Well, all right! Yer fly is down!

Last night I saw Minnesota music living legend Tina Schlieske doing her “Tina’s Elvis” Vegas-style Revue at the Cabooze. It was as rockin’ and kitschy as I wanted it to be. The huge neon “Tina’s Elvis” sign resembling that from his TV special was a nice touch to the big band (3 horns and 3 backup singers) feeling the stage already had.

She started out slow, and I was thinking that it maybe was her lack of a guitar that made her uncomfortable. She wasn’t moving much in her black pants and silver-sequined jacket (from the B-Sides Last Dance show, oddly enough) until just before the intermission. It wasn’t until the second half of the show, after Tina had a few more cheap macrobrews and a shot of tequila, that she really got going.

Tina was sexy as ever, but nothing was sexier than her doing “Heartbreak Hotel” on the edge of the stage to a random drunk guy. She had the Elvis gestures down pat–the on one bended knee thing, the waving the left hand with her arm up thing–but she doesn’t need Elvis moves to be one of the greatest unknown performers around today. It’s already in her.

Every song, even those I didn’t know, were done with such umpf and crispness (thanks to Trailer Trash) that you couldn’t help but move. There weren’t a ton of people at the Cabooze, and many left at the intermission, but probably 90% of those left danced for the second half (including moi). It was an absolute blast.

The best part of the show for me, though, was how it showcased Tina as a student of rock n’ roll. Between several songs she provided little tidbits of rock trivia, like about the German inspirations for “It’s Now or Never” and a random Tina Turner quote. The woman is what a lot of me wishes I could be–local rock star, deep & powerful voice, huge music fan, fantastic songwriter–but the only one that is likely to be true is “huge music fan”.

Despite my lack of talent, I still have delusions of grandeur around rock stardom. Tina’s Elvis plays nicely with my two ideas for rock bands (featuring me, of course): 1) an all-girl rockabilly band taking back those sexist lyrics, 2) a Paul McCartney cover band called Ram of God. I swear Tina and Trailer Trash got their arrangement of “I Got a Woman” from “Beatles Live at the BBC”, which would thrill me to bits if it were true. That’s the album that got me in to rockabilly and subsequently caving in to Elvis’ talent.

Trailer Trash warmed up the small crowd by playing hillbilly and country music with all the sincerity in the world for about 30 minutes. I was annoyed that I dind’t know they’d be opening as well as backing, but I really did enjoy it. The last song ended with the short lead guy saying, “And if you like country, then you’ll love this song.”, then the keyboardist started playing this weird synthy riff. It didn’t sound like country for a bit, but then the slide guitar came in and it got better. Then I listened to the lyrics. It was Prince’s “1999″. Absolutely fantastic. A group of awesome Minnesota musicians paying tribute to the Prince from Minnesota in the original style of Elvis, the King from Tennessee, who we were all paying tribute to last night.

And by the way Tina, in case you’re reading, your fly was down during the whole second half.

Read more at the Star Tribune.

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