You can thank the Mayans for this one: The End of the World Party, timed to the Dec. 22 cutoff of the ancient Americans' calendar, actually marks something of a new beginning of Twin Cities hip-hop talent in the First Avenue main room. It will be the first time on the big stage for all-female trio the Chalice, who will return for the Best New Bands showcase next month, as well as burgeoning dynamo MC Sean Anonymous. The show will also be hosted by Toki Wright and headlined by saucy favorites Tribe & the Big Cats! If we make it that long. Look for some extra apocalyptic do-dads such as a countdown clock and "last request wall." (10 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, $8-$10.) Chris Riemenschneider

While it seems every rapper is working with a live band now -- no complaints! -- let's not forget the group that taught everyone how to do it locally: Heiruspecs. The second-most-famous band of former St. Paul Central High School buds (after Mint Condition) is finally working on new music again and reconvening at a new venue for its seventh annual holiday concert, always loaded with guest appearances and an extra dose of communal hip-hop spirit. Wolf Lords, the new electronic duo with Grant Cutler (ex-Lookbook) and singer Aby Wolf, open along with young rapper Metasota, whose "Meta May" song-a-day series may have been the most impressive feat by any local musician this year. (10 p.m. Sat., Icehouse, $10-$12.) Riemenschneider


Brooklyn isn't the only American urban center cool enough to have its own Afrobeat scene. Case in point: The Chicago Afrobeat Project, an eight-member ensemble that has been channeling Fela Kuti and his psychedelic and funky old-continent sounds for a decade now. The group is making a rare trek outside the Chicago Loop to promote its fourth album, "Nyash Up!" To add to the world-party value, local Latino party band Malamanya opens. (10 p.m. Fri., 7th Street Entry, $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

A world that awards shallow mooks fame and fortune probably deserves a fiery fate, so it's only fitting that "Jersey Shore" cast member Pauly D is DJ-ing an "End of the World Blowout" the night of the Mayan-predicted apocalypse. Signing with a G-Unit subsidiary last year was probably a wise move in his search for a post-"Shore" career, as his spinoff reality show "The Pauly D Project" has been a ratings stinker. Jack Trash opens a night of fist-pumping into oblivion. (9 p.m. Fri., Myth, 18-plus, $30.) Michael Rietmulder

For the 10th year running, Minnesota roots-rockers the White Iron Band are getting into the holiday spirit with their annual "Dreaming of a White Iron Xmas" show. This year the barnstorming sextet comes bearing a new album titled "Damn the Nighttime." The teaser track "Workin' Man" displays the band's Iron Range ethos over a countrified bop, fleet fiddling and a timeless lap steel solo. With Matt Ray and Those Damn Horses and Teague Alexy. (9:30 p.m. Fri., Cabooze, 18-plus, $8.) M.R.

Mason Jennings had an unusually quiet year, which could actually make his annual First Ave gig more interesting than usual. One of Minneapolis' most celebrated singer/songwriters, the mostly acoustic indie-folk stalwart is working on the follow-up to last year's inspired, light-to-dark collection "Minnesota." He'll have a band with him and he's bringing in some new folks he enjoys for openers. Los Angeles area folkie Haroula Rose has a buzz going back home and the ever-artful Jim White producing her next record. Wisconsin boy/girl duo Blessed Feathers also opens. (8:30 p.m. Sat., First Avenue. $22-$25.) Riemenschneider

Even sunny Californian hippie-popsters like the kids in Grouplove get sick. Singer Christian Zucconi was hit with a double whammy of flu and laryngitis last month and had to postpone his band's return to First Ave, but kudos to them for making good on the date so close to the holidays. In fact, the show might be extra fun since it will be one of their last of a breakout year that saw their catchy and giddy hit "Tongue Tied" rise into heavy rotation off an iPod commercial. The coed quintet has always been a fun live act, though. (7:30 p.m. Sun., First Avenue. $20-$22.) Riemenschneider


Peter Ostroushko's latest album, a three-CD set called "The Mando Chronicles," is the most ambitious of his long career. The string wizard and "A Prairie Home Companion" favorite serves up a CD of "Americana," another of "Old World" music and a third titled "Classical/South Americana," split between longhair and Latin music. He's in great company throughout, both national (Norman Blake, Johnny Gimble) and local (Dean Magraw, Daithí Sproule, plus members of the Minnesota Orchestra and SPCO). An instant favorite piece is named, "Mr. Bill Hinkley's March to the Promised Land," in memory of another great multi-instrumentalist. (8 p.m. Fri., sold out. 2 p.m. Sat., $15-$18, Landmark Center.) Tom Surowicz

When it comes to musical niche marketing, the Eddies are in a class by themselves. They are the only Minnesota band we know specializing in sea shanties, a cappella whaling and sailing songs, and they do all your oceanic favorites, the complete maritime hit parade: "Blow the Man Down," "All for Me Grog," "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor," "Haul Away Joe," etc. The Eddies add occasional instrumentation -- bits of guitar, mandola and accordion -- and flesh out their sets with landlubber tunes by esteemed folk, country and rock writers. Their set list includes songs by Woody Guthrie, John Prine, Leadbelly, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Bill Staines and Hank Williams. Since this week's gig is a holiday show, you can surely expect carols, as well. (7 p.m. Wed., 331 Club, no cover.) Surowicz


Since he spends a good portion of the year touring in Jonny Lang's band, local fans don't get to see as much of crafty funk, jazz and world-music bassist Jim Anton as they did when he was packing various venues with Greazy Meal, Eight Head, Beat the Clock and other cool genre-bending combos. This weekend, he'll lead a trio with Jon Pemberton, who's well-skilled on both trumpet and piano, and drummer John Rochon. Anton will also get to show off his skills on the tres, a Latin guitar-like instrument most popular in Cuba. (7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Icehouse, no cover.) Surowicz


Dave Karr has been around quite a while, but there's no truth to the rumor that he played social dances for the Mayans. However, the venerable saxman and his quartet will be the stars of an end-of-the-world weekend proving that "bebop lives!" and "Bird lives!," even if the Mayans are defunct. (And by Bird, we don't mean that lovely quetzal that those Mayans revered.) In octogenarian Karr, the Twin Cities have a remarkable jazz survivor, a still-frisky and hard-swinging asset to any bandstand. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists' Quarter, $10.) Surowicz