MC/VL at 7th St. Entry, 7/24/14

Categories: Last Night
MC_VL_Mike_Madison.jpg
Photo by Mike Madison

MC/VL
with Gay Witch Abortion and Kitten Forever
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rap duo MC/VL returned after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus to mark the upcoming departure of Vicious Lee, partner in rhyme of Mighty Clyde. Their old-school leanings and raw energy blew up a packed 7th St. last night, marking a bittersweet night of great performances.

See also:
Slideshow: MC/VL pack the Entry


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Vans Warped Tour 2014 at Canterbury Park, 7/20/2014

Categories: Last Night
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Photo By Joanna Fox

Vans Warped Tour 2014
Canterbury Park
Sunday, July 20 2014

In Canterbury Park on Sunday, on one of the first truly hot days of the year, the punk rock summer camp was in full effect. Much has been said about the changing nature of the 20-year-old festival. Over the years, the bill has expanded to include acts in endless genres, many which have almost no discernible connection to the punk and hardcore scene. There are now signs that ban crowd-surfing and mosh pits, and parents get in free. All of these could be construed to say that Vans Warped Tour has completely lost its edge -- but that only works if you don't pay attention to what's actually happening onstage.

Warped Tour may be the only festival in its category: an all-ages, multi-genre showcase that stops in cities as removed from major metros as Scranton, PA . It's a whirlwind, with around 100 half-hour sets to choose from, spread across nine stages. And though many aspects of the festival were far from punk rock, the core remains. The signs were ignored: Crowd-surfing and mosh pits were near-constant. It was an nine-hour rock show, the best day of many of the attendees' summer, and a must-see for those who like music and fun.


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Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival, 7/19/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Photo By Tony Nelson
Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival
with Sonny Knight & the Lakers, Black Eyed Snakes, STNNNG, Black Diet, Eleganza!, the 757's, Crankshaft, Black Market Brass, Molly Dean, Spider John Koerner, Jeff Ray and Hurricane Harold, and more
Patrick's Cabaret, Minneapolis
July 19, 2014


Beneath perilously low-hanging clouds that never quite delivered on the persistent threat of rain, the fourth annual Twin Cities Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival livened up an otherwise quiet South Minneapolis neighborhood this past Saturday afternoon. A short line of food trucks stood buzzing alongside the Current-sponsored main stage as an impressive roster of 30+ performers kept the festival's five stages rockin' through a gray dusk and into the night.


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Foreigner and Styx at Target Center, 7/17/14

Categories: Last Night
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Photo By Steve Cohen

Foreigner and Styx
with Don Felder
Target Center, Minneapolis
Thursday, July 17, 2014

The massive stage, the grandeur, the lights and lasers, and the overabundance of mullets -- they were all in full effect last night at the Target Center. A packed house gathered to hear the plentiful hits of Foreigner and Styx, and watch the classic music they all love and know so well come to life.

See Also: Slideshow: Foreigner and Styx at Target Center, 7/17/14

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Tune-Yards at First Avenue, 7/17/14

Categories: Last Night
TuneyardsTN100.jpg
Photo By Tony Nelson
Tune-Yards
with Dosh
First Avenue, Minneapolis
July 17, 2014


In April of 2010, an artist going by the name Tune-Yards presented an exuberant, frenzied set of loops and vaguely tribal-sounding percussive elements for those either informed enough or bored enough to wander into The Cave that particular evening. This "student-run nightclub," as described by the Carleton College website, hid in the shadows of a coffee shop on its Northfield, MN campus. Merrill Garbus stood upon its tiny stage, layering seemingly incidental scraps of beats and melodies into songs. She whispered to us comfortingly, then unleashed a torrent of shrill wails.

Piling five-deep into a ride back to Minneapolis, our Garbus-fueled state of sonic inebriation refused to lessen its grip. We were her hostages still.

Last night, Tune-Yards sold out First Avenue. A tepid sea of admirers stirred before Garbus. "Lord, Jesus, where did y'all come from?," she asked from the stage, in disbelief at its mass. Her question met an approving roar. "There's sold out," she continued, "and then there's sold out."

See Also: Slideshow: Tune-Yards at First Avenue, 7/17/14


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Sharon Van Etten at First Avenue, 7/16/14

Categories: Last Night
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Photo By Tahiel Jimenez

Sharon Van Etten
with Jana Hunter
First Avenue, Minneapolis
July 16, 2014

Sharon Van Etten set the tone for her First Avenue show long before she took the stage on Wednesday night. With the release of her exquisite album Are We There, Van Etten had collectively broken all of our hearts with her anguished, deeply revealing new songs, and we came to the club in search of some musical therapy in order to heal our lingering emotional scars.

