Top 10 Voltage moments

Last week's Voltage: Fashion Amplified show at First Avenue proved a good thing can only get better. Local music fans and fashionable folks in the sold-out crowd got their fixes during the three-hour show, and there wasn't a dull moment:

  1. Voltage producer Anna Lee's peach silk dress custom-designed by Ann Alyse Clothing -- a perfect match for Lee's red hair.
  2. George Moskal's sophisticated, couture-quality cocktail dresses, blouses and skirts, which easily could've been on the runways of Paris or Milan.
  3. Kerry Riley's hilarious video segment, in which she interviewed herself as enigmatic Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld.
  4. Riley's sure-to-be-a-hit layered black chain necklaces and patent leather holsters for Red Shoe Clothing Co., perfect for giving something pretty a bit of edge.
  5. Refining the cotton jersey dress she is known for, Katherine Gerdes added satin bodices, intricate pleating details and elegantly draped pockets on organic, dip-dyed cotton jersey.
  6. Princess Warrior's found-object jewelry (think mini-wrench earrings and rough-cut, asymmetrically placed stones) featured with Gerdes' collection.
  7. MC/VL's neon-bright, energetic performance and their custom-made bling by Erin Smith.
  8. Max Lohrbach's '20s-inspired collection, featuring flapper dresses and lingerie, striped men's jackets and striped knit men's jumpers.
  9. Calpurnia Peach's graphic-printed onesies were adorable -- but most surprising were the screen-printed tights with the letters CALPURNIAPEACH going down the back of each leg (a nod to the seam in old-fashioned stockings).
  10. The evening's finale, Laura Fulk's ode to the punk-rock prairie woman, featuring her trademark sharply tailored jackets, 4-foot-tall feathered headpieces and knotted ponytails so long they practically dragged along the runway.
  • Jahna Peloquin

Atmosphere goes for 'Gold'

They had lemon candies on the counter next to the cash register. Slug's girlfriend baked lemon bars for the staff. Somebody even put lemon hand soap inside the tour bus parked outside.

"This whole lemon thing is gonna grow old pretty fast," Rhymesayers staffer Kevin Beacham joked Monday night at Fifth Element, when the record store hosted the midnight release party for Atmosphere's new album, "When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold." With hundreds of young fans lined up in the rain, Slug and Ant were relishing the lemony hype.

"Lemons" is the most cohesive of Atmosphere's six proper albums. The tracks are all tied together thematically, and more than a few of them actually seem tied by a noose. What's more, the music matches the lyrics like never before. Not only is this the first album to incorporate the Atmosphere live band, but it's also the first album where Slug and Ant truly worked side by side.

As Slug put it: "I got to see a lot of the songs from the ground up -- I got to actually see behind the curtain."

Said Ant, "It took a lot longer this way, but I think it benefited us in the end."

Character-driven songs such as "The Waitress" (featuring beatboxing by none other than Tom Waits) and the not-so-anonymous alcoholic tale "Your Glasshouse" (guest vocals by TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe) are vivid tales of urban loneliness with no preachy messages.

Probably the easiest songs to understand are the two most autobiographical cuts, "Yesterday" and -- no surprise -- the one simply titled "Me." The former is a tough but tender riff on Slug's dad, who died of a heart attack in 2006. "Me" reads like "Slug: A Life," a memoir. The confessional tone is nothing new, but it has some of Slug's best writing.

"'Yesterday' is a closure song, about coming to grips and being OK with certain things with my dad," Slug said. "And 'Me' just puts closure on a whole load of stuff."

"Lemons" also has two of the most poppy, upbeat songs in the Atmosphere canon: "Dreamer" and "You," a counterpart of sorts to "Me." The latter is so dang catchy, Slug said he had to talk Rhymesayers honcho Siddiq Sayers out of making it the first single.

"There's no way I could've been able to put a song like 'You' on [previous records]," Slug said, "but it fits the story, and there's enough painting with dark colors on the album that it balances out me trying a little shade of baby blue."

Atmosphere will perform at Soundset 08 on May 25, at the Metrodome.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Temple closes

Temple closed for good last weekend. It seems that the flashy restaurant/bar on the edge of downtown Minneapolis just never got enough traffic. Owner Thom Pham said that after a "very difficult reckoning," he'll go back to focusing on his Eat Street powerhouse, Azia, and his original St. Louis Park restaurant, Thanh Do.

Like Azia, Temple offered an upscale Asian aesthetic when it opened in December 2006. While it was hailed for its stunning red and black room, critics often said the food didn't match the decor. However, it still provided a spark to the nightlife scene with such events as last month's Naked Sushi party. And on any given night, it was a great place for a beautiful, intimate, late-night happy-hour rendezvous. It will be missed.

  • Tom Horgen