JMSN Incited a Euphoric Riot at the Triple Rock

Photo by Jerard Fagerberg
JMSN bringing down the house.

with Rochelle Jordan and Jon Jones
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Tuesday, February 24, 2015

JMSN's hypnosis is usually tender.

The Michigan-born R&B auteur has impressed everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Usher with his honeyed vocals and courts comparisons to Justin Timberlake, the Weeknd, and Frank Ocean. The truth really lies somewhere between those poles -- perhaps an amalgam of Ginuwine and Caribou is more accurate. JMSN's late-2014 LP, JMSN (The Blue Album), set out to prove that the emotive multi-instrumentalist is worth a spin for more than just the stars he resembles.

R&B has a strange power. It's able to make even the stiffest hipsters swivel their hips. It's otherworldly, and last night at the Triple Rock Social Club, JMSN showed that no one harnesses that power better than him.

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A Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias Show Is Paradise for Drunk Moms

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Mike Madison
The million-dollar grin of Pitbull.
Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias
Target Center, Minneapolis
Saturday, February 21, 2015

Going to a Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias concert by yourself is sort of like being drunk and lonely on Valentine's Day. Except that you're surrounded by thousands of people and you're not actually drunk because it's at the Target Center and beers are really expensive.

The show drew a massively diverse crowd. All ages, all socio-economic demographics, all races -- pretty much everyone in Minnesota was there last night. It was a truly remarkable celebration of humanity. I have never felt more alone.

See also:
Slideshow: Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias Heat Up the Target Center

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Travi$ Scott Hit the Fine Line Like a Tornado

Photo by Adam Degross

Travi$ Scott
Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Saturday, February 21, 2015

To put it simply, Houston's Travi$ Scott brought unfettered pandemonium to the Fine Line on Saturday. I hesitate to use terminology like "turnt," "buck," or "crunk" (in the words of Open Mike Eagle: "A journalist should never write a slang editorial") but it's hard to appropriately quantify the specific feel of the energy without words that cover both the slickness and the rage permeating in the room.

Offering up a pair of Yeezy Boosts to the most hyped audience member, Travi$ brought out reckless abandon by putting on a remarkably intense performance for a packed house of animated fans.

See also:
Travi$ Scott Wows the Fine Line

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Kacey Musgraves Is as Real as Country's Ever Been

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Mike Madison
Kacey Musgraves at the State.
Kacey Musgraves
State Theatre, Minneapolis
February 20, 2014

Kacey Musgraves had nothing but nice things to say about Burnsville. Twice from the State Theatre stage on Friday night, the 26-year-old Texan recalled last August, when she and her tour mates overnighted in the Dakota County suburb.

"We sure made a lot of memories that night in Burnsville," she said suggestively, before reminiscing more innocently about a birthday trip to Skateville and the "eighth-grade mems" it stirred. Musgraves' stage patter was, like her music, both genuine and manipulative, very funny and a little hokey. In other words, girl's a country music natural.

See also:
Slideshow: Kacey Musgraves Charms the State Theatre

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Sleater-Kinney Summoned Chaotic Intensity at First Avenue

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson
Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney

First Avenue, Minneapolis
Saturday, February 14, 2015

No critic, however jaded, seems to reach the end of a Sleater-Kinney review without toppling into rank hyperbole, so just to balance off the fanboy gibbering to come, let's kick this off with a kvetch: More than once during Saturday night's sold-out First Avenue show, you might possibly have convinced me that I was not watching the greatest rock band of the past 20 years.

Corin Tucker's immense voice still pierces, swells, and soars, but at times she held back before reaching inside for reserve wattage. Janet Weiss drums with no less calculated abandon than ever, but she sometimes contented herself with driving forward rather than continually exploding in all directions. Even Carrie Brownstein's waist-high kicks were in shorter supply. Support player Katie Harkin bolstered the sound with guitar, keyboard and supplementary drumming. She wasn't unnecessary.

