A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Lionel Richie, Austin, Texas. Seeing him deliver hit after hit on a hot, windy summer night brought back memories of high school. A highlight was standing, singing and swaying to “We Are the World.” Those lyrics still ring true.
Jack White, Chicago. It was my first time seeing him without a band. For three hours, he played blistering blues rock, starting with tracks from his excellent “Lazaretto” album and then tunes from his bands (White Stripes, Dead Weather, Raconteurs). He was in great form as he told stories about the genesis of the songs.
Lydia Loveless, Chicago. Her songs about falling in and out of love and feeling hurt and joy were delivered with urgency and conviction at this street fair.
Deb Skolos, Minneapolis
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Maddie & Tae, “Girl in a Country Song” video. In words and visuals, this clever duo does a cheeky sendup of clichéd sexist country videos, opting for a role reversal including scantily clad, suds-drenched guys washing a pickup truck. Touché.
Trombone Shorty, Minnesota Zoo. It was a hurricane of horns and hard funk. They were loud and aggressive, with limited dynamics, but the New Orleans party spirit couldn’t be denied.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones, “Try a Little Tenderness.” As an encore in his St. Paul debut at the Amsterdam, blue-eyed soul man St. Paul, from Birmingham, Ala., channeled Otis Redding — complete with a few false endings. Soul-sational!
Jon Bream, Star Tribune