What a bipolar night it was for your local music writers. As Gorillaz took the stage at Target Center, both I and my Pioneer Press counterpart were sending in our obituaries on St. Paul indie-rap star Mikey (Eyedea) Larsen. From a god-awful news story straight into a downright jubilant and (yep!) feel-good concert. Amid all the mayhem, and under tight space restrictions for Monday's newspaper, there were many things left out of my print review worth mentioning:
*Like the "Escape From Plastic Beach" album, there was an overlying environmental message to the show and its accompanying Jamie Hewlett animation, which was (in a nutshell): We're ruining the planet and becoming all the more plastic ourselves. Hewlett's grotesque visions of the future were haunting enough to get you to recycle the smallest piece of tinfoil.
*Every single one of the 30 musicians that took the stage was impressive. I'm not sure if they were all actually necessary, but the string section sounded spot-on, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble was tight, the Syrian musicians would have been lovely for a whole set, etc. And they all meshed together surprisingly well.
*Forgot to mention Bootie Brown, another pioneering rapper from the great L.A. quartet the Pharcyde, who made a big splash in "Dirty Harry."
*Mick Jones and Paul Simonon weren't the only noteworthy Londoners calling. British grime rappers Bashy and Kano made a big enough impression in "White Flag" to raise their U.S. profile greatly, and relatively unknown London singer Rosie Wilson shined like a young Chaka Khan in the deliciously poppy but soulful "DARE."
*There were an unusual amount of younger kids at the show. Even though they were probably there for the cartoons, what a way to get introduced to the wonders of rock 'n' roll. Now go steal a Bobby Womack and De La Soul album off the net, kids!
*The set list: Orchestral intro / Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach / 19/2000 / Last Living Souls / O Green World / Stylo / On Melancholy Hill / Rhinestone Eyes / Superfast Jellyfish / Kids With Guns / Tomorrow Comes Today / Broken / Dirty Harry / El Manana / DARE / White Flag / Glitter Freeze / Plastic Beach ENCORE: Cloud of Unknowing / Feel Good Inc. / Don't Get Lost in Heaven / Demon Days