Archive for the ‘ music ’ Category

Lists of 2007 – Part 3

Isn’t drawing this whole list thing out over days, and now another week, bringing the antici…pation level to HOTT? No, you say? Forgive me, as I am not the blogger who shoots my load in one measly post. Think of this as tantric listing. Mmmm…

As promised, here is my list of musicians who went under my radar until 2007. This is where you get to see how uncool I really am (just don’t tell anyone).

Duh, Stacia

Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator): I suppose I’ve always liked Gillian Welch. Since the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack, she’s been in the back of my mind as someone to check out further. It wasn’t until I saw a Harry Smith documentary and saw Beth Orton that I really checked out Welch. Orton only made me want to hear Welch…it was weird.

Lou Reed – Transformer: This is a major duh. Again, I love the Velvet Underground, dig Bowie from around that time, and I know that I heard heard the album before I got really into it. I’m not sure what changed. Lou Reed is a very peculiar songwriter. He verges on being really bad, I think (he uses “nose” as a cheap rhyme three times on the album). Maybe that’s what makes him so awesome. P.S. Why doesn’t Bowie produce anymore?

Olivia Tremor Control: I was too busy either liking other things (Madonna, most likely) in the 1990s to pay much attention to Olivia Tremor Control. Luckily, someone pretty much forced me to listen to “Black Foliage: Volume one” and I fell in love. Or maybe I had to hear and love “Pet Sounds” and “SMiLE” first to really appreciate OTC. Yummy pop goodness all around.

Jens Lekman: A hunky, straight Stephen Merritt. I knew the Swedes wouldn’t let me down. El Perro Del Mar, a Swedish lady I first heard about this year as well, totally separately, also sings on his latest album. Go Swedes! Am I seriously the only one who doesn’t like “Night Falls On Kordela”?

The National: They haven’t been around for that long, but they have a few albums and I completely missed the buzz about “Alligator” the year before. I feel like such a poseur.

M. Ward: Like Lou Reed, Ward’s got a very simple approach to songwriting in terms of lyrics, but the guitar mastery is unlike other guitarists out there in indie or alt-country today. I have no idea why I avoided the buzz around “Post-War” when it came out last year, but I totally regret it.

Heartless Bastards – All this Time: See this post about me seeing this awesome band live.

Paul McCartney – Flowers in the Dirt: Thanks to a new DVD set and his entire catalog re-released this year, I became acquainted with this album, which I always assumed was filled with synthy yuckiness. Turns out I was only half right (there is some yuckiness, but generally not synth-related). The song “This One” (Rhapsody player needed) was extraordinary to me. It sounded like something off “Chaos and Creation” in its honesty. It stuck in my head for weeks, and began to effect some decisions. Turns out the whole albums isn’t all that bad, considering the time and the artist involved. Turns out all those crazy Paul fans were right — this is one of his better efforts, and certainly the best from the 1980s. Check out “Distractions” (Rhapsody player needed) as well.

Paul Simon – Graceland: The song “Graceland” kept coming up throughout 2007. I can’t really explain it. Again, this was one of those, like Gillian Welch, but even more so, that I was totally conscious of but never really bothered with. I clearly remember seeing Simon perform “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” on SNL. That and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” performances are two of my best SNL musical memories, and both really impacted me. I have a copy of MTV’s best of Unplugged compilation, featuring “Graceland” and I would always rewind it. Still, I can’t listen to that song only once. But like “Flowers in the Dirt”, “Graceland” (which is a year older), has some 1980s lameness, which I am generally most unforgiving of. But I’m learning to hear past the lameness, and it’s expanding my horizons in a major way. There’s no looking back now. Flock of Seagulls, here I come!

Stick around for the Most Underrated Band Award and Still Discovering List coming soon!

Lists of 2007 – Part 1

This post commences a series of lists o’ 2007 on The Truth Hurts. I don’t quite have my “favorites” or “best of” music list finalized (and my film best of list won’t be done until January or February probably), so I thought I’d start off with the things I know for sure.

Musical Disappointments

Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala: The thing is, I only got to know Jens beautiful music earlier this year. I loved its simplicity over the often paradoxical and highly amusing lyrics. But this one is a chamber pop orgasm, sort of the European, straight-but-not-narrow, Rufus Wainwright. Under different circumstances (if I had heard this album before his other stuff), I’d probably adore “Night Falls Over Kordula.” But I simply don’t.

