Local Current Blog

Local Gig List: November 26-December 2

Credit: Andrea Swensson/MPR

With the holiday season now officially underway, it seems like there are about a thousand different ways to spend your money in the coming weeks. With that in mind, I did my best to track down some of the best shows happening this week that are easy on the pocketbook — including a few totally free events.

Read on for my top picks, and find more events over on the Current’s concert calendar.

Monday, November 26

Elizabeth Ghandour, Jenny Dalton, and Brad Senne
Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis
9 p.m., free, 21+
Madelia, Minnesota native Elizabeth Ghandour returns home from Brooklyn for this free show. She’ll be joined by a couple of other high-quality singer-songwriters from the Cities: piano-pop act Jenny Dalton and Walker Fields’ Brad Senne.

Cactus Blossoms
Turf Club, St. Paul
7 p.m., $5, 21+
Consider this your semi-regular reminder to make it down to the Turf Club on Monday nights for the Cactus Blossoms’ weekly residency. Classic country crooning at its finest. You know it’s good when the venue likes ’em enough to put ’em on the side of the building!

Tuesday, November 27

The Who By Numbers
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
9 p.m., $5 ($3 with Target Center Who ticket stub), 18+
Legendary English rock band the Who will be in Minneapolis Tuesday to perform their 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia at the Target Center. Afterwards and across the street, a band of local scene staples (Tom Siler of Tulip Sweet/The Odd, Jacques Wait of Pink Mink, Randy Weiss of the Mighty Mofos/Hypstrz) will perform the next album in Who’s discography, By Numbers, from start to finish. They’ll be joined by raucous Clash cover band RuDeGiRL.

Prairie Fire Lady Choir
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
7 p.m., $10, all ages
The 40-strong a capella Prairie Fire Lady Choir wraps up their season with a final blowout. They’ll sing everything from modern pop tunes to sea shanties to an arrangement of the Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait” and bring in special guests like Aby Wolf, Niki Becker, the Roe Family Singers, and the Como Avenue Jug Band.

Wednesday, November 28

Sophia Shorai
Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis
7 p.m., free, all ages
Charismatic jazz vocalist Sophia Shorai brings a trio of talented backing musicians to the Dakota for this free show. Pianist Tommy Barbarella (a onetime member of Prince’s New Power Generation who collaborated with Shorai on her 2010 album, Long as You’re Living) will join her along with bassist Jeff Bailey and drummer Greg Schutte.

Thursday, November 29

The Sunny Era (CD-Release Show)
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
7 p.m., $10, all ages
Fans of chamber-folk groups like Arcade Fire and DeVotchKa will find lots to love on the Sunny Era’s latest full-length, Lost in the Sea of Ghosts. Their baroque, Eastern European aesthetic is more than just a novelty, however; on their new album, it serves an elegant backdrop for their evolving songwriting and storytelling abilities. They’ll be joined at this release show by El Le Faunt and Bomba de Luz.

Ben Weaver
Live Letters HQ, Minneapolis
7 p.m., $15, all ages
Live Letters’ intimate concert series, Evening With Friends, continues with another installment, this time featuring esteemed, gravel-voiced singer-songwriter Ben Weaver alongside Frankie Lee, Benson Ramsey of the Pines, Paula Cisewski, and Wendy Lewis. Advanced tickets are required, and the exact location is provided after purchase.

Queen of France 
Cause Spirits and Soundbar, Minneapolis
9 p.m., free, 21+
Power-pop quartet Queen of France play a free gig at Cause along with Andy Elwell (who’ll be joined by his full backing band) and Parker Warfield.

Friday, November 30

Gary Burger
Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis
10 p.m., $10, 21+
Gary Burger, lead singer of seminal ‘60s garage weirdo group the Monks, re-emerges for a rare Twin Cities show. I can’t recommend this gig highly enough. If you missed his stop in town last January at the 331 Club, this is your chance to hear those fiery electric banjo and feedback-pocked pop nuggets brought to life. Brain, prepare to be melted.

Birthday Suits (7”-Release Show)
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
9 p.m., $8, 18+
This slam-dunk lineup of punk-inspired bands will rock out in honor of Birthday Suits’ new 7”, which is their first release on Asian Man Records. The gig is also a release show for a new photography book by Hiro Tanaka, who has toured with bands like Minus the Bear and Cursive. With Pink Mink, Teenage Moods, and Jim and the French Vanilla.

