Leav Kickstarter

4 Mar

We’ve written in the past about some Kickstarter campaigns that we’ve liked, supported or given a boost. Usually they’ve been for a musician, a show or something like that, but this time around it’s for a mix of all those things, in a really exciting package. It’s Leav, a new platform for smartphones that ties together music, video and art to the city around us, all in the palm of your hand.

If you live in a city long enough, you’ll invariably build associations to the place and art, whether it’s involuntarily humming the Hold Steady up in the Quarry, a poster that reminds you of a certain show on a certain night with a certain person, or a streetcorner that holds the memory of epic drama. Leav is a location and time-specific app that lets artists share their view of the city and attach new work to it. A dance company can create a video that you can only see at a certain time of day in a certain place, a musician can give you a sonic landscape that matches the cityscape around you. It’s an exciting vision of what technology and art can do together and it’s being built by artists – Andy Voegtline, Erik Martz, Joey Kantor & Bobby Maher – for artists.

Leav launched with a lineup of impressive artists to work provide work for the app – Holly Hansen of Zoo Animal, Chris Koza of Rogue Valley, choreographer and City Pages 2004 Artist of the Year Stuart Pimsler and nationally acclaimed visual artist Kate Casanova – and a new round of artists has just been announced, including man-about-town Andy Sturdevant, dancer Emily Johnson, musician Grant Cutler, and the Roe Family Singers. That’s a whole festival right there, one that we would be proud to use to introduce people to the Twin Cities, and it can all be ours in the palm of our hands.

With a March 8 deadline approaching, the Leav team are about $7,500 short of a $22,000 goal, so 66% there. That may seem like a daunting hill to climb, but Kickstarter’s own numbers show that of projects that reach 60% funding, 98% of those are completely funded. So go on and support Leav, because this is a whole new world for local art.

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Tristan and Yseult

20 Feb

When I was an undergrad in art school, one of the requisite courses was a Sculpture 101 course, which quickly turned into a conceptual free-for-all. For the final, one of my classmates took his camera, rigged up a stencil that covered the external flash, and started taking people’s pictures. The stencil he had cut, which was covered by a white cloth, was the word LOVE, so that when the camera went off the word floated ephemerally under our eyelids in that blinking red-to-green disorientation of flashbulbs. It was simple, unexpected, and euphoric.

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Kneehigh’s production of Tristan & Yseult, playing now at the Guthrie Theater has a similar feel – little gags and scenes pieced together with a bright flash, resulting in dizzying enchantment. Anyone who remembers their glorious Brief Encounter from four years ago know that Kneehigh excel at creating swooning, cinematic moments on stage that are as indelible as they are fleeting – even in a story about love, betrayal, jealousy, heartbreak and redemption, there is no time for dwelling or stewing, everything moves and is full of life.

Tristan & Yseult tells a version of the old French & Cornish myth – Tristan (Andrew Durand) is a French knight arrived in Cornwall from Brittany, just in time to save the Cornish king, Mark (Stuart Goodwin), from the Irish invader Morholt (Craig Johnson). King Mark sends Tristan to Ireland to bring back Morholt’s sister Yseult (Etta Murfitt) as his trophy, but Tristan and Yseult fall in love. Mark marries Yseult, and they, too, love each other, but not with the same fire that Tristan and Yseult hold. Tristan and Yseult are discovered and, as there always are in love and betrayal, there are consequences.

The consequences here, though, are more complex than simply love and hate and Kneehigh captures a range of requited and unrequited passions, duties and pains. The show opens at “The Club of the Unloved,” a downbeat nightclub populated by the “Lovespotters” – most of the cast dressed in dark windbreakers, knit balaklavas and dark rimmed glasses – a group of hilariously morose hipsters who serve as a sympathetic chorus for the story. There is the big triangle of Mark, Tristan and Yseult and their fiery, powerful feelings, but also a kindness and a desire to not hurt each other, even in the face of the inevitable. Mark’s attack dog Frocin, played with frothing energy by Giles King, walks a fine line between contemptible jealousy and pitiable despair. Perhaps one of the biggest moments of pathos is the moment of transformation of Brangian, Yseult’s maidservant. Played originally to huge laughs by Craig Johnson in drag, the after-effects of a command from Yseult and Johnson’s sensitivity are heartbreaking, and give space to the hurt that those in power can often, unthinkingly, cause to others without.

Johnson’s moment is one of the few moments of stillness in the show, otherwise there the space is filled with wild dancing, singing, and courtesy of the ropes attached to a mast in the center of the stage, acrobatic aerial moments. It could be a mess, but Emma Rice’s sure direction keeps everything crisp. There is just enough going on in terms of a set – the mast, a round stage that serves as the main playing area, giving an observer’s periphery on the actual proscenium, an elevated space for the band and a record player in a corner to give the imagination space to play. The costuming, from Tristan’s tightly cropped green suit to the yellow dress and pillbox hat on Whitehands (Carly Bawden), the nightclub singer and ostensible narrator, to the sweater vests of the band, give a swinging 60s vibe to the show, a useful point of romantic nostalgia for an audience, and for the show.

Kneehigh uses dialogue effectively, sometimes sparingly, in favor of montage-like action sequences that sweep you away and capture that breathlessness of love. One of the central questions about love at the end of Tristan & Yseult is about the possibility of return – will a lover come back? If Kneehigh keep making theater like this, please let the answer be yes. -c.a.s.

Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult from WeAreKneehigh on Vimeo.

The Black Angels, Roky Erickson, and The Golden Animals at First Avenue – February 3rd, 2014

7 Feb

Words and Photos by Kyle Matteson

Golden Animals at First Avenue

Golden Animals at First Avenue

 

Golden Animals often get compared to The Brian Jonestown Massacre, which is a fair and worthy comparison, but after seeing them live, they actually reminded me of The Doors a bit more than I would have cared for. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy their short 30 minute opening set, but I felt like the band seemed to have a bit of an identity crisis on their hands. Musically they were more than proficient, and I enjoyed many of the more droning rhythms, but I couldn’t help but feel their songs could spend some more time in the oven.

Roky Erickson at First Avenue

Roky Erickson at First Avenue

 

Music legend Roky Erickson has lived a very rough life over the years. From co-founding the wildly influential psych rock band 13th Floor Elevators in the mid 60′s, mostly known for their single ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’, to being diagnosed with schizophrenia just a few short years later, to being sent to multiple mental institutions, where he remained through the early 70′s. The last 15-20 years of Roky’s musical output has been, no pun intended, rocky, so when his first ever Minnesota show was announced, I was fairly leery of how it might go.

Needless to say my fears were unfounded, and Roky and his band the Hounds of Baskerville (featuring his son on backing vocals), tore through a blistering 45 minute set, covering a ton of ground from his nearly 40 year career. Not surprisingly the two standout songs of his set were ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’, and ‘Two Headed Sog (Red Temple Prayer)’, the latter a song from Erickson’s mid 70′s band Bleib Alien. There were times when Roky seemed to lose his place on guitar a bit, but his tight backing band never lost their stride, and his voice was in way better shape than I could have ever imagined. After his set ended, a good chunk of the older crowd left before the headliner, and while The Black Angels put on a great set, they clearly still got their moneys worth. The word “legend” gets thrown around a lot when people artists start to reach their 50′s and 60′s, but in Roky’s case, it’s a more than worthy moniker.

The Black Angels' Alex Maas

The Black Angels’ Alex Maas

 

Austin psych stalwarts, The Black Angels, headlined the night, with their 90 minute set set sticking mostly to their most recent album, 2013′s ‘Indigo Meadow’. One nice touch at the end of their main set, is when the band dedicated ‘Young Men Dead’ to Buddy Holly, as the concert fell on the 55th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death (along with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper), just a few hours south of the Twin Cities in Clear Lake, IA. While you probably wouldn’t peg Holly as a big influence on The Black Angels sound, it just goes to show how wide of a swath his musical impact made, and it was a nice touch to see them display their musical history.

Photo Gallery

CakeIn15 is Going On a Brief Hiatus

23 Dec

Dear readers -

CAS & Staciaann are excited to announce that any day now they’ll be adding a member to the CakeIn15 team! He hasn’t told us exactly when he’ll arrive, but his doctors tell us it should be in the next ten days.

As such, CakeIn15.com will be on a brief hiatus. We’ll still be updating the calendar and tweeting and so forth, but the blog itself will take a break until we’re used to this new member of our family. We thank all our writers and other contributors for helping us keep at it the last few months. Hopefully we’ll be back into the swing of things before you even miss us!

We wish you all Happy Holidays and hope you get some time to spend with friends, family, and fuzzy loved ones.

XO -
CAS, Staciaann & Syd Vicious

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Communion: Rosco Bandana at the Varsity Theater – December 17, 2014

20 Dec

By: Kara Laudon

Rosco Bandana

Communion Minneapolis returned Tuesday night to the Varsity Theater – an event that started in October and will continue the third Tuesday of each month. Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons, Kevin Jones of Bear’s Den, and producer Ian Grimble founded Communion Minneapolis in 2006 to spotlight emerging artists. The lineup for December 17 included Minneapolis locals Bomba de Luz, Mississippi’s Rosco Bandana, and Minneapolis’ Koo Koo Kanga Roo and Tramps Like Us.

Rosco Bandana, a high-energy indie folk/rock band, traveled all the way from their hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi. The band has been touring in support of their record Time To Begin, released in 2012 on Hard Rock Records. The members of the band include Jason Sanford on vocals/guitar, Emily Sholes on vocals/keyboard, Josh Smith on bass, Jackson Weldon on lapsteel, and Barry Pribyl, Jr. on percussion. The crowd started out fairly small, but as their set progressed more people trickled into the theater and gathered towards the front of the stage.

The band started out strong with their opening song “Time To Begin,” which had a rock feel to it, and directly transitioned into their second song with a much different bluegrass/country vibe. The most interesting thing about Rosco Bandana is their ability to combine different genres and tempos – much of the time in the same song. They infused elements of Americana – folk, rock, and bluegrass. The song, “Woe Is Me,” for which they recently released a music video, was my favorite of their set. It reminded me of the band Little Big Town, especially with the strong vocal harmonies between Sholes and Sanford. Adding a little humor to the set, the band lined up to sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” but sang only the first line before laughing and revealing it was just a joke! The group closed their set with a bit of a gypsy feel. Singer/ keyboardist Sholes added a unique element playing the finger cymbals. They ended their set with a heavy band jam that was a solid close. I had never heard of Rosco Bandana before this show, and their energy and charisma as a band won me over. If I had the chance to see them again I absolutely would.

KDWB Jingle Ball at the Xcel Energy Center – December 10, 2013

12 Dec

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Review by Kyle Matteson with photos by Susan Woehrle

I’ll be up front here. Attending KDWB’s Jingle Ball wasn’t exactly something I thought I would ever have the desire to do – but I also wouldn’t have guessed I’d fall so hard for a Miley Cyrus album either. Yeah, you read that right, I’m a massive fan of Bangerz, and it’s not in some silly ironic or guilty pleasure way either. I’ve truly grown to love the record. While Cyrus was the catalyst for me wanting to attend this show, I went in with a totally open mind towards the other acts, some of whom I was familiar with (Enrique Iglesias, Fall Out Boy), a few I was indifferent towards (Robin Thicke, Flo Rida, Ariana Grande), and two that I hadn’t heard of until the week of the show (Fifth Harmony, Austin Mahone)

I’ve been to one other big radio show almost a decade ago, so I knew to expect a ton of sponsors and commercialism overload, but I was still overwhelmed with just how glitzy the whole operation was. Jingle Ball is now a proper tour put on by iHeartRadio (i.e. Clear Channel)  and a benefit for the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. The well-oiled machine that was their rotating stage and super fast changeovers between acts was even worthy of its own prime time TV special. I knew the show would skew young (average age 16-19), and mostly female, but I was still sort of shocked with just how many girls were at the show – somewhere around 75% or higher.

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The first act of the night were X-Factor alums Fifth Harmony (they finished 3rd in the 2012 season), made up of five women between the ages of 16 and 20 (thanks internet). Their material was a bit safe for my taste, but I was impressed with their vocal chops and choreography. The highlight of their 15-minute set was a great cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Red,’ which the young audience ate up.

After the shortest set changeover I’ve ever seen (2-3 minutes at most), Robin Thicke was introduced to roars of the 30- and 40-something women in the audience. Thicke has been performing and writing music since he was 11, and has seen a good amount of chart success in the past (mostly as a guest vocalist), but 2013 is the year he became a household name with his catchy (yet somewhat controversial) hit ‘Blurred Lines‘. I’ll admit I personally enjoy the song, but I also fully understand the concerns many people have about the lyrics being creepy and borderline “rape-y”. That said, many of the lines on Kanye West‘s latest record Yeezus made me feel far more uncomfortable than the suggestive *wink wink* lyrics on ‘Blurred Lines’ – but that’s a debate for another time.

On stage, Thicke comes off the bastard child of Michael Buble and Justin Timberlake (with little of Buble’s charm and almost zero of Timberlake’s sex appeal). After two songs, Thicke played what many dubbed the ‘Song of the Summer 2013.’ It seemed like most of the audience felt differently based on their loud cheers, but I was surprised with how flat and tame the song came across live.

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Up next were the odd men out, Chicago’s Fall Out Boy, who reunited earlier this year to “Save Rock and Roll” after a four-year hiatus. While their brand of pop punk isn’t exactly a KDWB playlist mainstay, it was clear from the loud cheers that many people still remember them from their heyday a decade prior.  The band wasted no time getting the crowd going by playing their biggest hit ‘Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down‘ and not letting off the gas one bit, ending their six song set with their current single ‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up).’ I heard the song on the radio and TV this year but had no clue it was theirs, as it’s more of a “Top 40 Radio Friendly” version of their usual pop punk/rock sound. Bassist Pete Wentz took to the mic at one point to say that he loved going to Camp Chippewa in Minnesota during his summers growing up as a kid in Chicago, explaining how he loved to “skinny dip and purify himself in the lake,” – in reference to Prince‘s 1984 film Purple Rain.

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20-year-old Nickleodeon pop princess and Mariah Carey disciple Ariana Grande was by far the favorite of the younger members of the audience. What her songwriting might lack, she more than makes up for in vocal prowess and charm. Her take on Wham!‘s 1984 Christmas classic ‘Last Christmas‘ was one of the more adorable and memorable moments of her four-song set.

Prior to the show and on paper, 38-year-old Enrique Iglesias seemed like another “odd man out,” simply because the last big hit of his I could recall was ‘I Like It‘ featuring Pitbull from a few years ago… and because I wrongfully assumed his lack of appeal to the younger crowd. Iglesias had the entire audience eating out of his hands the duration of his 20-minute set, despite not playing most of his biggest hits (‘Hero,’ ‘Bailamos,’ ‘Rhythm Divine,’ etc.). His live band were also the best sounding and most energetic of the entire lineup, while Iglesias bounded back and forth working every inch of the stage to get the crowd waiving their hands in the air. Even if much of his music isn’t my thing, I gained massive respect for him as a performer.

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Rapper Flo Rida opened his set with ‘Good Feeling,‘ getting the crowd going from the start. His innuendo hit song from 2012, ‘Whistle,‘ got the entire crowd singing along, but it was the set-closing song ‘Low‘ (you know the one “…them Apple Bottom jeans, Boots with the Furrrr”) that truly set the crowd off. Prior to this he invited a good 30-40 females on stage to dance along, and at one point even allowed a young girl to sing along on the mic.

One artist whom I was not at all familiar with until the day of the show was Austin Mahone. From everything I read about him and observed during his set, he’s definitely mining the same turf as Justin Bieber. However, from his insanely short three-song lip synced set, he’s going to need some more time and a lot of great writers behind him before he makes any real impact. My personal view aside, judging by the Beatlemania-esque deafening screams he received from the youngest girls in the audience, it might not matter too much.

KDWB Jingle Ball 2013

Finally, the moment we (read: me) were all waiting for. Miley Cyrus’ introduction was ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas‘ being played on a giant overhead screen, interrupted by Cyrus and her entire entourage (her backing band, backup singers/dancers, a woman dressed as a giant Christmas tree, a dwarf dressed in a shiny silver outfit complete with Madonna-inspired cone bra, and what else? A drunken Santa Claus of course). Cyrus strutted on stage wearing a giant fur coat – which seemed like an over-the-top opening that even might have made Andrew Dice Clay blush. Her 2009 breakout hit ‘Party In The U.S.A.‘ set the bar pretty high right out of the gate, but it was the first of her two massive 2013 singles, ‘We Can’t Stop‘, that truly got the party started.

The one somewhat surprising and softer moment of Cyrus’ six-song set was her impressive take on Lana del Rey‘s ‘Summertime Sadness‘. I’ll admit I’m fairly indifferent to del Rey and find her monotone vocal style a bit hard to endure, so it was nice to hear someone with a huge voice sing one of her songs. The Bangerz lead track ‘Adore You‘ followed, and continued to show off Cyrus’ powerful voice. Despite the puzzling video, ‘Wrecking Ball‘ is not only the best pop ballad of 2013, it’s also one of the best ballads in recent years. While the song is already rather anthemic on record, nothing prepared me for just how massive it would sound in a huge arena with tens of thousands of people singing along. Cyrus’ band stretched the song out as her set (and the show) wound down, only to end with confetti and pyrotechnics. Cyrus wasted no time reminding everyone in attendance that she would be back on her proper Bangerz Tour in March at the very same venue, and I would imagine almost everyone in attendance at Jingle Ball will be hoping to attend her full show. I know I will.

