Jhené Aiko Burned a Fan's Ex on the Phone at Skyway Theatre

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Tony Nelson
Jhené Aiko at her sultry best.
Jhené Aiko 
with SZA and The Internet 
Skyway Theatre, Minneapolis
Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jhené Aiko teamed up with like-minded R&B performers SZA and the Internet for her Enter the Void Tour, which completed its run Sunday at the Skyway Theatre. Each artist shared a general vibe, comprised of a female lead and a live backing band. Each of them brought distinct approaches.
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Birdman, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan Brought Rich Gang to Life at Myth

Categories: Last Night
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Photos by Sho Shots/45th Street Management Group
Rich Gang lighting up the Myth masses.
Rich Gang Tour: Birdman, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan
Myth Nightclub, St. Paul
Friday, December 12, 2014

The recent team-up of oddball hitmakers Birdman, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan makes total bizarre sense, and their Rich Gang: The Tour Part 1 mixtape proved to be one of the best rap projects in a year largely devoid of full-lengths that truly came together. Their appearance at Myth proved a success after a long set of that provided solo spots and a group performance.

See also:
Slideshow: Rich Gang Turn it Up at Myth


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Two Teens Helped Me Review Jingle Ball 2014

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Tony Nelson
Ariana Grande got 'em screaming at Jingle Ball 2014.

101.3 KDWB Jingle Ball 2014
With Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, Jessie J, Meghan Trainor, Rita Ora, OneRepublic, Demi Lovato Becky G, Shawn Mendes, Kiesza
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Monday, December 8, 2014

It's easy to forget as you go about your daily adult life, but there is a huge population of teenagers and tweens living in your city whose lifestyles and interests differ drastically from your own. Never is this more apparent than at KDWB's annual Top 40 holiday spectacular Jingle Ball. For one night downtown St. Paul is overrun with young people who love boys, Snapchat, and music. They tend to text a lot, scream a lot, and wear a lot of makeup, and they congregated at the Xcel Energy Center last night to do all of these things in the presence of some of the greatest pop talents of their generation.

As an adult, I was entirely under-equipped to assess last night's show. The sisters seated behind me ("Teen #1," age 17; "Teen #2," age 13) assisted in measuring each artist's performance.

See also:
Slideshow: Festive Folks at KDWB's Jingle Ball 2014

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Doomtree Tore Up the Turf Club to Launch Blowout X

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Photo by Tony Nelson
The entire Doomtree crew hard at work.

Doomtree Blowout X: Night One
Turf Club, St. Paul
Saturday, December 6, 2014

For the beginning of the end of a long-standing local tradition, Doomtree opted for the intimate confines of the Turf Club to begin laying their annual Blowout to rest. The first of what will be a week's worth of grand finales set the St. Paul institution ablaze with a solid two-hour performance that rivaled some of their best of the past decade.

Every night of the final Blowout's week of performances sold out nearly immediately, and there's a sense the group has the power to do whatever they want to do when it comes to booking local gigs. Thankfully, the prospect of playing at smaller venues remains of importance to the powerhouse seven-person rap outfit, and the Turf kickoff perfectly melded their current-day legend status with the fiery energy of their hardscrabble beginnings.

See also:
Slideshow: Doomtree Blowout X: Night One at the Turf Club


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Forged Artifacts Showcased Yummy, Organized Chaos at Triple Rock

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Adam DeGross
Rupert Angeleyes' "One Bong Rip From Heaven" is on the new Forged Artifacts comp.
Forged Artifacts Showcase
Rupert Angeleyes, Kitten Forever, France Camp, and Real Numbers
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Saturday, December 6, 2014


Minneapolis-based record label Forged Artifacts synced up the release of two ambitious projects Saturday night, but it didn't turn the four-band showcase at Triple Rock into anything resembling a business transaction.

