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Lady Parts Justice's Sept. 27 rally to feature Lizz Winstead, Jayhawks (but not Babes in Toyland)

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: September 19, 2014 - 5:58 PM
Lady Parts Justice co-founder Lizz Winstead. / Photo by Mindy Tucker

Lady Parts Justice co-founder Lizz Winstead. / Photo by Mindy Tucker

Bad news first: The much-anticipated Babes in Toyland reunion will not be launched at the Lady Parts Justice party here on Sept. 27, as the band members had previously discussed.

Now the good news: The lineup for LPJ's so-called V to Shining V rally at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul – part of a network of shows happening that night around the country -- is mighty fine even without the Babes. The Jayhawks' Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Karen Grotberg, the Prairie Fire Lady Choir, Desdamona, Maria Isa, Lucy Michelle, Mayda and the Clash tribute band Rude Girl are all lined up to perform in support of reproductive rights and other issues facing women in upcoming elections. The event is free, but organizers are asking that you sign up and show your support.

Co-founded by Minnesota comic Lizz Winstead -- who will be home for next weekend’s event and serve as host -- the Lady Part Justice organization is throwing its so-called V to Shining V rallies (I don't think the V is for "Victory") in Los Angeles and many other cities that night, including another at the Contented Cow in Northfield.

Oh, and more good news: The Babes in Toyland reunion really is happening, just not at the Amsterdam on the 27th. Kat Bjelland, Lori Barbero and Maureen Herman have been rehearsing in Los Angeles of late, and Herman even posted a sample set list in one of several reunion-teasing Facebook postings of late.

Lady Parts Justice co-founder Lizz Winstead. / Photo by Mindy Tucker

John Holiday is featured voice at SPCO this weekend

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: September 18, 2014 - 1:28 PM

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, off to a good start last weekend with something old (Beethoven) and something new (Nicola Campogrande), brings something rare in four concerts at the neighborhood locations this week.

It’s an unusual voice, belonging to John Holiday, last heard locally in “Messiah” with the SPCO in December. Holiday is a countertenor, a voice that you don’t hear every day. He will sing arias by Handel and Vivaldi, who both wrote in an era that was friendlier to the countertenor. Holiday, a young singer, is considered a fine interpreter of Baroque music.

The countertenor roams the vocal range usually reserved for altos and mezzo-sopranos. Composers found it a popular voice to write for in early music (back in the days when the even-rarer castrati was a phenomenon). The countertenor faded in popularity but Alfred Deller, a British singer, brought it back to prominence in the latter half of the 20th century with his dedication to Baroque and Renaissance music.

Holiday got his masters from the University of Cincinnati Conservatory for Music in 2012 and has rapidly become popular because he sings in such a rare register. Well, not just that he sings in that register. We sings beautifully in that register. He made his Carnegie Hall debut last year with Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” joined the Met Opera roster and sang with the Atlanta Symphony.

Conductor Jonathan Cohen is on the podium this weekend for the SPCO in concerts at Stillwater, Eden Prairie, Summit Avenue and Arden Hills. The program will also include Bach’s Concerto in C Minor for Oboe and Violin with Kathryn Greenbank (oboe) and Sunmi Chang. In addition, Kyu-Young Kim and Elsa Nilsson are featured in Vivaldi’s Concerto in B-flat for Two Violins.

Details here.

Set times and lowdown for Trampled by Turtles' Festival Palomino

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: September 18, 2014 - 12:31 PM
Members of Trampled by Turtles before they took the stage at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Ky., in July. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Members of Trampled by Turtles before they took the stage at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Ky., in July. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Saturday’s Festival Palomino at Canterbury Park is the first of what organizers hope to be many years for the Trampled by Turtles-led, day-long strummer fest. It also happens to be the first big concert held inside the Shakopee horse track in many years. The last big music events we remember there were the Clear Channel Radio festivals of the early-‘00s (KDWB, Cities 97, K102), which were usually good-time, cozy affairs despite Sheryl Crow always seeming to be at them.

As is recounted in a Q&A with the Trampled fellas in this week’s Vita.mn, the festival was more the idea of First Avenue, which has had good luck working with the band on their multi-genre Bayfront Park concerts in Duluth. First Ave also brought in frequent partner Rose Presents (We Fest, Warped Tour, Soundset) to help handle logistics of the big show. This was all good news to Trampled, which had long been interested in starting a fest but lost money in the mid-’00s partnering on the Log Jam Fest in Ely.

Members of Trampled by Turtles before they took the stage at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Ky., in July. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

“It seemed perfect: We’d help curate the music, and [First Ave] could do all the hard work,” TBT singer Dave Simonett said. “Them and Rose Presents, they know this stuff. Now, I don’t have to Google how to rent port-o-potties in Shakopee myself.”

