The Big Gigs: Shows and highlights of the upcoming entertainment week

  • Updated: January 3, 2008 - 5:51 PM
POP/ROCK

For the third year in a row, the Cabooze takes a load off January's doldrums with the Tribute to the Last Waltz, a spirited if not spot-on re-creation of the Band's famous all-star swan song concert. Guests joining the fray this year include Haley Bonar (as Joni Mitchell), Paul Metsa (Eric Clapton), Lamont Cranston's Pat Hayes (Paul Butterfield), Tim Mahoney (Van Morrison), Dan Israel (some guy named Bob), Trailer Trash's Nate Dungan (Ronnie Hawkins) and, one of the best, Jared Rush as Dr. John. (9:45 p.m. Sat., Cabooze. 21 & older. $12.) (C.R.)

Between tour dates with Of Montreal and Girl Talk, Pittsburgh hip-hop/dance duo Grand Buffet is out on the road with all-horns, no-vocals punky-rock ensemble Streetlight Manifesto. Grand Buffet's new album "King Vision," due in stores Tuesday, is laden with '80s-retro synth parts and kitschy samples, such as Billy Squire, and the funky vocals are sometimes clever but more often cutesy in a Beck-as-rapper way. The Stitch Ups open. (6 p.m. Tue., Varsity Theater. All ages. $15.) (C.R.)

If you thought Norah Jones was a hip addition to the Blue Note Records roster, she's old-school compared with the Bird and the Bee, a trip-hoppy dance-pop ensemble led by Jenny Lewis-like vocalist Inara George, daughter of late Little Feat frontman Lowell George. Their cheekishly named debut album, "Please Clap Your Hands," is full of bouncy, lightly jazzy music that's as coy and polite as the title suggests. The band's touring lineup includes former Minneapolitan drummer Joey Waronker (ex-R.E.M.). L.A. tunesmith Charlie Wadhams opens. (9 p.m. Thu., Varsity Theater. 18 & older. $12-$14.) (C.R.)

CLASSICAL

The Christmas music has gone back on the shelf, there to repose for the next 11 months or so, and normal musical life resumes. First out of the gate in 2008 is the Musical Offering, with an inviting program of Mozart, Beethoven (the haunting "Ghost" Trio), Anton Reicha (a prolific, Prague-born friend of Beethoven) and mysterious Mendelssohn (a piece identified as "Six Romances Without Words for Oboe and Piano," which isn't in my reference books). The ensemble includes flutist Jane Garvin, oboist Basil Reeve, clarinetist Joe Longo, bassoonist Norbert Nielubowski and guest pianist Laurie Sager-Wright. (3 p.m. Sun., Sundin Hall, Hamline University, 1531 Hewitt Av., St. Paul. $5-$15. 651-523-2459.) (L.F.)

Contributors: Staff critics Jon Bream and Chris Riemenschneider and freelancers Larry Fuchsberg and Tom Surowicz.

After another lull while its members focused on college work, Mouthful of Bees kicks back into high action this month. This all-ages show is the first in a string of gigs that includes First Ave's Best New Bands showcase on Jan. 18. City Pages also named the scruffy, mood-swinging, hard-bobbing quartet the best new band in its 2007 "Best of the Twin Cities" issue. And to think that MOB was virtually unknown this time last year, when it released its debut CD "The End." The live show is even better than the album. One for the Team, Ladyslipper, the P.Laquers and Now, Now Every Children open. (5 p.m. Sun., Triple Rock. All ages. $7.) (C.R.)

JAZZ

Led by New York City-based trombonist Mark Miller (known for his work around town in the '90s with the Motion Poets), the very modern jazz quartet Slide Huxtable released a terrific, belated debut CD in 2007, "The Return of Slide Huxtable." Its mix of well-crafted originals and inspired covers -- including drummer Ralph Peterson's "The Juggla" and a reggae makeover of Broadway oldie "Whatever Lola Wants" -- provided a wide range of moods. Somber, soul-stirring, whimsical, funky, the five-star effort ran the gamut. And the whimsy quotient should go up a bit this week, with impish guitar master Dean Magraw on board as a "special guest" sub, replacing Bill Bergmann. Miller's old Motion Poets pals, the Bates brothers (Chris on bass, J.T. on drums), round out a crafty and cool cast. (10 p.m. Mon., Turf Club's Clown Lounge. 9:30 p.m. Thu., Artists' Quarter. 11:30 p.m. next Fri., Dakota Jazz Club.) (T.S.)

It looks like another busy year for Mama Digdown's Brass Band, led by Minnesota's Erik Jacobson on the big brawny sousaphone. The eight Wisconsin-based musicians are set to return to the Jazz Ascona festival in Switzerland, where they recorded a swell live CD in 2005, and have noteworthy dates lined up at the fabled Green Mill in Chicago and in New Orleans, where they'll be rompin' and stompin' in the freewheeling annual Krewe du Vieux Parade (dubbed the "Magical Misery Tour" this year) this month. But the very first date on the 2008 Mama Digdown's calendar is happily upriver, on the West Bank. (8 p.m. Sat., Nomad World Pub.) (T.S.)

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