Pundt, Deerhunter has become one of modern indie rock’s emblematic groups, all while sidestepping preconceived notions of what an indie rock band sounds like. The onetime “blog band” is endlessly fascinated with the possibilities of sound and layering, shuffling ambient and shoegaze textures in between hard-hitting riffs and drums. All of their albums are unique, and their latest, October’s Fading Frontier, arrived with a special set of circumstances — it follows Cox’s horrific car accident in December of last year. Following 2013’s agitated Monomania, Fading Frontier is cleaner and tighter, as first signaled by the excellent singles “Snakeskin” and “Breaker.” It finds the Atlanta band swiftly adapting to the modern era, slicing up their instrumentation like an electronic producer might. Opening is Atlas Sound, Cox’s side project. 18+. $20. 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-332-1775. –Michael Madden

  • Vampires Everywhere $10 5 p.m. Mon. The Skyway Theatre T
  • Lions & Creators (Record Release Show) $5-$7 7 p.m. Mon. 7th St. Entry
  • The Roe Family Singers FREE 9 p.m. Mon. 331 Club
  • Erik Koskinen $8-$10 7 p.m. Tue. Turf Club
  • Katia Cardenas $5 8 p.m. Tue. Vieux Carre
  • December Conspiracy Series: The Lowland Lakers FREE 10 p.m. Tue. 331 Club