Cloud Cult
Clyde Iron Works, Duluth
8 p.m., $18 adv/$20 at the door
It’s been a spell since Cloud Cult have performed live, and for good reason — they’ve been busy wrapping up the recording of ther next LP. Expect plenty of fresh material at this Duluth gig, where they’ll be joined by Alan Sparhawk and Gaelynn Lea’s collaboration the Murder of Crows. Cloud Cult will also play in Silver Bay, Minnesota this Saturday.

Skoal Kodiak
The Belmore/New Skyway Lounge, Minneapolis
9 p.m., $5, 21+
Swirling, chaotic noise aficionados Skoal Kodiak headline this show at the Belmore/New Skyway Lounge, a just-opened space that’s located off 1st Ave. and 4th St. in downtown Minneapolis and run by some of the same staff who operated Nick and Eddie. With Oozing Wound, the Miami Dolphins, and Transitional Species.

Phantom Tails and Wiping Out Thousands
Icehouse, Minneapolis
10:30 p.m., $5, 21+
Further proof that Icehouse is doing a bang-up job recruiting some of the best talent in the Twin Cities to perform on its stage. This show will feature to progressive, disparate electronic acts: rock-oriented synth band Phantom Tails and crystalline pop-meets-thrash duo Wiping Out Thousands.

Mary Bue
Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis
10:30 p.m., $5, 21+
Charming pop and folk-influenced pianist Mary Bue makes her debut at the Dakota as part of their affordable late night series.

Saturday, December 1

The Record Show
VFW Post 246 (Uptown), Minneapolis
$3, 9 p.m.-4 p.m., all ages
Vinyl lovers, this bi-monthly gathering in the basement of the Uptown VFW is a must-attend event. Sift through crates of records from some of the state’s most avid collectors and tackle some of that holiday shopping by browsing the booths of vintage concert posters, photos, and other memorabilia. 

Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Clap & Dance-Off
Turf Club, St. Paul
9 p.m., $10, 21+
DJ Jonathan Toubin’s been to hell and back since his last Soul Clap night in the Twin Cities, almost losing his life to a freak accident while on tour in Portland. He’ll celebrate his recovery with this funk and soul dance party, where he’ll pull from his collection of rare and out-of-print 45s. A panel of familiar local faces — Mike Mictlan, Paddy Costello of Dillinger Four, plus writers like Steve Marsh of Mpls/St. Paul Magazine and Reed Fischer of Gimme Noise — will oversee a dance-off. Full disclosure: I’m on the judging panel, but would be at this event regardless. With additional DJing from Lady Heat Hot Soul Party and Hipshaker’s Brian Engel.

Big Cats! vs. Dimitry Killstorm
Cause Spirits & Soundbar, Minneapolis
9 p.m., $6, 21+
Greg Grease hosts this “Beat Battle” between two of the Cities’ more prominent producers, Big Cats! (who released his first instrumental full-length earlier this year) and Wide Eyes’ Dimitry Killstorm (who just dropped that MN hip-hop/MN indie rock mixtape, Make a Scene). The evening will also feature performances from Mike the Martyr and Illuminous 3.

San Souci Quartet, Steve Kaul and the Brass Kings, EverGreen Grass Band
7th Street Entry, Minneapolis
9 p.m., $8, 18+
Local stalwarts SSQ, (shorthand for San Souci Quartet), find inspiration in late 70s bluegrass bands like Old in the Way and modern bluegrass fiends Old Crow Medicine Show. They’ve shared the stage with Pert Near Sandstone, Charlie Parr and many other roots acts, plus with support from longtime regulars Steve Kaul and the Brass Kings, a mighty good time is bound to be had.

Sunday, December 2

Smack & Roll
Republic (7 Corners), Minneapolis
7:30 p.m., $5, all ages
Come for the photography by avid showgoer and Vita.mn art director Leslie Plesser, and stay for a rare performance by Crescent Moon is in Big Trouble, which is the Kill the Vultures MC’s collaboration with one of the finest house/cover bands in town.