A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Queen with Adam Lambert, Chicago. Veterans Roger Taylor and Brian May were their usual solid selves, but the game changer was “American Idol” alum Lambert, 32, whose powerful voice and confident stage presence were unquestionably the best match for Queen’s powerhouse music since the 1991 death of Freddie Mercury. Lambert properly reminded fans of Mercury’s greatness, while also demonstrating that, pound-for-pound, he is arguably the most gifted performer “Idol” has ever discovered.
Aloe Blacc, All-Star Gala, Mill City Museum. Like a coveted five-tool baseball player, Blacc is a multi-talented hip-hop/rap/soul/jazz artist. He and his dynamite band kept the crowd mesmerized during an outdoor set on an unusually chilly summer night on the Mississippi River.
“Jersey Boys.” Anyone yearning for a dose of the long-running Broadway musical will find satisfaction in the film adaptation. The Four Seasons’ music is wonderfully showcased by a mostly unknown cast. Frankie Valli’s voice is immortal, but the songwriting of Bob Gaudio was pure genius.
jason gabbert, St. Cloud
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Cécile McLorin Salvant dominates Downbeat critics poll. The 24-year-old vocal savant won artist and album of the year for the aptly titled “WomanChild” — plus three more categories. Bravo!
Trampled by Turtles, Cedar Cultural Center. They previewed their new album, “Wild Animals,” live. It’s slower, darker, richer and more melancholy, which was underscored by a newly added cellist. The harmonies were as extraordinary as the performance was short: The 40-minute album plus one encore number, a cover of Loudon Wainwright’s “Swimming Song.” Still, it was a special evening for a few hundred folks who purchased the album at Electric Fetus and Down in the Valley plus two superfans — Duluth Mayor Don Ness and former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, who was wearing a TBT T-shirt.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Basilica Block Party. This hippie mini-orchestra had a rich, layered sound and a quirky but entertaining frontman, Alex Ebert, who kept honoring fan requests even if he said the band didn’t remember the entire song (specifically “Let’s Get High”). Right on, man.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune