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.

Death Cab, Sufjan Stevens spring tours coming to Northrop

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Concert news Updated: January 26, 2015 - 10:04 AM
Death Cab for Cutie is down one man but carrying on with new members this spring.

Death Cab for Cutie is down one man but carrying on with new members this spring.

Northrop Auditorium has landed two highly anticipated spring tours: Sufjan Stevens will perform at the University of Minnesota’s newly renovated performance hall on April 22, while Death Cab for Cutie has booked a date there May 2. Stevens’ tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. for $39.50, and Death Cab’s will be Friday at noon for $38.50. Both shows are being sold through the U of M’s ticket system, online here or at 612-624-2345.

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens

This will be Stevens’ first major tour in five years, though he did go on a short, goofy Christmas tour that hit Mill City Nights in 2012. His first album in five years, “Carrie & Lowell,” is due to arrive before he hits the road starting April 10.

Death Cab has also been inactive for a while and lost co-founding guitarist Chris Walla along the way, who amicably quit last year. Their new lineup will include Portland-based guitarist Dave Depper, who has toured with Melomona, Fruit Bats and Corin Tucker. They will also be touring with a new album, “Kintsugi,” which arrives March 31. Here’s the first single, “Black Sun,” posted below.

Of local note, these concerts could mark a shift by frequent partners First Avenue and Chicago’s Jam Productions, who booked both shows at Northrop but have more often brought their theater gigs to the Hennepin Avenue venues such as the State and Orpheum. Even with its decreased capacity, Northrop holds about 2,700 people, about 200 more than the biggest of those, the Orpheum. However, rock fans have been finding out the hard way that Northrop sells drinks aout in the hallways but usually disallows them inside the auditorium.

Set list and more thoughts on Sam Smith's concert

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Behind the scenes Updated: January 25, 2015 - 3:42 PM

Sam Smith/ Star Tribune photo by Aaron Lavinsky

Sam Smith/ Star Tribune photo by Aaron Lavinsky

Even though he made his big splash on “Saturday Night Live” last year, Sam Smith demonstrated Saturday night in his Twin Cities debut that he’s not quite ready for primetime in concert.

It’s challenging to present a bigtime headline concert when you’ve got only one album of material. And at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, the British pop star delivered almost all the tracks on the deluxe version of his best-selling, Grammy-nominated“In the Lonely Hour” plus a dramatic cover of the standard “My Funny Valentine” and the one-dimensional “Together,” a 2014 collaboration with the British electronic duo Disclosure and Nile Rodgers.

As my review pointed out, his repertoire suffers from sonic sameness because it’s so heavy on ballads and mid-tempo tunes. Even his reading of “Latch,” the Disclosure dance hit on which he was the featured singer, was more downtempo than the original.  

Only Smith’s own “Restart,” sort of a disco lite number, was more energetic, though he did get the faithful to clap along to “Like I Can” and wave their arms in unison to the blockbuster “Stay with Me.”

Smith made an obtuse reference to playing to only 20 people the first time in Minneapolis. That was actually a private performance last March at the Dakota Jazz Club for key employees of Target and Best Buy as well as radio programmers.

Here is what Smith performed on Saturday:

Life Support/ Together/ Leave Your Lover/ I’m Not the Only One/ I’ve Told You Now/ Nirvana/ Like I Can/ Restart/ Good Thing/ Lay Me Down/ My Funny Valentine/ La La La/ Money on My Mind ENCORE Latch/ Make It to Me/ Stay with Me

It's curtains for Beyond Ballroom Dance Company

Posted by: Rohan Preston under Behind the scenes, Concert news, Dance Updated: January 23, 2015 - 3:29 PM

After a dozen years, Beyond Ballroom, the Twin Cities-based dance company that brought such moves as the foxtrot, the cha cha and the tango from the competitive arena into the world of concert dance, is calling it quits.

The founders of the company have decided to fold up shop after the 2015 season, which includes upcoming performances at the Cowles Center for Dance in Minneapolis.

“It’s time,” said Deane Michael, founding executive and artist director. “The founders are all moving in different directions — some are coaching, some are doing other things. Now is a good time to put a bow on the time we’ve had.”

Beyond Ballroom was started by seven highly decorated ballroom dancers in 2003.

“Coincidentally, we were all retiring from competition around the same time but we were not done with ballroom yet,” said Michael. “We looked around and said, ‘What’s next?’”

It was a shoe-string operation, with a budget of just $50,000. But what it lacked in resources, it made up for in passion and dedication. 

Company members used their skills to craft and present dances that tell stories at venues such as the State Theater, The Fitzgerald and Orchestra Hall. "Murder at the Green Lantern Saloon," for example, was about the mob underworld of St. Paul.

Beyond Ballroom is best known for its ballroom retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale.” It also regularly performed “Red Ridinghood Suite,” which will be on the program at the Cowles Center, Feb. 13-22.

Like 'Clockwork': Rush returning May 12 to Xcel Center on R40 Live Tour

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Concert news Updated: January 22, 2015 - 10:34 AM
Neil Peart messed up a lot when Rush played Target Center in 2012. Not really. His precision was godly, as usual. / Star Tribune file

Neil Peart messed up a lot when Rush played Target Center in 2012. OK, not really. His precision was godly, as usual. / Star Tribune file


Time to start brushing up on your air-drumming technique again, Rush fans. Neil Peart and the guys are coming back to Xcel Energy Center on May 12 as only the third stop on their 40th anniversary tour. Tickets go on sale Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. for $48.50-$128.50 through Ticketmaster and the arena box office.

With no new album to promote, the Canadian trio is promising to pull tracks from throughout its 40-year discography for the 34-city R40 Live Tour, which kicks off May 8 in Tulsa, Okla. Technically, the band is marking its 41st anniversary in 2015, since its debut album landed in 1974, but Rush fans aren’t the type to quibble over facts and numbers. Ha! Just kidding.

Rush’s last time in the Twin Cities was a 2012 concert at Target Center behind its last album, “Clockwork Angels.”

Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line set for June 20 at TCF Bank Stadium

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Concert news Updated: January 22, 2015 - 3:16 AM

Luke Bryan/ Star Tribune photo by Marlin Levison

Luke Bryan (Star Tribune photo by Marlin Levison)

A country stadium show has been been announced for the Twin Cities, and for once, it doesn't involve Kenny Chesney.

Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line will play TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis June 20.

Bryan, who last performed in the Twin Cities in March 2014 at Xcel Energy Center, announced his tour plans for the rest of the year, which include his first foray into Europe and seven U.S. stadium shows on his Kick Up the Dust Tour. Thomas Rhett also will join him at TCF Bank and the other stadium concerts.

No ticket information has been announced for the show.

Bryan will also play May 8 in Grand Forks, N.D. and May 9 in Sioux Falls, S.D. but Florida Georgia Line is not on those dates.

It will be the first country stadium show in the metro in this century not featuring Chesney.  TCF Bank Stadium has been the site of big concerts by U2 and Imagine Dragons as well as smaller shows by Iggy Azalea and Atmosphere.

Chesney, meanwhile, will be returning to Target Field July 18-19 with Jason Aldean. The concerts will be his third and fourth at the Twins stadium in four years.


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