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Thursday, Dec. 7

1. Doja Cat: Expect a lot of twerking and rapping when the "Say So" hitmaker hits town on her first arena-headlining tour with a certain red-hot newcomer in tow. Ice Spice, 21, might even now be the bigger draw in the opening slot, following her high-profile collaborations with Nicki Minaj ("Barbie World") and Taylor Swift ("Karma"). But the Los Angeles-reared Doja, 28, has the deeper catalog and stronger rap delivery, as evidenced by her harder-edged new album, "Scarlet." She's performing nearly all of the new LP on tour alongside her older pop hits, also including "Kiss Me More" and "Need to Know." (7:30 p.m. Target Center, 600 1st Av. N., Mpls., $55-$175,

2. Arlo Parks: Before going viral on her way to earning a Mercury Prize and best new artist Grammy nomination with her soothing 2021 debut album "Collapsed in Sunbeams," this jazzy British soul-pop singer famously spent years holed up in her West London bedroom writing songs and poetry. She's revisiting that intimate energy on a short U.S. radio-promotion tour billed as "Arlo Parks: Unplugged Music & Poetry," which is Night One of the Current's Winter Warmer weekend. It follows the release of Parks' more eclectic and high-energy second album, "My Soft Machine," and the publication of her poetry book, "The Magic Border." Local picker Laamar makes for a well-suited opener. (7 p.m. Fine Line, 318 1st Av. N., Mpls., $35-$50,

3. St. Paul Chamber Orchestra: The SPCO continues a December tradition by performing five of J.S. Bach's "Brandenburg" Concertos, arguably the peak of baroque instrumental music. You'll rarely hear them played better than by the SPCO's brilliant bunch. (7 p.m. Thu., Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Apple Valley; 7 p.m. Fri., St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, Plymouth; 7 p.m. Sat., Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul. $5-$55, students and children free,

4. Karla Bonoff and Livingston Taylor: Here's a match made in 1970s singer/songwriter heaven. Best known for her hit "Personally," Bonoff also penned prominent songs for Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt and Wynonna Judd, among others. She released her first holiday album, "Silent Night," in 2020 and dropped a Christmas duet with Michael McDonald the following year. Bonoff will duet with Taylor, younger brother of James and singer of his own winners "First Time Love" and "I'll Come Running." As the show unfolds, Bonoff and Taylor will weave solo pieces between the duets. (7 p.m. Thu. & Fri. the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $60-$75,

5. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real: Having long since come out from under his iconic dad Willie Nelson's cloud, er, shadow, Lukas and his road-tested band issued their best album yet in 2023, "Sticks and Stones." The LP showcases the tastefully jammy tendencies they honed as Neil Young backers, the Southern rocky vibe they contributed to the "A Star Is Born" soundtrack, the bluesy sounds Lukas soaked up as a part-time Texan and the country styling heard in the hit duet with Lainey Wilson, "More Than Friends." Nelson is touring the mainland before heading home to Maui to head up a big benefit concert for wildfire victims. Tennessean Meg McGee opens. (8 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $30-$35,

Also: Ed Robertson leads Barenaked Ladies for its holiday show featuring seasonal favorites "Feliz Navidad," "Green Christmas" and "I Have a Little Dreidel" as well as "Brian Wilson," "One Week" and tunes from the group's new 14th album "In Flight" (8 p.m. Mystic Lake Casino Showroom, $59-$129); Dave Wakeling brings his latest incarnation of the English Beat for an intimate show after its 1980 classic ska debut "I Just Can't Stop It" was reissued last month in an expanded edition on Record Store Day (7:30 p.m. Woman's Club, sold out); indie country singers Drake White and William Clark Green team up (8 p.m. Varsity Theater, $25 and up); Twin Cities guitarist Joel Shapira presents We Three Strings, his interpretations of holiday music delivered on three different guitars — jazz archtop, acoustic steel string and nylon string (6:30 p.m. Dunsmore Room at Crooners, $25-$35); Indiana's the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band returns, offering selections from its 10 country-blues albums (8 p.m. Turf Club, $17-$20); Alan Sparhawk's funky quartet Derecho Rhythm Section returns to Icehouse (8 p.m., $12-$15).

Friday, Dec. 8

6. John Lennon Tribute: With a little help from his many friends, the indomitable Curtiss A will deliver his 44th annual Lennon show. This always marvelous marathon will feature Beatles favorites, Lennon solo cuts and maybe even the new/old "Now and Then." Don't expect any AI, but don't be surprised if the Twin Cities dean of scream throws in some social commentary as he's wont to do. The rotating all-star cast usually includes longtime Curtiss A cronies Steve Brantseg, Gregg Inhofer and Johnny Haga, among others. (8 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Av N., Mpls., $25-$30,

7. Cantus: The low-voice Twin Cities octet gets around almost as much as Santa in presenting its annual Christmas program, this year built around Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and Christine Le's "The Hawai'i Snowman." (11 a.m. Fri. & 3:30 p.m. Dec. 16, Westminster Hall,, Mpls.; 7 p.m. Sat., Zumbro Lutheran Church, Rochester; 3 p.m. Sun., Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater; 11 a.m. Dec. 14, Meetinghouse Church,, Edina; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, Plymouth; 3 p.m. Dec. 17, Hamline Church, St. Paul; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, Capri Theater, Mpls.; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Paul; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22, Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul. $5-$48,

