Twin Cities Daily Planet Music Reviews

Twin Cities Daily Planet Music Reviews

True Colors Tour celebrates the Gay (19)90s (6/11/2008)
“Cyndi Lauper is an enormous talent whose voice remains one of the most powerful and unique among active performers; it was fitting that she later stood arm-in-arm with Tegan and Sara, who have demonstrated the 21st-century relevance of both Lauper’s vocal style (a fluctuation between chirping and belting) and her 1983 hairstyle (a she-mullet). […] Releasing a perfect debut album drove Tom Waits to 30 years of grunts and moans, so Lauper deserves credit for keeping her chin up and staying spunky through the subsequent years.”

The Making of Americans at the Walker: Baaaaaad! (12/14/2008)
Props to the Walker Art Center for having a sense of humor about this “review,” in which I compared their production of a world-premiere opera unfavorably to a notorious Blaxploitation film. The Chanhassen would have had a conniption.

Video Games Live: The Minnesota Orchestra’s got game (4/10/2010)
I felt my career change from academia to journalism was well-justified when Neil Gaiman recommended this review to his 1.5 million Twitter followers, and within hours it had been read by over a thousand times as many people as ever read my doctoral dissertation.

Minnesota Opera’s Salome sounds great, but looks silly (4/17/10)
“As someone who’s stuffed love notes in moon boots, mailed mix tapes in coffee cans, and run furious and screaming past confused bar-close crowds at Lake and Hennepin, I sincerely appreciate that the most emotionally intense moments in life can also be the most ridiculous. The challenge in opera, or theater, or any art form, is to be true to that absurdity while preserving a sense of gravity. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Opera’s current production of Salome jumps that shark long before the title character is to all appearances masturbating with John the Baptist’s severed head.”

At First Avenue, a community says goodbye to Mikey “Eyedea” Larsen (11/10/2010)
I covered this event despite not being particularly familiar with Eyedea’s music. It was a moving tribute that didn’t try to simplify or sugarcoat the complex life and work of the local hip-hop great.

Girl Talk at First Avenue: A hot mess (in a good way) (3/9/2011, with photos by Mandy Dwyer)
“I was standing in front of the speakers at stage right, letting the breeze from the woofers keep me cool in the sweltering heat. (Yes, I wore earplugs.) A woman was dancing wildly in front of me; a series of guys came up to her, looked at me and pointed at her to see whether she was my girlfriend, and learning she was not, tried to dance with her. (And by that I mean getting, in the words of Amanda Blank, ‘all greedy from behind.’) She didn’t even seem to notice.”

Crystal Castles at First Avenue: A review in ten images (3/13/11)
At first, we were told that Crystal Castles were allowing photography only by print publications; in the end, no press whatsoever managed to shoot this show from the photo pit. In response, I published a review of the show that consisted only of images, only one of which actually depicted Crystal Castles. Being able to do something like this is one of the great things about being your own editor—and about the Daily Planet generally.

Philip Glass plays a once-in-a-lifetime show at the Dakota Jazz Club (4/9/11)
This was one of the most remarkable opportunities I’ve had as a journalist: to sit just ten feet from Philip Glass—the world’s most famous composer, and one of my personal favorites—at a solo piano recital.