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Replacements' 'Don't Tell a Soul' the focus of First Ave's Nov. 28 tribute show

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: October 22, 2014 - 12:13 PM
What a mess: The final big singalong during the 2010 Replacements tribute at First Avenue. / Leslie Plesser, Star Tribune

What a mess: The final big singalong during the 2010 Replacements tribute at First Avenue. / Leslie Plesser, Star Tribune

Usually the best hometown Replacements show of the year  — although it will really have to be exceptional to keep that streak going this year — First Avenue’s tribute to the ’Mats will return again the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28.


The centerpiece for the 7th annual covers marathon (announced today by the club) will be a 25th anniversary live rendering of the band’s most polished album, “Don’t Tell a Soul.” The Melismatics will again serve as the house band for that portion of the gig, with the song-by-song singers to be announced later.

Produced by Matt Wallace at the height of the band’s tenure on Sire Records, “Don’t Tell a Soul” favorites such as “I’ll Be You,” “They’re Blind” and “Achin’ to Be” have been staples at past tributes. However, the album’s heavy/challenging production value and perceived uncoolness has kept bands away from many of its other songs such as “We’ll Inherit the Earth” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghost”– although we do remember a killer version of “Darling One” by the Honeydogs at the 2010 installment. The ‘Mats themselves unleashed a wild version of “I Won’t” near the end of last month’s Midway Stadium concert.

As always, the whole-album montage will be preceded by mish-mash tribute sets from a wide variety of acts in both the main room and the Entry. On tap this year are Two Harbors, BNLX, Black Diet, Frankie Teardrop, the Blackberry Brandy Boys and Stereo Confession, the latter of whom weren’t even born when “Don’t Tell a Soul” came out (they also played a killer set last year).

Replacements biographer Jim Walsh will also host another Mad Ripple Hoot for Slim, featuring all-star renderings of songs by sidelined ex-‘Mats guitarist Slim Dunlap. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Slim Dunlap Fund and First Ave’s Twin Cities Music Community Trust, which is being transformed into an official nonprofit organization. Tickets are on sale now ($10).

All sides of Southside Desire on display with new album

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: October 22, 2014 - 10:42 AM

A scrappy but fun live band that can cater to the punky Memory Lanes Block Party crowd as capably as the buttoned-up jazz-pop fans who saw them open for Lake Street Dive at First Avenue in August, co-ed soul-rock sextet Southside Desire lives up to its onstage reputation on record for the first time with its self-titled sophomore full-length album, which it’s promoting tonight at 7th Street Entry.

This one’s a charmer from the get-go, as the opening track “Four Broken Souls” (posted below) comes on weary yet headstrong like Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” set to a ‘70s disco beat. The poppier, doo-wop-flavored “Double Dutch” and more dramatic, soul tune “Recognize” follow, as strong as any trifecta of tunes I’ve heard kick off any other local album this year. Other highlights include the anthemic “Make or Break” and the grimier groover “The Ledge,” for which the band made a quirky little video.

Throughout, lead singer and principle songwriter Marvel Devitt shows a broad range as a girl-group-style harmony leader and a stand-out soul belter but also plays it cool, never sounding like she’s overreaching or showing off. Her husband, bassist Trevor Engelbrektson, is more of a showboat along with drummer Damien Tank – in a good way, as they throwing in some fun time-changes and keep the rhythms sounding anything but mechanical. You can stream the whole album here.

“Southside Desire” arrives via the band’s in-house label, Piñata Records, which has also issued albums by Black Diet and Narco States. Tonight’s Entry show will feature Red Daughters and Southside D’s fellow Palmer’s regulars Mary Allen & the Percolators (9 p.m., $5-$7).

Remarkable Ruthie Foster brings home and church to the Dakota

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: October 22, 2014 - 2:01 AM

Ruthie Foster, the remarkable soul/gospel/blues/rock singer, is from Texas but she always feels right at home at the Dakota in Minneapolis. And it’s not because two of her three backup musicians live here.

It’s because she feels comfortable here, so comfortable, in fact, that on Tuesday night, she not only threatened to move here but took a full house at the Dakota to her world – her front porch, back porch, church, grandmother’s house and even on the ocean-bound blues cruise. It was a homey, friendly evening of rootsy music


However, it wasn’t Foster’s best show in the Twin Cities. She was overly chatty, her repertoire lacked up-tempo material and the pacing of the 95-minute set was awkward. Moreover, Foster didn’t get lost in her material – that’s when she’s at her best – until the last portion of the show.

It took a cameo appearance from her blues-cruise buddy Willie Walker, the underappreciated Twin Cities old-school R&B vocalist, to perk things up. He was featured on Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home To Me,” with Foster on backup vocals. When they started trading “yeahs,” it made you want to jump up and shout “Yeah! “

Clearly in a good mood, Foster, 50, gave plenty of props to the homeboys in her band – bassist Larry Fulcher, who gave shout-outs to various friends and family, and opening act Scottie Miller, whose B-3 organ and mandolin fueled and framed Foster’s music.

After Walker’s appearance, Foster shifted gears for the up-tempo groove-tune “This Time” and the sweet soul stroll “My Kinda Lover,” one of the four selections from her fine new album, “Promise of a Brand New Day,” that she performed.

Then came the Foster who lived up to title of her 2007 album “The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster.”

She completely reimagined the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire” as a reliving of the seduction into a relationship, set to a slow Southern drawl that made this overly familiar tune both completely unfamiliar and totally brilliant.

Foster showed off her range on “The Ghetto,” a late 1960s tune associated with the Staple Singers. It seemed as if she interpreted gospel from an R&B perspective whereas most R&B singers have their roots in the church. She let her remarkable voice rise up church style but she remained in control, ending with some churchy humming.

Then Foster turned to Miller, who played an instrumental version of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You” on the piano but it was really an introduction to her knockout number, “Phenomenal Woman.” With her voice soaring, she delivered this anthem of empowerment and self-love, ending with lots of “baby, baby, babies.” 

“Is there a phenomenal woman in the house?” she asked after the last note. “Celebrate yourself. Ain’t nothing wrong with it.”


From TC to D.C.: Setzer donates signature guitar to Smithsonian

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: October 20, 2014 - 2:22 PM
Brian Setzer said goodbye to a great love at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. on Friday. / Photo courtesy the Smithsonian

Brian Setzer said goodbye to one of his great loves at the Smithsonian Museum of American Histroy in Washington, D.C., on Friday. / Photo courtesy the Smithsonian


An adopted Minneapolis resident for more than a decade now, rockabilly star Brian Setzer has also now found a permanent home for his trademark guitar in Washington, D.C.

The Stray Cats leader donated a replica version of his orange 1959 model Gretsch 6120 guitar to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History over the weekend. It’s the same type of guitar he used to record “Rock This Town” and other Stray Cats favorites, which Setzer custom-fitted with two Monopoly game dice drilled onto the volume knobs. He had the replica built after the overworked original became unusable.

“Maybe in a hundred years people will look at my guitar and be inspired to play it and enjoy it the way I do,” Setzer told the Smithsonian, whose instrument collection also includes John Coltrane’s sax, Prince’s “yellow cloud” guitar and one of Eddie Van Halen’s striped axes.

Another sign of his guitar godliness, Setzer is featured on the cover of this month’s Guitar Player magazine. That follows the release of his new album, “Rockabilly Riot! All Original!” which came out in August and features all new songs. While we’d welcome a stripped-down show to promote that record, Setzer’s next hometown gig will be the tour kick-off for his annual Christmas big band tour at the Orpheum Theatre on Nov. 14.

Sleater-Kinney reunion tour coming to First Ave on Valentine's Day

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: October 20, 2014 - 10:19 AM

One of indie-rock’s most influential bands of the late-‘90s, Sleater-Kinney will come roaring back to life early next year with a new album, career-spanning vinyl box set and reunion tour, including a Valentine’s Day date that’s sure to be a bona-fide love-in at First Avenue. Tickets to the Feb. 14 show go on sale Friday at noon for $30.

From First Avenue's Instagram account.

From First Avenue's Instagram account.

A clue that the First Ave date was coming, the club sent out a photo via Instagram last week of a new star on its wall that simply reads, “I-5, Exit 108.” That’s the way to get to the band’s namesake Sleater Kinney Road in Olympia, Wash. After 12 years and seven albums for the Kill Rock Stars and Sub Pop labels -- including 1997’s seminal “Dig Me Out” -- the trio called it quits in 2006 when its career was still peaking. Its second-to-last show at Lollapalooza in Chicago that summer was actually the best of a half dozen S-K shows seen by this writer, just a hyper-rocking, ultra-tight affair that felt like a triumphant farewell.

At least one of the members, guitarist/co-vocalist Carrie Brownstein, went on to be more famous after the band went on hiatus, thanks to her involvement with the IFC series “Portlandia.” She and drummer Janet Weiss toured with a new band, Wild Flag, in that time, and Weiss also performed here often with Stephen Malkmus, Quasi and Bright Eyes. Singer/guitarist Corin Tucker bowed out for a while to concentrate on motherhood but finally returned in 2012 to play the Entry behind her second solo album.

There’s a new S-K album already in the can, “No Cities to Love,” coming Jan. 20 on Sub Pop. The first track from it, “Bury Your Friends,” is posted below. An expansive vinyl box set with all their prior albums, titled “Start Together,” will be issued Tuesday.


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