Also: Fresh off releasing the all-too-seasonal "Winter Depression," Minneapolis' golden-voiced folk-rock troubadour Ondara is giving only his second hometown gig of the year as Night Two of the Current's Winter Warmup (8 p.m. Uptown Theater, $35-$59); Fargo-reared a cappella boys-to-men quartet the Blenders are delivering their 24th annual holiday concerts at the Pantages Theatre, this year promising a "new jazz Yule medley" (8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 2 p.m. Sun.,$52); the former "Riverdance" singer who's become an Irish music fixture in the Twin Cities, Katie McMahon hosts her annual Celtic Christmas concert (7:30 p.m. the O'Shaughnessy, $5-$29); Las Vegas' dark punky metal band Falling in Reverse is co-headlining the 93X Nutcracker concert with ex-"American Idol" rocker Chris Daughtry's namesake group (7:30 the Armory, $57); local Latin American/Caribbean groovers Malamanya are back at the Uptown VFW (10 p.m., $15).

Saturday, Dec. 9

8. Los Lobos: One of America's all-time greatest and most varied rock bands finally returned to one of its most highly regarded rock clubs this time last year, where the group had a rich early-'80s history — first show: opening for Soul Asylum in the Entry — but then didn't play there for 26 years. The reunion was so much fun, the East L.A. workhorses are already coming back. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the group's inception as a mariachi band, and 35 years since they hit it big with "La Bamba" soundtrack. What a long, strange, joyously rocking trip it's been. (8 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $40,

Also: After a fall tour of Europe, Mankato-launched Home Free, "Sing Off" champs 10 years ago, are bringing their seasonal show back to Minnesota (6 p.m. Treasure Island Casino, $35-$114); a decade since its namesake leader spun off from his old emo-y pop-rock band Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness has developed its own cultish following and is using it to showcase Michigander and Wildermiss on its New Friends Tour (6:45 p.m. Uptown Theater, all ages, $35-$55); Twin Cities stellar soprano Maria Jette and pianist Timothy Lovelace offer A Classical-ish Christmas with "O Holy Night," "Frosty the Snowman" in Norwegian and some Puccini (6:30 p.m. Dunsmore Room at Crooners, $25-$35).

Sunday, Dec. 10

The driving force behind literary Southern-rock unit the Drive-by Truckers, Patterson Hood will make his debut at the Dakota on a solo-acoustic tour filled with DBT nuggets and tall tales (7 p.m., $45-$50); adventurous Twin Cities music switch-hitter Al Church is dialing up "As Seen on TV," a tribute to TV themes with other local utility players and openers the Riffin' Trio (6:30 p.m. Turf Club, $15, or $16.50 with a TV dinner).

Monday, Dec. 11

Jazzy Texas chanteuse Kat Edmonson shares songs from her 2021 disc "Holiday Swingin'!" (7 p.m. $35-$40); Choro Borealis, an all-star Twin Cities ensemble, offers Samba Claus: A Brazilian Holiday (6:30 p.m. Dunsmore Room at Crooners, $25-$35); Canadian alt-rocker Billy Raffoul makes good after an October postponement (8 p.m. Turf Club, $18-$20); local guitar master Zacc Harris's monthlong curation of the Monday jazz series at Icehouse continues with his quartet and the Ted Olsen Quartet (8 p.m., $12-$15).

Tuesday, Dec. 12

9. José James: It's a holiday homecoming for the jazzy soul singer with hip-hop instincts. Since he released "Merry Christmas from José James" in 2021, the Minneapolis-reared (South High alum), Brooklyn-launched and Los Angeles-based singer has made the Dakota a December must-stop. He's warm and witty, with distinctive readings of seasonal fare like "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" and his should-be-a-classic original "Christmas in New York" with its Nat King Cole/Mel Tormé vibe. James always brings top-notch accompanists, this time including estimable pianist Christian Sands. (7 p.m. Tue. & Wed. the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $35-$55,

Also: London trio Bar Italia has been generating a U.S. buzz with its new album for Matador Records, "The Twins," featuring a lo-fi fuzz-rock sound that's equal parts Jesus & Mary Chain and Ride (8 p.m. Turf Club, $18-$20); local rock hero Venus DeMars of All the Pretty Horses is hosting a monthlong acoustic residency at the 331 Club, this week featuring Big Salt's Sally Linda and more (9:30 p.m., free).

Wednesday, Dec. 13

10. JD McPherson: Beloved in the Twin Cities for more than a decade, the Replacements-loving retro-rocker from Tulsa is back for the holidays. His sense of Christmas spirit comes with a wink and a rockabilly twist. He will slay (sleigh?) with holiday originals like "Socks" (that's all he got for Christmas) and "Twinkle," and toss in rockin' faves from his catalog, including "North Side Gal" and "Lucky Penny," that earned airplay on the Current back in the day. (8 p.m. Fine Line, 318 1st Ave. N., Mpls., $30-$45,

Also: Bryan Eng, the 25-year-old jazz singer/pianist who has appeared on Broadway in "Plaza Suite," brings his trio for a Nat King Cole Christmas revue (7:30 p.m. Crooners, $35-$45); grimy and groovy stoner-rock trio Whiskey Rock 'n' Roll Club MPLS continues its Wednesday residency at Mortimer's with Mary Jam and the Mortiholics (9 p.m., $7); bluegrassy pickers Pistol Whippin' Party Penguins play the weekly Harold's House Party KFAI party (7 p.m., free).

Classical music critic Rob Hubbard contributed to this column.