A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Erik Koskinen and Barbara Jean, Hayward, Wis. Great sound at the Park Theater, an old movie house turned into a music and arts venue. Koskinen was top-notch backing Barbara Jean on guitar. He then knocked it out of the park headlining with his band.
Dave Simonett, Parkway Theater. It was great to hear broken-down, close-to-conception versions of some of his Trampled by Turtles songs. He also gallantly covered Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
Heart and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Mankato. A great old-school arena rock concert. Both acts showed why they are Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.
Michael Myhra, St. Peter, Minn.
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Rihanna pranks Jimmy Kimmel. With the cooperation of the comedian's wife, Rihanna and her dancers showed up at Kimmel's home at 1:05 a.m. on April 1, woke him in bed with flashlights and started singing about "I want my money." On TV that evening with Rihanna, Kimmel admitted, "That's not usually how you come to me in my dreams."
Gregg Allman, Pantages. His horn-flavored band sounded thinner than the Allman Brothers, and his voice lacked the power of the past. But he still sang with grainy soulfulness, which made it a treat to hear such Allman classics as "Melissa," "Midnight Rider" and "Whipping Post."
Kiana Marie, Scratch. When the young Minneapolis R&B singer was on — performing Billie Holiday, Aretha, Chaka Khan — her drummer Mario Dawson and her singing mentor, Kathleen Johnson (who was in the audience), rained bills on her, and deservedly so.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune