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This week's 23 best concerts: Dec. 27-Jan. 2

Tickle Torture is ready for NYE

Tickle Torture is ready for NYE Facebook

Rounding up the best concerts in the Twin Cities. 

  • THE SHACKLETONS (RECORD RELEASE SHOW) Dec. 27, 7:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • BEN UTECHT AND MICK STERLING: AN ANDY WILLIAMS BING CROSBY CHRISTMAS Dec. 27, 8:15 p.m. at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
  • RIO NIDO Dec. 27, 9:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

BoDeans
Dakota, Thursday 12.28
The BoDeans’ annual year-end Twin Cities shows will be among only a handful of special performances of stripped-down versions of BoDeans classics. The “much quieter, more intimate” variations of some 30 years’ worth of BoDeans nuggets will be played by an equally spare band lineup: singer/guitarist Kurt Neumann, pianist Stefano Intelisano, bassist Sam Hawksley, and drummer Fred Mandjuano. Neumann and Sam Llanas formed the band in their hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin, spawning a heartland, roots-entangled rock sound that momentarily spurred chart action while firing up a long-enduring cult following. Through numerous personnel changes, the odd hiatus, Llanas’ 2011 departure, and Neumann’s migration to Texas, the BoDeans have survived, even when it was virtually Neumann alone, as was the case on this year’s Thirteen, a set dominated by tunes written for the Netflix series The Ranch. The songs, unpretentious but of substantial character, reveal a reflective Neumann musing about days and opportunities past, and the concept of home, to which the revisited classics will inevitably lead. 7 p.m. $32-$65. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-5299. —Rick Mason

  • PANOPTICON Dec. 28, 6:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • MASKED INTRUDER Dec. 28, 8:00 p.m. at 7th St. Entry
  • GYPSE FREQ CIRCUS (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW) Dec. 28, 8:00 p.m. at The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge

Left Lane Cruiser: Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival Pre-Party
The Hook and Ladder, Friday 12.29
Although this is billed as a “pre-party” for the next Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival at the old Longfellow neighborhood firehouse, that event won’t happen until July. But the four bands recruited here to stir up way-pre-fest frenzy just might be up to the job, led by Indiana’s Left Lane Cruiser, stalwarts of the raw and raucous North Mississippi Hill Country-inspired deep blues movement. The duo’s punkish blues-rock maelstroms conflate Pete Dio’s rhythmic stomp with Freddie Evans’ rampaging guitar amid grainy howling about whiskey and crocodiles on their slightly more lyrical but still furious new album, Claw Machine Wizard. The local contingent, all emanating from Anoka, is led by Alex “Crankshaft” Larson & the Gear Grinders, who dial a wicked dose of sinuous, hotrod-fueled rockabilly into the blues-rock equation. The quartet Flatwater Mississippi venture into swampy psychedelia and Southern-rock-filtered Delta blues. Rounding out the lineup will be the shred-aholic metal band Mutation. 21+. 8 p.m. $10-$12. 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis; 612-345-7166. —Rick Mason

  • HEIRUSPECS 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY AND HOLIDAY CLASSIC Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • THE NEW STANDARDS Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • SOUL ASYLUM AND HAR MAR SUPERSTAR Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m. at First Avenue

Snowta NYE
Minneapolis Convention Center, Saturday 12.30 and Sunday 12.31
Primarily a mix of EDM and hip-hop, the second-annual, 55-act Snowta NYE is headlined by British Columbia dubstep mainstay Excision, performing on his innovative custom stage “the Paradox,” and Pretty Lights Live, the full band of Colorado producer Pretty Lights. On the rap side, the biggest names are Atlanta trap god Gucci Mane, who’s fully rebounded from his 2013-16 prison term, and Dallas sing-rapper Post Malone, fresh off the success of his No. 1 hit “Rockstar.” Local hip-hop will be well represented, too, with performances by Minneapolis wildman Prof, ex-Gophers hoops star Mac Irv, versatile 2017 Picked to Click finalist Dwynell Roland, and others. All in all, Snowta should live up to its billing as “the Midwest’s largest indoor music festival” and deliver all the excitement that implies. 18+. 6 p.m. $100-$180 for one-day pass; $200-$260 for two-day pass. 1301 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-335-6000. —Michael Madden

