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

Leonard Cohen's band, Orpheum. They were the top supporting musicians I've ever seen. Want proof? Check out the Webb sisters (two of his backup singers) doing "If It Be Your Will" on YouTube.

Minnesota Zoo concerts. Not the strongest lineup, but shows to catch are P.J. Harvey, Derek Trucks, King Sunny Ade, Yonder Mountain String Band and Alejandro Escovedo. The zoo's amphitheater is, by far, the best area music venue.

Free live recordings at www. wolfgangsvault.com. Board-quality recordings of Warren Zevon in Philly in April 1980, the Ramones at the Palladium in January 1978 and Led Zeppelin at the Fillmore West in April 1969 -- just a sliver of the performances and interviews available for free at this site. My cube is a happier place.


To contribute: popmusic@startribune.com

India.Arie, O'Shaughnessy. Part church, part Oprah and part concert, this long, talk-heavy evening had many inspirational and musical rewards. The female-heavy crowd loved her empowering messages, but, frankly, the music with its earnest lyrics spoke for itself without all the sermonizing introductions. Loved her mom's singing on the encore.

Tony Bennett, Mystic Lake Casino. This Mother's Day gig was superior to his 2007 Mystic show because the band was more impressive, with regular pianist Lee Musiker instead of a sub. The ageless singer was as warm, charming and special as always.

The Sounds, Varsity Theater. These Swedes sure do love the '80s, cheesy synths, floppy hair and all. Singer Maja Ivarsson had the right snarl and attitude on the new single "No One Sleeps While I'm Awake" and the dance-happy "Hope You Are Happy Now."