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 | Fendika dance collectively at The Cedar Cultural Center’s African Summer series

Fendika put on a great show at the Cedar Cultural Club on Wednesday, July 10, getting the large crowd dancing and jumping and spinning all over the place. Before I went to the show I had never seen Fendika except for a video off the net. But I will plan to go anytime they come to the Twin Cities because I know it will be a great show that will make me feel like I have seen a band.Last night’s show began with a set from the three instruments which were unique;  four drums which looked like they might be handmade (played by Misale Legesse), a masengo, which is a violin-style instrument (played by Endris Hassen who played the single horsehair string with his fingers), and Seleshe Damessae made music with the krar,  best described as a type of six-stringed lyre.  The music they made was quite wondrous, and that would have been enough for a fine concert. But that is not their style. Soon out came Nardos Tesfaw, the singer who upped the level a notch with her fine clear voice and occasional trilling cry.But the energy level at the Cedar went nuclear when Zenash Tsegaye and Melaku Belay came out and engaged the people with their kinetic-energy dancing that set everyone in motion, whether age three or in their 80s. Continue Reading