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Tis the Season for Your Complete Concert Calendar: Dec. 12-17

Pretty much all the live music you can catch in the Twin Cities this week.

10:42 AM CST on December 12, 2023

Photos provided|

Impaler and Bar Italia have different aesthetics.

The holidays shows are rollin' in, and from VocalEssence filling Orchestra Hall with sounds of sweet reverence to Impaler noisily extolling the joys of Krampus at the Turf, there's a little something for everyone.

Tuesday, December 12

International Reggae All Stars @ Bunkers

A Co-MingL Christmas @ Crooners

José James feat. Christian Sands @ Dakota

St. Dominic's Trio @ Driftwood

Karaoke With On Call Entertainment @ Eagles 34

Kevin Gamble Trio @ Green Room

South High Swing Night @ Hook and Ladder

Todd Clouser's "A Love Electric" with Molly Maher @ Icehouse

Cedar Avenue Big Band @ Jazz Central

Nova Jazz Orchestra @ Minnesota Music Cafe

DJ Nanobyte @ Palmer's

All Nighter Tuesdays @ ROK Music Lounge

Neva Dinova with Doom Flower @ 7th St Entry

Eptic @ Skyway Theatre

Industrial Strength with DJ Sin @ Terminal Bar

Worker’s Playtime: Dan Israel @ 331 Club

December Conspiracy Series featuring Venus DeMars, Jeffrey Skemp, Sally Linda (of Big Salt), Karen Townsend @ 331 Club

  • bar italia with Ava Levy @ Turf ClubAs you might expect for a band named after a Pulp song, this trio is British. (No way I’d come anywhere near a U.S. band named for a Pulp song.) Bar Italia released their Matador debut Tracey Denim in the spring, and its followup, The Twits, in November, and there’s no discernible growth or drop off: This is a band that has its sound and it’s sticking to it. There’s something wobbly and cobbled together about that sound—the guitars add just enough dissonance to the tunes, typically resonating at a midpoint between Wire and Sonic Youth, while trying to walk the relatively straight line the drums lay out for them. Just as striking is the vocal contrast between dry and cool Nina Cristante and her more desperate male counterparts Jezmi Fehmi and Sam Fenton. Not that Cristante doesn’t have her own worries—“I can't just pick up a story/And make it the whole of who I am,” she laments—but icy decrees like, “You're just not worth the time/You're too scared to immerse yourself” are more her speed. Of course, a lot of the time I can’t tell what they’re singing about, whether it’s because voices are drowned in the din, the lyrics are too cryptic, or their content is too British. But with a band like this a little opacity is part of the charm.

Tuesdays with DL4 @ White Squirrel

Caitlin & Alex (Tuesday Night Residency) with Helen Forsythe @ White Squirrel

Wednesday, December 13

MN Songwriter Showcase hosted by Nick Hensley @ Aster Cafe

Dylan Salfer @ Bunkers

The Barefoot Movement Holiday Show @ Cedar Cultural Center

A Nat King Cole Christmas with Bryan Eng @ Crooners

José James feat. Christian Sands @ Dakota

Lena and the Lovekills @ Eagles 34

Miss Shannon's Swing Night @ Eagles 34

  • Aqua @ FillmoreWhat’s more American than a good ol’ fashioned cash grab? Danish Europop band Aqua have capitalized on multiple cultural moments since originally breaking up in 2001—first with the rush of '90s nostalgia, and now with the Barbie zeitgeist that uniquely fits their only hit. After the campy “Barbie Girl” attained ubiquity in the summer of '97, Mattel sued MCA Records; "the parties are advised to chill" Judge Alex Kozinski said while dismissing the case in 2002. These days Aqua seems to be on friendly terms with the toy giant. “Barbie World,” their Barbie soundtrack collab with rappers Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, has earned 374 million Spotify plays, a No. 7 Billboard position, and two Grammy noms. The U.K. tabloids claim that while Lene Nystrøm, René Dif, and Søren Rasted look “unrecognisable” from their Clinton-era heyday (that’s the passage of time for ya), the Aqua trio “delighted fans” on their current reunion tour. Expect plenty of blasts from the past, considering the dance-pop group hasn’t released an album in over a dozen years.—Jay Boller

JD McPherson with Joel Paterson @ Fine Line

Candlelight Pop Holiday Classics and Favorites @ Granada

Trent Romens @ Green Room

A Very Merry Kurtz Christmas @ Icehouse

Wind Up Wednesday with Q-Bear @ Minnesota Music Cafe

Whiskey Rock 'n' Roll Club @ Mortimer's

Southwest @ Orchestra Hall

Willow Waters with Luke Callen and Riley Skinner @ Palmer's

Salamander Key @ Pilllar

Descend: Darkwave Night @ ROK Music Lounge

Connor McRae Trio @ Schooner Tavern

Joe Samba with Joey Harkum @ 7th St Entry

Harold’s House Party on KFAI with Pistol Whippin Party Penguins @ 331 Club

Lonesome Dan Case @ 331 Club

Ariel Posen with Brittany Kennell @ Turf Club

Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers @ White Squirrel

Jeremy & the Lords of the Universe w. Shrimp Olympics @ White Squirrel

Full Catholic, Uncle Jesse’s Comb, Corey Avery, Lus Sangules @ White Squirrel

Thursday, December 14

DJ Sci-Fi @ Acadia

Doug Collins @ Aster Cafe

All Golden @ Cloudland

The Laura Caviani Trio @ Crooners

Riverside Swing Band: A Vintage Christmas @ Crooners

Southside Aces @ Dakota

The Side Effects @ Driftwood

Karaoke with On Call Entertainment @ Eagles 34

LGBTQ+ Twin Cities Latin Dance @ Eagles 34

Hot Mulligan @ Fillmore

Broadway Rave @ Fine Line

Candlelight Holiday Special feat. The Nutcracker @ Granada

Cornbread Harris & Friends @ Hook and Ladder

Pushmas 2023 @ Icehouse

J-Mo on the Beat and his J-Lighters @ KJ's Hideaway

Level Up @ The Loft

Smiling Cowboys @ Minnesota Music Cafe

No Limits: The B Side @ Minnesota Music Cafe

Reformation Dance Night @ Mortimer's

The Front Porch Swingin' Liquor Pigs @ Palmer's

Tina Schlieske + Friends' VaJamma Party @ Parkway

Sassafras @ Pilllar

The Best Meds, The 99ers, fxrmnk @ ROK Music Lounge

Stephanie Was @ Schooner Tavern

  • KC Rae (of Now, Now) with Athletic Assistants @ 7th St EntryThere’s a bit of a “lonesome cowboy” vibe to KC Rae’s lyrics on her first solo project, Think I’m Gonna Die, for which she learned to play the mandolin and banjo. (She plays every instrument on the record apart from bass and drums, which are handled by her bandmate in the alt-rock/pop duo Now, Now, Bradley Hale.) Rae’s sitting by the phone knowing it won’t ring; she’s lying in a parking lot, listening to the bark of a lonely dog; she’s got a “masochistic imagination,” dreaming of kissing someone who’s “got your mind changing/What’d you go and do that for?” To be clear, Think I’m Gonna Die isn’t a full pivot to country. Rather, the genre weaves through Rae’s indie pop, coming across stronger on certain songs than others, as she deals with some hard shit. She questions her reality, contemplates disappearing; she thinks the sadness will go away if she ignores it. (It won’t.) At times she sings, heartbroken, directly to you, but the you is prismatic, reflecting Rae’s discontent back to herself. Read our full interview with Rae here.—Lydia Moran

Minneapolis Songwriter Round: BJ Solely, Nathanial Ray, Marc Severin, Eric Ross @ 331 Club

The Claudettes and Annie Mack @ Turf Club

New Confusion (Album Release) @ Underground Music Venue

The Monday Club @ White Squirrel

Garden Street with Luke Callen @ White Squirrel

Friday, December 15

Gigi's Fundraiser Fest @ Amsterdam

Thomas Abban @ Aster Cafe

Chase & Ovation @ Bunkers

Jeffrey Foucault + Pieta Brown @ Cedar Cultural Center

Falcon Arrow, Whispered the Rabbit, Tender Comrade @ Cloudland

Lynne Rothrock’s Cool Yule @ Crooners

Karrin Allyson: Wintry Mix featuring Rod Fleeman @ Crooners

Maggie's Afterglow: Judi Vinar and Adi Yeshaya @ Crooners

  • Robert Glasper @ DakotaA jazz pianist born late enough (1978) to come up on hip-hop and neo-soul, Glasper is probably best known outside of jazz for his keyboard work on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, which was integral in defining that album’s sound. In the past two decades, he’s achieved crossover success at Blue Note with his feature-heavy Black Radio releases, the third of which, released last year, offered Killer Mike, Jennifer Hudson, Me'Shell Ndegéocello, Q-Tip, Esperanza Spalding, and many, many—many—more guests. It’s tempting to call Glasper’s music “fusion,” but that term implies the forced yoking of disparate styles; instead, Glasper treats contemporary Black music as a smooth confluence of genres. He just played a three-night stand at the Dakota in January, and he must have liked it because he’s back for another three nights

Katie Marshall & Bury 'Em Deep Band @ Driftwood

Manifest Content, Mellow Cassette @ Driftwood

Swingin' on a Star @ Eagles 34

Craig Owens with VOILÀ, Andrés and The Seafloor Cinema @ Fine Line

The Big Wu with Gregg Hall & The Wrecking Ball @ First Avenue

Some Shitty Cover Band @ Green Room

Trailer Trash Trashy Little Xmas @ Hook and Ladder

Luke LeBlanc (Album Release) with Thomas Sticha @ Icehouse

Reid Kennedy Trio @ Jazz Central

A Joyann Parker Band Christmas @ KJ's Hideaway

Louiejayxx x BLVK SHEEP @ The Loft

Sumo Seven @ Minnesota Music Cafe

Frozen in Concert @ Orchestra Hall

VocalEssence: Bach's Christmas Oratorio @ Orchestra Hall

Pagnia in Love: Live in Concert @ Ordway

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas @ Orpheum Theatre

Action Bronson @ Palace Theatre

Emmy Woods & The Red Pine Rambers, Clayton Ryan, and Kaylee Kitzman @ Palmer's

Tina Schlieske & Friends @ Parkway

Safety McGhee (Album Release) @ ROK Music Lounge

Hurricane Harold's All-Blues Revue @ Schooner Tavern

Avery Anna with Lauren Weintraub @ 7th St Entry

Emo Night Brooklyn @ Studio B

SYFN, Sweetalk, Electric Church @ 331 Club

Dillinger Four, Vacant, Buio Omega, & Closetalker @ Uptown VFW

Deterioration, Getting Stabbed, Stern Look, the Big Spit @ White Rock Lounge

Night Jobs, Rad Owl, Powerdam @ White Rock Lounge

Tiny Daggers with Unnamed, TWYG (That’s What You Get) @ White Squirrel

Saturday, December 16

The Way Back Yard with Said Kelley @ Aster Cafe

The Good, the Bad, & the Funky @ Bunkers

Alma Andina with Noche Chingona @ Cedar Cultural Center

Annie and the Bang Bang, Tender Years, Bev @ Cloudland

Maud Hixson Presents: Happy Holiday @ Crooners

A Christmas Carole Petersen @ Crooners

Maggie's Afterglow: Judi Vinar and Rick Carlson @ Crooners

Handsome Devils @ Driftwood

Peat @ Driftwood

5 Cent Reality @ Dusty's

Sleepyeye, Paul Cerar, Citrine Shandy, Portside Dive @ Eagles 34

Silverteens @ Eagles 34

Shatter, Skimask, Kaldeket, Ruin Dweller @ Eagles 34

Viva Knievel @ Fine Line

  • Durry with DNM @ First AvenueRacket had the scoop on Durry’s wildly viral 2021 rise, when the brother-sister local band blew up with 200,000 plays on TikTok (that figure now soars past 1 million). A grunge-pop shoutalong with vocals that alternately summon My Chemical Romance and Post Malone, the song “Who’s Laughing Now” stirred up attention from “very big name” management firms; the band was booked solid with industry Zoom meetings, and the single scored placement on Spotify-curated playlists. Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit and Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune are fans. Durry debuted that July at a sold-out 7th St. Entry, just as live music began its comeback, with singer-songwriter Austin Durry predicting the “post-TikTok” concerts will be wild. He wasn’t wrong: Durry has since graduated to the Mainroom.—Jay Boller

Matt Rogers with Henry Koperski @ Fitzgerald Theater

Battle of the Bands @ The Garage

Ellis Delaney @ Ginkgo

Alex Rossi, Rion, Gavin Haskin, Wain McFarlane, Brandon Johnson, Jaylen @ Green Room

Trailer Trash Trashy Little Xmas @ Hook and Ladder

The Dollys @ Icehouse

Tram @ Icehouse

Adi Yeshaya @ Jazz Central

Callum Schultz Quartet with Hamline Jazz Combo @ KJ's Hideaway

Debbie Briggs Vintage Jazz @ KJ's Hideaway

Sully @ The Loft

The Maxx Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe

The Assortment feat. Michael Grey @ Mortimer's

K102 St. Jude Fan Cam @ Myth Live

Frozen in Concert @ Orchestra Hall

VocalEssence: Bach's Christmas Oratorio @ Orchestra Hall

Handel's Messiah @ Ordway

Michael W. Smith @ Orpheum Theatre

The Jayhawks with Golden Smog: Electric @ Palace Theatre

Redwing Blackbird's Christmas Spectacular @ Palmer's

Tina Schlieske & Friends @ Parkway

Lost Evidence @ Pilllar

Jiggs Lee Invasion @ Schooner Tavern

helloworld with Asher Postman and Izek Rose @ 7th St Entry

Christmas in Monochrome @ Studio B

Rolling Xmas Revue @ Terminal Bar

Admiral Fox, Kyrie Nova & the Defiant, timisarocker @ 331 Club

Curve, The Great Went, and Do Not Crush @ 331 Club

Busey, The Reachouts, Battery Eyes, and ahem @ Underground Music Cafe

WEEB LIKE IT HARD with Rocky, Hentai, Kiddo, Tequila or Water, Serenity @ Uptown VFW

Thrash, Pursuit, Ice Everlasting @ White Rock Lounge

Sammie Jean Cohen, The Ems, Wild Lyre @ White Squirrel

Muun Bato, Drug League, Nothing But Nice @ White Squirrel

Sunday, December 17

Rosie with League Two, Harlow, & Parachutes @ Amsterdam

Swing Brunch with Patty & the Buttons @ Aster Cafe

Danger Pins with Ava Levy @ Aster Cafe

Dr. Mambo’s Combo @ Bunkers

Live 4 Love Charities Presents: A Holiday Celebration @ Capri Theater

A Christmas Carole Petersen @ Crooners

Jennifer Grimm: A Christmas with Family and Friends @ Crooners

Phine Friends, Shotgun Ragtime @ Driftwood

Irish Set Dance @ Eagles 34

TC Ramblers @ Eagles 34

Twin Cities Country Dancers @ Eagles 34

Karaoke with Reina Starr @ Eagles 34

Yussef Dayes @ Fine Line

St. Thomas Pop Music Collective and Guitar Ensemble @ Green Room

Gospel Brunch, The Experience with Darnell Davis & The Remnant @ Icehouse

Twin Cities Flamenco Collective @ Icehouse

Frozen in Concert @ Orchestra Hall

Handel's Messiah @ Ordway

Church of Cornbread: Cornbread Harris and His Band @ Palmer's

West Bank Social Club @ Palmer's

Simple Gifts with Billy McLaughlin @ Parkway

White Line Darko with Beneath Green, Motherwind and Vinny Franco and the Love Channel @ 7th St Entry

Sunday Jam @ Schooner Tavern

Robert Wilkinson @ 331 Club

Jake Manders @ 331 Club

The Magical Holiday Gala @ Turf Club

Lifestyle Shakes, Jumbos, Gwen @ White Rock Lounge

Fuzzy Math @ White Squirrel

St. Paul Songwriter Rounds @ White Squirrel

Monday, December 18

Nicotine Addiction with Emery Snow & The Flakes, & 1947 @ Amsterdam

Jennifer Grimm: A Christmas with Family and Friends @ Crooners

A Christmas Carole Petersen @ Crooners

The Peterson Family @ Dakota

Open Mic @ Driftwood

Tango Desperados Practilonga @ Eagles 34

Twin Cities Queer Contra Dancers @ Eagles 34

December Mondays with Zacc Harris @ Icehouse

Auto-Tune Karaoke @ Mortimer’s

Kristin Chenoweth @ Orchestra Hall

Odd Prospect and Mom Rock with Natalie Fideler @ 7th St Entry

Open Mic @ Terminal Bar

Mother Banjo @ 331 Club

Roe Family Singers @ 331 Club

Matt Arthur Contraption @ 331 Club

Enter the Void: A Night of Sets Inspired by Wendy Carlos @ White Squirrel

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