8:30 p.m. • Mill City Nights • 18-plus • sold out
Indie-folk charmer Sufjan Stevens has been intentionally goofy in the past (i.e., the cheerleader-accompaniment on his 2005 "Illinois" tour) and not so intentionally (his Orpheum Theatre show for the electroni-corny 2010 album "Age of Adz"). Thankfully, his current holiday-themed tour appears to be unabashedly based on cheese and good cheer. It's called the -- ahem! -- Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice," and if that doesn't sound like a total hoot, then how about the promise for a "Wheel of Fortune"-style spinning database of seasonal tunes and booklets for the audience. One thing Stevens is serious about, though, is a genuine love for this music, as was evidenced back in 2006 by his fan-adored "Songs for Christmas" collections. Sheila Saputo opens.CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER
9 p.m. • The Belmore/New Skyway Lounge • $20
Kool Keith has always had his head in another galaxy. As if hailing from a space-station ghetto, the alter ego-adopting emcee (i.e. Dr. Octagon and Black Elvis) has delivered sex and comic-book raps with an unorthodox street sensibility for more than 15 years as a solo artist. Production-wise, the cult-favorite rapper who got his start in the '80s with Ultramagnetic MCs has since leaned on retro-futuristic beats that accentuate his bobbing cadences with a clunky dizziness. The fecund eccentric is supporting this year's "Love & Danger" LP. Marijuana Deathsquads and others open. MICHAEL RIETMULDER
8:30 p.m. • First Avenue • 18-plus • $25-$27
Walking away from a Grammy-winning band might sound foolish, but ex-Nickel Creek mandolinist Chris Thile is doing alright. Since leaving the band he joined as an 8 year old, the master composer unveiled Punch Brothers with the cleverly ambitious 2008 "Punch" LP, anchored around a four-movement suite. Two years later the progressive bluegrass band earned a pair of Grammy nominations and in October, Thile unexpectedly nabbed a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." Last month the NYC quintet released "Ahoy!," a five-song EP of leftovers from the "Who's Feeling Young Now?" sessions. The Milk Carton Kids open. M.R.