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For all the month of April 2014, we are celebrating Britpop at 20. "Britpop at the BBC" ran for about two weeks so far, and recently (April 10th), they aired put a new original 30 minute compilation special called Britpop at Maida Vale. This program includes Jo Whiley and Steve Lamacq presenting original live performances from Damon Albarn, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Gaz Coombes, and Josh Record (who?!?).

Damon Albarn performed Blur's "For Tomorrow" and "This is a Low", Ellis-Bextor covered of Pulp's "Do You Remember the First Time", Coombes' performed Supergrass' "Caught by the Fuzz", and Josh Record cover Cast's "Walkaway".

If you live in the UK, you can access the program via iPlayer or on the web.

In other Britpop coverage, check out Sleeper's Louise Wener on BBC Radio 2. Listened to an excerpt. Again, if you live in the states, you're not allowed to listen or watch their programming. Boo to the BBC.

The reports that "Common People" by Pulp was the #1 Britpop anthem (as voted by fans), followed by "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve and "Don't Look Back in Anger" by Oasis. Personally, I would have also ranked Elastica's "Connection" and even Sleeper's "Inbetweener" or Echobelly's "King Of The Kerb".... but there were no "female-fronted bands" on the Top 10 list. What gives? Even the Bluetones and Ash made it. I don't even like top lists, but maybe if I feel inspired at the end of April, I will put together a Britpop W♥M Mixtape for you.

Speaking of Echobelly, they are now called Calm of Zero. The duo (Sonya Aurora Madan and Glenn Johansson) announced that they're reissuing Echobelly's first two albums (Everyone's Got One and On) with extra tracks and extra discs full of previously unreleased material. Well worth looking into if you never got the albums the first time around... they are both very excellent albums. All pre-orders will guarantee autographs from both Sonya and Glenn.

Anyway, I've been really pleased at all the Britpop coverage in the media. As a fan of the music movement the first time around, I hope this new generation will like what they hear and be inspired by this short-lived music genre.

As Jarvis Cocker would put it, "Do you remember the first time? I can't remember a worse time."
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April 2014 is the 20th anniversary of Britpop, so all month we're dedicating our show to the wonderful movement.

NOTE: This was originally shot on video, so if you want the visuals, you'll have to see it on YouTube. Because of YouTube's overly aggressive copyright policies, the music portion was taken out. Absolutely no thanks to Geffen Records.

Here's the Britpop timeline for consideration:

Suede: Suede (Mar 1993); Dog Man Star (Mar 1995)
Blur: Modern Life is Rubbish (May 1993); Parklife (Apr 1994)
Pulp: His n Hers (Apr 1994); Different Class (Oct 1995)
Lush: Split (Jun 1994)
Echobelly: Everyone's Got One (Jul 1994)
Oasis: Definitely Maybe (Aug 1994); Morning Glory (Oct 1995)
S*M*A*S*H: Self Abused (Sep 1994)
Shed Seven: Change Giver (Sep 1994)
Sleeper: Smart (Jan 1995)
Elastica: Elastica (Mar 1995)
Salad: Drink Me (May 1995)
These Animal Men: (Come on Join) The High Society (May 1995)
Gene: Olympian (Mar 1995)
Supergrass: I Should Coco (May 1995)
Cast: All Change (Oct 1995)
Bluetones: Expecting to Fly (Feb 1996)
Marion: This World and Body (Feb 1996)
Space: Spiders (Sep 1996)

Ash: 1977 (Jun 1996)
60ft Dolls: The Big 3 (Jan 1997)
Catatonia: International Velvet (Feb 1998)
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The show poster was right- “U Never Know What Might Happen”--

Prince and his female band, 3rd Eye Girl (along with drummer Hannah Ford’s husband, Josh Welton) are back from a brief West Coast tour, and have graciously again started opening his Paisley Park studios for what may be a (semi)regular series of late night weekend concerts, called ‘Paisley Park After Dark’.

After disappointing with non-appearances the previous weekend and night before, Prince and band took the stage Saturday (early Sunday) for a fierce, guitar-driven 80min. set with 18 min. encore, that quickly made those other no-show nights, forgiven.

Beginning with the first piano notes of ‘Empty Room’ , an almost 30yr song that has yet to have its studio version released, it was clear that this would be a night most rewarding for the die-hard fans, who know even the deepest and unreleased tracks. Taking the stage at just before 12:30am, the faithful were presented with a set full of mostly newer and more obscure songs from the Purple One’s vast catalog.

The big room in Paisley Park is an open soundstage, capable of holding just over 1800 people, with state-of-the-audio, big screen backdrops in front of its large stage, and symboled mic stand, front and center. In a rare instance at his own place, he momentarily battled some minor sound issues and the three-paned screen displays were sometimes not correctly synch’d, but not enough to be a distraction.

Starting on piano for the first few tracks, Prince quickly moved to mostly guitar, though 3rd Eye guitarist Donna Grantis did most of the heavy lifting, and with considerable flash. ‘Starfish and Coffee’, from the seminal Sign o’ the Times was started, then quickly interrupted, first-verse, with a “..not here” from Prince, seguing instead into ‘Ballad of Dorothy Parker’. “Hand clap- don’t be shy”, he impaired to the mostly younger and new-to-Paisley crowd.

Casually wearing a tunic, he led a driving ‘Chaos and Disorder’, with band 3rd Eye Girl, pushing on all cylinders. The new ’Pretzelbodylogic’ followed, sounding more urgent live, than we’ve heard before. A song that could describe the audience’s feelings, ‘So Far, So Pleased’ from Rave 1999’s Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic was next, given that extra punch from Grantis’ guitars, Hannah Ford’s booming drums, and Ida Nielsen’s solid basslines.

Leaning again on 1996’s Chaos and Disorder, an extended ‘I Like It There’, moved from the express lane to more calm, then back again, with Prince imploring, “relax, make a sandwich…or dance…” during the slower part. The new ‘Fixurlifeup’ shifted it back into high gear, with Prince directing the audience as well as his band, to create the ideal interactive concert experience.

Taking up the piano again and reaching back to 1982’s classic album, 1999, ‘Something in the Water (Does not Compute)’ took the tempo down a little, until Prince had the audience chanting the chorus as he vocally riffed; then at just 50 minutes in, they briefly left the stage.

Darkness and some jazz-like piano intro’d ‘Beautiful Strange’, with its changed lyrics, with Prince feeling loose and obviously comfortable to improvise at his own place. A grooving, somewhat psychedelic ‘Stratus’ was next, complete with extended solos and space-rock organ sounds.
The band left the stage again, then returned for the crunchy 3rd Eye Girl version of hit, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’, with Prince saying beforehand, “It’s official…Hannah is a beast!” referring to the power exhibited by his young drummer.

Then, things got a little odd—

A vintage 1982 public access clip of Washington D.C. radio/TV host Petey Greene showing us all how to (and how not to) eat watermelon was beamed on the screens, as Prince held his stomach in laughter, from just outside the backstage door.

That inexplicable video led to the nights’ final encore, an 18 min. version of ‘FunknRoll’, which segued into Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music’, with a handful of the remaining crowd, invited on stage as the rest of the crowd chanted the chorus, with Prince responding cheekily, “who you callin’ white?!”

And with that, the show was over, but not before he mentioned, “this is your house—see you next weekend…” which could signal the beginning of a busy and potentially memorable Spring at the Park. You never know what might happen…

Empty Room
How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore
Starfish and Coffee (aborted)
Ballad of Dorothy Parker
Chaos and Disorder
So Far, So Pleased
I Like It There
Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)

Beautiful Strange
Let's Go Crazy

FunkNRoll > Play that Funky Music
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Twenty years ago, Oasis released "Supersonic" (April 1994), their first single. It was brilliant and the band quickly became the face of Britpop.

I interviewed Liam Gallagher for KFSR 90.7 FM in Sacramento, California (September 27, 1994). They weren't that well-known back then, and you can easily approach any of the band members and talk to them.
As I mentioned in the podcast, Noel Gallagher flat-out refused to sign my Definitely Maybe CD (which hadn't officially been released in America yet, but we got a promo copy for the radio station). Anyway, their tour manager persuaded Noel (basically forced him), and he eventually signed the album.

Later that evening, after the interview and watching their soundcheck, we caught the band at Melarky's, with opener Trace (which I think we missed them because we grabbed dinner).

As I recall, we only stayed about half way because this was a school night and we had about a three hour's drive back to Fresno. But it was worth it to get to meet Oasis in the flesh. Songs on their full set were: "Rock 'n' Roll Star", "Columbia", "Fade Away", "Digsy's Dinner", "Shakermaker", "Live Forever", "Bring It on Down", "Up in the Sky", "Slide Away", " Cigarettes & Alcohol", "Married With Children", "Supersonic", and "I Am the Walrus".

A few years later, I would see the band again, fresh off their massive hit song, "Wonderwall". I bought tickets for both San Francisco and Los Angeles shows, but unfortunately, the LA show was cancelled due to Liam's illness.

Thankfully, we got refunds and it wasn't a full loss because I did see their full show at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on April 13, 1996, with Third Eye Blind as opener. I'm not entirely sure if I actually showed up early enough to catch that band (as I was not a fan).

The thing about the SF show was that the venue was much, much, much larger than their Sacramento show in 1994. In fact, I was standing next to a guy at the balcony and he brought binoculars (which, at my young age, had never seen anyone with binoculars to see a show).

I'm sure their setlist is well documented, but from my memory, they did a great cover version of "I Am The Walrus" as a closer to their set, which had the entire audience singing along to the "cuck-koo-ca-choo" part. You had to be there.

Oh yes, there was a middle break with just Noel on acoustic, as the band all rest up in the back stage.

After heading back to the dance floor, which was extremely crowded, I had lost my Timex watch! When the show was over, I spent the entire time looking at the floor for my watch. I found it, and it was still working after being stomped on by Oasis fans. Since then, Timex was always my choice of watch (although I will confessed that my current watch is a Casio because of the solar power technology).

That's my story (morning glory) with Oasis. I never caught the band again, and by 2009, the band had split. According to Noel, they broke up because his brother, Liam attacked him (and could have killed him) over a disagreement about Liam's clothing line advertised in the Oasis program book. I haven't heard Liam's side of the story, but this story sounds plausible.

Anyway, these days, Oasis are divided between the two brothers. Liam with Beady Eye and Noel with the High Flying Birds. Unfortunately, based on the brother's bitter history, I do not think they will re-unite as Oasis, despite all the rumors.

The Swamp Song
Some Might Say
Roll With It
Morning Glory
Cigarettes & Alcohol
Champagne Supernova
Noel Gallagher's Acoustic Set
Slide Away
Cast No Shadow
(Ending with Octopus's Garden)
Don't Look Back in Anger
Live Forever
I Am the Walrus (The Beatles cover)
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Taking place on May 2-4, 2014, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, is the inaugural Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con.

If you grew up in the 90s, you probably collected Wizard Magazine, as I did. They were great, I love getting those free trading cards, and then eventually the 1/2 exclusive comic books. Unfortunately, like so many things that the internet destroy, Wizard slowly died. Founder Gareb Shamus was smart enough to invest in comic book conventions... so that's how Wizard World Conventions came to be.

The latest city to join the Wizard World family is Minneapolis. Personally, I'm really excited about this because I feel that for the first time, Minneapolis will be getting some A-list stars, such as William Shatner, Robert Englund, Ultimate Warrior, and much more, that only a major player like Wizard can bring in. I've previously attended Crypticon 2008 and Crypticon 2009, which featured some horror stars, but it's nothing compared to this upcoming Wizard World Convention.

