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, 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.
After packing the Varsity Theater in March and making a good impression at last year’s Basilica Block Party, Las Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons will make a big leap to Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Sept. 30. Tickets will be $32.50 and $42.50 and go on sale Friday through Ticketmaster or at the Wilkins box office. The quartet landed the radio hit “It’s Time” last year and are doing even better now with the aptly named follow-up, “Radioactive.”
Other concert news issued today:
*One of two bands with original members performing Black Flag songs on tour this year, the group simply known as Flag will hit First Avenue on Sept. 13. That’s the one featuring pre-Henry Rollins singers Keith Morris (later of the Circle Jerks and OFF!) and Dez Cadena along with drummer Bill Stevenson (future Descendents) and bassist Chuck Dukowski. The $30 tickets go on sale Friday at noon through eTix and First Ave outlets. Morris was also part of the great Black Flag tribute tour put on by the Rollins Band in 2002 as a benefit for the West Memphis 3. Black Flag guitarist and ringleader Greg Ginn is also now touring with a makeshift lineup of the legendary Los Angeles punk band, but no local date has been set.
*The Cult will mark the 25th anniversary of its “Electric” by performing the whole thing at the Varsity Theater on Aug. 5. That’s the record that paired them with a hip-hop producer named Rick Rubin and sent them down a more metallic path with the radio hits “Love Removal Machine” and “Lil’ Devil.” Tickets will be $35 and $50 and go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. through Ticketfly.com, the Electric Fetus or Loring Pasta Bar. The British rockers also performed the prior album, “Love,” in its entirety on tour two years ago.
*Sick Puppies had to postpone its show tonight at Mill City Nights due to "vehicular failure." A makeup date is expected in the fall, and fans are being told to hang onto tickets in the meantime.
Grade-school rappers Y.N. Rich Kids of “Hot Cheetos & Takis” fame could have another viral hit to their name, but there’s one problem: That’s not actually their name anymore.
A gritty slow-jam titled “My Bike” -- recorded by north Minneapolis’ littlest rap giants last summer alongside another insatiably cute video -- finally saw the light of day Friday afternoon and has already attracted 30,000 views in three days on YouTube. In the interim since the song was made, however, the group has changed its name to simply the KIDS following a dispute with the Northside YMCA over money issues.
Those issues are still unresolved, with the families of the youth rappers asking for some of the money made off of paid downloads and YouTube ad revenue. The money instead has gone to the Beats & Rhyme afterschool program that birthed the group, and to the director of the “Hot Cheetos” video. However, the good news is the KIDS’ families and the Beats & Rhymes organizers at least found common ground with “My Bike” (posted below).
“We all just wanted to finally get it out there,” said Melissa Mercedes, whose son Freeman “Frizzy Free” Hickman shines again along with his other cohorts in “My Bike” and its video. “This is the follow-up hit to ‘Hot Cheetos.’ We always knew this one was going to be hot, too, and the numbers we’re seeing already speak for themselves.”
As was the case in "Hot Cheetos," the rappers involved have no trouble speaking for themselves in "My Bike." Here's a sample of the song's smooth-flowing lyrics from Glenn "G6" Carter, age 12:
"It's G6, ridin' on my bike / Flyer than a kite, and I put that on my life / Matter fact put that on my mama / Flow cold but I'm hot like a sauna / No games, bro, I don't need no drama / Cuz I'm tryna make change like Obama."
So far, the song is only being offered as a free download, so there's no money to dispute, and the parents of the young rap stars are cool with it being issued as a Y.N.RichKids song. “That’s the name they were still using when they made it, so it’s fair,” Mercedes said. Another fun and infectious new video/single, “Khaki Pants,” was simultaneously issued under the Beats & Rhymes banner by another group in the program, the NSJ Crew, which features some of the KIDS and other students from the program’s partnering Nellie Stone Johnson Community School.
From here on out, though, look for the kids to be the KIDS. Their new management team is finishing off a demo with new songs to shop around to labels. They are keeping up appearances, too – the only way they have gotten paid!—including a short slot opening for Mindless Behavior at Epic last weekend. On Saturday, they will perform again at an open house event at the Institute of Production & Recording in downtown Minneapolis (where their demo was made; click here for more info). There’s talk of a short tour to the South over the summer. By then, they very well could be known as more than a one-hit wonder.
