Tobacco at the Triple Rock, 9/16/14

Categories: Last Night
Mark Kartarik

Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Last night at the Triple Rock, a full crowd gathered to witness the curiosity that is Tom Fec's Tobacco. Bringing a live drummer to the stage and using provocative imagery as a performance tool, Fec's set was so clean and polished that we almost felt like we were watching a bunch of YouTube videos and listening to a catalog of Tobacco albums.

See also:
Tobacco: If too many people like what I do, I'm doing something wrong

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Eric Church at Target Center, 9/16/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Mike Madison

Eric Church
With Dwight Yoakam
Target Center, Minneapolis
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's funny how a melody sounds like a memory -- whether you're from Edina, Duluth, Owatonna, or Savage. A state's worth of Eric Church fans sold out Target Center on Tuesday and rallied around that simple phrase, which is placed conveniently within the Carolina-bred country star's 2011 hit "Springsteen."

The church of Church received a swampy, metal-imbued, bluegrass-toting celebration. It nodded to the Boss all right, albeit more in performance style than sound. (ZZ Top, a distant second.) There was an enormous inflatable skull on rent from the Halloween supply store, but otherwise the arena show basically consisted of Church and band playing out what concert memories are made of.

See also:
Slideshow: Eric Church wows Target Center

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Die Antwoord at Myth, 9/14/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson

Die Antwoord
Myth, St. Paul
Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Yo, Minn-a-sota -- be happy," Yolandi said in her send-off to the packed club, "Bye Bye!" It was hard to believe it was over. Die Antwoord's show was short -- not long over an hour -- but it felt much faster than that. It wasn't for lack of material: The South African rap-ravers from Cape Town ran a tight set, sampling material from each of their studio albums. Instead, Ninja and Yolandi managed to speed up the passage of time with an all-out sensory assault.

There were barrages of strobe, legitimately freaky visuals, and more costume changes than I've ever seen outside of a stadium show. But though the spectacle colored the night, the most captivating elements came from the voices and bodies of the MCs themselves. The dynamic duo put a truly theatrical performance that buzzed with energy.

See also:
Slideshow: Die Antwoord Electrify Myth

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The Fucking Best Show Ever with P.O.S., 9/13/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
The Fucking Best Show Ever
with P.O.S., SZA, Le1f, Polica, Busdriver, Open Mike Eagle, Allan Kingdom, Zuluzuluu, DJ TIIIIIIIIIIP, Lazerbeak, and Dam-Funk
Fine Line Parking Lot, Minneapolis
Saturday, September 13, 2014

"In my opinion, this actually was the fucking best show ever," P.O.S. concluded at the end of his headlining solo set on Saturday, his first since his kidney transplant. The impressive range of dynamic, progressive hip-hop performers that preceded him at the six-hour outdoor festival, and continued through to the after-party at First Avenue, indeed made for an incredible concert experience that made the hyperbole wholly necessary.

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The Replacements at Midway Stadium, 9/13/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson

The Replacements
with the Hold Steady and Lucero
Midway Stadium, St. Paul
Satuday, September 13, 2014

Paul Westerberg comes into the store where I work sometimes. He gets his shopping done, dips out quietly, and then walks his dog back home. Some of the cashiers don't even recognize him, but the first time I rang him up, I nearly had a heart attack. For most people in The 'Mats Generation, that's a pretty banal story. After all, good chunks of the crowd in attendance at last night's show were alive and active while this group was a truly local band. They probably have great stories about the time Bob seared a guitar-shaped hole in the wall of the 7th St. Entry wearing nothing more than a pink tutu, or when they spent a night at the CC Club shooting the shit and trading jukebox picks with Chris Mars.

But I'll have to make do with the somewhat awkward, professional exchange I was fortunate enough to have with the man who wrote "Unsatisfied." That's why this show meant so much to kids my age. We finally have a Replacements memory to call our own.

See also:
Slideshow: The Replacements Rock Midway Stadium

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Paul Weller at Varsity Theater, 9/10/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo By Steve Cohen

Paul Weller
with DJ Jake Rudh
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis
September 10, 2014

After more than a 20-year absence from local stages, U.K. rocker Paul Weller triumphantly returned to Minneapolis last night to show his musical progeny exactly how it's done. The always stylish Modfather delighted the sold-out Varsity Theater with a career-spanning, nearly two-hour set that showcased his top-notch band as well as his versatile, genre-blending arsenal of hits.

See also:
Praise Mod: Catching Up With Paul Weller

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Emily's Army at Triple Rock Social Club, 9/8/14

Photo by Brecht Vanthof

Emily's Army
With Charlie Siren and Let Yourself Go
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Monday, September 8, 2014

Hearing Emily's Army's music in short bursts doesn't tell the full story. The surf rock and pop-punk trio hit Minneapolis for the first time to a crowd that was smaller than it should've been -- even on a Monday night.

Made up of singer/bassist Max Becker, brother Cole on vocals and guitar, and Joey Armstrong on drums their songs dip into the history of punk with a heavy dose of California sun. Within their bass-dominated songs featuring guitars with low end-fuzz, you can hear Wavves, the Ramones, and Joey's dad's band, Green Day. Sure, these guys are young, but they came ready to win over any doubters in attendance.

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The Jayhawks at First Avenue, 9/5/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo By Tony Nelson

The Jayhawks
with Two Harbors
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Friday, September 5, 2014

"I just like to surround myself with beautiful people, and good things tend to happen," Gary Louris proclaimed affectionately toward the end of the Jayhawks' spirited 130-minute, 26-song performance at First Avenue on Friday night. Indeed, the stage was filled with Louris's longtime musical cohorts -- Marc Perlman, Tim O'Reagan, Karen Grotberg, Kraig Johnson, and Jessy Greene along with mandolin player John Jackson -- and the club was rightfully packed with old friends and dedicated supporters of the band, which helped make the evening a truly special one.

The tight, well-rehearsed group showcased plenty of gems from their recently reissued trio of '97-'03 albums -- Sound of Lies, Smile, and Rainy Day Music -- as well as some old classics, a few Golden Smog numbers, and a couple of smart covers. All of it highlighted the estimable talents of the Jayhawks -- distinctive songs, occasionally messy back-story, and all.

See also:
Slideshow: The Jayhawks rock First Avenue

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Tickle Torture at 7th St. Entry, 9/6/14 (NSFW)

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Mark Kartarik
Elliot Kozel of Tickle Torture

Tickle Torture
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tickle Torture is more than just a musical act. It is a force of sexual nature that managed to sell out the Entry this past Saturday, turning it into a frenzy of sweaty bodies covered in golden foil confetti dancing wildly to the electro beats of the man of the evening, Elliot Kozel. Stripping down teasingly to a sequin-encrusted thong with an LED light tucked in it, Kozel got down to some serious dirty business with a couple of mostly naked golden ladies and several bottles of champagne, proving to all of us that he is far more than just an artist; he's a true performer.

See also:
The soulful, sexual release of Tickle Torture

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MN Music On-a-Stick at Minnesota State Fair, 8/30/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson

MN Music On-a-Stick
with Cactus Blossoms, Har Mar Superstar, Cloud Cult, Bob Mould, Doomtree, and Brother Ali
Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, St. Paul
Saturday, August 30

You can always count on the Current to keep you on your toes. At their third annual takeover of the State Fair Grandstand, 89.3 put together in a lineup of genre-spanning Minnesota acts. Every artist took the night in a different direction, and each one -- from Brother Ali to Bob Mould -- seemed to have a cadre of fans who were there mostly for them.

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