  • NEW YEAR'S EVE 2018 FEATURING JAUZ Dec. 30, 7:00 p.m. at Skyway Theatre
  • GEAR DADDIES Dec. 30, 7:30 p.m. at Medina Entertainment Center
  • NIGHT MOVES Dec. 30, 8:00 p.m. at Turf Club

Tickle Torture
Fine Line Music Cafe, Sunday 12.31
The most erotic NYE live-music option in the Twin Cities will once again be at the Fine Line and headlined by Tickle Torture, the alias of L.A.-via-Minneapolis journeyman Elliott Kozel. Tickle Torture’s music is a propulsive, noisy blend of ’80s pop, steamy R&B, and fizzy electro with an ever-present Prince influence. While he hasn’t released a record since 2014’s Spectrophilia EP, he had a local hit with last year’s “Full Court Press” (named City Pages’ Best Song to Have Sex to 2017), and more new music is expected in February. TT’s live performances are notoriously freaky and visually stimulating, with a veiled, body-painted Kozel joined by male and female dancers. With dream-popper Suzie, alt-R&B singer/producer Velvet Negroni (Kozel’s guest on “Full Court Press”), and DJ Greenery. 18+. 10 p.m. $20-$25. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8100. —Michael Madden

Lizzo
Myth, Sunday 12.31
Lizzo is starting to blow up just like her Minnesota fans thought she might when the Houston-bred rapper and singer started making a buzz here in her adopted hometown half a decade ago. On her first two solo albums, 2013’s Lizzobangers and 2015’s Big Grrrl Small World, the rapper and singer established herself as a malleable post-Missy Elliott type, kinetically blending pop, rap, and electronic styles. That winning streak generated some nationwide recognition, and Lizzo eventually signed to Atlantic Records. The major-label leap is working out well for her: Her first Atlantic single, the poppy and empowering “Good as Hell,” was her biggest song to date, and the subsequent Coconut Oil EP was just as deliriously fun as her previous records. With two recently released singles, “Water Me” and “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo is presumably readying her first Atlantic full-length, though no official announcement has been made. For this NYE bash, she’ll be joined by Cali rapper/singer Brooke Candy and Chicago’s uber-raunchy Cupcakke. 18+. 9 p.m. $45. 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood; 651-779-6984. —Michael Madden

RL
Prive, Sunday 12.31
The former face of Minneapolis R&B group Next has had a rocky career since the group’s last album, 2002’s The Next Episode, but it’s also been more eventful than he’s given credit for. Next, of course, was the trio behind one of the biggest songs to ever come out of Minnesota, 1997’s supremely sensual and (um) bulging “Too Close,” which played a big part in RL and co. cleaning up at the 1998 Billboard Awards. Five charting singles (most notably “Wifey”) and two more Next albums followed before RL fully struck out on his own, eventually writing for Jamie Foxx, Ginuwine, and others. While he’s flown under the radar during the 2010s, the 40-year-old has still been active, releasing mixtapes and singles both as a soloist and one-third of the supergroup WQRL, also featuring Jagged Edge’s Wingo and 112’s Q Parker. With Q Paker and Rajitheone; dress code enforced. 21+. 9 p.m. $25-$50. 315 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-444-3322. —Michael Madden

  • MORRIS DAY AND THE TIME Dec. 31, 3:00 p.m. at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
  • WINTER METAL MELTDOWN FEST: NEW YEAR'S EVE EDITION Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m. at Cabooze
  • NEW YEAR'S EVE AT MORTS FEATURING BNLX Dec. 31, 9:00 p.m. at Mortimer's
  • THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS Jan. 1, 7:00 p.m. at Turf Club
  • DAVINA AND THE VAGABONDS Jan. 1, 7:00 p.m. at Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

... then the concert calendar dries up! Enjoy a rocking Tuesday at home with Netflix.