While seemingly every talented musician on Earth (and Lady Gaga, too) was lining up to pay tribute to David Bowie after his death Jan. 10, the guy who led the popular Bowie concerts at First Avenue for 11 years was on the fence about doing it again. "When everybody starts doing tributes, they tend to get watered down," said local pop/rock vet John Eller, bandleader for the tribute — which had been called off in 2015 because of the passing of the shows' longtime drummer, Tommy Alsides. Thankfully, Eller had a ch-ch-change of heart: "We're doing the show for the same reason we've always done it: because we love his music, not because he died," he said. Thus brings us "Rock for Pussy XII: A Tribute to David Bowie," happening at 9 p.m. Friday ($15, eTix.com) and so named because it doubles as a benefit for Feline Rescue. Eller will lead an all-star cast, including Chan Poling, Jeremy Messersmith, Lori Barbero, Maria Isa, Venus DeMars and the Prairie Fire Lady Choir. Local radio queenpin and Bowie fanatic Mary Lucia, who co-hosts the show, also was initially wary but noted: "We're grieving Prince with the same passion and sadness — the shared wonder of Prince and Bowie both being shape-shifting icons whose talent should make us take stock of our good fortune as music fans."
The Catholic Church is about to bestow an Apostolic Knighthood on Donald … No, not that one. The papal honor goes to Donald Jackson, 79, the Welsh calligrapher who designed and oversaw production of the seven-volume St. John's Bible, the only handwritten Bible produced in the past 500 years. Commissioned by St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., the project took 12 years, cost more than $6 million and involved 20 calligraphers and illustrators. A not-very-religious Anglican, Jackson is a rare non-Catholic to be inducted into the Order of St. Gregory the Great, one of the church's highest honors for laypeople. For the past 50 years he has also produced official state documents for Queen Elizabeth in his post as "senior illuminator to the crown office." He will be knighted June 15 at Westminster Cathedral in London.
To P or not to P?
As much as we appreciate any touring musician who wants to pay respect to Prince in his hometown by interpreting his music, we also have to respect the ones who avoid it out of reverence. Ones like Robert Smith of the Cure, who set aside any hope of his band playing a Prince tune Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center when he put away his coincidentally (but conspicuously) colored guitar. "The pressure of playing a purple guitar is really getting to me," he said. Buzzing countryman Sturgill Simpson was standing on hallowed ground Sunday night at First Avenue when he made his own declaration: "Tonight I'm going to honor Prince by not playing any Prince songs."C.R.
Paul Simon dedicated his just-released album "Stranger to Stranger" to Mort Lewis, the longtime manager of Simon & Garfunkel who grew up in Minneapolis. Lewis, 92, who passed away in March, also managed jazz great Dave Brubeck. He gave only two interviews during his 70-year career; the first was to the Star Tribune in 1983. "Mort was smart, he was hip," Simon said when S&G were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. "Couldn't have had a better manager."
More summer concerts are lining up in parking lots outside your friendly neighborhood music venues. Fresh off his wave-riding Soundset appearance, Minneapolis rapper Prof announced his third annual outdoor bash at Cabooze's "plaza" Sept. 10 with Grieves, Hopsin, DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip and more. The new Lee's Liquor Lounge team is also planning to host concerts outside the bar, including a July 23 date with outlaw countryman David Allan Coe. Sounds like a good idea. Probably a bad idea, though — especially for a venue only a few blocks away from the Fourth Precinct headquarters frequented by Black Lives Matter protests — is an ad for the show featuring Coe in front of a Confederate flag.C.R.
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