Zenon dancers in a scene from "Mariana," by Faye Driscoll. Photo by Steve Niedorf.
POST BY CAROLINE PALMER
SPECIAL TO THE STAR TRIBUNE
“You’re gonna see a lot of love onstage tonight,” Zenon Dance Company artistic director Linda Andrews promised at the top of the show Sunday night at the Cowles Center. And she was right. Much of the affection was directed toward Greg Waletski, who was marking his last performance with the troupe after a 22-year career.
The Zenon dancers, Waletski among them, are a versatile bunch, and the 30th Spring Season program, which included Wynn Fricke’s dream-like “Wine Dark Sea” and Mariusz Olszewski’s sensually charged “Hotel Tango (para Sharon)” showed off their many moods and skills.
The world premiere of “Mariana” by Bessie award-winning New York choreographer Faye Driscoll proved a particularly worthy vehicle for Zenon. The work explores the awkwardness, petty violence, false confidence, damaging group think and occasional tenderness of social interactions. The dancers roiled, pushed, pulled and tumbled through the potent piece, not only showing how the bullying tactics of childhood continue into adulthood but also focusing on the freedom that comes from the triumph of the assertive individual spirit.
But the emotional highlight of the evening arrived when Waletski soared through a solo moment in the finale, Danial Charon’s heroic “Storm.” There were loud cheers and shouts of “Bravo!” from the audience. Fellow performers Mary Ann Bradley, Tamara Ober, Leslie O’Neill, Stephen Schroeder and Laura Selle Virtucio exchanged warm smiles with their departing colleague throughout the leave-it-all-on-the-stage work.
As the lights came up Andrews emerged, tears filling her eyes, while dancers Tristan Koepke and Scott Metille presented Waletski with a pink sash and a tiara. The man of the hour – now appropriately outfitted for the honor – held onto a bouquet of flowers and stepped forward, arms raised in triumph, to soak up the standing ovation, one meant not just for him but for all the Zenon dancers. They poured their hearts into the performance.
The word on Waletski’s sash? “Fabulous.” And what a fabulous way, indeed, to celebrate a bittersweet ending and a fresh beginning. Coming up, look for Waletski in the works of local choreographers such as Megan Mayer. He’ll also return to Zenon for guest performances and is launching a new career as an American Sign Language interpreter.
Go here for a review of the first-weekend program by Zenon.
Consistently one of the most adventurous and electrifying annual live music events in town, the Heliotrope festival has been officially called off for what would have been its 10th anniversary installment this year. Organizers of the Memorial Day weekend event -- which gathered together experimental musicians of the noise-rock, electronic, psychedelic, none-of-the-above ilk – had trouble finding a suitable venue after recent years saw it bounce from the Ritz Theater to the now-defunct Loring Theater to (last year) the Lab Theater. That delay led to the rest of the planning falling short, said Rich Barlow, whose Flaneur Productions produced the event.
“With this being the 10th year, we had hoped to make it something extra special,” Barlow said. “It was starting to look like we might be able to pull something off, [but] it was if anything going to be less special.”
The good news is Barlow and his partners seem intent on bringing it back next year. In a press release announcing the postponement over the weekend, the Flaneur crew said, “We will be working from now until the spring of 2014 to bring ‘HX’ to the fullest fruition.”
At least local/underground fans can still look forward to a similarly wild weekend of music this weekend with Art-a-Whirl, which takes over northeast Minneapolis again Friday through Sunday. Here are some of the Art-a-Whirl highlights to plan for:
THE 331 CLUB: The usual indoor/outdoor music mix with Kill the Vultures, Milwaukee’s new Sub Pop signees Jaill, the Blind Shake and Carroll on Friday (6 p.m.-1 a.m.), Marijuana Deathsquads, Prissy Clerks, Story of the Sea and the Stnnng with its new spilt-EP partner FT on Saturday (Noon-1 a.m.), and Night Moves, Josh Grier’s Ginkgo and the Sunny Era on Sunday (1 p.m.-9 p.m.), with many more each day (331 13th Av. NE, free, click here for more info).
