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Yep, I know all about Lady Gaga’s ridiculous Doritos showcase, and would love to cover it just for the punchlines. I know about Kanye West and Jay-Z having to team up to fill Prince's heels at this year’s Samsung party, which ate up half a night of music for me last year when the little guy played it. I know that iTunes is paying for Imagine Dragons, Pitbull, Coldplay and Soundgarden to all play their fest-within-a-fest, which only seems to encourage people to go see bands they've already downloaded. Heck, I know there are a lot of great bands from past years and tours I’d be happy to see again.
But South by Southwest is still about new artists for me, an old-timer at the fest (this will be my 24th year, going back to high school). Here are the newbies I’m most eager to see at the Austin music conference, which kicks off tonight and lasts through Sunday.
Bo Ningen: SXSW has a great tradition of promoting Asian punk bands -- one of my favorites from past years, Beijing’s Car Sick Cars, is finally coming to Minneapolis at Cause on March 27 – but this Japanese noise-rock quartet might be the one to really break big in America. Or at least it’ll break some ear drums, as seems to be the consensus from its live in shows in London, where the group is now based. This video shows off the members’ kooky ‘70s-psychedelica style as well as their thundering approach.
Hurray for the Riff-Raff: Not to be confused with the cornrow-headed rapper Riff Raff (not even close), this twang-rustic New Orleans ensemble is led by Puerto Rican-rooted, Bronx-reared, New Orleans-based Alynda Lee Segarra, who sounds like a non-kitschy cross between Patsy Cline and Cat Power. She just released her first album for ATO Records, “Small Town Heroes,” an eclectic, soulful treat.
Temples: Probably the most 89.3 Current-ready band on my list, Temples have a psychedelic, flower-pedals-on-our-guitar-pedals retro sound that at times sounds kitschy, but there’s no mistaking the clear, Beatles-y songwriting charm underneath the haze. Their debut album was just issued stateside by Fat Possum Records and they’ve already gotten fat on press.
Eagulls: The other big British buzz band crashing America’s biggest music industry fest, this rather gangly looking quintet from Leeds offers the sonic bombast of early PiL with a little of the Pixies’ stop/go groove, too. They made a good impression on Letterman last month.
Future: Heretofore best-known for a collaboration with Miley Cyrus and as Ciara’s baby daddy, this Atlanta rapper toured with Drake over the winter and is now poised to break out with his second album “Honest,” due next month. The single “Move That Dope” dropped just a few days ago with a guest appearance by the rarely seen Pharrell Williams.
Perfect Pussy: Not sure if I’ll get to write about this one for the print edition – maybe if they put on a Putin protest sometime in Austin this week -- but this Syracuse noise-punk quartet has a riotous, roaring frontwoman and a visceral, frantic sound that should get them more attention in the end than the band name.
Hugh Bob & the Hustle: Butternut, Wis., native Hugh Robert Masterson channels his small-town, North Woods roots with big-time inspiration alongside his pedal-steel-soaked, Milwaukee-based twang-rock band. I don’t expect to see a lot of indie hipsters out for their sets, which makes them all that more attractive.
Jamestown Revival: You gotta give it up for the new Austin bands at the fest, and not just because they’re the hometown musicians who make SXSW possible despite the city’s rocketing rent. This folky, lightly bluegrassy acoustic band is led by two soulful, Americana-harmonizing dudes and has been touring with Wild Feathers.
Dupree: Another cool Austin band to watch, this instrumental, B3-organ-led trio just recorded their debut with Spoon drummer Jim Eno (who also helmed Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears' early work) and started a weekly residency at Continental Club owner Steve Wertheimer’s new South Congress venue, C-Boy’s Heart & Soul -- which also might be the new local hangout with the biggest SXSW buzz this year.
Star Tribune photos by Jeff Wheeler
Miley Cyrus announced that she wasn’t feeling well (for a change, she didn’t give TMI) but she certainly rallied for a hearty performance Monday at the X.
As my review indicated, she’s a little short on material but long on show-womanship.
A few more thoughts about Miley at the X:
Here is Miley’s set list from Monday:
SMS (Bangerz)/ 4X4/ Love Money Party/ My Darlin’/ Maybe You’re Right/ FU/ Do My Thang/ Get It Right/ Can’t Be Tamed/ metal musical interlude/ Adore You/ Drive/ Rooting for My Baby/ semi-acoustic set on satellite stage in bowl end: It Ain’t Me Babe (Bob Dylan)/ Ruler of My Heart (Linda Ronstadt)/ Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Ray)/ Hey Ya (OutKast)/ Jolene (Dolly Parton)/ back to mainstage 23/ On My Own/ Someone Else ENCORE 1 We Can’t Stop/ Wrecking Ball ENCORE 2 Party in the USA
Kyle Fokken took first place honors for his mixed media sculpture "Fokko."
Members of the Society of Minnesota Sculptors turned out for the opening of an exhibit of art by their colleagues at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, on view through April 3. The society's 85 members are an eclectic lot whose work typically tends toward whimsical, figurative or abstract pieces in wire, bronze, ceramic or mixed media.
Jurors Sally Johnson of Groveland Gallery and Holly Streekstra of Minneapolis College of Art and Design presented ribbon awards to: Kyle Fokken for "Fokko," a mixed media sculpture that took first place; Richards Poey for "Let's Tango, a bronze sculpture in second place; and Kate Chrisopher, whose ceramic bust, "My Vanishing Illusion," took third place.
Honorable mentions went to Thomas Zahn for his bronze "Solo Dance," Carl A. Smith III, for a wire sculpture, "My Eyes are Here," and Norman Holen for his stoneware piece, "Man with an Owl Mask."
The society is also sponsoring a one-day workshop by Twin Cities area sculptor Foster Wiley, Jr. who will explain how to "Sculpt a Head in Clay." (10 a.m. - 5 p.m. March 15, Minnetonka Center for the Arts, 2240 Northshore Dr., Wayzata/ Orono. To register go here or call 952-473-7261, ext. 16)
Locally beloved Oklahoman roots-rocker JD McPherson has canceled tonight's show at the Turf Club due to a death in the family. Refunds for the long-sold-out concert will be given out automatically for those who purchased tickets via eTix, or else at the Depot Tavern if you bought them in person (next door to First Avenue).
Here’s the tweet McPherson sent out announcing the cancellation, plus a bittersweet follow-up message. We wish him and his family well.
Show in Chicago tonite & tomorrow's show in Minneapolis are cancelled due to a death in my family. Flying home tonight. Please spread word.— JD McPherson (@jdmcphersonjr) March 9, 2014
I'm sorry friends. Please call your friends & family and tell them you love them every day. It's really important. Hope to see you soon ❤️— JD McPherson (@jdmcphersonjr) March 9, 2014
Matisse's "Large Reclining Nude," 1935
Break out the berets and head over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for a free stroll through the popular "Matisse: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art," show. Adult tickets for the special exhibition are normally $16 weekdays, $20 weekends, but for one night it will be free. Tickets are timed and limited in number, however, so savvy art fans will arrive early for the 6 p.m.-9 p.m. event March 20.
For this "Third Thursday" program the museum is embracing all things French. The Alliance Francaise Mpls/St. Paul will offer informal French lessons in the galleries. Arty types can "draw with scissors" as Matisse did when nipping out his famous and very colorful cutouts of dancers cavorting in space. Museum visitors will be encouraged to confine their cutouts to post cards or collages, however.
And everyone will be encouraged to indulge in a selfie with a life-sized cutout of Matisse in the MIA photobooth. Or visitors can take self-portraits in a life-sized replica of one of the artist's paintings. Music wiil be provided by the Atlantis Quartet, a modern jazz group.
The "Matisse" show features paintings and drawings from the collections of Claribel and Etta Cone, wealthy Victorian-era Baltimore women who were introduced to Matisse at the Paris salon of writer Gertrude Stein. Over 40 years, the sisters bought more than 500 paintings, drawings and sculpture by Matisse that they later bequeathed to the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Institute's show is on loan from the Baltimore institution through May 18.
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