A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Prince, Paisley Park second show. Sitting at his purple piano, hair and fingers flying amid the grandeur of a kaleidoscope light show, the Beautiful One made like his one-time muse Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in as memorable a one-man performance of music as I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Bravo and more, please.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "White Privilege II." Gutty, smart, vulnerable, questioning, difficult, sharp, uncertain, ferocious, fierce and prickly — and the most essential nine minutes of music of this brave new year.
Babes in Toyland, First Avenue. Tribal beats and harrowing howls from Lori Barbero, pummeling bass 'n' backbone from Clara Salyer and cathartic screams and wicked guitar fireworks from Kat Bjelland made for a historic show and a teeming 1,500-strong punk-rock coven.
Jim Walsh, Mpls. journalist/songwriter/author of forthcoming collection "Bar Yarns and Manic-Depressive Mix Tapes"
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James Corden's "Carpool Karaoke" with Coldplay's Chris Martin. These bits get better every time because Corden gets sillier (buying San Francisco stocking caps at a gas station, stopping at a kids' lemonade stand en route to the Super Bowl), and he can truly sing — in fact, better than Martin, although Mr. Coldplay did a wicked Mick Jagger impression.
Kanye West tweets his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone. With a photo supposedly taken by Tyler the Creator, it's a mock cover but a playful tweak at the magazine to put Ye on the cover to tout his new album. Rolling Stone tweeted back that the cover is fake but it'd like an interview.
Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues with Ernie Watts, the Dakota. It was Watts' first gig with this ensemble, and it was exciting to watch them play without a net. The string section grooved, and Watts got funky and jazzy. Siegel had impressive turns on harmonica and piano, but his personality and humor made just as lasting an impression.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune