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Maxwell, Michael McDonald, Broken Bells coming in concert to Twin Cities

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Concert news, Minnesota musicians, Tickets Updated: April 22, 2014 - 4:58 PM


Broken Bells/ photo by James Minchin

Broken Bells/ photo by James Minchin


Maxwell and Michael McDonald, soul men of divergent styles, are coming back to the Twin Cities this summer.

Maxwell will return June 15 to the State Theatre, as part of his 35-city Summer Solstice Tour that is skipping such major markets as New York, Miami, Philly and Dallas. The neo-soul singer hasn’t released an album since 2009. Tickets, priced from $35.50-$125, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the State box office and hennepintheatretrust.org.

McDonald, known for hits with the Doobie Brothers as well as his interpretations of Motown classics, will perform June 29 at the Mystic Lake Casino showroom. Tickets, priced at $31 and $39, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at Ticketmaster.com and 952-445-9000.

In other concert news, Broken Bells – the indie-rock duo of Danger Mouse and James Mercer – will return Aug. 3 at the State Theatre. The group kicked off its winter tour in February with a sold-out show at First Avenue. Tickets, priced at $37.50, will go on sale at 11 a.m. Friday at the State box office, 800-745-3000 and Ticketmaster outlets.

The Replacements haven’t announced a Twin Cities date – yet. But word came today that, after playing Coachella for two weekends, the ‘Mats will play the Austin City Limits Festival in October in Texas – along with Eminem, OutKast, Pearl Jam, Skrillex, Beck, Lorde and many others.

The Mats also have scheduled performances at the Shaky Knees festival in Atlanta on May 10 and Forecastle fest in Louisville on July 20.

Twin Cities-connected artists score big in Doris Duke performing arts awards

Posted by: Rohan Preston under Theater, Awards, Dance Updated: April 22, 2014 - 12:26 PM

Ragamala Dance Theatre founder Ranee Ramaswamy (right, photo by Ed Bock) was in Banana Republic at the Mall of America when she got the call that she had been awarded $275,000 from the Doris Duke Foundation in New York.

Choreographer Emily Johnson, who founded Catalyst Dance, was just about to give her dog a bath when she, too, got a similar call.

“I cried,” said Johnson, 38. “I was just stunned.”

Ramaswamy 62, had a similar reaction. “I walked out of the store and sat on a bench for God knows how long,” she said. “You know, you do your work out of love, and then a blessing like that comes.”

The Twin Cities scored big in the Doris Duke performing arts awards, announced Tuesday. In addition to Johnson and Ramaswamy, Twin Cities puppet-maker Michael Sommers was awarded $80,000 from the Duke Foundation, named for the famous arts loving philanthropist and tobacco heiress.

Golden Valley-bred composer and pianist Craig Taborn, who now lives in New York, also was awarded $275,000.

The Twin Cities-connected performers were part of a national roster of 39 artists in theater, dance and jazz who were honored this year. Choreographers Bill T. Jones, Joanna Haigood and John Jasperse were also named winners alongside playwrights David Henry Hwang, Lisa Kron and Tarell Alvin McCraney as well as jazz greats Roscoe Mitchell and Randy Weston.              

In the past three years, the Duke foundation has given out more than $18 million to artists, funds that are delivered over years and that include a portion for retirement savings.

Ramaswamy who founded Ragamala 22 years ago, is in Philadelphia, where she was on a panel for the Pew Charitable Trusts. She was, with daughter Aparna, the Star Tribune’s Artist of the Year in 2011. In 2012, President Obama appointed her to the National Arts Council.

“You know, as an artist, you’re working your little thread,” said Ramaswamy. “When it gets noticed, that gives you encouragement to continue doing what you do. This is a gift like that. And to be mentioned in the same breath with Bill T. Jones, that’s a high honor.”

Jazzy soul man Jose James strikes balancing act in hometown show

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Minnesota musicians Updated: April 22, 2014 - 2:36 AM

Jose James knows how to strike a balance.

A balance between hometown folksiness and passionate professionalism, between new and old material, between rehearsed and improvised – and most of all between styles, blending jazz, soul, hip-hop and rock into his own distinctive style.

In front of a full house at the Cedar Cultural Center Monday, the Minneapolis-reared, Brooklyn-based James previewed his forthcoming fifth album, “While You Were Sleeping,” due in June.

The spare, spacey “U r the 1” hadn’t quite come together yet but the rest of the new material impressed, including the atmospheric “While You Were Sleeping,” “4 Noble Truths” with its swirling intensity and an elegant reading of Al Green’s “Simply Beautiful.”

Speaking of Green, a number dubbed “Al Green Remix” was one of the night’s highlights as James kept singing lines from such Green songs as “Love and Happiness” and “I’m Still in Love with You” as if they were samples and he was a hip-hop DJ scratching the samples. Later, during a free-wheeling 40-minute version of “Park Bench People,” he sampled a little Nirvana and also let his four first-rate musicians take solos.

Other older numbers stood out, including the Adele-evoking, pop-soul “Come to My Door” and the closing ballad “Do You Feel.” Both tunes came from 2013's "No Beginning No End," which was my top album of last year.

And there was plenty of time for hometown chatter about having worked across the street at Depth of Field, having done a pre-concert interview on KFAI and having turned down a part in a South High production of “West Side Story” because it was in the American, not Puerto Rican, gang.

But Monday was truly about the music and James’ inspired balance and blend. In his nearly two-hour performance, the versatile and deeply talented singer, 36, demonstrated the warmth of Lou Rawls, the intimacy of Bill Withers, the intellect of Gil Scott-Heron and the adventurousness of Sly Stone. 

James’ mother (who was in the audience), father, the folks at Minneapolis’ South High (some of whom were there) and James’ mentor Louis Alemayehu (who was there), among others, certainly did right by him.  

Avenged Sevenfold's Target Center set list

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music Updated: April 22, 2014 - 12:36 AM
M. Shadows and his tattoos were out front and center during Monday night's Avenged Sevenfold concert at Target Center.. / Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

M. Shadows and his tattoos were out front and center during Monday night's Avenged Sevenfold concert at Target Center.. / Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

Here’s a new version of the your-city-rocks speech that every band playing an arena offers at least once in a show. Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows delivered it just a few songs into Monday night’s Target Center concert.

“We didn’t come to this city on our first tour, and we’ve regretted it ever since,” he said. “It’s one of our favorite to play.”

I’ll buy that. As is reflected in the full review for Tuesday’s newspaper, Monday’s show definitely had an undeniably unique love-affair vibe to it, which stretched from the obvious favorites such as “This Means War” on down to some of the lesser-played nuggets the band dropped into the set – namely “Afterlife” and “Chapter 4.”

Even with the heavily choreographed stage get-up, the band never seemed to be going through the motions, although some of its tunes had a discernably by-the-numbers lack of originality (i.e., good thing Axl Rose’s never filed a copyright suit over “A Little Piece of Heaven”).

One of the more memorable things about the show might be having the film crew there shooting the band accepting its latest trophy in the Revolver-magazine-led Golden God Awards, which doesn’t take place till Wednesday and can be watched live via stream here. At least one of Monday’s audience members should tune in: The dude who Shadows handed off their trophy to after he accepted it for the cameras. That's one helluva concert souvenir.

Here’s Monday’s set list. 

Shepherd of Fire  /  Critical Acclaim  /  Bat Country /  Hail to the King  /  Doing Time  /  Buried Alive   /  Fiction  /  Nightmare  /  Burn It Down  /  Guitar Solo  /  Afterlife  /  Chapter 4  /  This Means War       ENCORE: Unholy Confessions / A Little Piece of Heaven

Paul McCartney to play Target Field on Aug. 2

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Concert news Updated: April 21, 2014 - 10:45 AM
Paul McCartney performs at The Night that Changed America: A Grammy salute to the Beatles, on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Zach Cordner/Invision/AP)

Paul McCartney performs at The Night that Changed America: A Grammy salute to the Beatles, on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Zach Cordner/Invision/AP)


A perfect double-play to go with its All-Star Game, Target Field will host rock’s biggest living all-star, Paul McCartney, on Aug. 2. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. via the Twins' website at prices ranging from $36.50-$250.

Twins season ticket holders will receive emails later today informing them of pre-sale opportunities, which will be offered at different times later this week (probably Friday) based on where their usual seats are at the ballpark.

"We knew we wanted to do a concert after the All-Star Game this year, and the timing of it with [McCartney] just happened to work out very well," said Twins spokesman Kevin Smith.

The Big Mac show will arrive three weeks after the big July 15 game at Target Field, which happens to be the same week Sir Paul is also swinging through the Midwest for a series of arena concerts. He just announced dates July 12 in Fargo (at the Fargodome), July 14 in Lincoln, Neb. (Pinnacle Bank Arena) and July 16 in Kansas City (Sprint Center). He will be playing other stadiums around the country in August.

The legendary Beatle’s name has been thrown around the new Twins ballpark since it opened in 2010, and he came close to confirming in 2011. He hasn’t performed in the Twin Cities since 2005’s Xcel Energy Center show, and he has only played here five previous times in his career.

One more bragging right for Sir Paul: He will become the only performer to have performed at all three of the Twins' ballparks, going back to the Beatles' legendary concert at Met Stadium in 1965 and including a 1993 show at the Metrodome.

The concert in this case will fall at the tail end of a week-long road trip for the team. It will require an all-star effort from the Twins grounds crew, since they will be back on home turf to play the San Diego Padres just three nights later on Aug. 5. Smith, however, seemed confident that won't be a problem.

"We were pleasantly surprised -- knock on wood -- how well the turf held up" for the prior two big concerts with Kenny Chesney in 2013 and 2012, Smith said. He added, "Our crew has the experience now to do these things well."

One other logistical challenge, this one more on the city of Minneapolis, Metro Transit and the highways that lead into downtown: Aug. 2 is also when TCF Bank Stadium is hosting an International Champions Cup soccer match. Or so we hear that might be a big deal.

This latest go-around by McCartney is officially part of his Out There Tour, which began last May in Brazil and now includes more than 50 stops (and counting). Most set lists on the tour have included his usual trove of Beatles standards such as "Hey Jude," "Yesterday," "Helter Skelter," "Let It Be," etc., plus a few lesser-played Fab Four nuggets, including "Lovely Rita" and "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" (the latter interesting since John sang it). He has also been playing the Wings-era nuggets "Ram On" and "Junior's Farm" as well as a few tracks off last year's solo album, "New."

As for the All-Star Break, there are still plans in the works for big outdoor concert in Minneapolis in the days around the game -- just not at Target Field. Sources have pointed to Top 40 rockers Imagine Dragons and fun. (the "We Are Young" band) performing at TCF Bank Stadium that week.



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