Welcome to a Very Special Keith’s Birthday Edition of Your Complete Concert Calendar: January 16-22
Pretty much all the live music you can catch in the Twin Cities this week.
11:01 AM CST on January 16, 2024
It's true: Today is my birthday. How old am I exactly? That's beside the point. What's important is that today is all about me—and Jennie from Blackpink, John Carpenter, Sade, and Jack McDowell, just to stick to my living birthday-sharers. (RIP Juliet Berto, Aaliyah, Susan Sontag, and Emperor Sheng Zong.)
Tuesday, January 16
Wednesday, January 17
- Yellow Ostrich 3rd Annual Winter Shindig Night #2 @ Icehouse—For the third year, Alex Schaff's Yellow Ostrich is hunkering down at Icehouse for a weekly January residency. For week two, Zak Khan and Honeybutter will be in the house. Max + Jeremy Ylvisaker and Trash Date join Yellow Ostrich for the third week, and for the finale, Aesha Minor and Nat Harvie are on hand.
Thursday, January 18
- Corey Harris & Cedric Watson @ Cedar Cultural Center—Harris was among the most exciting young blues revivalists of his era, a Taj Mahal for his time, with his artistic ambit stretching from the Delta to West Africa. At his old age of 54 he's settled down some, but with Insurrection Blues in 2021 he showed he can still blend trad blues to a topical end. Here he teams up with multi-instrumental zydeco master Watson, a formidable collaborator.
Friday, January 19
- Vijay Iyer Trio @ Dakota—Vijay Iyer is the kind of 21st century improvised music performer you can’t sum up in a blurb. His corpus demands something more formal—a CV, or a testimonial, something like that. I’m not teasing—Iyer is one of the finest examples of the new breed of musician, equally at home in the academy or the club, committed to an overarching vision that hews to no particular style. He’s done the trad thing, he’s done the jazz with electronics thing, he’s done all manner of unclassifiable in-between things. Most recently, Iyer, Arooj Aftab, and Shahzad Ismaily recorded Love in Exile, which made ripples outside of the typical jazz/improv circles; the three musicians played a sold-out show at the Cedar in October. For tonight’s performance, which was originally scheduled for November 2022, he’s performing with bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Jeremy Dutton.
- Hamell on Trial @ Hook and Ladder—Do I cover this loudmouth troubadour too much? He swings through town plenty, and each time he visits the Hook I write something like: "For 30 years, Ed Hamell has been hammering away, furiously and unaccompanied, on his 1937 Gibson L-00 acoustic, yammering hilariously and insightfully away in his broad Syracuse, New York accent." But every time he's here, Hamell seems to always have a new, noteworthy collection of timely tunes on offer. In late 2023 he released Bring the Kids, which takes on some familiar targets (billionaires and selfish Christians, gun-nuts and Tucker Carlson) but he also listens to what riot grrrls actually have to say, supports shoplifting, and writes a catchy little number about "Nazi killer girl gangs."
Saturday, January 20
- Travis Scott @ Xcel Energy Center—"What if a guy with no real personality desperately wanted to be Kanye West?" is Travis Scott’s one and only bit, but it’s a surprisingly entertaining one. Scott released his latest epic punchline to that setup, UTOPIA, last year, a typically overstuffed affair with a truly impressive guest list (Drake of course, but also Beyoncé) and no real identity at its core, unless somehow you catch a glimpse into Travis’s soul from lines like “I like a bi girl on a bi-cycle.” And it’s sadly unsurprising that his music doesn’t address last year’s Astroland Festival disaster, where 10 died and many more were injured. But as sensory amusement parks go, UTOPIA is, well, amusing. Since its release, Scott has kept staying active, showing up with some high-profile Playboi Carti productions. Opening is Teezo Touchdown, who makes a few emo noises on UTOPIA.
Sunday, January 21
- Cloudland Jazz Matinee Series @ Cloudland—What’s more punk rock than turning a punk club into an afternoon jazz hangout? (Literally speaking, keeping it a punk club and playing punk music inside… but you get our point.) Newish venue Cloudland is already taking some fun, freewheelin’ artistic swings, like movie screenings (catch a doc on Minnesota hardcore this Tuesday) and the aforementioned jazz hangs. Appearing this Sunday inside the 150-capacity room: A set from local jazz dudes Steve Kenny and Jake Baldwin, followed by a second set by local power trio '58 Belvedere. And another thing! Given this website’s firm editorial stance on concerts running far too late, it’s important to support the terrific idea of musical entertainment taking place during non-witching hours
Monday, January 22
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