Friday, June 22, 2007

Lots To See In Minneapolis And St. Paul

To see and to hear. It was a week ago when I was in the Twin Cities but it seemed like only yesterday. Went to 2 concerts, first at the First Avenue on June 13th to see Fountains Of Wayne and Broken West (I'll review that show next blog entry), then 3 days later in St. Paul at the legendary Fitzgerald Theatre to take in MPR's The Current Fakebook series featuring Laurie Lindeen. The Current Fakebook brings together writers and musicians for an evening of music and insights. Current hosts interview guests and give them time and space to express themselves in a casual, creative and innovative format. Lindeen is promoting her book, Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella, which tells of love, illness and the struggles of coming of age in the Minneapolis music scene in the 80's. Of special interest is the fact that Lindeen is married to Paul Westerberg.

The evening began with host Mary Lucia (local broadcast personality, and Westerberg's sister) and Lindeen seated to one side of the stage, discussing highlighted moments from her book. The interview was segmented with musical performances by some of the very musicians who played with her and inspired her. This included a 2 song reunion with her old band Zuzu's Petals and performances by Steve Wynn, Mark Olson, Mark Perlman (Jayhawks), Lori Barbero (Babes In Toyland), John Eller and Paul Westerberg in his first live performance since severely injuring his hand around New Year's. The drawing card was obviously Westerberg, but the whole evening had an easygoing atmosphere with different incarnations of musicians playing with each other with loose but inspiring performances. The highlights for me would be "dressed in all-white" Westerberg singing, I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face, that brought his wife to near tears, Zuzu's Petals reunion and the finale featuring everyone in the show singing a rousing version of Daydream Believer with Eller on lead vocals. I only heard about this show a week before my trip to Minneapolis (which was for something unrelated) and I immediately bought a ticket because I knew this was going to be something special. The only down-side of the evening was that I was going to buy Laurie's book after the show (She was to sign books on stage), but they sold out the person in front of me. I'm disappointed, it sounds like an interesting read, so I'll be on the lookout for the book here in Canada or on Amazon.

For a real review of the concert, click on this link for How Was The Show. It was announced before the show that it was to be recorded for later broadcast on 89.3 The Current or you can listen to the complete interview/music show streamed online on the MPR site.
I also recorded the show from my seat with my trusty Minidisc recorder, so If you want to download a uncompressed version of the music only, I've uploaded the torrent on Dimeadozen. I've posted some mp3's highlights below:

Laurie Lindeen "Fakebook"
Fitzgerald Theatre, St. Paul, MN

June 16, 2007

1. STEVE WYNN- Still Holding On To You
3. PAUL WESTERBERG w/band- Mother's Little Helper
4. PAUL WESTERBERG solo- I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face
5. PAUL WESTERBERG solo- Goddamn Angel
6. FINALE everyone- Daydream Believer

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Forget The Swan, Here's Dinosaur!

Last Monday (May 28), Dinosaur Jr blew into Winnipeg to assault our senses and hearing, this was the first show that I have ever worn earplugs, I guess I should try to avoid permanent hearing damage. To be honest I loosened the plugs throughout the show to let in more of the sonic sludgefest of earsplitting fuzz unleashed by the incredible J Mascis and to feel first hand the definition of the word, power-trio. J swayed almost trance-like in front of his 3 massive Marshall stacks feeling the buzz.

The show was led off by Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr's bassist) who treated the early comers to a solo acoustic set with just him and guitar. Barlow's mellow set was a direct contrast to what was to come and he quickly warmed to the audience with a mix of solo material and Sebadoh songs.

Brooklyn's (via Ann Arbor) Awesome Color showed they can shred with the best of them with a energetic and noisy set of heavy feedback driven garage-rock. Drummer Allison Busch pounded the shit out of her drums and guitarist Derek Stanton blasted out wild guitar freakouts. Their closing song was highlighted by Stanton's crazy guitar antics, kicking and banging his guitar to a wall of fuzzed out mayhem, climaxed when Stanton handed his guitar to audience members to continue to slam and smack. The set was abruptly halted to a stop when the drummer lunged through her drums to stop a fan from smashing the guitar. What Awesome Color lacked musically was more than made up with their presence and enthusiasm.

The mere presence of Dinosaur Jr back together wasn't just a money-grabbing reunion, nor was it only for nostalgic purposes, in fact I think they sounded better than ever. Their setlist was a good indication they were proud and confident of their new material and weren't just going to play old songs. The early JayLouMurph period was highlighted by Forget The Swan, Little Fury Things, Sludge Fest, Freak Scene and show closer, Mountain Man. They even performed a few songs from the post-Barlow years, Out There, Feel The Pain and Wagon. Dinosaur Jr played 6 songs from the new album (Rob Williams of the Winnipeg Free Press counted only 4), as their new material from their comeback disc, Beyond, sounded great intermixed with Dinosaur Jr classics from throughout their career. These songs stood their ground and were not filler designed to provide bathroom breaks throughout the show.

All in all it was an incredible show, I ended up attending alone as I tried to sell my extra ticket outside the door, but found no takers on this rainy evening. It was still worth the $62 ($27 +$27 as well as all those Ticketmaster charges $4 +$4), I could of paid at least 2x that amount to see Clapton or Meyer wank at the MTS Centre in nose bleed seats, or instead witness along with 700 other people, the original lineup of Dinosaur Jr at the intimate Garrick, I guess it's a matter of taste.

I spend a good part of the last few evening uploading and creating torrents to seed for the Dinosaur Jr, Awesome Color and Lou Barlow sets on The DJ and LB sets are also archived on and can be assessed anytime (you'll need to register on both sites). I've posted a sampling of the show.

Audience recording (my master)
"Garrick Centre"-Winnipeg, MB
May 28, 2007

(entire set: Dimeadozen & Freesofree)
Almost Ready
Out There
Little Fury Things
Freak Scene
Mountain Man

(entire set: Dimeadozen & Freesofree)
Freed Pig
Brand New Love

(entire set: Dimeadozen)
? (last song jam, don't know the name)

I think I finally got the song files to work! Let me know if you still have problems playing these mp3's.
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