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Thursday, Dec. 8

1. Curtiss A's John Lennon Tribute: It's the one First Ave gig every Twin Cities rock lover should experience at least once, and it continues to shine on for the fans who've seen it dozens of times. Infamously started the night after Lennon's murder in 7th St. Entry without any rehearsal, this 43rd annual marathon spans both his Beatles and solo-career canon performed by a sprawling all-star cast of Twin Cities club vets. The punk-rock pioneer out front, Curt Almsted, can be brash and bawdy like the man being honored but sure does know and love this stuff. Fans who can't make it in person have a livestream option this year. (8 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $25, or $12-$15 livestream,

2. St. Paul Chamber Orchestra: Spend an evening with J.S. Bach when members of the SPCO perform five of his six "Brandenburg Concertos," excluding only that one with the high trumpet that's floating through space on a Voyager mission. Each of the others is an equally transcendent experience, the pinnacle of Baroque-era instrumental writing played by musicians who do it extremely well. (7:30 p.m. Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 12650 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley; also 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat. Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul, $5-$50,

Also: Philadelphia's soulful modern blues and R&B rocker Son Little, who's equal parts Pop Staples and Frank Ocean, is promoting his personal new Anti- Records album, "Like Neptune" (8 p.m. Turf Club, $20-$22); Dan Newton's old-worldly Café Accordion Orchestra is putting on its holiday show (6 p.m. Crooners, $30-$40); James Loney's Southern-baked soul-rock ensemble Lolo's Ghost continues its weekly residency at the Schooner Tavern (8 p.m., free); JayBee & the Routine are back playing the old-school grooves at Bunker's (9:30 p.m., $8).

Friday, Dec. 9

3. The Lemonheads: After decades of often spotty and spacey performances, Evan Dando has been surprisingly sturdy in recent local gigs by his cult-loved Boston power-pop band, which is one big reason to catch this tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of their best-loved album, "It's a Shame About Ray." The other big one is the inclusion of fellow early-'90s alterna-star Juliana Hatfield of "My Sister" hitmaking fame, who sang all over "Ray" — she and Dando were dating then — and has her own trove of tunes to play in a separate solo set. Bass Drum of Death and On Being an Angel also perform. (6:30 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $30-$35,

4. José James: The Minneapolis-reared, Brooklyn-based adventurous jazz vocalist's 2021 holiday show was the first — and only — yule gig ever to make my list of best-of-the-year concerts. He was elegantly old-school yet inventive enough to make seasonal chestnuts deliciously refreshing. Loved his outstanding original "Christmas in New York" with its Nat King Cole/Mel Tormé vibe. It's from his 2021 album "Merry Christmas From Jose James," which should be part of your holiday soundtrack. (7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $40-$50,

5. The Blenders: Formed in Fargo as an a cappella boy band in 1989 and known from the 1998 novelty hit "(I'm in Love with the) McDonald's Girl)," the Minnesota-nice quartet has become mainly a seasonal thing over the past two decades as its holiday concerts proved popular every year. COVID-19 put the shows on hold for two years, but now the harmonious and fun-loving fellas are back to "save Christmas," per the promo for these shows that also includes some sweet, new TV commercials for Scheels sporting goods stores. (8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 2 p.m. Sat., Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $48,

Also: Katie McMahon, a bona fide Irish songbird who has lived in St. Paul since leaving the touring "Riverdance," brings back her Celtic Christmas after a three-year hiatus (7:30 p.m. the O'Shaughnessy, $5-$28); honky-tonk kings Trailer Trash continue their run of "Trashy Little Xmas" concerts at the Hook & Ladder Theater (8 p.m., $25-$30); Twin Cities pianist Scottie Miller celebrates his new poetry collection, "Carnival Cocoon," which is available as a book and a CD (7:30 p.m. Crooners, $30-$40); Erin Coburn, the Cincy blues-rock wunderkind who released her debut album at age 14 in 2015, makes her Twin Cities debut (7 p.m. KJ's Hideaway, $25); twangy Wisconsin rocker Michael Perry lands in town with the Long Beds accompanied by Mary Cutrufello (7 p.m. Icehouse, $17-$20).

Saturday, Dec. 10

6. Lissie: Like a Midwestern Brandi Carlile, the Iowa-based Americana rocker blends a valley-deep/mountain-high voice with echoes of '70s rock influences á la Fleetwood Mac and country and folk songwriters such as John Prine. Her dramatic new album, "Carving Canyons," finds strength in heartache from the less-than-rosy romantic ditty "Flowers" to the slow-burning rocker "Night Moves." The "When I'm Alone" hitmaker wraps up her 2022 tour dates in Minneapolis, home to most of her band, including Rogue Valley's Peter Sieve and Luke Anderson. Canadian strummer Cat Clyde opens. (8 p.m. First Avenue, $28,

7. Modest Mouse: After bouncing back strong with last year's album "The Golden Casket," high-wired rocker Isaac Brock is reconfiguring his Portland, Ore.-based band of "Float On" fame to mark the 25th anniversary of their first great record, 1997's "The Lonesome Crowded West." They're going back to a stripped-down, four-piece lineup for this tour, including original member Jeremiah Green along with mainstays Russell Higbee and Simon O'Connor. They're playing the album in full, plus a few other oldies; but not more recent fare. (8 p.m. Palace Theatre, 10 W. 7th Place, St. Paul, $45-$75,

