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

Alice Cooper, the State. Especially poignant was Alice donning a gas mask, which was not lost on those at his "tear gas incident" at the St. Paul Civic Center in 1978.

Rhymesayers 20th anniversary show, Target Center. There were 30 acts and more than six hours of music, with Brother Ali's set and the Spawn reunion with Atmosphere being truly memorable.

Mary Forsberg Weiland's letter in Rolling Stone. The heartfelt open letter from Scott Weiland's ex-wife and mother of his teenage children asked fans not to glorify his death. She provided insight into Weiland's shortcomings from a perspective fans don't get to see.

Bill Pekarna, Lakeville

E-mail: popmusic@startribune.com.

Andra Day, "Late Show With Stephen Colbert." With just voice and piano, her version of "Rise Up" was soulful intimacy and elegance that rival Adele.

Lola & the Red Family Band, the Cabooze. Tina Schlieske rocks cover songs like no other woman in town, and her Ho Ho Ho singers offered serious solo vocalizing, too.

Sonny Knight & the Lakers' James Brown tribute, the Dakota. Buoyed by former James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley and drummer Jabo Starks, Knight did a better version of Brown than he does of Sonny Knight.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune