Sufjan Stevens Gets Epic and Emotional at Northrop

Photo By Tony Nelson
Sufjan Stevens
With Little Scream
Northrop Auditorium, Minneapolis
April 22, 2015

Occasionally, you go to a show and get completely blindsided by what unfolds in front of you. You expect a decent show with a few flourishes and quirks, maybe, but in the end what you've experienced can really only be described as epic--in the very accurate and not overused sense of that word.

Wednesday night at Northrop Auditorium, Sufjan Stevens and his band put on show so powerful that the fortunate fans in attendance will be talking about it for quite some time to come.

See Also:
Slideshow: Sufjan Stevens Wows Northrop

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Twin Shadow Outshone By Lightshow at First Avenue

Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen
Twin Shadow First Avenue, Minneapolis April 13, 2015

Sometimes a band gets a show off to a rough start simply because they've had an off day, or a missed note snowballs to become something a little worse. But sometimes that rough start is a harbinger of what's to come from the rest of the performance.

Monday night's Twin Shadow show at First Avenue proved to be firmly in the latter camp, unfortunately. While there were a few bright spots luminous enough to keep the show from going down in flames, overall, the set was lifeless and at points so meandering that it was difficult to discern what was going on.

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Twin Shadow Brings Sexy Back to Minneapolis

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Coachella Weekend One Set Reviews

Photo by Timothy Norris
FKA Twigs
Contrary to what you might have heard, Coachella is more than just a fashion parade for B-list celebrities and trust fund kids. It also still features music! Here are reviews and recaps of some of the first weekend's most memorable sets, from Jack White, Run the Jewels, FKA Twigs, Steely Dan, Tame Impala and more.

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Slideshow: Hot Festival Fashion at Coachella

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First Ave Brings Out Special Guests to Celebrate 45th Anniversary

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Mike Madison

First Avenue's 45th Anniversary
Featuring Har Mar Superstar, Sonny Knight and the Lakers, Sims, and the Cactus Blossoms
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday night's 45th Anniversary show at First Avenue mirrored the history of the club itself. The performances ranged between country, hip-hop, funk, and soul, with a consistent level of quality that we've come to expect from the venue over the years. The night wisely chose to celebrate the present instead of a retroactively looking back, and that's one of the big reasons why First Ave continues to lead the local music scene today.

See also:
First Avenue at 45: Our First and Favorite Shows

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Earl Sweatshirt Solidified His Cult of Personality at Mill City Nights

Photo By Adam Degross
Earl Sweatshirt 
Mill City Nights, Minneapolis
Friday, March 27, 2015

"I'm OK with being more self-centered now," Earl Sweatshirt told NPR's Microphone Check last week. "How ever important you treat yourself is how everyone's going to treat you."

It was evident the Odd Future representative was living that maxim as he took the stage at Mill City Nights on Friday night, exuding the confidence and arrogance of a young despot. Sweatshirt was performing in support of his sophomore album, I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside, a release that his label famously fucked up. The 21-year-old rapper had unminced words for his label, releasing a diatribe against Columbia that a Doris-era Sweat might not've been self-centered (or self-assured) enough to take public.

But we're dealing with a new Earl now, one who's out to assert his art on his own terms. I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside was conceived in isolation that allowed Sweatshirt to free his music of outside influences (as much as that is possible), and his Minneapolis show was a coming out party for his newly born cult of personality.

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Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Square Danced with Sadness at the Fitzgerald

Jerard Fagerberg
Sadness and happiness arrive hand in hand.

Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield
Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul
Sunday, March 22, 2015

Life is a careful balance between joy and melancholy, and we are always one tremble from slipping into the abyss. This is the lesson Elliott Smith taught through his music.

Despite this, Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield were in good spirits as they took the stage of the Fitzgerald Sunday night. The two were in town as part of their 13-stop tour promoting Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith. Dressed in drab -- Mayfield sporting a drooping funeral gown and Avett looking like a bullied academic -- they smiled and saluted the crowd, an apt metaphor for the night ahead.