See also:
Slideshow: Sleater-Kinney and Lizzo Rock First Avenue

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John Mellencamp Is Equal Parts American Fool and American Hero

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Mark N. Kartarik
John Mellencamp is from Indiana, which is also known for smokestacks, unadorned countryside, and Michael Jackson.

John Mellencamp
Northrop Auditorium, Minneapolis
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I'd heard "Jack and Diane" hundreds of times, but it wasn't until I sang, "Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone" with a crowd of middle-aged John Mellencamp fans that I processed the sentiment.

Decades ago, the rectangular-faced Americana rock star pulled so many of us in with fiddle- and accordion-laced pop songs that evoked the mythical Heartland depicted in old black-and-white movies. Plus, each one was mixed to perfectly boom out of a Pizza Hut jukebox. Long after the thrill of drinking Dr Pepper in cloudy red plastic cups turned into carefully monitoring glycemic indexes, the 63-year-old Mellencamp's stories still endure as working-class statements to hang your hardhat on.

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Marilyn Manson Channeled His Inner Wayne Newton at Mystic Lake

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Adam Grim
Marilyn Manson's transition to casino life is complete.
Marilyn Manson
Mystic Showroom, Prior Lake
Friday, February 6, 2015

Marilyn Manson -- alleged puppy killer, professed Antichrist, and the cause of all American school shootings -- performed for a sold-out group of adults Friday at the Mystic Showroom at Mystic Lake Hotel and Casino in Prior Lake.

How did we get to this wonderful and spectacularly post-ironic point in pop music history?

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London Grammar Celebrated Both Trip-hop's Past and Electro-Pop's Future

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson
London Grammar's Hannah Reid

London Grammar
With Until the Ribbon Breaks
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Tuesday, February 3, 2014

It's one thing to pay tribute to an influential period of music history, but quite another to give it a new life. During their First Avenue show on a snowy Tuesday, U.K. trio London Grammar connected the creative dots between their home country's seminal trip-hop scene of the early '90s and the current electro-pop sound.

Delving heavily into their 2013 debut, If You Wait, the soaring vocals of Hannah Reid, the pulsating electronic beats and live drums of Dominic "Dot" Major, and the churning guitar work of Dan Rothman built a 60-minute set that could very well be a template for whatever electronic music's next wave sounds like.

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Drone Not Drones: The New Protest Music

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Adam Degross
Drone Not Drones: Another 28-Hour Drone
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
Friday, January 30 & Saturday, January 31

Drones break into the White House, they distribute meth, they may or may not deliver Amazon products, and -- most importantly -- they may or may not kill innocent people in countries we're ostensibly not at war with. It's hard to know how to feel. We know they exist, but we don't quite know how to interact with them. In this respect they're not all that different from drone music.

Drone Not Drones, the second 28-hour drone concert featuring over 50 groups sustaining one continuous drone in support of humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders, forced its audience to contemplate the connection between "drones" and "drone" this past weekend at the Cedar Cultural Center. Drones Not Drones demonstrated -- sometimes triumphantly, sometimes maddeningly -- that the relationship between the two extends far beyond their phonetic similarities.

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The Current's 10th Anniversary Spanned Generations of MN Music

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Mike Madison
Atmosphere at Saturday's Anniversary show.

The Current's 10th Anniversary, Night Two
Featuring Atmosphere, J. Roddy Walston & the Business, the Trashmen, and PaviElle
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Saturday, January 24, 2015

Over the past 10 years, the little public radio spinoff that could has become so integral to Minnesota music that it's now a nice feather in MPR's cap. Chalk 89.3 the Current's success up to strong fundamentals, a deliberate "do no harm" approach, a staff full of genuinely knowledgeable and passionate people, as well as great timing. When the Current powered on back in 2005, few could have predicted just how rapidly the local music community would've grown. It's been a hell of a time to have a big spotlight to shine, but the good folks over at 89.3 have kept on shinin', and bless 'em for it.

See also:
Slideshow: Rocking Out at the Current's 10th Birthday: Night Two

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