The Both at Fine Line Music Cafe, 5/10/14

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Tony Nelson
The Both with Nick Diamonds
Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Saturday, May 10, 2014


If Aimee Mann and Ted Leo are ever in need of new careers, the two could take up standup comedy. The duo of Mann on bass and Leo on guitar -- and their drummer, Paul Mayhall -- charmed their way into the the hearts of Minneapolis with their humor peppered with music from their brand of rock-hued pop songs. Aimee shared, "We've been known to be 30 minutes into a set and only have played one song."

See also:
Slideshow: The Both pack the Fine Line


The two accomplished performers have made names for themselves as solo artists, but together have a magic that is hard to duplicate. Not just in conversation, but musically they each brought their talents to create a clever, oft-emotional double threat. The two toured together in late 2012 and discovered a creative chemistry. Leo wrote a piece and asked Mann to play bass on it, which led into a collaboration that turned into an EP. When the songwriting came effortlessly, the project turned into a full album under the name the Both.
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Photos by Tony Nelson
Mann's lilting vocals and Leo's gritty edge combined for a melodic set that featured all 11 Both tracks. The pair's banter revealed a connection is not confined to their music.
Aimee and Ted traded vocals on standout pieces from the new album, including the uptempo "The Gambler," "Volunteers of America," and "The Inevitable Shove."

Before leading into their fifth song of the night, Aimee shared a story about the phallic graffiti that graced the Fine Line's green room and some street graffiti they found in San Francisco on the "Four New Rules for the Pussy." Mann quipped, "The title of this next song is possibly the fifth rule," before she led into the bouncy "Pay For It." Not to be outdone in the dirty joke department, Cranberry juice was Ted Leo's theme for the evening, sharing a story on how he was at the grocery store buying a jug of it and having the cashier concerned about him having a UTI.

The two slowed it down a bit by throwing in a few somber pieces beginning with the first song they wrote together "You Can't Help Me Now" before Mann's Magnolia soundtrack hit "Save Me." Whenever Mann performs her Academy Award-nominated song, things happen. The world shifted and resettled into a new space. The song is delicate and heartbreaking, yet contains hope. Before Ted shared his new, unreleased "Lonsdale Avenue," Aimee warned, "Believe it or not, Ted's song is even more depressing than mine." The duo ruminated about its dark tendencies before harmonizing on the Both lullaby "Hummingbird."
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