MUSIC PHOTOS | Pert Near Sandstone warms up the Cedar Cultural Center

Performing for two nights at The Cedar Cultural Center, Pert Near Sandstone brought their talent and energy to whip fans into a foot stomping, butt shaking, arm throwing, and even waltzing, frenzy Friday night. With two cloggers to keep the rhythm going and the fans dancing (Andy Lambert and Matt Cartier), Pert Near (Nate Sipe, mandolin, fiddle, vocals; Kevin Kniebel, banjo, vocals; J. Lenz, acoustic guitar, vocals; and Adam Kiesling, upright bass, vocals) is such an energizing performance to experience that they could probably turn any white-collar worker into an overall and straw-hat wearing hillbilly. Smiles and dreadlocks touting fans abound, these boys are some fine musicians and it’s no surprise they’ve been successfully twanging, fiddling, banjoing, and harmonizing their way across the country for over ten years. They’ll play again tonight at The Cedar, then head out West to tour through the Rockies and to the coast before returning to the Midwest in June to play the Blue Ox Music Festival in Eau Claire, WI, June 11. Well worth seeing, get your clogging shoes on and go support these good ol’ Minnesota boys. Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative 
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MUSIC REVIEW | Shakey Graves brings distinct sound and fine musicians to Cedar Cultural Center

Packed to capacity, Shakey Graves played at Cedar Cultural Center and along with his distinct sound, brought some very talented musicians with him to round out a four-hour concert. Esme Patterson opened first, followed by Sean Rowe. Each a wealth of talent, Patterson and Rowe complimented Graves with their abilities and sound, as all three performers are standouts in the singer-songwriter world where it’s stage presence, creativity, and singing that captivate the audience rather than flashy costumes, dance troupes, and elaborate stage lighting. Graves has built momentum during his short career, selling out The Turf Club last year and now The Cedar. Next time around, don’t be surprised if he fills the main room at First Ave and the show sells out within a day or two. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Pearl Jam worth the wait at the Xcel Energy Center

White stage lights streamed horizontally over a sea of heads, silhouettes stealthily moved and found their places, 18,000 voices exploded in greeting, and Eddie Vedder seemingly floated to the front and raised a bottle of wine to return that greeting. Without a word, the “Pendulum” started to swing with the tapping of a hi-hat and a soft haunting resonating from piano keys. Vedder’s voice, deep and melancholy, slowly pushed forth the words “Can’t know what’s high, ‘Til you’ve been down so low” and space was taken up by the entrancing tone produced by his vocal chords.Eight years has passed since fans have experienced the presence of the giant that is Pearl Jam, and it was certainly worth the wait (11 years if you discount them opening for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers). With a meaty 32-song set lasting just over three hours at the Xcel Energy Center, the band opened its vast catalog and played from over two decades’ worth of material.Following “Pendulum,” they kept the mood somber for two more songs with “Release” and “Nothingman.” Then, the room exploded. “Go,” with its fierce tempo, came charging out of the gate like a young racehorse, followed by an equally aggressive “Life Wasted.” Fist-pumping fans sang along and the energy from 18,000 people matched that of the energy produced by the six musicians on stage.With minimal lighting and production, Pearl Jam proved they didn’t need anything other than their talent. They not only played the songs they are so well known for like “Even Flow,” “Last Kiss,” and “Daughter,” they covered nearly every era of their illustrious career. Continue Reading

MUSIC PHOTOS | The Rural Alberta Advantage at First Ave

It’s fun going into a show with no expectations. That’s what happened Friday, October 17 when I went to go photograph The Rural Alberta Advantage. I had only listened to a couple of their songs, as I was only recently introduced to them by a girl that I like and she was going to the show. So, my nautral reaction was to go with her and I figured at the very least I would come out of it with a few good photos, and perhaps impress her with my camera skills and awkward dancing in a very crowded room at the same time in the hopes she’d want to see me again. I was blown away. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Old Crow Medicine Show plays that old-timey stuff at the State Theatre

