A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Vampire Weekend, Hollywood Bowl. It was a gorgeous autumn night in Los Angeles. As wine corks popped, Beirut warmed up the sold-out bowl of 18,000 before the headliners’ fun, energy-soaked, electrified set.
Gwar cover of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” for A.V. Club. Gwar delivered a grindcore version of the 1980s cheese-ball R&B hit that for some reason devolves into the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” brilliantly.
Jimmy Cliff, First Avenue. The 65-year-old reggae veteran delivered an unforgettable two-hour set that covered the history of Jamaican music from its early roots on up to his excellent latest release, “Rebirth.”
Danny Sigelman, Mpls.
The Replacements, Linda Ronstadt and Hall & Oates nominated for first time for Rock Hall of Fame. Their first appearance on the ballot is overdue. Ronstadt and the ’Mats will get my vote, for sure, along with Kiss and Nirvana. Still uncertain of my fifth choice.
Alice Russell, the Cedar. This little-known U.K. soul singer deserves to be as well-known here as Adele and Amy Winehouse. Musically, this powerful soul shouter, who also showed a lovely soft voice, came across as Adele channeling Donna Summer in the disco funk era.
Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion, the Dakota. The British rock drum hero was the big attraction, but the most rewarding sounds came from sax man Pee Wee Ellis with his warm, even tone.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune