This was supposed to be the weekend that Roma di Luna hosted its holiday concerts at the Cedar. Instead, the warm and familial folk/rock band has been replaced by one of its co-leader's other groups, the harrowing and experimental hip-hop duo Kill the Vultures, plus a trio of equally noisy and unsweet rock bands.

The timing is just a coincidence, says Alexei Casselle, whose run with Roma di Luna ended this summer along with his marriage.

"If anything, I think it says a lot about the Cedar and the versatility of their programming," said the Twin Cities music vet also known as Crescent Moon. Kill the Vultures joined Saturday's lineup at the invitation of the Book of Right On, who also recruited Gay Witch Abortion and Wizards Are Real.

Still, the booking underscores a statement that Casselle hopes to make: Kill the Vultures is back in business, and means business.

Coincidentally or not, Kill the Vultures was just picked by Atmosphere to open its second "Welcome to Minnesota" tour, which starts Feb. 20 in Mankato (see page 4 for details).

Casselle formed the group in 2005 with beatmaker Stephen "Anatomy" Lewis and some of their other former bandmates in Oddjobs, back when Casselle also toured as Atmosphere's hype man. He kept Vultures going alongside Roma di Luna, releasing the last album, "Ecce Beast," in 2009. But he admits the duo went on the back burner.

"Kill the Vultures will absolutely be my focal point again," he said. "I have always been an MC first and foremost, and it's nice to be able to focus on one music project right now."

Look for a new Vultures album next year, full of the same crime-filled scenes and dense beats as the last one, but also a direct focus "on facing the devil," Casselle promised. Musically, Kill the Vultures came off like a maniacal, out-there sonic freak show when it first came around, but times have changed. Casselle pointed to Kanye West's album "My Beautiful Dark, Twisted Fantasy" as not being too far removed from KTV (I'd say Doomtree, too).

Besides the Vultures, Casselle also plans to perform more with Crescent Moon Is in Big Trouble, his live rap/rock pairing with instrumental band Big Trouble. He also traveled to France last year to work on a more electronic project called Numbers Not Names, due next fall on the label Ici d'Ailleurs.

Just as good things are happening for his former wife and bandmate Channy Leaneagh in her new band Poliça -- "I've known for a while that Channy could have a successful career in music if she chose to," he said -- Casselle believes he can make the best of Roma di Luna's unfortunate demise.

"Sometimes there isn't a 'perfect' ending, but there was an ending, nonetheless," he said. "Now it's time for everyone to move on."