Old Crow Medicine Show should not play at a sit down venue. Ever. There just isn’t enough room for fans to dance, jump, hoot and holler between those tiny rows of seats. This was all evident from the get go when they opened last night with “Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer,” which is the first track on their new album Remedy.As quickly as Critter Fuqua’s (doubtful that’s his real first name) banjo strings were plucked and Ketch Secor’s harmonica spewed notes laced with passionate country love, the crowd was on its feet dancing as if it was barefoot at an outdoor music festival. Suddenly, any hint of Minnesota passive aggressive niceness was gone, replaced by a sweaty, gritty, twirling, hee-haw screaming frenzy mirroring the seven-man band on the stage before them.Ferocious in their playing style and polished and refined in their showmanship, OCMS balances their performance quite well by bringing hard-charging bluegrass and alt-country with songs such as “Alabama High Test” and “Bootlegger’s Boy,” but calms the mood with old-timey and somber sadness pieces such as “Dearly Departed Friend” and “The Warden.”When introducing “Tell That Woman” (Willie Dixon cover), which was followed by “The Warden,” Secor told the crowd, “We’re gonna do it like they originally did with one microphone.”A four-part harmony simply accompanied by an occasional single strum of the guitar by Chance McCoy and snapping by Secor, Fuqua, and Cory Younts, “Tell That Woman” displayed how well connected OCMS are as musicians. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Buddy Guy fights for the rights of the Blues at the State Theatre

Sometimes, all you need is a spotlight for a good show. And that’s all Buddy Guy needed, along with some good old-fashioned showmanship, to enthrall and entertain the crowd at the State Theatre on Sunday, September 7. In the face of diminishing mainstream interest, Guy champions the blues by playing like a 21-year-old with ferocious vigor and passion that is determined to keep the genre alive.Along with his Damn Right Blues Band, Guy opened with “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues” after being introduced as a six-time Grammy Award winner by his keyboardist Marty Sammon, also known as Slammin’ Sammon. At the end of the song, Guy greeted the crowd and after a fan shouted praise in response, the 78-year-old proved that his personality is as gritty as his guitar playing by responding, “Now, if you shut the fuck up for a minute, I’m gonna play something so funky you can smell it. It goes like this.”Throughout the night, the feisty blues legend (some argue he is the greatest blues musician of all time) made the theatre feel as if it was a small, intimate club in Chicago. Continue Reading

MUSIC PHOTOS | Neon Trees in black & white at First Avenue

Neon Trees played to a completely sold out crowd at First Ave on Monday, June 23, 2014. Electrifying, eccentric, passionate, and downright fun they gave the audience exactly what they went to the show for; a stellar performance. Frontman Tyler Glenn mesmerized the crowd with his dance moves and swooping vocals, and expressed his appreciation throughout the night to fans, who gave plenty of love back to the Trees.Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Band Of Skulls electrify First Avenue

Tonal energy poured forth from the speakers, fog meandered left to right mingling with blue and green stage lights, which pierced the darkness of the iconic black décor of the Main Room at First Ave. The crowd head banged, danced, and threw fists and devil horns in unison. The relentless sound created by Band Of Skulls was in full swing, reverberating through every inch and body in the space.They came out in full force to promote their new album Himalayan by performing the first track, “Asleep at the Wheel.” Traveling through peaks and valleys of tempo variation over the course of 19 songs, their grip never let up in stirring the audience into electric bliss. Each member a master of tone, and the stellar vocal tandems of guitarist Russell Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson was perfection.Offering a mixture of tracks from all three of their albums, Band of Skulls demonstrated their power rock trio skills and got the crowd in a frenzy with songs like “Sweet Sour,” “The Devil Takes Care of His Own,” “Bomb,” and “Toreador.” A standout point was when they performed “Bruises” with its pounding intro and hypnotizing harmonizing by Marsden and Richardson, followed by the seductive “Cold Fame,” in which Marsden’s guitar moans and squeals like a man who just lost his love.Other arousing songs from the set included “You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Goin’ On”–a song where drummer Hayward displays his finesse and technical mastery–and “Patterns” which Richardson took control of with her powerful vocal chords.At the conclusion of the set, the crowd chanted “Band Of Skulls! Continue Reading

ART PHOTOS | Elements Fashion Show 2014: U of M students compete with their designs at the Weisman Art Museum

On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, the Weisman Art Museum hosted the Elements Design Competition and Runway Show for University of Minnesota fashion and design students. The theme for the show students had to follow “drew upon the landscapes, materials, textures, and traditions of Siberia, while also responding to the environmental questions the region raises,” as described by Weisman’s website. Students considered topics such as sustainable design, environmental issues, and labor support structures in the garment industry. They also took into consideration how garment production exploits or depletes resources, and what types of work conditions laborers experience while manufacturing garments. Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Continue Reading

MUSIC PHOTOS | Leftover Salmon at First Avenue

On Friday, April 4 Leftover Salmon and The Giving Tree Band played at First Avenue in Minneapolis.Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.                     
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