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A full year's notice for boy band 5 Seconds of Summer's Xcel Center concert

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: July 30, 2014 - 12:07 PM
Aussie boy band 5 Seconds of Summer on the set of NBC's "Today" show. / Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Aussie boy band 5 Seconds of Summer on the set of NBC's "Today" show. / Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Exactly a year and one day ahead of the actual show date, Xcel Energy Center has announced a July 31, 2015, date with newly bursting Australian bubblegum teen punk band 5 Seconds of Summer.

The pierced boy band announced its Nabisco-sponsored tour (no kidding) fresh off storming to No. 1 in Billboard with its self-titled debut album, which sold an impressive 259,000 U.S. copies last week. Tickets for the St. Paul show go on sale Aug. 9 at 10 a.m. for $29.50-$69.50 through Ticketmaster and the X’s box office.

What will 5SoS be doing between now and next July? They’re touring as One Direction’s opening act starting next month (a tour not coming to Minnesota). They’ll probably have to go about learning how to play their instruments at some point, too.

Here’s the song that launched them, a No. 2 hit from an EP released earlier this year.

Gary Louris, Davina Sowers share their recovery stories ahead of Saturday's HazelFest

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: July 28, 2014 - 11:28 AM
Gary Louris at South by Southwest in 2013. / Photo by Tony Nelson

Gary Louris at South by Southwest in 2013. / Photo by Tony Nelson

Further proof it’s not your average outdoor summer music bash, HazelFest has issued a series of promotional video clips that show its performers talking about their very personal addiction recovery stories.

The second annual concert takes place again Saturday on the grounds of the famed Hazelden treatment facility in Center City, about 50 minutes north of Minneapolis. As in prior years, the family-friendly festival – whose slogan is “Recovery rocks” -- will feature recovery meetings and guest speakers alongside the musical performances.

This year’s lineup includes the newly reformed ’97-’00-era lineup of the Jayhawks, whose frontman Gary Louris opened up to Hazelden’s Jeremiah Gardner about his recovery experience in a Skype interview made public in three split clips. Davina Sowers of the barreling boogie-woogie band Davina & the Vagabonds did the same in another touching clip issued online. Both interviews (posted below) show a new level of bravery beyond the hard task of achieving sobriety.

“It didn’t just happen,” Louris says about “the miracle of my recovery,” detailing the work put in going to meetings and meditating to stay straight in the second clip. The first clip talks about his painkiller abuse and how easy it is to devolve into alcoholism being a musician. “You’re almost expected to drink before you go to work,” he notes.

Davina Sowers

Davina Sowers

Sowers details her addictions going back to her teens, including what she called a “do-or-die” split from heroin. “I can just not express to you how lucky I am, and how the brilliance of sobriety has brought me to where I am today,” she says.

Louris and Sowers both will return home from European tours in time for HazelFest. The middle-era Jayhawks reunited to promote new reissues of their three 1997-2003 albums, “Sound of Lies,” “Smile” and “Rainy Day Music,” all of which featured Louris as the band’s frontman (following the departure of co-founder Mark Olson). Sowers’ band has a strong new record to promote, “Sunshine,” a playful mish-mash of New Orleans-blown party songs and more tender, jazzy ballads.

Johnny Solomon of Communist Daughter – also scheduled to perform Saturday, as is Milwaukee's Trapper Schoepp & the Shades – has similarly been open about his recovery experience in the past. Tickets to the festival can be bought here for $20 in advance through Thursday, or they will be $30 at the door. Kids 12 and under can get in free. Hazelden’s scenic, lakeside grounds are at 15251 Pleasant Valley Rd in Center City (click here for directions).

Nightingale Trio pays homage to Slavic singing traditions

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: July 25, 2014 - 4:18 PM

Sarah Larsson of Minneapolis, Rachel LaViola and Nila Bala (left to right), a.k.a the Nightingale Trio, sang last January behind frozen Minnehaha Falls.

They may hail from three far-flung corners of the country, but the Nightingale Trio, three songbirds specializing in Eastern-European folk music , still make time to unite for several weekend concert tours a year, and are bringing four to the Twin Cities area this weekend.

Sarah Larsson of Minneapolis, Nila Bala of Baltimore and Rachel LaViola of Dallas met  when they sang with a Slavic women’s chorus at Yale, where in 2012 they earned degrees in anthropology,  law and film respectively.

“We all grew up liking world music in general,” said Larsson, who works with the recently established Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum. “But when I heard women singing Balkan folk for the first time, I was so drawn to it. There’s a lot of dissonance built into the harmonies. It’s like dance, where there’s almost a crackling  tension and release, stretching away from your partner and coming together again. It’s very satisfying to sing.”

Last January, the trio, aged between 24 and 27, performed on “A Prairie Home Companion” as well as behind a frozen waterfall at Minnehaha Falls, which you can watch on their website.

They will perform 8 p.m. today at the Verdant Tea Tasting Room (2111 E. Franklin Ave, Minneapolis),  6 p.m. Sat. at the Eat for Equity Festival on Lily Springs Farm (1930 6th Ave., Osceola, Wis.), 10 a.m. Sun. at Wayzata Community Church (125 Wayzata Blvd. E., Wayzata) as part of a worship service, and 2 p.m. Sun. at the art gallery in Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church (511 Groveland Av., Minneapolis). The concerts are free with goodwill donations suggested.

Newly renovated Turf Club on track to reopen Aug. 28

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: July 23, 2014 - 3:38 PM
The Turf Club closed in June to make way for renovations. / Star Tribune file photo

The Turf Club closed in June to make way for renovations. / Star Tribune file photo

While the rebirth of one mainstay rock club is on hold for a while, there’s good news about the reopening of another: The Turf Club just announced it will host a grand re-opening party Aug. 28 with local country-rock favorites Dead Man Winter (led by Dave Simonett of Trampled by Turtles), Frankie Lee and Erik Koskinen.

Another big Turf show was just announced for Sept. 4 with the Jayhawks, who are already set to play First Avenue the following two nights and reportedly have something playful in mind for the warm-up gig (on sale Friday at noon).

With an eye for a mid-size room across town that will add to its booking options, First Ave bought the Turf Club last winter and promised to spruce the place up without ruining its good vibe. The doors were shut June 1 for renovations, which began in earnest almost immediately.

Among the heaviest work was adding a kitchen (to serve pub grub a la First Ave’s successful in-house eatery the Depot), a new roof, a new sound system and, yep, new bathrooms. While they were closed for summer, the Green Line opened its light-rail station right outside the Turf's front doors – which, by the way, were also replaced with new doors.

A glimpse inside during renovations. / Photo courtesy Dayna Frank“We’re just now getting to the part where everything is getting put together and it’s really starting to look great,” said First Ave general manager Nate Kranz, talking between interviews for the club’s new staff positions Wednesday. He said the Aug. 28 should be an easy target to make.

“We gave it a 10-day buffer, so barring any major glitch, we should be fine.”

While there were some not-so-pleasant surprises in the reconstruction process, there was at least one good one: The crew discovered a large mural of horses that had been hidden behind a curtain. It probably dates back to the 1940s and will now serve as the backdrop to the new stage.

The first week or two will be seen as a “soft opening” to test the staff and kitchen, but things won’t be soft for long. Among the acts already down to play the new Turf are JD McPherson (Sept. 9-10), Shonen Knife (Sept. 16), Nick Waterhouse (Sept. 20), Ty Segall (Sept. 24), Mike Watt’s new band Il Sogno del Marinaio (Sept. 28), Christopher Owens of Girls (Oct. 4), Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook (Oct. 14) and Sondre Lerche (Oct. 17). There’s also a great classic Turf lineup with the Birthday Suits and the Blind Shake scheduled Sept. 13 -- the day the Replacements are also booked to play St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.

400 Bar's MOA club delayed indefinitely

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: July 22, 2014 - 5:21 PM

Previously advertised to open next week, the 400 Bar at the Mall of America is still a long ways off.

Next week’s concert with former Wings/Moody Blues member Denny Laine is now listed to take place at something called the 400 Gallery, which is a room inside the neighboring Midwest Music Museum. Same thing with the bar’s would-be first show by Nashville band Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden, also originally announced for the bar but now taking place in the gallery on Monday night.

Joe O’Brien, who partnered with co-owners Tom and Bill Sullivan at the old 400 Bar before its closing in December, downplayed the distinction between the two rooms on the MOA’s nightlife-oriented fourth floor.

“It's all one complex under the 400 Bar umbrella -- museum, venue, restaurant,” he said. “This is a listening room, offering fans a unique opportunity to experience great music close up and uninterrupted.”

Clearly, though, fans thinking they're going to see "the new 400 Bar" next week will be disappointed. The white-walled gallery space only boasts a 100-person capacity. Alcohol will not be served there, but O’Brien said fans can get a drink “steps away at the other great bars on the fourth floor.” Those include Hooters and Corona Cantina #1.

Meet the 400 Gallery.

Meet the 400 Gallery.

A peek through the windows at 400 Inc.’s bar and restaurant space Tuesday confirmed a lot of work still needs to be done there. In fact, it looked as if little to no work had been done in the long-vacated former sports bar space. Tables and chairs sit in dusty piles, and the old football mural is still up behind the bar. O’Brien would not provide more details on renovation plans or a projected opening date for the bar.

Thankfully, the 400 team's Midwest Music Museum opened as projected last month with the Grammy Museum-curated show "Ladies and Gentleman... The Beatles!" The $7 exhibit will be on display through Sept. 7 and was updated locally to include many photos from the Fab Four's 1964 concert at Metropolitan Stadium, where the MOA now stands. Admission to the exhibit is included with the price of next week's concert tickets (and how could it not be included?).

In related news, the 400 Bar's Bill Sullivan is dusting off some of his own old photos and stories of a different kind of legandery rock 'n' roll band and hoping to make a book out of it. The former tour manager for the Replacements just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund "Lemon Jail: 'Mats Tour Diary 1983-1986." That, too, might make a great museum exhibit, though maybe not a family-friendly one like the Beatles show.

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