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Posts about Minnesota musicians

Night 2 of Bob Dylan at the Orpheum Theatre

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: November 6, 2014 - 3:38 AM

Exact same songs but somehow it felt different on Wednesday.

Yes, Night 2 of Bob Dylan’s three-night stand at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis felt different from the opening concert.

Tuesday’s audience was much more energetic. Many fans stood for the entire concert. Not so on Wednesday. The second-night crowd must have included fewer hard-core fans. They didn’t even clap at the opening line of “Tangled Up in Blue.” In fact, they didn’t get excited until the punch line of the chorus. Same thing happened with “Simple Twist of Fate.” At least a few dozen fans reacted to the opening words of “Blowin’ in the Wind” done on grand piano.

Associated Press photo

Associated Press photo


While Tuesday’s second set lacked momentum, Wednesday’s second segment was more focused and consistent. A key difference was “Early Roman Kings,” with its echoes of Muddy Waters. On Tuesday, the tune felt repetitious. On Wednesday, George Receli’s drumming was more interesting. Charlie Sexton’s bluesy guitar riffs nicely echoed Dylan’s vocal lines, and there was more fire in Sexton’s solos.

There was plenty of nuance in Dylan’s often emphatic voice on “Spirit on the Water” with its finger-snapping cadence. By song’s end, it almost felt like a call-and-response with the singer and the suddenly responsive crowd. Dylan’s voice and delivery had more bite on “Long and Wasted Years” than it did the night before. “Soon After Midnight” was throwback pop, almost with an echo of the Fleetwoods’ “Mr. Blue.”

As was the case on Tuesday, Dylan didn’t introduce the band and he made only one comment. At the end of the 50-minute first set, he said something like “why, thank you folks.” He mumbled and all I could understand was something like “we’ll be right back.”

Indeed, he was prompt. Just as a gong had sounded at precisely 8 p.m. and Stu Kimball started playing guitar, the second half started after an exact 20-minute intermission.

Dylan didn’t bother to change clothes between sets. His Wednesday outfit was a different color from Tuesday’s but the same design – a frock-length jacket with piping and a stripe down his pants leg. Night 2’s ensemble was black with white piping whereas Night 1 he wore beige. He sported the same light (possibly gray) Zorro hat both nights. On Wednesday, he was rocking stylish black-and-white cowboy boots that almost suggested spats.

Frankly, the lighting is so dim but arty that it’s hard to distinguish much onstage. Dylan’s Oscar – he won it for “Things Have Changed,” his opening number on both nights, from 2000’s “Wonder Boys – was stationed on a case behind his grand piano bench, next to a bust of a woman. (On his 2012 tour, Dylan had the Oscar, surrounded by Mardi Gras beads, secured atop his grand piano.) At the Orpheum, there was a bust of, I think, Beethoven at the back of the stage, by Sexton’s amplifier.

As explained in my review of Tuesday’s concert, Dylan focused on material from his 2012 album “Tempest.” In fact, the set list was predominantly tunes he has recorded since his much-lauded 1997 comeback album “Time Out of Mind.”

There were two selections from 1975’s “Blood on the Tracks” and two pieces from the ‘60s – “Blowin’ in the Wind” (1963) and “She Belongs To Me” (1965).

He also introduced his version of “Stay with Me,” a pretty, almost Irish-flavored pop ballad that was featured on “Sinatra ’65: The Singer Today.” It is expected to be included on Dylan’s 2015 album, “Shadows in the Night.”

Dylan and his band will close their Orpheum run on Thursday night.

Wednesday’s set list:

Set 1

Things Have Changed/ She Belongs To Me/ Beyond Here Lies Nothin’/ Workingman’s Blues #2/ Waiting for You (it’s from the 2002 soundtrack to Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood)/ Duquesne Whistle/ Pay in Blood/ Tangled Up in Blue/ Love Sick

Set 2

High Water (For Charley Patton)/ Simple Twist of Fate/ Early Roman Kings/ Forgetful Heart/ Spirit on the Water/ Scarlet Town/ Soon After Midnight/ Long and Wasted Years  ENCORE Blowin’ in the Wind/ Stay with Me

Orchestra adds Paulus song to weekend concerts

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: November 5, 2014 - 3:46 PM

The Minnesota Orchestra will perform a short piece by composer Stephen Paulus at all three weekend concerts. Paulus, who died Oct. 19, was a former composer in residence at the orchestra. He enjoyed a long relationship with the organization. In 2011, the orchestra opened its season with "Timepiece," a jazz-inspired work by Paulus and his son, Greg.

The orchestra will play "Veil of Tears," which is a selection from the large work "To Be Certain of the Dawn." Commissioned by the Basilica of St. Mary's, this Holocaust Oratorio was recorded by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Chorale and the Minnesota Boychoir in 2008.

"Veil of Tears" is a short, instrumental piece. Described as a tribute to Paulus, the composition will open the concerts this weekend at Orchestra Hall.

At right, Paulus reviewed the score of "To Be Certain of the Dawn" with music director Osmo Vanska in 2008. Photo by Sharolyn Hagen.

Spooky Black's group the Stand4rd issues its album for free

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: November 5, 2014 - 11:23 AM

All the political pundits wondering why so few young voters turned out for yesterday’s election might want to examine the download numbers for the Stand4rd’s debut album.

One of Minnesota’s most hotly anticipated debut albums of the year, "The Stand4rd" premiered Tuesday via Soundcloud – and the page includes a link to download the 11-song collection as a free zip file. The Stand4rd has yet to charge money for any of its songs, which has also been the m.o. of the group’s resident YouTube sensation and do-rag advocate, St. Paul teen singer Spooky Black.

The downbeat, mellowicious, ultra-horny electro-rap quartet also features quirky but alluring Twin Cities rap star Allan Kingdom, Bobby Raps of the rowdy Audio Perm crew and versatile producer/beatmaker Psymun. They just played their first live show together as a foursome last weekend at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall ahead of a string of dates from Toronto to Los Angeles. Saturday’s sold-out St. Paul show also happened to be 16-year-old lil’ Spook’s first official gig ever, and he was greeted by screaming teen girls. The Current’s music blogger Andrea Swensson wrote in her review, "It didn’t seem like the group had come from St. Paul at all, but had actually beamed down from outer space."

Tempo-wise, “The Stand4rd” rarely gets above slow-jamming make-out grooves, but it’s hyper-loaded with many layers of overlapping vocals, atmospheric synth parts and all sorts of sonic do-dads and video-game-like noise effects. The one truly upbeat song, “Too Involved,” is actually the album’s strongest track (posted below). Twin Cities-reared enegineer/producer Doc McKinney, who has worked with Drake and Santigold and manages the Stand4rd, co-produced the record.

Hometown fans already have another chance to see the group: It just announced another local show Nov. 30 at the Varsity Theater ($15 tickets are on sale here). This time, fans should know all the songs.

Set list & more thoughts about Bob Dylan at the Orpheum

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: November 5, 2014 - 2:29 AM

The guy with the dark sideburns and curly hair, light-colored Zorro hat, beige suit and bolo tie may change outfits every night. But his set list has been pretty static. What Bob Dylan performed Tuesday night at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis is pretty consistent with other shows on the current theater leg of his Never Ending Tour.

Earlier on the tour, he threw in “All Along the Watchtower” but it’s been replaced the last few gigs by “Stay with Me,” a 1965 Frank Sinatra tune that’s expected to be on Dylan’s next album, “Shadows in the Night,” which is rumored to be covers of songs made famous by Sinatra. “Stay with Me” was a vocal highlight Tuesday as mentioned in my review. (He actually did three, not two, songs from the 1960s. My review was wrong.)

Maybe Dylan will mix things up when he returns to the Orpheum Wednesday and Thursday. Maybe he’ll introduce the fine band or say something. He did mumble something at the end of Tuesday’s first set; I think it was something about being right back after intermission.

Associated Press photo

Associated Press photo

Here is the set list from Tuesday:

Set 1

Things Have Changed (2000)/ She Belongs To Me (1965)/ Beyond Here Lies Nothin (2009)/ Workingman Blues #2 (2006) / Waiting For You (1965)/ Duquesne Whistle (2012)/ Pay in Blood (2012)/ Tangled Up in Blue (1975)/ Love Sick (1997)

Set 2

High Water (For Charley Patton) (2001)/ Simple Twist of Fate (1975)/ Early Roman Kings (2012)/ Forgetful Heart (2009)/ Spirit on the Water (2006)/ Scarlet Town (2012)/ Soon After Midnight (2012)/ Long and Wasted Years (2012)  ENCORE Blowin in the Wind (1963)/ Stay with Me (Sinatra cover)

Steve McClellan's DEMO kickstarts its campaign for a new music center

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: November 4, 2014 - 4:56 PM
Steve McClellan thanking the crowd the night First Avenue reopened after a three-week closure in November 2014. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Steve McClellan thanking the crowd the night First Avenue reopened after a three-week closure in November 2014. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

After a decade-plus of vagabond existence, former First Ave booker Steve McClellan’s nonprofit organization DEMO is hoping to create a permanent home in a 3,000-square-foot Minneapolis space to host music-ed classes, lessons, workshops and gigs. A crowdfunding campaign for the DEMO Music Center kicked off Monday via Razoo.com in an effort to raise $100,000 by year’s end.

“A place where musicians can come together” is the simple explanation of the center offered in a video posted on the Razoo page (and reposted below). Among the rewards for big givers in the fundraising drive are a round of golf with the Suburbs’ Chan Poling and fly-fishing with the Suicide Commandos’ Chris Osgood on down to a T-shirt and a DEMO membership.


Started in 2005 as McClellan’s 32-year tenure at First Ave came to an end, DEMO (Diverse Emercing Music Organization) was based on the similarly named DAMF (Diverse Arts & Music Foundation), an in-house organization at the club. It has since hosted and co-promoted shows in a wide array of venues around town, with the likes of Patti Smith and the Hold Steady -- but more often with young and/or unestablished performers.

“For 40 years, my [work] booking bands has been about selling beer,” McClellan says in the video. “What we’re working on now, it’s like a new construct.”


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