Townshend loves Twin Cities theater; SPCO's "Messiah"; and more.
Back on tour with the Who for the first time since 2007, guitarist Pete Townshend seemed in good spirits Tuesday at Target Center. He commented about the Twin Cities having more theater than any other area (per capita), so he was thrilled to bring the "semi-theatrical" "Quadrophenia" to a theater capital. He also commented about the lack of snow here (he cited global warming) and how some of his Minnesota friends were pining for white stuff. "Hopefully, it will be freezing next time we come here," he said after the "Quadrophenia" set. However, by the end of the night, the vibe felt more like a farewell, as singer Roger Daltrey plugged his ears near the end and after "Won't Get Fooled Again." Townshend gave thumbs-up to the sound while a dazed Daltrey pronounced it bass-heavy. In the end, though, the singer thanked the fans in the half-full arena for their support for so many decades. "Without you," he said, "we'd still be in a bar somewhere."
JON BREAMA dog's life
ABC is going to the dogs -- and they're getting help from a local artist to get there. Minneapolis' own Amy Brazil, who specializes in painting canines, was tapped by ABC's "Suburgatory" (now in its second season) to create a portrait of Yakult, a pampered poodle owned by the self-absorbed Dallas (Cheryl Hines). According to Brazil, the painting will be a gift from Dallas' new boyfriend (Jeremy Sisto). Brazil, who visited the show a couple of weeks ago, said producers were sketchy on exactly what role the portrait could play. "We're having friends over the night it airs, so I hope it's not just in a fly-by shot," Brazil told I.W. The painting, which took about a month to create, will make its television debut at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on KSTP, Ch. 5.
NEAL JUSTINCan't hardly wait
A spat of surprises made last weekend's fourth annual Tribute to the Replacements at First Avenue extra memorable. For starters, ex-'Mats guitarist Bob "Slim" Dunlap's wife, Chrissie Dunlap, got to leave her stroke-stricken husband's hospital bedside to hear the Mad Ripple Hootenanny all-star singalong of Slim's songs (and Slim thankfully got to return home earlier this week). At the end of the show, Hold Steady leader Craig Finn made a cameo to sing "Skyway" with the Melismatics. (The version of "Can't Hardly Wait" which followed, however, proved that the night's real star was Curtiss A.) In between came the night's best-kept secret, which started with 89.3 the Current DJ David Campbell walking out in a cop uniform and announcing through a bullhorn, "This is the Minneapolis Police. The party is over." Thus kicked off the Pink Mink-led redux of the 'Mats' "Stink!" EP, which found the likes of 4onthefloor's Gabe Douglas, Dillinger Four's Paddy Costello and even Hüsker Dü bassist Greg Norton joining in. "It was a dream come true," Mink co-leader Christy Hunt said later. Also true: The "Stink!" set was recorded for future release.
CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER'Messiah' coming
With all official concerts for both the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra canceled through the end of the year due to labor disputes, the locked-out musicians continue to organize performances on their own, with assists from distinguished former associates. The latest: The SPCO musicians will stage performances of Handel's "Messiah," a holiday favorite, Dec. 20-21 with the Minnesota Chorale at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis. Hugh Wolff, who was the SPCO's music director from 1988-2000, will conduct. Tickets are available at www.musiciansspco.org. SPCO players also will offer an all-Mozart program, featuring renowned violinist Pinchas Zukerman as conductor, at 3 p.m. Sunday at Wayzata Community Church. Zukerman was SPCO music director from 1980-87. The Minn Orch musicians have concerts Dec. 15 and 16 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, led by their former M.D., Edo de Waart.
KRISTIN TILLOTSONPainting his masterpiece
Many music lovers are aware that Tony Bennett and Bob Dylan are painters. After all, they've both exhibited their works in galleries. But who knew that St. Cloud's own Bobby Vee was a visual artist? The voice of the early 1960s hits "Rubber Ball" and "Take Good Care of My Baby" has retired from performing (due to Alzheimer's) but not from creating. Not only is he recording a new album, but for the first time he will show his acrylic paintings this weekend at the Satellite Gallery, 15 E. Minnesota St., in St. Joseph, Minn. Digitally reproduced signed prints will be for sale, with proceeds going to the Bobby Vee Foundation for the Arts, founded 30 years ago to support arts education in central Minnesota. Vee will be at the gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.
JON BREAMTweedy gets down Low
Big news out of Duluth this week via Seattle via Chicago: Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has produced the new Low record, "The Invisible Way," slated for a March 19 release on Sub Pop Records. The Seattle label announced those juicy tidbits along with a note from the Duluth trio's frontman Alan Sparhawk, who said of recording with Tweedy at Wilco's Chicago studio, "He spoke a language we understood, but then took us effortlessly into the mystery." To start the promotional roll-out of the new disc, the trio has posted a free six-song live EP on its own website (Chairkickers.com), which was recorded during its tour this past summer with Death Cab for Cutie. Titled "Plays Nice Places," it includes Death Cab leader Ben Gibbard playing bass on one track, "Words." Suffice it to say Low has many friends in high places.