As for the comic book side, because technically this is still a "Comic Book Convention", I recognized many of the artists they booked: Neal Adams, Michael Golden, Mike Grell, Greg Horn, Barry Kitson, Bob Layton, Kevin Maguire, Ethan Van Sciver, and much more. Among all these artists, I really love Michael Golden, whose linework reminds me of Brian Bolland or Steve Lightle.

The one problem I have is the expensive prices ($75.00 for three days, $40 average for single day). That's just the entry price, if you want pictures or autographs with the stars, it'll cost extra... For example, autograph from William Shatner will run you $75, or photo of the Walking Dead (Jon Bernthal, Michael Rooker & Laurie Holden) will cost you another $125. Still, people will pay for it, so ...

Read the full press release at


Meanwhile, the SpringCon is taking place a few weeks after Wizard's convention: May 17-18 at the usual Minnesota State Fairgrounds. I have been going on and off for many years, from that hotel near Mall of America to the much larger Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Some benefit to SpringCon: free parking, and affordable entry ($12 for both days). You can bring a can of food and get $1 off.

We went to the last Fallcon 2013, and there wasn't a schedule/programming and with fewer guests (but, then again, it was also cheaper: $8).

Looking at SpringCon's list, it would seem that SpringCon, at least this year, is much bigger. The artists I recognized were: Peter Gross, Gene Ha, Dan Jurgens, Adam Hughes, Doug Mahnke, and Gordon Purcell. I'm sure I missed a few times scrolling through their massive list.

I've gotten comic books signed before at these MCBA shows, and it's always free (or donations - but they usually go to a charity). If you're into original artwork, getting an commissioned artwork is usually pretty easy. Unless an artist is really popular, you can usually get them to draw your favorite comic book characters. I've seen prices go from quick sketches for $20 to as much as $200 depending on how detail the artwork has to be.

Personally, collecting original artwork can be quite expensive (although I own my fair share of original artwork), instead, most of my money usually goes to getting good deals on old comic books.


Sound+VisionMN's upcoming show is this Saturday, March 22, at the Valley Creek Mall in Woodbury, Minnesota.

Their special guest for the show is comic book artist, Gordon Purcell (who is also appearing at SpringCon). Although I tend to think of his artwork is more cartoony (Ben10), he actually started his career as a more 'realistic' artist with Star Trek. Also, random trivia, I actually own his first DC published work in the Bonus Book in The Flash #12 (May 1988).

Additional details below:

Sound+VisionMN, a Music, Comics, Pop Culture, and Toys Collectibles Show / Sale returns to Valley Creek Mall (1750 Weir Drive) in Woodbury, MN on Saturday March 22, 2014, from 9am-3pm.

This Free Admission event features dozens of dealers selling a wide variety of vintage and current music (vinyl, CDs, tapes, DVDs), comic books, toys, pop culture, movie memorabilia, and anything else related.

Our special guest for the show is acclaimed comic book artist, Gordon Purcell! Working in comics since the mid-1980’s, he is best known for his Star Trek art for both Marvel and DC Comics, and is the current artist for Cartoon Network property Ben10 (IDW Comics) and Protectors, inc. (Image Comics).

Additionally, Sound+VisionMN is partnering with Allied THA for an exclusive Captain America: The Winter Soldier event, to offer a fun chance to win free advanced movie screening passes, t-shirts, and posters for the upcoming Marvel Studios blockbuster, which opens in theaters on April 4th. Attendees will be the first in the area, to see this hotly anticipated movie!

The location features plenty of free parking and on-site/nearby 

Free Comic Book Day 2014 is taking place this May 3rd. Perfect timing, really, especially with Wizard World Convention and MCBA SpringCon in the same month.

I've been going to Free Comic Book Day since it started. I've watched how it's grown. It's really incredible how big it's gotten.

It used to be that I'll go to my local comic book store and can still get all the free comics. Now, by the time I show up to the comic store, they "sell out" of all the free comics (or at least have really bad selections). I'm not complaining, I think it's awesome that there are more interests in the event.

