P.O.S. preps for Coachella at surprise gigs

"Thank you for watching us practice."

That's how P.O.S. bid adieu at the Turf Club on Monday night, following a riveting show with his "new" backing band -- actually his bandmates in Building Better Bombs. Fortunately, the semi-surprise show wasn't his last goodbye before heading to the Coachella festival on Friday -- the new band also showed up at the Triple Rock on Tuesday, and there were rumors of a Nick and Eddie appearance on Wednesday.

The Turf show felt like watching P.O.S. teeter on a diving board preparing to jump headlong into his next creative phase. The guy's punk-rock roots have always shown up in his rap music, but never as strongly as they did Monday, with two drummers and/or a guitarist behind him along with (GAYNGS leader) Ryan Olson's mad electronic wizardry and DJ Plain Ole Bill's beats. It's all too easy to say, but the Bombs guys really did make the songs more explosive, including the opener "Let It Rattle," "Optimist" and especially "Drumroll." Yeah, no duh, the latter tune sounds better with live drums.

The band should definitely help P.O.S. make a bigger impression at Coachella, but I think its impact will be be much more lasting than that. P.O.S. himself strapped on a guitar for "Graves (We Wrote the Book)," plus he delivered the lines in "Savion Glover" in a rabid manner that sounded like the words were fast, punky guitar riffs. "We've only practiced like six times before this," he admitted to the crowd near show's end. Actually, it sounded a little like he was bragging -- and deservedly so.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Rock the Garden reactions

"If you can't dance to @SharonJones you have no soul and you are an inanimate product of the baby boom generation!" -- @elgc45

"Methinks Retribution Gospel Choir will make me want to go to Rock the Garden."-- @Martinpatrick3

"OK Go!? MGMT? I wants to go to Rock the Garden! Who's an MPR member and can get me tix?" -- @ianlafo

If the Twitter buzz is any indication, music fans are in a tizzy over the just-announced 2010 Rock the Garden lineup. The outdoor mini-festival presented by the Current and the Walker Art Center returns June 19, and there's ample indie-music-fan catnip. Electro rockers MGMT headline a bill that includes soul/funk collective Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, recently Prince-inspired power-poppers OK Go, and Retribution Gospel Choir, the uncharacteristically noisy band from Low's Alan Sparhawk. Minnesota Public Radio and Walker members can purchase $40 tickets now; they're available to everyone else on April 27.

If you align more with @strategy_samba who simply tweeted "Underwhelmed," then maybe the Stone Arch Festival is for you. The free, outdoor event spans June 19-20 and features local music from Zoo Animal, Me and My Arrow, Black Blondie and many others.

  • Jay Boller

Cloud Cult on Earth Day

Much like the solar and wind power that will no doubt be touted, Cloud Cult's noontime campus concert to celebrate Earth Day stands out for its economic potential and unlimited availability. In other words, it's free and open to everyone, and carries a little extra meaning since this is one band that treats its Mother with care every day. The performance coincides with the psychedelic chamber-folk-rockers' new four-song EP, "Running With the Wolves," a precursor to the heavily anticipated full-length "Light Chasers," due Aug. 17. (Noon Thu. 4/22, Coffman Union grounds.)

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Envision turns Graves into 'Artopia'

True to its name, Saturday's Envision: Artopia fashion show at the Graves 601 Hotel showcased a palette of lush color, bold prints and whimsy from some of the most recognizable names in local fashion. Ignite Models' biannual show opened with an "interactive hair show" putting hairstylists from Rocco Altobelli on the runway as they sculpted avant-garde hair looks on models. The first half of the show was dominated by a Robert Palmer-esque army of statuesque models in slicked back hair, red lips and kohl-rimmed eyes wearing looks from local boutiques. There was a welcome burst of kitsch and color thanks to Cliché's Carmen Miranda-inspired headpieces. But Elsworth Menswear nearly stole the show from the ladies, thanks to hot-nerd looks incorporating cardigans, bowties, eyeglasses and a graffiti-inscribed umbrella into its usual dapper aesthetic.

The second half of the show went to local designers, including seasoned vets Kjurek Couture, Amanda Christine and Russell Bourrienne -- though the most talked-about segments came courtesy of lesser-known names Rose White, Jenny Carle and Sarah M. Holm. While Rose White and Carle made softly feminine statements with the season's biggest trend -- neutrals -- it was Holm's dark, Lady Gaga-esque take on springtime that fittingly capped the show. Dresses, jackets and even headpieces mimicked the shape of an umbrella, punctuated with driplike accents and rubber wellies. What says spring in Minnesota better than a rainstorm?

  • Jahna Peloquin

Drinking bacon at Ringo

After I left the West End's new restaurant earlier this week, I had one thing on my mind: bacon. Just opened, Ringo is the latest addition to the burgeoning nightlife scene at this St. Louis Park lifestyle center (it joins Cooper, Crave and the soon-to-open Toby Keith joint). Owner Jim Ringo says his large, stylish restaurant will be a chef-driven endeavor. He is paying particular attention to the bar, where crafted cocktails and an international beer list dominate. The cocktail on everyone's mind: The $14 Bacon Old Fashioned. It's made with bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, whiskey barrel bitters, flaming orange zest and garnished with -- what else? -- bacon. Bacon lovers will relish its smoky flavors. Bacon haters will want to run for the hills (or come back during the twice-daily happy hour for something else).

  • Tom Horgen