Cold Specks at Cedar Cultural Center, 11/28/12

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson

By Tony Nelson

Cold Specks
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cold Specks, the British-based act led by the Toronto-raised singer Al Spx, returned to the Cedar Cultural Center as a full band Wednesday night, having been an opening act there earlier in the year as a much smaller outfit. This time, with her full length CD I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, out since summer, Spx had an eager, if not huge crowd primed and ready for her brand of what she has appropriately labeled "doom-soul."

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Slideshow: Cold Specks at Cedar Cultural Center, 11/28/12

Even with the full band filling out her typically spare guitar picking with keyboards, saxes, drums and more atmospheric guitars, Cold Specks' sound is still fairly minimal and they kept it mostly that way throughout the night. They slowly built up the group on stage Stop Making Sense style -- adding one or two musicians per song until they were all present. As a result, it was a good half-dozen songs in when the lonely bass guitar was finally picked up.

Photos by Tony Nelson

But always the focus was on Spx's soulful, bluesy voice. She not only performed a couple of songs a capella but stepped away from the mic altogether twice, most notably using only the foot stomping crowd as back up on the final encore, her take on an old blues number, "Old Stepstone."

She performed nearly all of her debut album, one new song called "All Flesh is Grass," and the completely out-of-left-field brief cover of the theme from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air (seriously), which added a little lightness to the mostly somber, southern gothic-influenced sounds.

Opening the show were locals Claire de Lune, backed by fellow Chalice member Lizzo & a DJ playing songs from her CD New Lion along with a couple new tunes, and Twin Cities newcomer Shahar Eberzon, accompanied by acoustic guitar and beat box.

Photos by Tony Nelson

Set list:

The Mark
Blank Maps
Heavy Hands
Winter Solstice
When The City Lights Dim
Reeling The Liars
All Flesh Is Grass
Send Your Youth
Elephant Head

Moves(? - old song)
Old Stepstone

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