Last year, the coolest thing I got were these Iron Man FCBD Heroclix figurines. I also thought the Walking Dead FCBD was cool too.

I looked over the comic book list for 2014 and didn't see Marvel. I'm assuming they'll unveil the comic books closer to the May date.

About FCBD:

Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE* to anyone who comes into their stores. *Check with your local comic book shop for their participation and rules.
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Originally a novel written by Joe R. Lansdale, Cold in July begins with a burglary at the Danes’ residence in 1980s Texas. After shooting the intruder Freddy Russell dead, Richard Dane feels so uncomfortable with the fact that he has killed a person that he goes to watch Russell’s burial only to encounter Freddy’s father, Ben. Having the set on getting revenge, Ben aggressively antagonizes Dane’s family, particularly threatening Dane’s son. When Dane discovers that the man he shot was not in fact Freddy Russell, he and Ben go on a manhunt to find Freddy and figure out what the police is hiding. Joined by Ben’s old friend, Jim Bob, the three are thrown into one thrilling scenario after another.

After having read several reviews of the novel, director Jim Mickle’s film adaptation of Cold in July seems to follow the novel’s quick plot changes. Mickle says in a press release that what stuck out for him about Cold in July was the way it did not fit the mold, it did not declare “what kind of movie… [it was] going to be in the first 10 minutes,” unlike many other stories. This is refreshing and the twists and turns in the plot definitely do not stick to any molds created; however, the flow of each situation lacked room to develop. It was as if you were listening to a five-year-old talk about his/her first day of school: this happened, then this happened, and then Richard got shot in the ear! (Hopefully that last part was never said by your imaginary kindergartener.)

It was hard to imagine, for instance, when Dane (played by Michael C. Hall), showed Ben (Sam Shepard) the burglar’s dead body to prove it was not Freddy, that their relationship would all of a sudden ignore the fact that just the day before, Ben had hid in Dane’s crawl space with the intention to hurt Dane’s son. If it were not for all the actors’ subtle and toned down performances, these characters would not be very believable. Each actor, even Don Johnson’s portrayal of “RED BTCH” Jim Bob, was well done, particularly Johnson’s for his could have definitely become cartoonish. If anyone was worried that Hall’s performance of Dane would just be Dexter with a mini mullet, there is no need to be. Hall’s acting is unique to the character and even when Dane wiped the blood from the wall, traces of Dexter were nowhere to be found.

Aside from the acting, there were other factors that redeemed the film. The hard synthesizer/electronic music in the film coinciding with the scenes preparing for violence is reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s style of incorporating more electronic, pumping music to create an alternative adrenaline tension to thriller films. The quick punches of humor throughout the film, though made it a bit more difficult to take the movie seriously, were in themselves funny and comic relief. Mickle’s meticulous use of objects within the camera’s edges to frame the subjects like when Dane’s car window acted like a border of a photo to introduce the subject, Ben, is distinct and continuous throughout.

If anything, Cold in July is commendable for its unconventional story telling.
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My background is in comic books, so naturally, I have been loving this golden age of 'comic book movies'. The latest comic book movie is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which I saw an advance screening at the ICON theater in St Louis Park on April 1st. We also got a costume contest before the screen... which seemed rigged with the cute little 5 year old Captain America winning the grand prize.

While I did not love the first movie, I found that Captain America: The Winter Soldier was one hundred times better. It is because the main plot is in the modern age (but yes, we do get flashback from the 40s and that time period) and that the new movie is more like a spy thriller. The other thing I liked was that Captain America has a great nemesis of equal powers and abilities in the guise of the Winter Soldier. In fact, the way the movie portrayed it, that the Winter Soldier could easily defeat the Cap.

The story progressed, Captain America reluctantly accepted the Black Widow's help to find out the conspiracy of S.H.I.E.L.D. Along the way, they recruited the Falcon. I'm not that crazy about this character in the story. I felt like maybe they could have written him out and the story would've proceeded to its logical conclusion, with or without the Falcon's help. He really didn't add much to the plot, but felt like maybe it's an extra character for the toyline, at least in my opinion.

If you're not familiar with the source material, you'll probably enjoy the movie a lot more, because you'll be surprised when the identity of the Winter Soldier and the Falcon is revealed. Unfortunately, I knew too much about this film, but it was still enjoyable.

With all the great action and thrilling story, Captain America: The Winter Soldier will appeal to a wide range of fans. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is rated PG-13 and opens in theaters across America this Friday, April 4th.
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oh its gonna be nice tomorrow winter soldier time
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Special thanks to singer Bradley Hanan Carter for providing these answers below:

1. I would imagine with a name like "NO", how difficult it would be to promote yourself and make yourself known. Has this been a problem for you guys?

When Sean [Stentz] and I first chose the name, the last thing on our mind was the internet or how people would search for us, perhaps we should have been smarter... but honestly with our Instagram and YouTube being just NO it's working out okay!

2. You've recently played SXSW 2014 (your third time?), tell me about these experiences. Was is all fun and no work?

This SX was a largely relaxed experience compared to our first couple years. There was a lot less frantic running around between shows, and it was really nice seeing people coming out to see us from all over the world. We found this little whiskey bar party hiding off 6th street for the last couple days. It was so quiet and had soothing music playing, so we escaped there a few times to down some old-fashioned's.

3. With the sudden influx of notable alt-indie bands from Echo Park and L.A. and if there is anything there, that's encouraging this?

I don't think any of us noticed it till people pointed it out. So many of my friends there are in bands that work so hard, and we all play a lot of shows together or help each other out with recording or lending gear or artwork or what not... It's a real community, and we are proud to be a part of it.

4. What was it like to play on national television (Carson Daly)?

That performance was actually at a show where we were on a tour supporting The Naked And Famous, it didn't really feel any different to a normal show, but I bet that being on Fallon or Letterman or something in a studio, that must be an interesting feeling!

5. Tell me about El Prado (18 February 2014), your latest record from Arts & Craft. What is it like to work with a Canadian record label?

They are kind of like a big family, and the most hard working and supportive people. They really believe in what we are doing and have let us be as creative as we like in all that we do. We just played Toronto a couple nights ago, and a ton of Arts & Crafts fans and friends came out to the show, it felt pretty cool to be welcomed into their community like that.

You can check out that big family love with NO, The Darcys, and Reuben and the Dark, tonight at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis. Follow NO's Instagram and YouTube.

Tour Dates
04/01 Edmonton, AB | The Artery
04/02 Calgary, AB | The Gateway @ SAIT
04/03 Kelowna, BC | Habitat
04/04 Seattle, WA | Barboza
04/05 Vancouver, BC | Biltmore
04/06 Portland, OR | Mississippi Studios
07/04 George, WA | Sasquatch! Music Festival
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Highasakite is a Norwegian indie pop band consisting of Ingrid Helene Håvik (on vocals), Trond Bersu (drums), Øystein Skar (synths), Marte Eberson (synths) and Kristoffer Lo (guitar, percussion and flugabone).

They are currently touring for their sophomore album Silent Treatment, which is coming out April 8 in the U.S.

This was Highasakite's SXSW appearances:

Mar 15 Øya & Filter Showcase
Mar 14 Red Eye Transit Showcase
Mar 14 International Day Stage
Mar 14 Norway Night
Mar 11 Audiofemme Party

London Grammar + Highasakite Tour:

3/21. Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ
3/22. Vinyl – Las Vegas, NV
3/23. House of Blues – San Diego, CA
3/25. El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
3/27. The Independent – San Francisco, CA
3/28. Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR
3/29. Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room, Seattle

Watch Brody with Highasakite at SXSW, Austin, Texas. Please note that the source video file I have is only about two minutes long.
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After some 27 years away, a little rust to shake off is more than forgivable.