White Stripes – Icky Thump: Maybe the word “icky” in the title led me in a certain direction, or maybe it was the cringe-worthy guitar riff on the title song that turned me off. I listened to it for about a week then forgot all about it. Leading up to “Icky Thump”‘s release, I gave “Get Behind Me Satan” another listen. I didn’t like it the first time around either, but I liked it more this time around. So maybe I’ll just always be an album behind from now on.

The Shins – Wincing the Night Away: I was really looking forward to this one. Maybe, like Badly Drawn Boy (“Hour of Bewilderbeast”), The Shins will only make one album that I’ll really love (“Chutes too Narrow”). None of the songs stood out for me. I don’t even remember any song titles. This album made absolutely no impression on me.

Interpol – Our Love to Admire: Disappointing new album and live show. You’re dead to me, Interpol.

Favorite Shows

  1. St. Vincent @ Fine Line: I actually saw St. Vincent twice this year. The first time, I thought she was a bag lady. This time, I thought she was a beautiful woman doing an awesome Andrew Bird impression (sans violin). Whenever I tried to think of my favorite shows this year, St Vincent opening for The National was always the first show I thought of. Maybe it was because she covered a slightly obscure Lennon/Beatles song (“I Dig a Pony”), or maybe it was her killer voice and guitar skillz, but her live show far surpasses her overproduced album, “Marry Me”.
  2. Bruce Springsteen @ Xcel: I am now a converted Boss fan, and I think it’s mostly thanks to Levi’s.
  3. The National @ Fine Line: My new favorite band for both recordings and live shows. Passion always wins me over. Most of their songs may be on the verge of balladering, but The National are one of the best rock n’ rollers out there today.
  4. Heartless Bastards @ 400 Bar: More proof that just three instruments and one voice can surpass bigger bands. I think the Hold Steady have a run for their money in the “best bar band” department.
  5. Retribution Gospel Choir @ Turf Club: This Alan Sparhawk-led band does Low covers, but rocks them just a bit more. Al can really belt it out, and he’s a hell of a showman — attributes I was unaware of after the many times I’ve seen Low. The male drummer’s voice somehow sounds a lot like Mimi, making the sound even spookier than Low in some ways.
  6. Arcade Fire @ Roy Wilkens: Need I say more? Ok, I will. They’d be at #1 if not for Win Butler’s wifey annoying the crap out of me any time she opens her mouth.
  7. Loud +2 @ 400 Bar: Led by a kid named Ben Stein, these local high schoolers surprised everyone at the 400 Bar that night. And it wasn’t just because they’re all super cute — they’re actually a great band, too.
  8. The Redwalls @ Triple Rock: Sure, it’s regurgitated British garage rock, but they know their shit and work their asses off on stage. What more do you want from a band?
  9. Liars @ State Theatre: I was totally unfamiliar with these guys when I saw them open for Interpol. I was very impressed, but their albums don’t live up to their show. So be it.
  10. Andrew Bird @ First Ave & Guthrie: The Guthrie show hasn’t happened yet, but it’s safe to assume that the Birdman will not let me down. The dude does a million things at the same time, how can anyone not be impressed?

Evangelizing

I saw two amazing films over the Thanksgiving weekend. One had zero music and moved incredibly slowly. The other was full of some of the finest songs of the twentieth century and buzzed like MTV.

The first was “No Country for Old Men“, which literally haunted me for the proceeding 24 hours. The Cohen brothers have done it again, “Fargo” style, only more violent and less funny. The similarities to “Fargo” are obvious: unassuming cop doing his/her job, ordinary people put in extraordinary circumstances due to getting mixed up in illegal activities, and barren landscapes showcased by marvelous cinematography. Javier Bardem’s calmness transfers to the audience, and the lack of music used as queues make it realistic, yet even creepier. The only real issues I had with it were some consistency things with the time period. Like the peanuts packages at the gas station — those were modern peanut packages while everything else in the store was clearly vintage. Still, if a finer specimim of Film will be released this year, I would be highly surprised.

The other movie I saw was “I’m Not There“, you know, the Dylan movie (as I so often have had to indicate). Two words: CATE BLANCHETT. Seriously. I mean, my God that woman can act. She was the only thing that saved “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” from going all green with patina after twenty minutes, and here she completely steals the show. I wish there was a director’s cut with only her bits spanning over two hours. The film is a wonderful representation of Dylan as a developing performer basically through the late ’70s when he was born again (though it skips about 10 years). Nothing means anything and everything means something. The fact that six actors play Dylan in different times, and with different names even, is a brilliant concept. Bob Dylan isn’t even his own name, so what difference does it make what we call him? He made up his life history, tried to hide that he was a Jew from northern Minnesota, so why can’t we make a black kid symbolize his journey to New York? Isn’t that what Dylan would want? It could have been a disaster, but Todd Haynes did a fantastic job.

However, I do have some problems with the movie. I posted it on the IMDB forum, but I’ll post it again here just for fun, under the cut.

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David Batter

David Bowie, for me, is like pancakes. I crave them, and always want more than I know I can finish. But a few bites, “Hereos”, “Sound + Vision”, and the most delicious of all: “Under Pressure” (akin to a blueberry pancake), are all I can really take. Too many pancake bites make me feel gross, but too many Bowie songs just make me feel confused. I love it all, but only in moderation.

I wish the mouth harp wasn’t there

Words cannot explain how excited I am to see “I’m Not There” (two words: Cate Blanchett). I was already excited before the soundtrack came out, but I’ve been listening to it almost every day for a week and I’m still not over it. Indie rock, hell, ROCK’s best are featured. All of Stephem Malkmus’s renditions are real stand-outs. One song, though not by Mr. Pavement, really caught my attention: “As I Went Out One Morning.” The bass line is phenomenal and I assumed that it was a newly arranged part. Since when does Dylan feature bass?

I wouldn’t consider myself a Dylan fan, but I’m very interested in the man. Few have been cooler than Dylan in all of pop history. Still, I do own a few Dylan albums. Meaning, I actually paid for some on top of those I’ve simply acquired. I heard Mira Billotte’s version of “As I Went Out One Morning” and knew that I had to hear the original. Turned out I owned the album it’s from already, “John Wesley Harding.” I bought it off iTunes last year when I was really into “Nashville Skyline.” It’s the second song on the damn album and I didn’t recognize it at all, even though Billotte’s version is very faithful to the original, including the amazing bass line. I hate when that happens.

But it made me realize why I love the “I’m Not There” soundtrack so much. There’s no fucking harmonica. I can tolerate Dylan’s voice, but the bloody harmonica is too much for me. I remember that’s why I stopped listening to “John Wesley Harding” in the first place. It’s a remastered version, and the harmonica is so up front, I absolutely hate it. I want to plug my ears every time it comes on. The songs are amazing — they always are — but (often) Dylan’s voice and harmonica tend to ruin them for me. So, the “I’m Not There” soundtrack is perfect for me as a fan. I can appreciate the songs as I want them–sans heavy, loud, piercing harmonica.

Segregation in Music

This is a response to A Paler Shade of White: How Indie Rock Lost its Soul by Sasha Frere-Jones in the New Yorker. It’s a long article, so I’ll summerize it for you here: Sasha believes that indie rock is not influenced by black music, as rock music has been from the beginning. And he thinks that’s a bad thing. He’s not anti-indie rock, it’s just an observation. It’s a great article, and I highly recommend reading all 3.5 pages.

I feel like the article opened a can of worms, which is probably why I liked it. He was doing just fine until he brought up Wilco, specifically, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”. He brings up that Wilco had been an alt-country band, playing country as the Stones played it.

Wilco and Tweedy, presumably under the influence of other indie bands, drifted from accessible songs toward atomization and noise. On “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” the lyrics are embarrassing poetry laid over plodding rhythms. The album features synthesizer squeaks and echoey feedback-, which fail to give shape to the formless music. A little more syncopation would have helped.

Ring ring. Um hello, Sasha? Yeah, it’s me music. I just wanted to let you know that I’m evolving.

Rock cannot continue to be derivative of itself after decades of feeding from the same source (black blues, which gave birth to country, then rockabilly, then rock as we grew to love it). It’s a generational thing. Bands today are farther from the black roots of rock than the Stones were. Of course Brian Wilson is a major influence on indie rock. He was one of the few biggies in the 60s who created his own unique style. He was ahead of his time, and he was uniquely American. The British bands of the 60s were so heavily influenced by the blues and black American music — they depleted the source. So, what’s left?

What I hear in indie rock today is the influence of early 20th century white music — banjos, accordions, autoharp, slide guitar, interesting finger picking styles, etc. And it’s a breath of fresh air for me. The sound is richer and I like the emphasis on melody. So what if it’s more European than African? Rock needed to be revived in the 90s, and it looked beyond the old influences.

The pic caption on the first page says, “Why did rock and roll, the most miscegenated popular music ever to have existed, undergo a racial re-sorting in the nineties?” My answer – Hip hop became more popular than rock and even pop to some extent at that time. Rock has a fundamentally different sound than hip hop, so the borrowing had to end. For the most part, black musicians haven’t been doing straight up rock for 50 years. Who segregated who?

And you can’t tell me this started with indie rock. What about punk? New wave? These were angry and romantic/nerdy white boys speaking their minds for the most part. They were creating bare noise with electric guitars or layers of noise with synths. Neither are very rhythmic.

Maybe I’m biased, but I think the important thing about indie rock today is that it’s more inclusive of women. A lot of the big bands include female musicians and even lead singers. This is a major step up from the Lilith Fair style of “women’s rock” of the 90s. The women aren’t up there as women, they’re up there as musicians, plain and simple. It’s getting us closer to equality.

If this guy misses rhythm in rock, he can go back to his old CDs. Indie rock shoots for beauty above bouncing. It commands you to really listen, not just mindlessly tap your foot or shake your booty. Hip hop talks about sex more than enough for the entire industry anyway. As for indie rock missing “soul”, I don’t know how he can bring up Grizzly Bear and not realize he’s wrong. They have beautiful, soulful voices; it’s just that they aren’t smashed against a wall of beats.

Maybe it has something to do with indie rock being associated with “college music”. I’m not saying that indie rock is more sophisticated than rock in the past or other music, but it certainly appeals to people in a different segment of society.

I think the last page of the article sums everything up great. “Thirty years ago, Banhart might have attempted to imitate R. Kelly’s perverse and feather-light soul. Now he’s just a fan.” I think this is key. Even 40 years ago, there was a need to bring black musicians to the forefront by copying them, because they were ignored by the masses. Now, they’re everywhere. They don’t need white man’s sympathy to get acclaim and fans.

It is embarrassing how white the shows I go to are. At Interpol, there was an older black man sitting a couple rows behind me. I wondered what he liked about these downtown New Yorkers up on stage. Maybe he’s never been into blues or soul, or perhaps he’s not as hung up on the apparently loss of soul as Sasha is.

Twin Cities Happenings

A lot has been going on in and around Minneapolis since my last post, and I’ve been partaking in some of those events. The Twin Cities truly are a haven for artists and lovers of art. That gets forgotten a lot, especially nationally. I’m here to give you some examples of the cool culture offered by our fair cities.

Last Saturday, I saw the deservedly highly praised “Idigaragua” at Bedlam Theatre. Dubbed as an “indie rock musical”, this production was easy to love if you’ve been wondering “‘Tommy’ sucked, so why hasn’t a band tried to write a musical since?” The band is Fort Wilson Riot who, at only two years old, sound so tight you’d think otherwise. The production went something like this: band plays, actors mime along, puppets go in and out, a screen is assembled and a film is played, more puppets, more lip syncing, and lots of great indie rock. I bought the CD hoping it would clue me into the story, but it hasn’t. Still, the mix of their major talent and proud oddness could make them big (indie) stars someday.

Last Sunday was my first time dealing with the I-35W detour to Hwy 280. The first Msp Music Expo in a while was back at the Four Points Sheraton in “Minneapolis” (whatever, it’s totally Roseville). I ended up taking home a jazz compilation that once belonged to Gene Goldenfeld of Los Angeles, CA. I don’t know who that is either. I’m trying to familiarize myself with some jazz. I also purchased a first edition paperback of my buddy Tim Riley’s “Tell Me Why”. Just what I needed – another Beatles book.

This past week included a couple shows. The first was the band I “manage”, Formula Three (and by “manage” I mean suggesting they have a CD release party earlier this year) at the Uptown Bar. I’d never been to the Uptown before, and I can’t see myself going back just for kicks. Punks, blah blah blah. My favorite was a guy in a brand new hoodie and a huge NOFX patch safety pinned to the back. I shouldn’t tease, maybe he doesn’t consider himself punk. I guess all hoodies are new at some point. Codger opened, and I found them very annoying. I just can’t get into bands who think they are really really funny. That bores me to tears. If you’re going for the funny bone instead of the spirit with your music, at least be clever. An “I want jaundice” t-shirt is not even “funny weird”, it’s just dumb. And yelling out an inside joke repeatedly does not make me want to know more.

