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The Hold Steady's MN Zoo set list

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Minnesota musicians Updated: July 6, 2014 - 12:49 PM
Craig Finn occasionally imitated the Minnesota Zoo stage's daytime stars (birds) in Saturday's sold-out Hold Steady concert. / Monica Herndon, Star Tribune

Craig Finn occasionally imitated the Minnesota Zoo stage's daytime stars (birds) in Saturday's sold-out Hold Steady concert. / Monica Herndon, Star Tribune

The Hold Steady has been changing its set list rather dramatically from night to night and city to city this summer. There weren't any big surprises in the mix at the Minnesota Zoo on Saturday, just in the order they were played.

Look for the full concert review at startribune.com/music. Here's the set list:

Positive Jam / Stuck Between Stations / I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You / The Swish / Sequestered in Memphis / You Can Make Him Like You / Rock Problems / Magazines / Constructive Summer / Sweet Part of the City / The Only Thing / Spinners /  The Ambassador / The Weekenders / Chips Ahoy! / Southtown Girls / Your Little Hoodrat Friend    ENCORE: Citrus / Hornets! Hornets! /  Massive Nights / Slapped Actress / Killer Parties

James Hunter delivers authentic vintage soul at the Dakota

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Minnesota musicians Updated: July 6, 2014 - 12:34 AM

It’s festival season, so James Hunter is in demand. Which kind of explains why he’s playing a split gig at the Dakota Jazz Club. Sorta. He performed there Thursday and, after playing at the Thunder Bay Blues Festival in Canada on Saturday, he’s back at the Dakota Sunday night.

The British blue-eyed soul man was in good form on Thursday. He leaned heavily on material from last year’s “Minute by Minute,” which was a good thing because it’s probably his most consistent album. (It’s also his first made-in-America disc, produced by Gabriel Roth of the Dap-Kings.)

Once again, Hunter tips his hat to Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and his beloved the “5” Royales, a 1950s group whose songs were later interpreted into hits by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and the Mamas and the Papas, among others.

On Thursday, he gave ample solo opportunities to his sax men Damian Hand (tenor) and Lee Badau (baritone) and B3 organist Matt Slocum, the only American in the band. And Hunter took a few solos on guitar. But, in the spirit of the 1960s soul era that he mines so effectively, no Hunter number drags on past three or four minutes.

In just under 90 minutes, the James Hunter Six delivered nearly 20 numbers. The always charming Hunter – who looks like an impish John Mellencamp -- wasn’t as chatty as in some previous Twin Cities shows but that’s OK because sometimes it’s difficult to understand his Cockney accent, especially when he’s talking fast.

Hunter, 51, is not particularly showy. But, despite his restraint, he was unquestionably soulful and sexy – though the sound of the upright bass could have been louder, for my taste.

Hunter brought the passion on the dynamic “Baby, Don’t Do It” by the "5: Royales. He unleashed James Brown-like screams on “Look Out,” scatted on “Down Home Girl” and channeled his inner Smokey Robinson on “Let the Monkey Ride.”

Memphis-style horns colored “Chicken Switch,” skiffle seasoned “People Gonna Talk” and a “Tequila”-like rhythm splashed over “The Gypsy.”

The James Hunter Six may not be as exciting as Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings or as showy as newcomers St. Paul & the Broken Bones. But Hunter is the real deal – he delivers vintage-sounding soul with authenticity and love.  

 The James Hunter Six perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Dakota Jazz Club. Crankshaft, the blues- and rockabilly-loving artist from Anoka, opens solo.

New movie channel debuts in Twin Cities

Posted by: Neal Justin under Movies, Television Updated: July 1, 2014 - 11:51 AM

Movie lovers: There's a new player in town.

Starting Tuesday, Get TV is available on WUCW, 23.2. The channel, which launched nationwide in February, offers pre-70s classic movies like 'The Talk of the Town," "From Here to Eternity" and "Suddenly."

The channel is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The Twin Cities joined the family Tuesday morning,along with Oklahoma City and Madison. The channel is currently in roughly 35 markets.

Lauryn Hill offers a clearer vision second time around at First Ave

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music Updated: July 1, 2014 - 9:46 AM
Lauryn Hill, shown at First Avenue in 2011, returned to the club on more solid footing Monday. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Lauryn Hill, shown at First Avenue in 2011, returned to the club on more solid footing Monday. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

 

Even though she only came into the family through her longtime relationship with Rohan Marley, Lauryn Hill made a strong case for being one of the true heirs to Bob Marley’s musical legacy Monday night at First Avenue.

The former Fugees star and ‘90s hip-hop heroine – who went a decade between gigs in the ‘00s -- offered a clearer view of her post-hiatus artistic vision in her second First Ave show this decade, a vision heavily tinted with Marley’s influence. And I’m not talking about the polished mellow-cool Marley you hear on Cities 97. I’m referring to the more electric, free-form, spiritually guided Bob Marley & the Wailers you hear in live recordings, where it sounds like the lead rastaman was voraciously feeding off the crowd’s vibrations and seeking to take fans to a higher place than even the highest earthly high allows.

Hill’s performance offered some lows with the highs, but the 39-year-old admirably followed that off-the-cuff, stay-on-target pattern throughout the 100-minute set. And she certainly had plenty of energy fed to her from Monday’s sold-out crowd.

Her band was already jammin’ as she walked out – only 45 minutes past her scheduled start time -- wearing a giant, Laura Ingalls Wilder-gone-Jamaican sun hat. She seemed taken aback when the audience cheered her for a good 30 seconds solid after she took the stage. The cheers grew louder and louder until the show reached its first crest about 20 minutes in with sped-up, rocked-out versions of “To Zion” and “Lost Ones,” standout tracks from 1998’s classic album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

Hill in unplugged mode Monday.

Hill in unplugged mode Monday.

After about a three-minute break filled in by her band, Hill returned with an acoustic guitar in hand and sat down. The unplugged set never quite matched the majesty of the first segment, and the audience stayed loud in a bad way, talking through “Mr. Intentional” and “Oh Jerusalem.” Things livened up right away, though, when she put down her guitar and asked (rhetorically), “Do we have any Fugees fans?”  

And with that, Hill and the band tore through “Zealots,” “How Many Mics,” “Ready or Not” and the pre-encore finale “Killing Me Softly With His Song” with nary a stop between songs, resulting in another big high. The Marley-ization turned literal in the encore as she led the band through a string of his songs, including “Jammin’,” “Satisfy My Soul” and “Could You Be Loved,” all soaked in Hill's own soulful branding and never falling into a trite tribute mode. They finished with Hill’s own mega-hit, “Doo Wop (That Thing),” adding a reggae-fied rock tone even to that one.

All told, Monday’s performance was a lot more solid than the First Ave show in 2011, suggesting Hill truly is ready for a bona-fide comeback -- but she's probably going to rock the boat when she does and not just go back to the way it was.

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