Big Gigs: The best Twin Cities concerts Dec. 13-19

  • Updated: December 15, 2013 - 3:14 PM
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Steel Panther plays First Avenue on Tuesday.

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With only one new album from its roster in 2013 (Dessa’s “Parts of Speech”), Doomtree’s Blowout IX concerts could’ve just turned into a rehash of past years. Yeah, right. To keep things fresh, the hip-hop crew collaborated with “videoptical” wizards Playatta for a special visual element. The rappers — Sims, Cecil Otter, P.O.S., Mike Mictlan and Dessa — are nailing down their verses from a few new songs to be premiered at the shows, for another all-crew album next year. They’re also revisiting songs they haven’t done in a while. No openers are expected, but “special guests” are certainly waiting in the wings. (9 p.m. Fri., 8 p.m. Sat., 7 p.m. Sun., First Avenue. Sold out except Sun.) Chris Riemenschneider

POP/ROCK

An underrated Americana tunesmith from Akron, Ohio, Tim Easton has been championed by the likes of Lucinda Williams and our own Gary Louris. He recorded part of his memorable 2006 album “Ammunition” in Minneapolis with Louris and Ed Ackerson producing, and he continues to move around and record with different backdrops/producers. His (erroneously named) new effort, “Not Cool,” features some of the best purveyors of vintage rockabilly and cow-punk in his newly adopted hometown of Nashville. Rogue Valley frontman Chris Koza opens. (11 p.m. Fri., Icehouse, $8.) Riemenschneider

 

Wrapping up a year that saw them take home a Grammy (for best children’s album) and take off on the Appalachian Trail (the subject of a CD/DVD due next year), bluegrassy folk-picking duo the Okee Dokee Brothers return to the best all-ages venue in town for their second annual pre-holidays family concerts. The Colorado-reared, Twin Cities-based duo will have a full band and some of their new songs in tow, along with the summer-warm outdoor anthems off last year’s album “Can You Canoe?” (11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, both shows sold out. Also: 1 & 4 p.m. Sun., Paramount Theatre, St. Cloud, $6-$10.) Riemenschneider

 

After opening slots with Trombone Shorty and Bonnie Raitt earlier this year, American music treasure Mavis Staples will get her own Twin Cities headline concert to promote her latest Jeff Tweedy-produced delight, “One True Vine,” which just received a Grammy nod and includes some gems penned by the Wilco leader. In concert, this soul/gospel great offers distinctive interpretations of songs associated with the Band, Buffalo Springfield and other stars as well as material that landed her in the Rock Hall of Fame with the Staple Singers. I will lead a discussion about Staples one hour before showtime. (8 p.m. Sat., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $34.) Jon Bream

 

An in-demand violinist who co-founded the Music Lab school and has played around town with the Blackberry Brandy Boys, Brian Just Band, Brass Kings and Killer Hayseeds, Jillian Rae finally takes a bow — get it? — as a singer/songwriter and frontwoman. Her solo debut, “Heartbeat,” features jangly folk-pop tunes laden with bouncy piano and twangy guitar, and some impressively rocky ballads that show off her vocal talents. Adam Levy’s Honeydogs and one-man band Gallupstar support Rae’s release party. (8 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, $12-$15, all ages.) Riemenschneider

 

Tina Schlieske, of Tina & the B-Sides fame, returns home for her annual holiday rock ’n’ roll revue as Lola & the Red Family Band. She’s a knockout singer whether doing the Stones, Aretha or holiday chestnuts. Maybe she’ll throw in a tune or two from her compelling new EP, “Pinned Up,” featuring covers of Minnesota icons — Soul Asylum, Hüsker Dü, the Jayhawks, Prince, the Replacements and Bob Dylan — from a female perspective. Throwback twangers the Saddle Sores open. (9 p.m. Sat., Cabooze, $15.) Bream

 

Raised in Tennessee but a New York City resident for the past two years, twangy charmer Valerie June melds gospel, blues, folk, soul and Appalachian with a front-porch vibe. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys produced her “Pushin’ Against a Stone,” one of the overlooked treats of 2013. In her Minneapolis debut in August, June was retro yet disarmingly fresh. Minneapolis duo the Sudden Lovelys opens. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Cedar Cultural Center, $12-$15.) Bream

 

Before Bon Iver, Bonnie “Prince” Billy was the best-known pseudonym in indie folk. It belongs to Kentucky cult hero Will Oldham, whose songs have been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash (the stunning “I See a Darkness”), Marianne Faithfull (“A King at Night”) and Mark Lanegan (“You Will Miss Me When I Burn”). His are not tunes for the fainthearted, in other words. He’s on his first solo tour in six years behind another highly praised collection of low-down songs, this one entirely self-made and thus self-titled. Opening act is ambient, instrumental Chicago tape-loop act Bitchin’ Baja, which sounds akin to local favorite Dosh. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $30.) Riemenschneider

 

Remember that night in August when Norah Jones, Gary Louris and Jonny “Corndawg” Fritz all took the Entry stage? That was fun, but the biggest stars of the show were “Born Again” folk-rocker Cory Chisel, his Wandering Sons co-vocalist Adriel Denae and Jones’ backing band the Candles. That same core bunch is coming around as an extension of the holiday show Chisel has been hosting in his hometown of Appleton, Wis. “Special guests” are promised again, but who cares? (8 p.m. Sun., Turf Club, $15.) Riemenschneider

 

  • related content

  • Mavis Staples performs Saturday at Hopkins Center for the Arts.

  • P.O.S. performed during last year’s Doomtree Blowout at First Avenue.

  • Anais Mitchell

  • Jillian Rae

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