And that is precisely what we got from the Brooklyn-based songwriter and her talented backing band during their captivating 85-minute set, which included a guest appearance in the encore from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, as if the night wasn't already special enough.

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The Flaming Lips at First Avenue, 7/15/14

Categories: Last Night

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Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
The Flaming Lips
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The crowd roared at the sight of a clear sheet of plastic, as the band played a simple rhythm to fill the time. This was, of course, the Zorb ball -- the clear human hamster wheel that Wayne Coyne has used in shows for years to walk over audiences like Jesus on the sea of Galilee. After the ball fully inflated, the lights focused on it, and it glowed with pale moonlight. It's easy to see why this aspect of the Flaming Lips stage show has become so well known -- it's a striking and memorable scene. "Vein of Stars," the song performed mostly from the middle of the floor, was secondary. The music, even more minimal than on record, didn't provide much to latch onto, and the lyrics almost whisked away.

The day of the concert, City Pages published an essay by Erik Thompson, "Why I gave up on the Flaming Lips," that questioned the value of the latter half of the Lips' career. He claimed that the spectacles of their live shows have become soulless over time, and that their recent albums have been tepid rehashes of old work (both their own and Pink Floyd's). "Wayne Coyne has become a cartoon character in an overlong movie that few are even watching anymore," Thompson wrote. Strong words, and an interesting set-up.

See also:
Slideshow: The Flaming Lips wow at First Avenue

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Cause Spirits & Soundbar 5th Anniversary and Closing Party, 7/12/14

Categories: Last Night

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Photo by Shon Troth
Cause's 5th Anniversary and Closing Party
With Enemy Planes, Gay Witch Abortion, Mississippi North, Buildings, Ex Nuns, and Strange
Cause Spirits & Soundbar, Minneapolis
Saturday, July 12, 2014

For the past five years Cause Spirits & Soundbar has been an oasis on the corner of Lyndale and Lake. Rickety lounge chairs dotted the sidewalk outside around tables piled high with PBR cans. In the mornings, the tantalizing scent of breakfast wafted in past trusty bartenders serving up the day's hair of the dog. By evening, strains of your favorite local band's songs struggled to be heard over the buzz of an enthusiastic gathering of friends and strangers alike, crowding the door guy and filling the air with cigarette smoke and laughter. Drunken merriment abounded. For the past five years, many of us Uptowners lived by one simple motto: All roads lead to Cause.

The fifth anniversary celebration of this beloved bar/restaurant/venue, though, wound up being its funeral. After five years of serving as a rite of passage for so many performers, and a second home for some, Cause has officially closed its doors to the public as (gasp!) a sports bar prepares to move into its beloved tomb. Despite our shock and anguish, we did our best to party hard this past Saturday as the last five bands to ever play Cause hit the stage.

See also:
Cause goes sports bar: 10 best comments

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Basilica Block Party Day Two, 7/12/14

Categories: Last Night

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Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Basilica Block Party, Day Two
with Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, the Wild Feathers, Caroline Smith, Frankie Lee, BBGUN, and Jillian Rae
Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis
Saturday, July 12, 2014

Due to some well-timed divine intervention, Saturday afternoon's rain stopped as soon as the music started on day two of the 20th Basilica Block Party. The clearing skies ushered in plenty of glossy national acts to draw in both the crowds and the headlines, but the day was ultimately defined by the strong performances of the locals on the bill who rose to the occasion.

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Imagine Dragons at TCF Stadium, 7/12/14

Categories: Last Night

Imagine_Dragons_Mike_Madison.jpg
Photo by Mike Madison
Imagine Dragons with Atmosphere
Saturday, July 12, 2014
TCF Stadium, Minneapolis

When you take a band that's been to the Cities four times -- the first just down the road from TCF Stadium at the Varsity in March 2013 -- and has consecutively sold out each venue they've visited, it must mean that their live show is spectacular, right? Not always.

For those lucky enough to score a spot at the free show set up as part of MLB All-Star Week, there was a perfect backdrop with a summer evening ushered in by a cool breeze. The night was carefree, and the band had just flown in that morning from a show in Scotland. It was fortunate that TCF Stadium has recently allowed beer sales, for the liquor loosened up the 27,000 fans enough to get out of their seats.

See also:
Slideshows: Imagine Dragons and Atmosphere rock TCF Bank Stadium; All-Star Fans Rock Out with Imagine Dragons and Atmosphere


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