"They say it's all been done before," they harmonize on their new album, and for good reason: The Redwalls began as a Beatles-adoring high school cover band making the rounds through the Chicago burbs. Sure, they have the unkempt mop-tops and tight trou thing down; but they write their own hooks — the attendant "yeaaaaahs" and "alriiiights!" are well-placed betwixt the Lennon-McCartney nods. Great, nostalgic, finger-snapping joy, with a keen eye toward that thing that few seem to give a shit about anymore — songcraft. The Redwalls are playing at 8 p.m. at the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333 for info.
Shonen Knife's sugary (so sugary — one of their albums is called Candy Rock) pop-punk once made Kurt Cobain a believer. Indeed, the Japanese trio toured with Nirvana in the early '90s, just as Nevermind became sickeningly popular across the cosmos. But Shonen Knife is an "it" band in its own right: With a solid cult following for the 26 years (that's 26 years) the group has performed together, the band even inspired a 1989 tribute album called Every Band Has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them, with tracks performed by 23 musicians including Sonic Youth and Redd Kross. That was Shonen Knife then. Now? The trio was whittled to a duo after the death of a band member, but sisters Naoko and Atsuko Yamano are still prolific as hell as shown by the quirky couplets and righteous riffs. In all, it's mirthful guitar-girl rock that'd still do old Pete Shelly proud. At 8 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700.
The Lion King
The stamp of behemoth brainwasher (err, fairyland dream-weaver) Walt Disney might incite the naysayer to boycott The Lion King, but that's whack, yo. Debuting a decade ago and achieving wild success among the touristy lot, the original Broadway stage show won six Tonys, including "Best Show." Sure, the story centers on the rug rat-beloved Simba, a kind of feline Hamlet, but what's spectacular is the artistry involved in staging the musical. Of the 1997 production, St. Paul Pioneer Press writes: "It begins as the movie begins, with a single, keening voice (Tsidii Le Loka) singing about the balance of nature on the African savanna. Gradually, Le Loka is joined by dozens of animal puppets — antelopes leaping on the arms of graceful dancers, cheetahs operated with an eerie precision by puppeteers, statuesque giraffes that are actually men on four stilts, breathtaking, lighter-than-air birds, and a lumbering elephant with an actor in each of its four legs." Many of the original performance's breathtaking effects have been translated into the touring version, which promises this to be a singular, and, yes, family-friendly, show. Through Jan. 6 at the Detroit Opera Theatre, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; 313-961-3500.
Patricia Barber and Taylor Eigsti
Patricia Barber is the singular singer who can come on so cool as to make you shiver — and dig it. She's clear and understated, and lyrically unpredictable, looking over one shoulder to Cole Porter and over the other, at least on her recent Mythologies disc, to Ovid. Barber shares the bill with the pianist Taylor Eigsti, a swinging prodigy who opened for David Benoit at the age of 8, now delivering on his promise in his 20s. Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111.
The baritone saxophonist played in Charles Mingus' last great band back in the '70s, and he's one of the relatively few Mingus sidemen still kicking from any aggregation. No doubt what Mingus heard — among other strengths — was Hamiet Bluiett's phenomenal command of the instrument, including a low-end growl as menacing as anyone's and a high-end like no one else's. We're assured Mingus compositions will be on the agenda when Bluiett joins guitarist Spencer Barefield's quartet for a Palmer Park house concert Thursday (call 313-891-2514) and at the DIA on Friday (5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900). Also in the hot 'n' heavy jazz category: Miles Davis protégé Wallace Roney performing Thursday through Sunday at Arturo's Jazz Theatre & Restaurant, 25333 W. 12 Mile Rd., just west of Telegraph Rd. (in the Star Theatre Complex), Southfield; 248-357-6009.
CITY SHOUT OUT
Break out the ol' Advent calendar, it's the first of the month. To Detroiters, that means one thing alone — Noel Night. For 35 years, Detroit's Cultural Center has celebrated the beginning of the holiday season. Several institutions participate in the festivities, such as the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts. There'll be horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday gift shopping, arts and crafts and performances by more than 90 local music and dance groups. Noel Night ends at 9 p.m. with a community sing-along on Woodward Avenue. Visit detroitmidtown.com for more information.
Warning: The place might be teeming with teens and thoughtful dressed-down campus drones with trust funds and Jettas. No matter, even if you came of age in the Year of the Fall Out Boy, there's still lots to dig. Shit, if you get down to it, Modest Mouse's thinking-person pop is more punk rock than the aforementioned Fall Out, if only 'cause it stuck to its guns and still got (semi) famous. But remember: Axe body spray is best avoided with a neck tilted at a 45 degree angle, nose in the air. At the Masonic Temple, 500 Temple, Detroit; 313-832-7100.
Peter Bjorn and John
The fellas of PB&J have a fun acronym — even if they're about as far away from Wonder bread and Jif as you can get. Anyway, lauded from even the stodgiest of critics for their 2006 album, Writer's Block, the Stockholm-based trio is best known for the whistled "Young Folks," a textured, whimsical popsterpiece. Remember that? Of course you do. PB&J still maintain that sound. Great stuff, to be sure. At the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; call 313-833-9700 for more info.
Chemical Traces — A Unabomber Love Story
Sometimes you just can't beat the press release: "The story of the love between Bob, a unabomber trying to finish his manifesto, and Emily, a disgruntled postal worker. Can Bob avert the dastardly plot of has-been unabomber Renaldo, who is jealous of Bob's manifesto and the attention that he is getting from Emily? Special guest appearance by Ted Koppel's hair." How could you miss that kinda weird? At the Dreamland Theater, 26 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-657-2337 for info.
Tribute to Hubie Crawford
Bass-ic jazz farewell
Ideally, we try to keep blurbs to about 100 words, so we'll finish this one with some of the Detroit musicians who'll salute the late and beloved bassist at Bert's Marketplace from 3 to 8 p.m.: Marcus Belgrave, Joan Bow, Charlie Gabriel, Joe Billingslea's Contours, Martha Reeves, SBH Trio, Bill Meyer Group, Muruga Booker Band, La Inspiracion, Mel Ball and Colors, Thornetta Davis, Ortheia Barnes, Ramona Collins, Bob St. Thomas, Miguel Gutierrez, Rea's Deal Big Band, etc. Guest MCs include Jim Gallert, Calvin Eusary, Judge Claudia Morcom and MT's W. Kim Heron. Bert's Warehouse Theater, 2739 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-2030.