Even more culturally significant was seeing St. Vincent and The National at the stupid Fine Line. How does the Fine Line keep to fire codes? The two times I’ve been, there’s easily 200 extra people crowding up the place. It’s nearly impossible to walk anywhere. Luckily, we splurged for the golden table seating deal where you get food and drinks and a good place to sit. It’s the only way to do the Fine Line. They were even kind enough to provide a chair for an extra person we had.

Re: St. Vincent, I normally can’t stand her music. I saw her open for Midlake earlier this year, and it was just plain weird. She looked like a bag lady. Since then she’s gotten tons of buzz, washed her hair and has been here about 16 times so far this year, she says. But St. Vincent’s set was really brilliant this time. The songs on “Marry Me” shone when all stripped down to mainly her electric guitar and beautiful voice. But what really sold me was her quip, “And here’s a song I wrote back in 1969…” before delving into the semi-obscure “I Dig a Pony” from the Beatles’ “Let it Be” album. She is the LAST person I’d expect to do a Beatles cover. Loved it.

The National were everything I hoped they would be. As my new favorite band, I had high expectations. Matt Berninger puts on quite a show…he’s moody, kinda crazy, and extremely passionate. His voice sounds even better in person, which I didn’t think was possible.

An added feature was an incredible violinist/pianist, who clearly loves the songs as much as all the fans in the audience. The annoying girl quotient was pretty high (“You’re awesome Matt” repeated between every song), but luckily our table kept us fairly safe.

Tonight it’s “Strange Love“, a musical/performance art piece inspired “Dr. Strangelove”. God I love artists.

Photo courtesy jcbehm.

Music makes the people come together

Isn’t music great? It will never cease to amaze me how much music can move me and get right under my skin. Here’s what I’ve been listening to obsessively lately:

The National: This is my new favorite band. “Boxer” and “Alligator” make me wonder how I went through life without those two albums. I’ve rewound two or three songs in particular from each album fervently. From “Boxer” (the latest album) these repeatable songs are “Fake Empire”, “Slow Show” and “Apartment Story”. “Slow Show” nearly turns me into one of those obsessive fans who thinks the singer is singer directly to them:

You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years

And from “Alligator” I’m addicted to “Karen” and “Mr. November”. The later includes the mantra “I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders”. Who thinks of that? I’m impressed.

Paul Simon’s “Graceland”: I downgraded my cable to Standard/Basic only after I finally recorded the Classic Albums episode featuring this album. The album as a whole is not something I crave, but “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”, “The Boy in the Bubble”, “You Can Call Me Al” and of course, the brilliant “Graceland” are enough to designate this as an album classique. I even rewound the ten or so minutes Paul and others spent discussing the origins and recording of the song “Graceland”, how “I’m going to Graceland” was a throwaway line through most of the recording session. The riff always gives me chills which are amplified by this line,

She comes back to tell me she’s gone/As if I didn’t know that/As if I didn’t know my own bed/As if I’d never noticed/The way she brushed her hair from her forehead.

That line is absolutely perfect to me, and is indicative of Paul Simon’s casual, yet perfectly phrased, style. He says it’s his best song, and I agree.

My senior year of high school was soundtracked by Simon & Garfunkel’s greatest hits (and “Jesus Christ Superstar”), particularly “America.” That song and “Graceland” are very similar to me, not only because they are about roadtrips in the USA (and the metaphors that go with that kind of story), but they showcase how Paul Simon is one of the best songwriters for telling the truth. He simply says it like it is, and it turns out to be poetry.

What have you been listening to lately?

Trend Watch

It’s time once again for a trend update from your always a week behind the rest of the cool kids blogging buddy.

What I’m in To:

  • Cloverfield: This is what I speak of when I mean I’m always a week behind. I didn’t see “Transformers” and no one I know who did see it mentioned this pesky JJ Abrams trailer. I blame them. Granted, it took me a while to get in to “Lost”, and after nearly falling astray last season, I’ve regained all faith in those writers. This film, whatever it is actually called, will probably end up being less interesting than the buzz, but that’s more than you can say for most films these days.
  • The Redwalls: I saw them last Friday at the Triple Rock. One word—Britastic! These kids from Chicago are probably the biggest assholes in rock music, but their snottiness is perfectly forgivable due to their brilliant songwriting and performance talents. These kids (in their very early 20s) have got the British Invasion down pat. They have studied the formulas and carried them all out to the point where two of them (brothers) affect British accents. Then again, so does Robert Pollard.
  • Liz & Richard: I purchased a newish copy of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” on DVD recently, part of a box set of several Liz & Richard films. The extras for “Woolf” are spectacular, including not one but two commentaries. I was sort of surprised to hear Mike Nichols say that Liz Taylor is super nice to everyone. Anyway, they totally turn me on when they’re together. Um, I mean, I truly appreciate their fine acting.
  • Reading: Yes, I’m actually reading! It all started with Michael Tolliver Lives (a must-read for Maupin fans), and a really bad Paul McCartney bio, then a friend lent me the CD version of Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation. With that I discovered that books on CD aren’t so bad, and I got another one from the library—Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Which leads me to my next trend…
  • Creativity: I’m announcing it now. I shall write a play. It may suck, it may not be finished or even started for a while, it may never be performed; but I shall write a play. I received an invitation to collaborate, and now I’ve told a few people so it has to happen. So, uh, anyone got any ideas for a play?

What I’m Sick of:

  • Democrats and their lack of a spine: Bill Moyers had a couple people on his “Journal” show last week about impeaching Bush and Cheney, something I’ve never really been for. It just about has me convinced the other way now. Still, the idea of trying them both for war crimes after their terms are up was never mentioned, and I’d like to know more about that. And P.S., Bill Moyers is coolest man over 60. Take that, aging rock stars.
  • Paying bills: I know I don’t have much to complain about, but I would love more spending money. Like for a Wii. Because, you know, I’m a greedy American consumerist.
  • Work: I’ve been at my current job for about two and a half years. That’s longer than I’ve been at any job straight through. Luckily I’m not doing the same old stuff, but still, I need a change in environment or something. Again, I’m really reaching for things here, aren’t I? I suppose life is pretty good these days. Not “Every thing’s coming up Milhouse” good, but still…good.
  • Firefox/Google: For some reason, although I have the “latest version” of each installed, my Google toolbar and some Firefox features are different between my work computer and my home computer. My new Google toolbar at home is awesome with tons of new buttons and shortcuts to other sites, including ask.com. My work Firefox copy has a nifty arrow at the far right side of the tab area that when clicked, lists all of the open tabs. Maybe it’s a settings issue, but I can’t figure it out.

Concert review: Feist w/ Grizzly Bear

This was a show I was never really gung-ho about. It was a bit pricey and featured two artists I was only slightly familiar with. But neither of those issues mattered after the show. These two artists were phenomenal bands that I would tell anyone who complains about the state of music today to go see as hope for America.62307.JPG

We were about 15 rows back on the main floor of the Pantages, a beautiful theatre (on the inside only) in the “Hennepin Avenue Theater district”. The sound was amazing. Each drum, cymbal, guitar string, woodwind…whatever, was miked up perfectly. Grizzly Bear opened with full, bright voices that commanded the 1/4 full theatre’s full attention. All four members had angelic voices that, as I told my companion, stole a bit of my soul. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything so cheesy, and meant it. Each bandmember was a great musician as well, showcased by two cover songs: a sea shanty (or “lake shanty” for us Minnesotans), and “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” (sung by the bandmember I thought resembled a Monty Python lumberjack). The latter was barely noticeable as the Goffin/King girl group smash, but there it was, in all its avant-glory. The lumberjack guy also played an autoharp, which explained the sounds I couldn’t discern on their album.

Feist was more like Grizzly Bear than I imagined. Her band was similarly multi-talented. Feist happily enaged the audience with sing-a-longs, including what I thought would be a round of some sort. Only a song after we met her, she asked folks born during certain times to sing certain notes. She continued with her quarky participation requests throughout the evening.

The two highlights for me were when she sang without the microphone for little bits. The sound of the her beautiful voice in the acoustically-sound Pantages were spooky and gave me goosebumps. The other highlight for me was watching Feist count the frets on her guitar before she placed her capo. That made me feel really good about my guitar abilities. AND she doesn’t appear to play with a pick, like me. :)

I still don’t think I’ll become a regular listener of either Grizzly Bear or Feist, but the concert certainly was an enlightening experience. Feist mentioned that when she awoke in Minneapolis that morning, she assumed she was playing First Ave, but security wouldn’t let her in there. She was thrilled at the “unexpected room”. I was as pleasantly surprised as she was.