Over the Weekend: 2/22-2/24

Before the Blind Shake took the stage at the Triple Rock on Saturday night, we spotted them going through a series of stretches backstage. Once the power trio got onstage, the purpose for the pre-show ritual became apparent -- the leaps and contortions during their frenetic stage show keep the audience engaged and put the band in danger from muscle pulls. They played as the second act on a three-band bill also featuring the Dynamiters and the headlining Heroine Sheiks. With two fiery guitars and drums, the stripped-down Shake keep the musical energy as high as the risk of injury.

The previous evening over at the Turf Club saw presumably fewer opportunities to tear one's hamstring, but more opportunities to drown one's sorrows. The wake for the venerable "Homegrown" radio program saw artists from P.O.S. to Haley Boner perform. Paul Demko reports. P.O.S. was also among many -- including several Doomtree artists -- who took time to celebrate Dre Day at First Avenue.

ST. VINCENT: ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING

Unlike St. Vincent's last trip through town, this time the artist otherwise known as Annie Clark brought a full band with her. Friday night, Clark and company showed why multiple instruments plus the Cedar Cultural Center's intimate setting is an expert mix.

stv.jpg
I want one of those microphones so I, too, can sound like I'm singing through a 1940s radio. More photos by James Tran.

After beginning with album-opener "Now, Now," St. Vincent ran through all the high points of last year's Marry Me. The songs gain a new currency live. The sly wit of songs like the title track comes through better in person. Watching a live performance of "Paris is Burning" is especially intriguing; Clark switches microphones during the song, transforming her soprano into a breathy memory of old-time radio.

St. Vincent's intricate, textured music has an orchestral feel, especially when augmented by Daniel Hart's shimmering violin work. But the crowd got a taste of Clark, solo, too -- the band departed the stage during a guitar interlude where she tore up the Beatles' "Dig a Pony."

Musically, Clark's crew has chops to burn, and her stage presence is delightfully approachable. When in the throes of a song, she's all herky-jerky movements and concentration. In-between, she's poking mild fun at her "secret crime-fighter name" ("You can call me Annie. Anything else would be awkward.") or expressing relief that no lightning bolt pierced the building during "Marry Me." The one time we found he speechless was after a brief, plaintive marriage proposal from the crowd left Clark chuckling and blushing. This is an understandable offense -- don't you have to love anyone who would put this in the "pictures" section of her website?

Departing from convention, she didn't duck offstage pre-encore, explaining that since people were likely tired, she'd dispense with the charade. The crowd was appreciative of this consideration -- or maybe we just didn't want her to leave the stage at all.


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