The Jayhawks. Photo by Heidi Ehalt

The Jayhawks. Photo by Heidi Ehalt

Best Picks Dec. 15–Dec. 28

Updated: December 14, 2016 - 2:25 pm

What to do downtown after work

Paging Jayhawks fans

The Jayhawks, one of the country’s most prominent Americana bands, are coming back to their home of Minneapolis to fill the mainroom at First Avenue.

The homecoming marks more than three decades for the band, which is currently comprised of longtime frontman Gary Louris, bassist Marc Perlman, drummer Tim O’Reagan and keyboardist Karen Grotberg. With time, The Jayhawks have continued to reinvent themselves and their sound, and their latest album, “Paging Mr. Proust,” is no different.

Louris produced the record with REM’s Peter Buck and Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket) without founding member Mark Olson. “Paging Mr. Proust,” which references the “In Search of Lost Time” novelist Marcel Proust, finds the band expanding their range, adding new colors to an already well-established repertoire.

TheJayhawks_PagingMrProust_LP_COVERThere’s “Ace,” a krautrock tune with experimental guitar runs laid over blues guitar and jazz piano lines. Other tracks, like “Comeback Kids,” lean toward minimalist pop. For Jayhawks fans, the rolling opener “Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces” jangles with life thanks to Louris’ charismatic voice. “Isabel’s Daughter” and “Lover of the Sun” bring back the band’s trademark harmonies and timeless melodies.

The band will take to First Ave on Thursday, Dec. 29 with local rock band Two Harbors, which released their own album this year called “The Natural Order of Things.”

The Grapefruit Drop. Submitted photo
The Grapefruit Drop. Submitted photo

Sip cocktails at Café Lurcat

Minneapolis wine lovers have known Loring Park’s Café Lurcat to be one of the best spots for a glass or two in the city, but lately the restaurant has been working to up its cocktails as well. A new beverage menu now includes a bunch of new stuff to try, as well as a couple of Lurcat’s most popular drinks. The restaurant puts its own spin on the caipirinha, otherwise known as Brazil’s national cocktail, with peach and ginger beer to dress the traditional lime and cachaça. As an English major, I can appreciate the Hemingway in Paris, a drink that combines the powerful punch of anise of France’s Pernod with a daiquiri. For Lurcat fans, there’s still the Grapefruit Drop, a grapefruit-infused cocktail with Triple Sec and basil, and the Eiffel Tower Sparkler, a bubbly glass of fruit flavors thanks to Chambord and limoncello.

Comics with comic books

When I think Day Block Brewing I think bacon flights, banh mi pizza — and beer, of course. But the brewpub is doing a lot more to draw in new beer lovers. On Wednesdays at 8 p.m. the taproom turns over to Eliot Rahal and Grace Thomas for a night of comics and comics books. New Comic Book Day, billed as the Twin Cities’ only comic book-themed comedy show, celebrates the newest comics, from the superheroes on the page to the stand-ups on stage. So while you’re enjoying a Coffee Kolsch — even if it’s too late for coffee, it’s right on time for a coffee-flavored beer — you’ll get a dose of comic book reviews, trivia and general nerdery. Unfortunately, the neighboring Big Brain Comics closed earlier this year, but each week hosts Rahal and Thomas bring in people of the comic book world, spotlighting the talents of one local artist in the comic industry in addition to featuring local and national comedians for a little variety. Plus, the event is free and Day Block puts all the profits and donations toward The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting comic books.