To wrap up an excellent 6-day stretch of shows in Minneapolis was the lovely Jenny Lewis. After two just raucous shows, it was nice to have a relatively relaxing, folked-out show. We got impatient half way through each of the openers; Farmer Dave seemed disheveled and his set was a little out of control, but it had its moment when he blew into this funny keyboard that looked like a bong with keys. The Sadies were a much more precise and well-practiced band, but we were just not really into their style–something I’d call “nouveaux-bluegrass.”

Fun show. I’m tired now.

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One of the best shows of my life. I only recently got It’s Blitz!; but after just one listen I got goose bumps thinking about going to this show. We weren’t the only people holding our breath–when we showed up it was already half full, and by the time Grand Ole Party finished people were pushing and yelling at each other trying to move up. In those 30 minutes of waiting you could feel the crowd’s anticipation. They opened with “Heads Will Roll” and right away people were off their feet, more like an airplane taking off than a rock band. It was like that for an entire set that felt like it passed by in a matter of minutes.

Karen O has spectacular stage presence and everything she did made the people scream. She had a button on the floor that shot off y-shaped confetti, which was just as exciting in-show as it was when we discovered it littering the floor afterward. It was such a great show it’s hard to pick out the highlights, but I especially loved “Cheated Hearts,” “Zero” and “Y Control.”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Faces (on HypeM)

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Grand Ole Party opened, and although it’s a name I can’t figure out because it seems so straightforward (GOP right?), they were great. They were a perfect opener for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and had a similarly charismatic lead singer in Kristin Gundred. We couldn’t resist buying their album when she was behind the merch table signing them in person. Looking through the liner notes (I miss those), Blake Sennett is on a few of the San Diego-based group’s tracks, which explains why some of you may have seen them opening for Rilo Kiley in the past.

Grand Ole Party – Bad, Bad Man

I’ve had Fever To Tell and Show Your Bones forever, but I’m now sure that if you haven’t seen them live, you don’t really know what’s on those records.

See the rest of the photos below.

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I had been looking forward to this show for a couple of weeks–it didn’t disappoint. The First Ave. crowd was great, everybody was really into it and it only took four songs to make us all stinky and sweaty. It was empty during Trouble Andrew, but people seemed to know what was up when Amanda Blank came up.

I knew Amanda Blank would be fun. It was hearing Diplo’s endorsement, seeing that he was producing her debut album featuring a few of our favorite artists at Chucks?, and it was hearing the remix of “I’m A Lady.” There’s not a lot of white rapper girls that I like; I hadn’t heard many tracks of hers before, but she put on a great set. She came out without any pants, and somehow by the end of the set she was wearing less. Just her CHUCKS and a shirt.

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Amanda Blank – Might Like You Better

One of the reasons I’ve loved Santigold’s album was its versatility. It’s not crossing genres but most songs can stand on their own. Half of her play list feels like singles and the others fill in around them. It kept things interesting and there were only a couple of brief moments where I could stop to think about being sweaty or tired. Santigold mentioned her mixtape with Diplo a few times during the set so I got really excited late in the show when she called Amanda Blank back on stage. They did “I’m A Lady” together and Trouble Andrew (who is on the original track) came out for the end of it. The highlight of the night for sure.

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Santigold featuring Amanda Blank – I’m A Lady (Diplo Remix)

See the rest…

Chairlift/PBJ in MPLS

April 22, 2009

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Chairflift opened for Peter, Bjorn and John last night at the Fine Line. I would like to say something insightful on the performances, but instead all I can think about is how long some parts were and how short others were. That and how the Fine Line played two entire Coldplay albums between sets! WTF?! Are you trying to burn my ears off? Show some fucking respect Fine Line DJ.

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Chairlift was on stage first, and they sounded great. Caroline Polachek is an incredibly sexy stage presence, which made me really surprised to see her anywhere but the middle of the stage, and out of the bright lights. She is the lead, and the band’s personality is really just hers. All three of them, but she especially seemed really excited to be playing “Brusies” for the umpteenth time, which tells me that they really like themselves. If these aren’t reasons enough to find them endearing see what I already said about them. It was especially fun to see them play the two new songs from the re-release of Does You Inspire You; I can’t even get my hands on these in digital form as I write this. As expected the real highlight of the show, and probably the night was “Evident Utensil.”

See the rest of the photos and a 12 second video…

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Having never been before to the 7th Street Entry, I didn’t really know what to expect of the place. My first memory–well association is perhaps more appropriate–of “the entry” (as they call it) was handed down from my dad: people at the entry are tattooed, biker gangbangers with pierced lips and eyebrows that do hard drugs and are alcoholics. In all fairness he has never been there.

Read the rest and see a short video from the show…

Lykke Li at the Varsity

February 9, 2009

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What is happening to live music? In just the last week, the E Street Band mimed their Superbowl performance, and TV on the Radio performed as a washed-out mess on SNL. SNL is notoriously bad on sound, and TVOTR seems like an impossible act to mic properly, but that doesn’t make it less awesome to see someone put on a great-sounding live show.

Lykke Li is an enthralling stage personality. While some acts are miming, lip-syncing and doing rehearsed choreography it’s refreshing to see someone do a good show and a good concert at the same time. A couple of simultaneously hilarious and sweet covers to go with a well-timed Southern Baptist Preacher impersonation brought her only full-length release to life.

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A few songs sounded better in person than on the record: “Breaking it Up” was definitely the highlight of the show, and “Let it Fall” was great. The sample skipped during “Complaint Department” but the band adroitly got back on stage to play it through, while Lykke Li sung on like nothing had happened. Li did the swell covers she’s been doing throughout this tour, A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It,” Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli” and Kings of Leon’s “Knocked Up.” Altogether she’s just a fantastic performer.

More photos if you jump…

Hotel Cafe, Part II

November 9, 2008

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I went to the Hotel Cafe (again!) after getting completely obsessed with a few songs that I’m going to share below. Meiko played her sensational cover of Fade Into You, and it was just as amazing the second time. Alice Russel, who I had never heard of before Thursday was fine, and her Seven Nation Army cover was awesome. We think of her as a slightly toned-down, whiter version of Sharon Jones. Oh, and Jaymay brought everyone out to middle of the audience and played a song. Enough about this though, it’s already been written about. New music soon, but these photos are too good to keep to myself.

Thao Nguyen – Feet Asleep