Along with them to pay tribute to the late master of misery was standup bassist Paul Defiglia, resident keyboardist for the Avett Brothers, whose plucky, deep tones added a foreboding, straight-from-the-washtub tone to the Avett-ized Smith covers. Though Mayfield's airy, downtrodden Jenny Lewis impression was a fitting anagram of Smith's own, Avett's voice is far too mellifluous to be an exact homage. In essence, this was the point of the evening -- not to recreate Smith's heartbreaking body of work, but to interpret it in a way that helps you better digest the pain.

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Educated Guesses as to Why Drake Doesn't Want You to See Drake's Homecoming

Drake hasn't said why he disowned his new documentary, but we have some ideas.

No rapper spends more time glamorizing their come-up than Drake. So it was all the more perplexing that the Ontario-born R&B impresario disavowed Drake's Homecoming: The Lost Footage, the IMAX documentary focusing on his 2009 show at Toronto's Sound Academy.

To date, Drizzy hasn't specified why exactly he's distanced himself from the project. Co-executive producer Mark Berry told Rolling Stone he thinks it's a case of Drake having "sour grapes" over losing creative control, but that's a biased claim. The YMCMB crooner claimed he's trying to #protectthefans, but what about the 120-minute retrospective is so dangerous?

If you were one of the 15 (Ed. note: Fucking fifteeeeen) people who caught the one-night-only showing at the AMC Southdale last night, you may have some educated guesses.

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Get Cryphy's 7th Anniversary Was a Chaotic, Sweaty Celebration

Get Cryphy now @firstavenue #getcryphy #firstavenue

A photo posted by jbird (@jbird) on

Get Cryphy 7th Anniversary
with Le1f, Toki Wright, Lizzo, Bobby Raps, Astronautalis, RP Hooks, and more
First Avenue Mainroom
Saturday, March 14, 2015

Plain Ole Bill, DJ Fundo, Last Word, and Jimmy Two Times once again expanded their Get Cryphy dance night to fit First Avenue's mainroom for their anniversary. It was a fitting end to the seven years the crew held down a monthly residency in the Record Room. Stacked with guest appearances and raw rap classics, the night was as chaotic and sweaty as the diverse crowd has come to expect.

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Jeff and Spencer Tweedy Prove Inspired Artistry Runs in the Family

Categories: Last Night

Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
L-R: Jeff and Spencer Tweedy

First Avenue, Minneapolis
Sunday, March 8, 2015

The last time that most Wilco fans met Spencer Tweedy was the 2002 rockumentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which chronicles the making of the alt-country band's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Towards the end of that classic film, the then-six-year-old is found on the tour bus with his famous father, Jeff, banging away on his knees to Wilco's "Heavy Metal Drummer." It doesn't quite sound like the studio version, but it's an adorable scene nonetheless.

Fast forward to Sunday night, when Tweedy, the side project formed between the father and son, played the third show of their current U.S. tour at a sold-out First Avenue. Spencer is now 19 years old and fully capable of keeping time behind his dad, as proven by a two-hour gig where he and his old man aired songs from last year's double album Sukierae, and then plenty more.

See also:
Slideshow: Tweedy Rock First Avenue

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PRhyme Kept It Raw and Lyrical at Fine Line

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Mike Madison
L-R: DJ Premier and Royce da 5'9"

PRhyme (Royce Da 5'9" and DJ Premier)
with Freez and WIllie Shu, Boldy James, and Your Old Droog
Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rap duo PRhyme hit the Fine Line stage Sunday night to perform classically minded boom-bap for a packed crowd of avid fans.

Combining the production work of former GangStarr producer DJ Premier and rapping from Detroit's Royce da 5'9", the battle-tinged lyrical rap performance provided the audience with exactly what they were looking for.

See also:
Slideshow: PRhyme Rock the Fine Line

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