Music

Reviews of concerts, musical performances, and both new release and older albums.

Gorillaz, Kendrick Lamar, and a Darker Chapter of Hip-Hop

This year is kicking into high gear with tunes that are more and more suited to the rainy bleak weather that’s been hanging around most of this spring. Kendrick Lamar’s Damn and Gorillaz’ Humanz exemplify this move into a darker, more self-aware theme that is emerging with artists of the hip-hop genre delving into deep emotional places. Spinning songs out of depression, rage, and the questioning of one’s place and legacy in the world. Damon Albarn of Gorillaz dances...

The Northside Celebration from Capri Theater and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Is a Joy to Behold

Last night, in the auditorium at North Community High School, a gospel choir sang. A spoken-word poet recited a piece. A woman told a story. In between, a string quartet strummed their instruments, a woodwind quintet performed a couple of pieces, and a high schooler read a poem by one of his classmates. These disparate parts all came together as a wondrous whole to form the Northside Celebration, a collaboration between the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis and the...

Monique Powell Revives Save Ferris From the Ashes in Minneapolis Show

It took over a decade, but after a series of departures, new arrivals, and some legal haggling, Save Ferris has found new life with a recently released EP and an extensive North American tour. The band entertained an enthusiastic crowd at Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis on Saturday night, showcasing their new sound and look. A ska-punk group from Orange County fronted by Monique Powell, Save Ferris took audiences by storm in the late 1990s after the success of their cover...

Music Is Coming in the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience

I’ve got to make a confession: I was never particularly wowed by the Game of Thrones score. And since I’m already about to get sent down the streets of King’s Landing to a chorus of “Shame! Shame!” for that fact, another confession: I was never particularly wowed by Game of Thrones in general. See, A Game of Thrones has been a prominent element of my life for a long time now, not via fandom, but via business. I am connected...

Music and Magic Come Together Again for Harry Potter in Concert with the Minnesota Orchestra

Fifteen years ago, Pottermania was still on the rise; the first Harry Potter movie had just been released, and we were in the interminable wait in between the fourth and fifth books. When the fifth, sixth, and seventh books came out, bookstores held midnight release parties, where people stood in line, waiting with bated breath for the countdown to end, so they could race home and start reading. But before the explosion of boxes and paper, there was the...

Punk Rock Explodes with FIDLAR for One Night in Dinkytown

FIDLAR, a garage-punk group notoriously known for putting on amazing live shows, headlined Varsity Theater this past Saturday with support from punk rockers the Frights and from SWMRS, a band impossible to lump into a single genre. The sold-out “Too Much” tour stop in Dinkytown presented the perfect opportunity for punk fans of all ages to unplug from recent events and embrace live music in an environment that was both safe and stimulating. While the Frights and SWMRS were...

Soundtrack Sunday: Before the Flood

Recently, I bragged on my personal Facebook account that I had a good day. That I only cried once, and since it was about the fact that supergroups never work out, it didn’t really count. Many supergroups, too pure and precious to ever grace this cruel, broken world (looking at you, Tapeworm), dissolve into nothing but broken dreams. So when I hear the siren call of “Alt-rock icons, assemble!” I instinctively brace for failure and disappointment. The climate-change film Before...

Grouplove Returns to First Avenue with the Big Mess Tour

It had been four years in the making, but Grouplove lived up to the hype, making a splash when they returned to First Avenue last Saturday. With a new tour to support the release of their most recent album, Big Mess, the Los Angeles–based band took the stage with their patented exuberant energy, passion, and—naturally—love. Featuring a colorful backdrop, endless jumping around, a dynamic stage presence, and even a groupie Care Bear running across the stage in a blue...

Rachael Yamagata Brings Grace and Elegance to the Triple Rock

Rachael Yamagata is one of those musicians nearly everyone has heard but who often won’t be spotted in a crowd. An accomplished independent singer and songwriter who doesn’t have all the fame or notoriety attached to her name, Yamagata’s performed for President Obama and the First Lady and had her music featured in many of the television shows and films we all watch. However, her trip to Minneapolis on Friday, October 7, began like usual: under the radar. She...

Soundtrack Sunday: Fire Up the Doof Wagon for the Music of Fury Road

Let’s start out by clearing something up: I’m not a Mad Max: Fury Road fangirl. In fact, I was super late to the proverbial party and didn’t see the movie until well after its home release. Action movies just aren’t my thing—I only like movies where everyone dies of sadness or boredom. My point is, I went into it thinking that it was going to be stupid garbage and I went out thinking it had an absolutely fantastic soundtrack....
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