Also: Hippie-ish, hip-hop-infused Florida pop singer Dominic Fike has found fame via viral hits such as "3 Nights" as well as an acting stint on HBO's "Euphoria" (7:30 p.m. the Fillmore, $75); a band made up entirely of wounded military veterans from Philadelphia, the Resilient will perform after the televised Army-Navy football game at the Uptown VFW (4:30 p.m., free); Trailer Trash's Xmas spot on this night is also in Uptown (8 p.m. Granada Theater, $25); Kansas City-reared, Nashville-based country-pop singer Casi Joy is bringing joy to the world after issuing a new holiday single, "The Tree and Me" (9 p.m., 7th St. Entry, $18); Twin Cities jazz men, pianist Larry McDonough and guitarist Joel Shapira, team up to salute Bill Evans and Jim Hall (8 p.m. KJ's Hideaway, $20).

Sunday, Dec. 11

8. Bill Frisell & Petra Haden: What an ideal duo, these versatile, collaborative music makers. Veteran guitarist Frisell travels in many circles including jazz, folk, country, Americana and classical. A prolific recording artist and frequent Twin Cities visitor, Walker Art Center-endorsed Frisell has recorded works associated with John Lennon, Elvis Costello/Burt Bacharach and Buster Keaton films as well as original material. Singer-violinist Haden, one of the triplet sisters born to jazz bassist Charlie Haden, has played in rock groups, including That Dog and the Decemberists, and other combos, such as the Haden Triplets and the Nick Haywood Trio. She has made two albums with Frisell, the most recent being "Harmony" in 2019 (7 p.m. the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $40-$50,

Also: Minneapolis-reared, Nashville-based Wyn Starks, a high tenor who favors spiritual-tinged pop, returns home after making the finals on "America's Got Talent" (8 p.m. 7th St. Entry, $15); Nancy Harms, the luxe, loved-in-Europe vocalist who grew up in Clara City, Minn., but now calls New York home, teams up with Ike Sturm, a Wisconsin native now in NYC (7:30 p.m. Crooners, $25-$35).

Monday, Dec. 12

Prolific Cleveland pop/new age piano man Jim Brickman returns for his annual A Very Merry Christmas Tour with Twin Cities vocalist John Trones (7:30 p.m. Pantages Theatre, $30-$79); Tonic Sol-fa's lead singer is celebrating the holidays over two nights in Burnsville starting with his swinging ensemble Shaun Johnson's Big Band (7:30 p.m., Ames Center, $41-$45); vaudevillian and Parisian-flavored retro-jazz band the Hot Sardines return to town from New York (7 & 9 p.m. p.m. the Dakota, $30-$40); Colorado's prog-metal band Wayfarer is making up for lost time behind its pandemic-issued album "A Romance with Violence" (8 p.m. 7th St. Entry, $15).

Tuesday, Dec. 13

9. Goldings/Bernstein/Stewart: This unimaginatively named group is touted as an organ trio, featuring celebrated keyboardist Larry Goldings, who tours with James Taylor and has played with an array of jazz and pop stars including Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Beck, Madeleine Peyroux and John Mayer. He'll be joined by guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart (7 p.m. the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, $30-$40,;

Also: Twin Cities entertainer Jennifer Grimm, who puts the pizazz and vocal chops into a variety show, concentrates on Christmas with family and friends (7 p.m. Crooners, $35-$45); Shaun Johnson returns to Burnsville with his cult-loved a cappella group Tonic Sol-fa on their Misfits Tour for the holidays (7:30 p.m., Ames Center, $45); St. Louis blues guitarist Mike Zito is known from the group Royal Southern Brotherhood with Devon Allman and Cyril Neville (7 p.m., KJ's Hideaway, $30).

Wednesday, Dec. 14

10. The 1975: The British dance-pop band comes to town for the Current's Winter Warm-Up concert after seeing its career heat up during COVID-19 lockdown with the lightly sexy single "If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)" and widespread viral/TikTok use of its buoyant and bubbly tracks. This will be Twin Cities fans' first chance to hear songs off the group's last two albums, including this year's charmer "Being Funny in a Foreign Language." (7 p.m., the Armory, 500 S. 6th St., Mpls., all ages, only resale tickets remain,

Also: A Soulful Christmas features a Twin Cities ensemble fluent in R&B, jazz and gospel including Ginger Commodore and Sounds of Blackness alums Geoff Jones and Ashley Commodore (1 & 8:15 p.m. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, $44 and up); Minneapolis jazz star Connie Evingson, the Moore By Four veteran and soloist extraordinaire, has the voice to warm you up with a holiday repertoire (7 p.m. the Dakota, $15-$25); grimy, grungy but groovy barroom rock trio Whiskey Rock 'n' Roll Club Mpls. is holding down Wednesdays at Mortimer's in December with Tang and the Tabs and this week's special guest ex-Clams bandleader Cindy Lawson (9 p.m., $7).

Classical music critic Rob Hubbard contributed to this column.