GRUMPY'S NORTHEAST: Dillinger Four and ’90s Iowa favorites House of Large Sizes make a great one-two- punch for headliners, plus new Afrobeat act Derobé Dance Band, Seawhores, Germaine Gemberling, Pennyroyal and more. (1-10 p.m. Sat., 2200 4th St. NE, free, click here for more info).
ANCHOR FISH & CHIPS: Romantica, Valet and Black Audience – all featuring Anchor founder Luke Kyle’s brothers -- play Sunday, while Saturday features Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings, the F- Knights, Mad Son of Unknown Prophets and more (2-9 p.m. Sat. & Sun., 302 13th Av. NE, free, click here).
STANLEY'S NORTHEAST BAR ROOM: Capitol Sons and Orange Whip will be on tap for music alongside 100 beers at the inaugural Stanley’s Craft Beer Festival (2-5 p.m. Sat., with free music till 9 p.m., 2500 University Av NE, $59 for beer ticket, click here).
Nicholas David, a man of many hats, at an earlier Twin Cities gig/ Star Tribune photo by Kyndell Harkness
After making a national splash on NBC’s “The Voice,” Nicholas David came home to First Avenue this weekend to say: “I gotta be me.”
Any TV fan expecting an endless evening of a human jukebox – and there were clearly clubgoers who were at First Ave for the first time -- might have been disappointed by Saturday’s second of two sold-out nights. To be sure, David – who used to be billed as Nick the Feelin’ in the Twin Cities – reprised several of the numbers that led him to finishing No. 3 on “The Voice” last fall. Plus, he trotted out four other “Voice” contestants to join him.
But much of David’s nearly two hours onstage was devoted to original material, sort of 1970s-tinged soul music, some of which had a reggae undercurrent. Those selections, while not necessarily memorable, did establish that David, 32, is an incredibly soulful singer. But anyone who watched “The Voice” already knew that.
Nick Mrozinski, of Eagan, has certainly fashioned a distinctive image, with his LL Cool J cap, Bono sunglasses, Steven Tyler scarf, ZZ Top starter beard and college-professor suit. (Loved the top hat, with long, long feathers, he wore for Saturday's second set.) He’s got a mantra, frequently declaring “Hey now,” a catchphrase he may have copped from HBO’s “Larry Sanders Show” or from the lyrics of the New Orleans classic “Iko Iko.”
David certainly demonstrated a taste for Crescent City sounds, including his terrific reimagining of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which he took to a New Orleans church, emphasizing key phrases such as “I believe” that gave it a new-found gospel feel.
Some of the singer’s own tunes, including “Say Goodbye,” showed his flair for country soul. David is certainly versatile and prolific (he’s released five albums). He even had Twin Cities rapper Desdamona contribute to one tune on Saturday. He was backed by his Feelin’ Band, which included three backup vocalists, a saxophonist, two guitarists, bassist, keyboardist and drummer – as well as David on keyboards and acoustic guitar.
Of the four “Voice” alums who joined David, two of them detracted and two of them elevated the proceedings. Todd Kessler provided the high voice on a duet with David on Hall & Oates’ “She’s Gone.” Thankfully, David dominated, not Kessler with his garden-variety voice.
Melanie Martinez, who may be 17 or 18 but came across like 14, essayed two originals whose titles – “Dear Porcupine” and “Rough Love” – were the best thing about them. She joined David for Fiona Apple’s “Criminal,” a smart arrangement that was, once again, all about David, not the other vocalist.
By contrast, Trevin Hunte nailed Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” though the soundman should have turned down the lead vocals a tad (and the bass guitar was too loud all night). Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” wasn’t a good choice for the talented Hunte because it lacks vocal range. Terry McDermott nicely complemented David on a duet of “Rhythm of Love.”
David’s mashup of a “Voice” revue and Feelin’ originals may not have been the show that clubgoers anticipated. But, whatever you expected, you might have come away with the impression that Nicholas David is perhaps the best male soul singer to emerge from the Twin Cities since Alexander O’Neal.
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