Friday, October 14, 2005

Nomad Sound Unseen events this weekend . . .

There's still time to catch some great shows and events for Sound Unseen, which has been amazing eye and ear candy. At the Nomad World Pub tonight come out and support this great venue and it's equally great taste in musicians and events as they host the Vestals and Joanna James, who has a voice way beyond her years. Tomorrow, Saturday, enjoy one of the beautiful remaining autumn days with the Sound Unseen crew, playing croquet and indulging in yummy Thai food, from everyone's favorite new West Bank restaurant, Chai. Later that evening, the ever popular, Jack Brass Band, New Orleans style.

Time got away from me . . . I wanted to let everyone know how phenomenal the Sound Unseen shows and events have been this week. One of the coolest was Little Man giving it their all at the Oak St. Cin before the hilarious absurdist humor and allure of the T-Rex film. The sound was great for a live band and Little Man, (with Chris Pericelli looking uncannily similar to percussionist Mickey Finn) was the perfect precursor. The film about Townes van Zandt "Be Here to Love Me" was a true highlight, leaving an indelible mark as does his music . . . the film was done in a style similar to his music, and persona . . . sometimes hazy, often sad, with unexpected times of humor, things left as mysteries. . . he once said, I want to write a song I don't even understand. As enigmatic as he was, his haunting music endures.

There was nothing quite like being in the audience filled with musicians, filmmakers and music industry folks for the Scene: Minneapolis videos of: The Suburbs, the Wallets, Things that Fall Down, and Suicide Commandos. The videos were funny, as dated as they were . . . and I knew if I'd been here in time, I'd have gone to every one of their shows, esp. the art rock extravaganzas of the Wallets. Very cool seeing the "special effects" employed by the Husker Du videographer at the Entry in 1980 (I think) -- spinning, shaking and moving the camera back and forth. Very cool captured moment in time. Chatting with musicians at the Kitty Cat Klub, made it all the more fun, as they filled me in with stories of band members and what it was like to perform and influence in the "No-Wave" genre.

Favela Rising, about youth gangs in Rio de Janeiro, and some getting out and making music to combat violence and drug wars and police abuse, reaffirmed my belief in music as a political force to be reckoned with. The film was chilling and inspiring and very powerful.

musicians from France maintenant! Benoit, rappers, Spanish celtic . . .

As I picked up D 'de Kabal and Spike, two rappers from Paris tonight at the airport, the excitement from last years tremendous performances of Sur Seine festival returned to my memories vividly. It was an amazing time listening to the numerous musicians from France, England and across the U. S. in collaborations with Minneapolis musicians, and it is increasingly difficult to consider for the future with the inconceivable rigors people had to go through with VISA's and transports due to increased homeland security.

There is so much to see no matter what genres of music you love: celtic, hip hop, free jazz, electronic, gypsy jazz, world percussion . . . it's spectacular. Arriving from airport at the host's house over wine and dinner, seeing clarinetist Francois Corneloup and pianist Tony Hymas, music journalist Olivier, and legendary magnum photographer Guy LeQuerrec again this year was heartwarming. I lament that I didn't learn French by this time of year, as I'd vowed last year, being a driver for French musicians for these events. Certainly not necessary, but desirable for me to sink into this world deeper.

Words cannot express the beauty and transcendence of this music. All I can do is say, GO! Look at the schedule, find something intriguing, experiment, experience one night, and tell me if I'm wrong, that this is likely one of the best music nights you'll have all year, made all the more poignant by our borders getting tougher to cross all the time, if for example you were a protester in the '60's or simply made music with some from here, or weren't in one particular band for the entire past year! Seriously. But that's another discussion. Revolutionary '60's jazz innovators Evan Parker and Francois Tusques will be here (Tusques nearly didn't make it, but he's here to play with his new inspiration double bassist Adam Linz of Fat Kid Wednesdays, Wednesday at St. Paul's Zeitgeist Theater (275 East Fourth Street, Suite 100).

Meeting playful, passionate Benoit was sheer joy. He plays tonight, Friday at 7 pm at Alliance Francais' beautiful theater for a mere $7, while stunningly genius at prepared piano (with erasers and twigs for example) and looping (great for lovers of Dosh and Andrew Bird).

The immediate comraderie and warmth of these musicians is contagious. Whatever it was I was thinking about doing, has escaped me as I grew caught up in the vibrant music world and laughter of these musicians. In spite of nightmares getting here, they came, and I hope that many can share the sonic pleasures they offer for this limited time in collaboration with our own Fat Kid Wednesdays, Happy Apple, Eyedea and Brother Ali and the Twin Cities Hot Club and many more. Go to Minnesota Sur Seine for a complete schedule, artist's bios and details.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

You missed X-Boys! With members of Wallets, 'Burbs, Suicide Commandos . . .

I felt as though I were let in on a secret, as this afternoon I listened to the X-Boys, a hot group that's a veritable who's who of Twin Cities seminal musicians of the past two decades, at the Eagle's Club in the Seward Neighborhood, 25th Street and 25th Avenue. I went there to interview saxophone player Max Ray, formerly of the Wallets and brother of Dave Ray for my forthcoming book which features a chapter on Dave.

What a great surprise not only to hear Max and his wife Rochelle's terrific horn section, but also in this 20 year group of eight, Chris Osgood and Dave Ahl of the Suicide Commandos, the Suburbs Hugo Claers for awhile on the drums, and Bruce Allen on guitar, (Chan couldn't make it today, but he often plays with the X-Boys as well), Steve Fjalstad, John King, and lead vocals Casey MacPherson, of Boy's Life and The Litter, who was the Suburbs tour manager for 4 years, for Soul Asylum on a tour before Bill Sullivan and Husker Du for 3 years, and worked as monitor engineer for the Replacements for a couple of tours. He also worked at First Ave usually spelling "Pre-Conrad" stage manager, Brother Fred Darden.

As I listened to this fun band do covers which were all over the map from Deep Purple's Hush, to Bowie's All the Young Dudes, to Disco Inferno . . . I lamented more people didn't hear about this, at a place where drinks are cheap, and the stage is very cool.

When I talked to Bruce and Max about the 'Burbs and the Wallets playing on the same bill at 1st Avenue, and commented on how the hot horn section really makes the band sound great, Bruce talked about how, when the Suburbs discovered a horn section, that really did it for them (one of their standout tradmarks for me as well). He relayed that he loved how the horns filled the spaces, and how it gave more freedom to Chan Poling. One of Bruce's favorite gigs was at the Roxy in California, when Chan's keyboards were broken down and it was he, Michael, Hugo, and Beej in a chicken suit, with Chan singing that was one of their best gigs, in '99.

You'll get a couple chances to hear the X-Boys at this Eagle's Club the first Saturday of November and of December, from 8 - midnight. It will be the above line-up, possibly with Hugo on the drumkit again.

Keep an eye out also for Some 'Burbs w/ the Suburbs minus Beej, plus Max Ray and Rochelle Becker on tenor and baritone sax! Bruce will let me know, then I'll let you know!

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Picture Share!

Little man at oak st cin now nxt trex