Singer-songwriter Andre Cymone returned from Los Angeles, to his Minneapolis hometown, for a rare 74 min. show at the small 7th Street Entry, to promote The Stone (Blindtango), his first full-length release since 1985’s A.C. Acknowledged as one of the architects of the so-called Minneapolis Sound, he and Prince formed their first band together in high school and the Purple One lived with Cymone’s family, from age 14 to 21.

Though an early collaborator and working as Prince’s bassist, creative differences and a desire to be his own artist, had Cymone leave the fold to create three solo albums during the 80’s, inspired by the local scene and the pervading New Wave sound of the era.

After that, he more or less disappeared from performing stages, acting as producer for then-wife Jody Watley and others, became a L.A. father to his children, and occasionally re-surfaced with more socially-conscious single songs in the last few years. His latest effort, for better or worse, has little evidence of the 80’s Minneapolis sound he helped cultivate, and is more influenced by late 60’s/early 70’s West Coast straight ahead rock and soul, and done direct-to-tape, resulting in a more natural sounding, end result.

Opening was Brooklyn’s Sharief Hobley then locals American Youth, an indie Americana four-piece with EP, Sojourner, available. This may have seemed odd on paper as an opener for Cymone, but given his current sound’s direction, turned out to be an appropriate appetizer for the later main course.

Plenty of family and friends were in the audience to see Cymone’s hometown return and creative re-birth, including a who’s who of the area music scene as Bobby Z, Jellybean Johnson, Matt (Dr.) Fink, and even Prince’s first drummer and cousin, Chaz Smith, were among the sighted.

“I’m back at it again, and I still need my hometown behind me”, Cymone remarked after stepping on stage and before even strumming a note. Playing the new album almost in its entirety and in sequence, the still-refined quality of Cymone’s voice brought that Eagles-esque “peaceful, easy feeling” to the new songs that have more in common with Lenny Kravitz, than anything he and/or Prince had done in the past, including set opener and album’s first single, ‘Rock and Roll’.

Cymone and mostly West Coast-based backing band
A mostly West Coast-based backing band (which was made up of opener/lead guitarist Sharief Hobley, Mike Torres- bass, Ric'Key Pageot- keys, Nick Adams- drums, Devon Pangle- guitar) ably backed and kept up with the singer as tempos ebbed and flowed throughout the set. ‘American Dream’ was one of Cymone’s more recent and more socially-conscious songs; partially inspired by, and with proceeds dedicated to President Obama’s re-election.

An early set highlight was an extended, grooving ‘Naked’, Cymone’s mind/body Zen piece about climbing to a mountaintop for some natural reflection. ‘It’s Alright’, about his life, had a very country feel to its melody, and hearing the Jeff Buckley version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ recently on the radio, inspired his sped-up, soulful cover of the track.

“I kind of forgot how hot these lights get” and “right now, I feel like there’s cactuses in my throat” reminded us of how long Cymone has been away, and songs like ‘Mary Jane’ (w/ harpsichord!) showed off the creeping psychedelic influence in his new material.

After shouts during the encore for “Dance Electric”(to which he replied, “no way”), Cymone closed with a re-invented version of one of his older songs, 1982’s ‘Kelly’s Eyes’, with the prefacing disclaimer that “Kelly’s married somewhere, with four or five kids… she evolved, so the song has to evolve”, and proceeded to strip away any New Wave synth influence, converting it into a barroom stomper, complete with tinkling piano from Pageot, and mean rhythm guitar from the man himself.

And with that, the re-birth has officially begun; still embraced by the same community that initially bore him, and evolving, like Andre Cymone’s sound itself, to reflect the times of an older but wiser artist, getting back in the music saddle once more.

Rock and Roll
Let Your Sun Shine
If Not for You
American Dream
It's Alright
One Day
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)
The Horseman
Mary Jane
Live Life

Kelly's Eyes
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Oh no pop is dead, long live pop!
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