Haley Bonar and Skoal Kodiak: A Tale of Two Cities

Categories: Concert Review

At 9 p.m., Halloween, Alaska was wooing a few hundred seated devotees at the Cedar Cultural Center, with Haley Bonar in the wings. Two hours into the evening's future, and only a handful of miles to the east, local noise rockers Seawhores would plunge a few dozen fans into headbanger's oblivion, before yielding the stage to Skoal Kodiak.

It was all on one night, which found Haley Bonar and Skoal Kodiak performing to capacity crowds at their respective venues. Need more proof that something special is afoot in the Twin Cities scene? Head below the jump for reviews.

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Enter Haley Bonar. Beginning with choice tracks off of Lure the Fox, her set was heavy with new material from the album she hopes to finish by spring of 2010--the material and her performance of it was a perfect joy to behold. It's not an admission of critical laziness to call Bonar's best talents undefinable x-factors--it's a testament to her air of great mystery and intrigue, a dimension of her musical profile that was on brilliant display and which sets her above her pack of peers.

During almost an hour and a half on stage, Bonar didn't stumble once, and it's no surprise--aside from being a consummate pro, Bonar's musical turf is well-trod alt-country. It's her stage presence that made her performance a dangerous intoxicant. Remoteness spiked with outbursts of disarming vulnerability; moments of boredom and near arrogance punctuated by flashes of devastated passion. Rote execution with twists of pathos that suggest, but never exploit, the fact that Bonar's head and heart are in a plane of excruciating awareness that other artists of her stripe can only approximate. Bonar's performative persona was unendingly dynamic and fascinating, and made her music all the more absorbing.

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