Big Gigs: The best Twin Cities concerts Dec. 6-12

  • Updated: December 5, 2013 - 3:01 PM

Concert spotlights on the Miley Cyrus-led Jingle Ball, Drake, Chance the Rapper, Mason Jennings, Curtiss A's Lennon tribute, Cloud Cult and a holiday shows galore.

Chance the Rapper brings the silly and the serious to First Avenue on Monday.

Photo: Robb D. Cohen • RobbsPhotos/Invision/AP,

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Drake might still stand in Kanye West’s shadow as the deepest-thinking mainstream MC in the game, but at least he isn’t standing up Minnesota fans. His tour stop, postponed in October, now comes at the tail end of the U.S. trek behind “Nothing Was the Same,” his widely acclaimed and surprisingly personal and lonesome-sounding third record. Yes, fame and fortune sure can be tough on those sensitive rappers. Toronto’s second-most talked-about resident of the year is earning a lot of good marks for his first major headlining tour. He has sashaying R&B stud Miguel of “Lotus Flower Bomb” fame and Atlanta rapper Future for openers. (7 p.m. Sun., Target Center, $49.75-$79.75.) Riemenschneider


Ranked above Drake’s album on Rolling Stone’s and Spin’s best-of-2013 lists, Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap” was actually just a mixtape released without a major push. But it pushed the 20-year-old Chicagoan to a new level. The peculiarly voiced rapper — think: Pee Wee Herman and Twista with some of Frank Ocean’s soulfulness — offered shape-shifting beats and a madcap array of lyrical references, from silly childhood nods to Chuck E. Cheese and Nickelodeon to seriously addressing the ascending murder rate in his hometown. (9 p.m. Mon., First Avenue, $20.) Riemenschneider


Fittingly secretive for a bar that emerged out of Prohibition, the C.C. Club’s 80th anniversary lineup won’t be revealed beforehand. All we know is that there will be six acts playing each of the two nights, and they won’t be all young hipster bands you might see hanging out there nowadays. The south Minneapolis haven has been a watering hole for local musicians going back to the ’60s, so no telling who might want to relive their gory days. It definitely won’t be the guys from that one newly reformed ’80s band, though, if that’s who you’re thinking. (8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 2600 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., sold out.) Riemenschneider


After playing with stripped-down arrangements before and after the February release of its latest, truly lovelorn album “Love,” Cloud Cult will wind down the year by recording an entirely acoustic live album over three nights. The raw format accentuates the chamber aspect of the Minne-Sconnie septet’s strings and horns alongside frontman Craig Minowa’s ultra-intimate lyricism. Not sure if the painters in the band will use pencils, watercolors or what. (8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 4 p.m. Sun., Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Av. S., Mpls., sold out.) Riemenschneider


Mason Jennings has been on the road for most of the fall, playing solo gigs behind the release of his warm new album, “Always Been,” but he has invited a few friends to join him for the tour’s two-night finish. That includes the same backing band he employed at the State Fair in August, with Bon Iver drummer Sean Carey, guitar wiz Jacob Hanson and longtime bassist Rob Skoro. It will also include Iowa’s rambling-folkie opener Pieta Brown (who sang on the record) and her maestro partner Bo Ramsey (who produced it). Read an interview with Jennings at (7 p.m. Fri. & Sat., First Avenue, $20.) Riemenschneider


Curtiss A bounced back from a minor heart attack (if there is such a thing) in 2011 to look and sound his fittest in years, which obviously bodes well for his biggest gig of the year. The Twin Cities rock vet’s 34th annual John Lennon Tribute requires the stamina of a true rock ’n’ roll workhorse, since it covers a wide swath of the Beatles’ tunes as well as a healthy bevy of the solo stuff — with a George Harrison tune or two thrown in for good measure. Per recent tradition, the show will also feature acts from the latest “Minnesota Beatle Project” charity album, which this year means a song or two from the Suburbs, Cactus Blossoms and Sonny Knight & the Lakers mid-concert while Curt takes a much-deserved break. (7 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, $15.) Riemenschneider


This year’s Jingle Ball could have the most timely “gets” since KDWB landed Kanye West back in — oh, he canceled, remember? Has there been any more-talked-about pop star this year than Miley Cyrus? Her MTV partner in crime, Robin Thicke, will be jingling, too, along with “I Like It” hitmaker Enrique Iglesias, “Whistle” rapper Flo Rida, enduring emo rockers Fall Out Boy, big-voiced Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande, YouTube teen sensation Austin Mahone and “X Factor” girl group Fifth Harmony. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Xcel Energy Center, $38-$153.) Jon Bream


Always an egghead, Stanford grad Vienna Teng, 35, starting working on “Aims,” her first album in four years, while in grad school at the University of Michigan studying sustainability. The old introspective piano popster is now an ambitious musicmaker who makes pretty, passionate electronic music with cascading choirs and sings about such big topics as the Occupy movement. She will be accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Alex Wong and Jordan Hamlin. (7 p.m. Tue., Dakota Jazz Club, $30.) Bream


Regular visitors to the Dakota, Tower of Power is usually the loudest and largest band to play the intimate space — and one of the funkiest. Co-founder Emilio Castillo has his well-drilled horn-driven band spreading the distinctive East Bay greasy funk with as much precision and spirit as when he started TOP 45 years ago. This is the last go-round for stylish vocalist Larry Braggs, who kills it on such ballads as “You’re Still a Young Man.” (7 & 9 p.m. Wed.-Dec. 14, Dakota, $35-$70.) Bream

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  • From left, Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus perform "Blurred Lines" at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: INVW

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