The lineup predictably wound up being heavy on rootsy, stringy, old-timey and/or twangy kind of bands such as Spirit Mountain Family Reunion and Hurray for the Riff Raff (one of this writer’s personal faves from this year’s SXSW). But it also includes Florida soul man Charles Bradley, Seattle folk-rockers the Head and the Heart and TBT’s longtime Low, playing to their first 10,000-plus-sized Twin Cities crowd since last year’s legendary/notorious Rock the Garden set.

“These are all bands we’ve played with before,” Simonett explained of the Palomino lineup. “It ranges from Charles Bradley, who we only played with once but loved, on up to Erik Koskinen and Low, who we’ve played with and been good friends with for a long time. It’s all familiar faces, which seemed like a fun way of doing it.”

This will be Trampled’s first big Twin Cities show in support of their seventh album, “Wild Animals, not counting their live Current broadcast from the Cedar Cultural Center the week of release. They left town right after that, playing everywhere from David Letterman's set to the Newport Folk Festival (where they were joined by Mavis Staples and Norah Jones) to a sold-out headlining gig at Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver last month. Read our chronicle of the band’s chaotic mid-July run here.

The Canterbury gates will open at 1 p.m., and the music will run from 2-10 p.m. – mostly nonstop, thanks to the use of two stages. Tickets ($34, or $87 for VIP) are reportedly selling well but probably won’t sell out (it’s a big place). All the FAQ info can be found on the fest's site. Here are the newly announced set times:

Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley


  • (2 P.M.) Field Report
  • (3:10) Hurray for the Riff Raff
  • (4:25) Charles Bradley & his Extraordinaires
  • (5:45) The Head and the Heart
  • (7:45) Trampled by Turtles


  • (2:40 P.M.) Erik Koskinen
  • (3:55) The Apache Relay
  • (5:10) Spirit Family Reunion
  • (6:45) Low

Ariana Grande coming March 1 to Xcel Center on her Honeymoon

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: September 10, 2014 - 12:37 PM
Ariana Grande at Xcel Energy Center last December during the KDWB Jingle Ball. / Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

Ariana Grande at Xcel Energy Center last December during the KDWB Jingle Ball. / Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune


Ariana Grande certainly is thinking grandly for her first major North American headlining tour. The former Nickelodeon teen star -- who shot to Top 40 fame over the past year with her singles “Problem” and “Break Free” – will hit Xcel Energy Center on Sunday, March 1, as part of her so-called The Honeymoon Tour.

Tickets go on sale Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. at prices yet to be announced through Ticketmaster and the X’s box office. Prices in other cities on the tour are listed for a $40-$80 range.

Grande already played the St. Paul arena once as part of KDWB’s 2013 Jingle Ball lineup last December – where she was way down on the bill below Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Flo Rida and Fall Out Boy. There’s no word yet who will be opening for her this time around. It probably won’t be her “Problem” partner Iggy Azalea, who is similarly taking a big leap as a headliner and already slated to play TCF Bank Stadium on Oct. 17.

The 21-year-old Florida native first transitioned into the pop world with her 2013 debut album, “My Everything,” which was boosted by the Mac Miller-accompanied single “The Way.” Before that, she was best-known for her stints starring in the Nickelodeon series “Sam & Cat” and “Victorious.” Her latest record, “My Everything,” is sitting strong at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart two weeks after its release.

Maroon 5, Usher set Xcel Center tour dates

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: September 2, 2014 - 11:39 AM
Usher returned to the MTV Video Music Awards two weekends ago. / Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Usher returned to the MTV Video Music Awards two weekends ago. / Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

As ratings for NBC’s “The Voice” have gone down, two of the TV music competitions celebrity coaches are going back out on the road in the coming months -- and both are headed to Xcel Energy Center.

The St. Paul hockey arena announced a Nov. 18 concert with Usher this morning alongside a March 23 return by Adam Levine’s Maroon 5. Tickets for the latter show go on sale first, starting Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster and the arena box office at prices yet to be announced. Seats for Usher will open up Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. for $37.50-$152.50.

Following his short-lived tenure as a “Voice” team leader last year, Usher marked his return to the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards two weekends ago, where he performed the new single “She Came to Give It To You.” The 35-year-old, Atlanta-reared super-stud – one of R&B’s most successful artists of the past two decades -- also posted a new video (posted below) to promote his late-autumn outing, dubbed the UR Experience Tour and set to begin Nov. 1 in Montreal.

Maroon 5 just dropped its fifth album, “V,” which has already landed another top 10 hit with the lead single “Maps.” Their tour will feature Shakira-affiliated Canadian band Magic! along with one of Levine’s non-"Voice" protégés, Rizzo Crane.

Between now and the tour, the M5 singer Levine will run through another season of “The Voice,” this time with new coaches Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani alongside Levine’s returning odd-couple partner Blake Shelton. The new season is scheduled to begin Sept. 22.


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