All of the night's acts are featured on the new label compilation tape The Greatest of All Time #1, which is an 11-track look at some of the Twin Cities' most successful basement collisions between punk, garage rock, and psychedelia. The night's headliner Rupert Angeleyes also utilized the night to celebrate the unveiling of their Young Sunset LP. Greatest Concert of All Time? No, but it was pretty great.
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Sturgill Simpson Is a Master of Country Music Performance

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Mark N. Kartarik
"Too kind, too kind."
Sturgill Simpson
Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Thursday, December 4, 2014


Nashville-based singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson's sophomore album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, cites next-level critical theory in its title, begins with a song about psilocybin and turtles, and ends with a chopped-up backward guitar solo. On paper he's the least "country" country singer out there who isn't Taylor Swift -- but his performance last night at the Fine Line proves that paper is an increasingly worthless medium.

Despite his psyched-out philosophy, Simpson put on a sold-out show that reveled in exhaustion and sorrow without sacrificing positivity and showmanship -- basically hitting every checkpoint of a successful country music concert.

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Live Transmission Filled Varsity Theater With Retro Cool

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Mark N. Kartarik
The Ocean Blue capped the Live Transmission event.

Live Transmission with Two Harbors, BNLX, The Ocean Blue, Frankie Teardrop, the Rope, and Gloss
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis
Saturday, November 29

DJ Jake Rudh's long-running Transmission dance night at Club Jäger got a live reinterpretation Saturday at the Varsity. Six acts spanning post-punk, new wave and indie rock adequately brought the concept to the stage over five hours. All of the groups were most strongly linked to Minnesota except headliners the Ocean Blue, who also have Pennsylvania ties.

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Hippo Campus Confidently Charmed the Sold-Out 7th St. Entry

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Tony Nelson
Hippo Campus were anything but bashful at the Entry.

Hippo Campus
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Saturday, November 29, 2014

Depending on what type of person you are, Hippo Campus are either a crew of lovable hometown teens with a charming Afrobeat sound, or they're the underage offspring of Bow Wow Wow and fun.

Probably, they're equal parts both. The Woodbury-grown recent St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts grads make familiar-sounding indie rock with a sizable dose of smarm, but they're so damn good at it that you can hardly knock them for going all out. That's really all that matters when it comes to filling the 7th St. Entry with amped-up teens on a Saturday, and Hippo Campus proved that they were fully up to the challenge.

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GWAR at Skyway Theatre, 11/20/14

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Mark N. Kartarik
GWAR forever.
GWAR
Skyway Theatre, Minneapolis
Thursday, November 20, 2014


Earlier this year, GWAR -- the intergalactically renowned metal band made up of alien warriors -- appeared on the A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover video series at an emotional time. GWAR had recently been rocked by the overdose of founding member Oderus Urungus (a.k.a. Dave Brockie). 

After their obligatory performance of the Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls," GWAR launched into a reinterpretation of Jim Carroll's "People Who Died." They concluded with a verse from replacement frontman Blothar, dedicated to his fallen friend -- "Brockie I miss you more than all the others / I salute you my brother!" A.V. Club's Josh Modell said it best -- "I never thought I'd say to GWAR: that was kind of touching." Drummer Jizmak Da Gushha, taken aback, replied indignantly -- "Who touched who where?"

The A.V. Undercover clip sums up GWAR in 2014 in a nutshell. They're a little sad, a little serious, but still stupid, crass, and absolutely committed to doing what they do best -- rocking out and spewing gallons of blood all over their fans. 

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Run the Jewels at Fine Line, 11/20/14

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Adam Degross
El-P and Killer Mike
Run The Jewels
with Ratking, Despot, and David Ruffin Theory
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Run the Jewels, the region-spanning duo of Killer MIke and El-P, swung through the Fine Line Thursday night, putting on a top-tier performance that cemented their status as one of the most exciting acts in rap. Joined by openers Despot, Ratking, and David Ruffin Theory, the night was stacked with strong sets that satisfied the sold out room.

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