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Sunday, November 23, 2003


I'm going to take the fact that Minneapolis is suddenly buried in about six inches of snow as a sign I should stay in a for a while and catch up. I think I'll work backwards...

Last night was one of the first night's in a while I've managed to make it to every one of my recommended shows.


Karen O in a photo by Matt Schmidt, who braved the front of the crowd

First stop was the Yeah Yeah Yeah's at First Avenue, another all ages show, which when crowded like the Shins last week can be extremely irritating. However, I'm not drinking these days and you can still get a Red Bull downstairs so that was easy enough to cope with.

The Yx3's show was not as crowded as the Shins the week before. I spent most of the show trying to figure out if it was a great show or one of the most boring I'd seen in months. I'm told that up front in the midst of the crowd the energy was incredible, and I'll take Matt Schmidt and several others word for that.

Another of Matt's shots of Karen O

Karen O shows the microphone who's boss

The Yeah Yeah Yeah's are not the same as the White Stripes despite obvious similarities. (No bass.) Nick Zinner's guitar is more on the metal side whereas Jack White keeps more friendly company with the blues. I'd never seen the Yeah Yeah Yeah's before so I'm not sure if Karen O's laughter is always as breathy or if she was a little punchy because of her birthday. Har Mar Superstar, just returned from a successful UK tour, introduced the band, and brought out a birthday cake with 25 candles just before the encore.

Whatever you make of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Karen O is a charismatic and strong front woman.

Friends Like These

Before hitting Mel Gibson and his Pants and the Har Mar Superstar welcome home show at the Triple Rock I was able to drop into the 400 Bar for about 1/2 hour and see Friends Like These. I swear that these guys get better and better every time I see them live. Always solid in the studio, they have started recording their next album. Relentless in their performing, they are becoming (if they aren't already) one of the best live bands in the Twin Cities, and probably one of the best horses we have running in the realm of original rock here in Minnesota.

Har Mar Superstar

He's baaaaacccckkk! I was luckily on the guest list for this one because the show sold out nearly two hours before Har Mar took the stage at midnight. Locals Mel Gibson and his Pants did a bangup job of warming up the house for him. Har Mar arrived through the front door a little after 11 and I finally got the chance to glad-hand him after chasing him around the Witnness Festival in Ireland this summer. (See my interview with him and other in this week's Pulse Twin Cities.)

Har Mar came onstage claiming he'd been doing the same set for so long he was bored with it. "Don't fucking clap," he said, "It's patronizing." "I'm so fucking bored," and "This is my fucking job," were other remarks delivered totally deadpan you'd almost think he was serious, but I'll be damned if he didn't have me and Mei Young from KQ laughing our asses off by the rail where we were standing.

Har Mar was fucking around a little more than he did the last few times I've seen him, but from what I could see, it was working. Always one step ahead of the critics, this guy has never failed to entertain. Whatever you might think of him, and I know many even of my own friends who can't stand the guy, I remain in a position of the utmost professional respect for what he's done to put Minneapolis back on the international music map.


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