I was just reading Wikipedia, as one does when trying to figure out how to write an intro to a best concerts blog post, and I learned that the Anglo-Saxons called the months of December and January "Ġēolamonaþ."
Atmosphere @ Palace Theatre
However you want to interpret Atmosphere's recent labeling of themselves as "dad rap," they still retain plenty of the inventiveness that put them at the forefront of Twin Cities hip-hop 20-odd years ago. On their new album, Mi Vida Local, Slug is locked-in as a writer, wrestling with themes of mortality, pessimism, and uncertainty over Ant's sometimes ominous, sometimes somber beats. The LP has special treats for longtime fans of Minnesota rap, too, including a reunion of Slug's other early group, the Dynospectrum. With Dem Atlas, the Lioness, and DJ Keezy. Also Saturday. 18+. 8 p.m. $30. 17 W. Seventh Pl., St. Paul. More info here.—Michael Madden
Lil Skies @ Myth
Lil Skies deserves a face-tattooed spot on the Mount Rushmore of “SoundCloud rap.” What the 20-year-old Waynesboro, Pennsylvania native lacks in lyrical maturity he (mostly) makes up for through his natural ease with melody and vibe, sing-rapping his way to a massive online following and moderate Billboard success over cloudy trap beats. Cosigns and collabs with established stars like Wiz Khalifa have helped his rise, but more crucially, Skies is a key figure in a distinctly new school that seems unstoppable on its own.8:30 p.m. $39.50. 3090 Southlawn Dr., St. Paul. More info here.—Michael Madden
Complete Friday music listings here.
Dosh & Friends @ Cedar Cultural Center
Multi-instrumentalist and looping wizard Martin Dosh’s 2013 album and Graveface Records debut, Milk Money, was an otherworldly odyssey of hip-hop, jazz, and electronic styles that culminated with the 25-minute closing composition, "Legos (For Terry)." Though he hasn’t released anything as a solo artist since, Dosh has kept plenty busy. This year, the guests for his annual "Dosh & Friends" show at the Cedar are Serengeti, StoLyette, and the Guitarkestra of MN. 8 p.m. $12/$15. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis. More info here. — Michael Madden
Mason Jennings @ First Avenue
It's December, which means it's time for a Mason Jennings show in the Mainroom. Unlike this time last year, though, the mellow-voiced local folk-pop mainstay has a new record to build a set list from. Jennings is on the heels of his 13th studio LP, May's Songs from When We Met, an endearing, contented album inspired by his recent marriage, filled with perfectly uncomplicated sentiments of fresh romantic infatuation and deepening love. With Tiny Deaths. 18+. 7 p.m. $25/$30. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Michael Madden
Steve Kenny @ Black Dog
Kenny is a composer, a concocter of the flumpet (flugelhorn and trumpet, which he plays well), and an ace networker/booker/bandleader who has used those connections to cut a new record played by four distinct quartets. Two of those ensembles will join him for his CD release party, with sidemen including vibes player Levi Schwartzberg, pianist Peter Schimke, and drummer Rodney Ruckus. 8:30 p.m. No cover but $10 suggested donation and $20 for pre-reserved seating. 308 East Prince St., St.Paul. More info here.—Britt Robson
Complete Saturday music listings here.
A Cripple’s Dance @ Cedar Cultural Center
Gabriel Rodreick (stage name Freaque) has been paralyzed from the armpits down for ten years due to injury. A Cripple’s Dance is a dance/music piece expressing his desire to reconnect with his body. A passel of dancers and musicians will assist, and Seaberg and Izell Pyramid are also on the bill. 7:30 p.m. $15. 416 Cedar Ave S., Minneapolis. More info here.—Britt Robson
Complete Sunday music listings here.