A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:


The Grammys. Quite the spectacle. My top five performances were Beyoncé; Pink; Lorde; Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons, and Daft Punk with Pharrell, Stevie Wonder and Nile Rodgers.

British Invasion. U.K. music is taking over again — with the U.S. TV debuts of London Grammar, one of my favorite new bands out of the United Kingdom, and Sam Smith.

Pink, “The Truth About Love Tour — Live From Melbourne.” The pop powerhouse released her live DVD after a record-setting run in Australia. This was one of my top live shows of 2013, so much so I saw it twice.

Justin Levy, St. Paul

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Patti LaBelle, Mystic Lake Casino. In her first Twin Cities area appearance since 2000, she kicked up her heels (figuratively and literally), raised the roof and did just about everything but heal the sick. The R&B diva can still scream but remains a master of restraint, control and dynamics. Highlights were her restrained reading of “Over the Rainbow” and goofing with male fans who joined her to sing and dance on “Lady Marmalade.”

Liv Warfield, “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” One of Prince’s backup singers, she served up her new single, “Why Do You Lie?” a slab of horn-heavy funk with gospel wails and smooth harmonies. Annie Lennox should be envious.

Sandra Bernhard, the Dakota. For her encore, the New York comic recited Prince’s infamous “purify yourself in Lake Minnetonka” lines from “Purple Rain” and then, backed by her trio, the Flawless Zircons, tore into the movie’s title song. When it came time for the signature guitar solo, Bernhard merely scatted it with her voice. It was a triumphant combination of tribute and sendup.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune