Welcome to Artcetera. Arts-and-entertainment writers and critics post movie news, concert updates, people items, video, photos and more. Share your views. Check it daily. Remain in the know. Contributors: Mary Abbe, Aimee Blanchette, Jon Bream, Tim Campbell, Colin Covert, Laurie Hertzel, Tom Horgen, Neal Justin, Claude Peck, Rohan Preston, Chris Riemenschneider, Graydon Royce, Randy Salas and Kristin Tillotson.
Go big or go home. That must’ve been Jeremy Messersmith’s thinking as he headed to the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan yesterday to make his network TV debut on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
In addition to his regular, four-piece backing band, the Minneapolis pop craftsman brought the Laurel Strings Quartet and his non-touring guitarist Brian Tighe with him all the way to New York for the show – the same large ensemble he employed at Rock the Garden in June. He admitted via Twitter afterward that his entourage was too bulky to fit in the “Late Show’s” puny dressing rooms. “Lots of hanging in the hallway,” he said. Long before the performance aired, Messersmith posted a selfie on Instagram during the band's ungodly early 4 a.m. rehearsal on the Letterman set (reposted to the right).
Not only was the band big, but so was the song. He picked one of the grander, more challenging tunes from his “Heart Murmurs” album, “Bubblin’.” I’d say it paid off, but judge for yourself in the clip below.
Touring hard since February, Messersmith will scale back to his smallest incarnation for the next few weeks playing a string of the "supper club" solo shows he has long favored. He and the band do have one big gig in the area coming up soon: a pairing with Mason Jennings at the Vetter Stone Amphitheater in Mankato on Sept. 5.
Right on cue for next week’s release of their seventh album, “Wild Animals,” Trampled by Turtles are predictably picking up steam. The band just announced it will return to “The Late Show With David Letterman” next Tuesday night, July 15, the day the record comes out. That’s in addition to other East Coast media gigs that week including a CBS “Early Show” appearance (airing July 19), a WXPN/World Café Live noontime broadcast on July 18 and a “Tiny Desk Concert” at National Public Radio headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Trampled will head east right after its special hometown release concert Thursday at the Cedar Cultural Center, tickets for which were given out free with pre-orders of the album from the Electric Fetus. Otherwise, the fellas won’t have another gig locally until their Sept. 20 Festival Palomino at Canterbury Park.
Meanwhile, NPR got the exclusive “First Listen” stream of “Wild Animals,” which debuted this morning. Writer Stephen Thompson called it “a thoughtful, stately grower of a record.” You can stream the album in full here via NPR. Here's the recently released video for the new title track, directed by local filmmaker Phil Harder and starring a less-than-Har-Mar-like Har Mar Superstar.
The last time Atmosphere performed on Conan O’Brien’s show, he was still taping in New York City for NBC and saying nice things about Jay Leno. Today (Thursday), the Minneapolis hip-hop vets are in Los Angeles for another Conan appearance, this time for his TBS series – which reaches the youngest demographics of any of the late-night TV shows (prime targeting for an indie-rap act). The show airs at 10 p.m. Minnesota time tonight.
Word is they're going to play "Kanye West" for the telecast, which could be a source of amusement for the show's host even though it's not really about Kanye. Slug and Ant also performed “You” on Conan’s old show in 2008.
Tonight’s TV appearance coincided with this morning’s distribution of the July 12 MLB All-Star Game concert at TCF Bank Stadium, in which Atmosphere will represent their hometown music scene opening for Imagine Dragons. The free tickets were gone within a half-hour after they became available at 10 a.m. today.
Atmosphere released a new video this week for “We Ain’t Gonna Die Today,” a rather amusing clip directed by their rapper pal Blueprint. The Current also hosted an in-studio session this week with the duo (plus new third guy Plain Ole Bill), which is archived online here.
“Good to see you again,” David Letterman said as he shook Craig Finn’s and Tad Kubler’s hands on last night’s episode of “The Late Show” on CBS. Dave probably didn’t know how true a statement he was making.
After an uncharacteristic four-year idle between albums, Finn’s and Kubler’s Minnesota-rooted Brooklyn band, the Hold Steady, finally return full-steam with today’s release of their sixth album, “Teeth Dreams.” They earned a primo Letterman slot to promote the new record, not only because it fell on the eve of its release but it happen to have to high-profile guests in former President Jimmy Carter (who pretty well explained everything wrong with the world in 15 minutes flat) and actor Josh Charles (whose surprise offing on “The Good Wife” which was all the buzz in the TV world Monday).
The song they played for Letterman, “Spinners” – which sounded a bit heftier and more wicked live than it does on the record – is a good indicator of what to expect of “Teeth Dreams.” After 2010’s poorly received, over-produced “Heaven Is Whenever,” the band doesn’t back off entirely from the bigger/better-polished sound, but it does stick closer to the seedy storytelling and dirty two-guitar formula of early albums. There’s no piano like before, but plenty of organ and a lot that sounds familiar. At least a couple tunes enter new territory, though, including the twangy, dramatic builder “The Ambassador,” which is also one of a handful of tunes spiked with Minnesota references (“You came back to in south Minneapolis”). Another standout, “Almost Everything,” is the band’s first true all-acoustic tune a decade into its run.
Twin Cities fans have yet to get a local date on the band’s “Teeth Dreams” tour, but you can be sure they’re coming. Those guys know to wait till summer if they can.
Prince, we hardly knew ya. At least not like this.
The Purple One answered questions from fans and Arsenio Hall — and even played advice guru.
Prince has never seemed so normal, so comfortable and so un-self-conscious on television as he was Wednesday night on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Yep, that Arsenio who had Prince as a guest back in the early ‘90s.
Except for Hall’s opening monologue, Wednesday’s hour-long program was devoted to Prince. With the New Power Generation and 3rdEyeGirl, he played two new songs (“FunknRoll,” “Mutiny”) and one old one (“She’s Always in My Hair”), and Liv Warfield, one of his former backup singers, offered a tune from her new album.
In conversation with Arsenio and the studio audience, Prince – wearing a series of turtlenecks and fur- or fringe-trimmed vests -- was quick, funny and short but to the point.
Here are some things Prince revealed:
Photo: Arsenio Hall Show/ CBS Television Distribution
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