MUSIC REVIEW | Gotye and Kimbra overcome a bad venue to deliver a soaring show

On April 4th, Gotye made his much-anticipated debut at Epic Nightclub. Yes, Epic; as his fans and hopeful concert-goers know, Gotye (real name Wouter “Wally” De Backer) sold out the Varsity Theater months ago only to head-scratchingly reschedule the date at Epic. Surely the move was dictated by capacity, but leaving the invitingly tattered-in-a-good-way couches of the Varsity behind for the glitz and tattered-but-not-in-a-good-way glamour of a downtown nightclub seemed to suggest that the stakes had been raised. Could Gotye, who had only just recently skyrocketed out of Australian indie obscurity straight to the most gratuitous of Top 40 stations, really hold his own at such a mainstream venue?

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THEATER | Ordway’s “Cinderella” may be beautiful, but she’s no role model

The Ordway’s production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is precious, captivating, and traditional, all in both the good and bad senses. Generally speaking, the average audience member will enjoy the production and people familiar with the original story will be inspired to share it with their friends and family, but I’d urge people to think twice before bringing their small children to watch potential role model Cinderella.

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MUSIC | Wilco at the State Theatre still believes in rock and roll

The crowd gathered in the bar area of the State Theatre on December 6th hastily downed their seven-dollar glasses of cheap wine instantly met my expectations for the imminent Wilco show. There were brunette men with shaggy hair and beards as far as the eye could see, looking simultaneously excited to see their very favorite band but also prepared to get all emotional thinking about the songs that reminded them of their ex-girlfriends, or something.

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MUSIC | Avey Tare dances with darkness at the Triple Rock Social Club

You may never have heard of Avey Tare, but chances are if you’re even somewhat a connoisseur of indie music or have ever read an alternative music blog, you probably know more about him than you think. To anyone familiar with his other work—as a member of celebrated indie juggernaut Animal Collective, as an actor in and contributor to “visual album” ODDSAC, as a collaborator with ex-wife Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir (best known as the frontwoman of Icelandic band múm)—nothing about his solo show should have seemed unusual.

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MUSIC | The Civil Wars at the State Theatre: “Poison and Wine” served with a little cheese

From the first moment they unceremoniously took the stage at the State Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 9, The Civil Wars immediately stepped into character. The two-person band (vocalist and sometimes keyboardist Joy Williams and vocalist and guitarist John Paul White) stood side by side, with Williams smiling sheepishly, like, “Tee hee, what am I doing on this big ol’ stage?” This sort of preciousness would come to be demonstrated both in the lyrics and musical composition of their sound and interaction.

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MUSIC | Phantogram move the mainstream masses at First Avenue

Electronic rock duo Phantogram have been touring behind their highly-regarded 2009 effort Eyelid Movies almost non-stop since its release in 2009, and on October 26 they dropped by First Avenue to give Minneapolis a dose of their psychedelic pop goodness. They have made stops in the Twin Cities before—at both the Varsity and the 7th Street Entry last year—and some wondered how (and why) they seemed poised to nearly sell out the Mainroom. I’m still not sure we ever got an explanation as to the apparent rise in popularity (my bet is on their approachable-for-an-indie-band, light-rock-radio-station, “cool dad” status, but that’s just me) but pack the Mainroom they did for a show that as far as I could tell was very well-received.

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Give Odd Future a break

Whether you love them or hate them, it’s difficult to deny that Odd Future as a collective have charisma and chemistry. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that their live presence at October 12’s sold-out First Avenue show was actually somewhat endearing. As we watched members Left Brain, Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis, Mike G, and leader Tyler, the Creator bounce across stage in brightly colored t-shirts and jerseys, yelling, cursing, crowd surfing, wearing towels on their heads and taunting the crowd, I couldn’t help but feel like these kids would probably be super fun to hang out with. Continue Reading

MUSIC | Zola Jesus at 7th St. Entry: Pint-sized Nika Roza Danilova falls short

What’s indisputable about Zola Jesus (real name Nika Roza Danilova) is that she is clearly talented, and has an obvious passion for what she does. First Avenue’s description of the concert says that Zola Jesus, “is not a band; it is a solo project,” and “Zola Jesus is not a singer; she is a musician.” I’d say anyone watching her Tuesday night show at The Entry would have to agree.

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