The Besnard Lakes and Elephant Stone at Triple Rock Social Club – November 8th, 2013

10 Nov

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Montreal bands, The Besnard Lakes and Elephant Stone brought their different brands of psychedelic atmospheric rock to a sparse yet enraptured Triple Rock crowd last Friday night.

 

Openers Elephant Stone combined elements of psychedelic rock with traditional Indian musical instruments making for a very unique and interesting sound that is nearly unclassifiable. Lead singer Rishi Dhir effortlessly switched between playing bass guitar and sitting down to play sitar, all the while the rest of the band held down tight and nimble grooves. The band mentioned that they had played at the Fine Line (“First Line?! something like that”) in April, while on tour opening for The Black Angels, and complimented the Twin Cities on having numerous really great venues.

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Headliners, The Besnard Lakes are no stranger to the Twin Cities either, having developed a small but very loyal following since their sophomore album ‘The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse‘ in 2007, and even experienced some decent airplay on The Current with the soaring anthem ‘Albatross’ off their third release ‘The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night‘. Their fourth and most recent effort ‘Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO‘ is a bit more sparse and less epic album than the rest of their catalog, but it’s still very compelling in it’s own right. After a lengthy 15 minute “intro” as lead singer/guitarist Jace Lasek dealt with some technical issues, the band tore into their 55 minute main set, which mostly consisted of songs from their most recent 2 efforts. Not surprisingly, Olga Goreas’ stunning vocals on ‘Albatross’ earned the band the loudest crowd response of the night. Lasek stated that due to the fire code, they were unable to use their trademark fog machines, but he thanked local openers Chatham Rise for allowing them to use their projector for the show. He told the story of how they put together visuals specifically just for this tour, only to have their new (and expensive) projector fall off of it’s tripod when they were testing it out and end up in pieces. Lasek said that his mom even stitched together the 3 white bedsheets that they were using as a screen, DIY indeed.

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The 1/3 full crowd thinned out even more after the end of their main set, which came shortly after midnight, but those that stayed were treated to two VERY long and extended tunes that together lasted over a half hour. I have to admit that as great as they sounded, my patience wore a bit thin towards the end, but it seemed like I was very much in the minority based on the cheers at the end of the night.

Jason Isbell at the Varsity Theater – October 25, 2013

30 Oct

DSC_0591editedReview and Photography By: Alexa Jones

Sometimes, I feel guilty for essentially “giving up” on artists who, at one time, were the soundtrack to a good chunk of my life. Sirens of the Ditch, and even further back Jason’s Isbell‘s tunes for Drive-By Truckers, were the songs that I played over and over again during a huge chunk of the wildest parts of my 20s…so much so that now I can’t separate the memory of driving around with $2 cash to put into my empty gas tank, a depleted bank account, dusty combat boots that had seen venues all across the country from the opening notes to “Outfit” or “Chicago Promenade.”

But it happens. And after the intense effect that Sirens had on my life, nothing really held up. I listened to the follow-up albums, bits and pieces, maybe once or twice. And I stopped dropping everything to see Isbell as he came through town.

Until Southeastern.

There was this excitement surrounding this album unlike any of his previous releases. The second my trusted music comrades started falling over themselves for the lyrics, for the tunes, I knew this was just something I had to pay attention to. And I did. Song by song, I listened. I blared Southeastern in its entirety over and over and over again. This album is an intense, painful reflection on Isbell’s own path to recovery, on growth, and taking this one life seriously. On growing up.

“I felt like he wrote the album just for me,” an old friend, who had faced his own demons of addiction, told me a few months ago. We dissected the effect the album was having on our current lives, on the opening lyrics to “Flying Over Water.” “From the sky we look so organized and brave.” Sometimes, I stop the song in the middle just so I could go back to the beginning because I need to hear those lyrics again, right away.

Simply put, these were our songs. They are Isbell’s most personal songs to date, but somehow they are ours too. That’s the mark of something really special.

At the Varsity Theater last Friday night, it felt a little bit like a reunion of sorts, between who I was during Sirens of a Ditch and who I am now, with all the vast and positive changes that have happened in my life in the past six years (though I still have and love those dusty combat boots).  Before the show, a friend and I made bets over which songs we’d openly cry to. During opener T. Hardy Morris‘ set, the sold-out crowd begin to press forward towards the stage. The excitement was palpable. These were our songs after all.

Hidden behind my camera, I stood alone, surrounded by fans, and when Isbell and his band came onstage and opened his set with that line “from the sky we look so organized and brave,” I was a goner. Isbell’s story. His struggle. My song. My soundtrack.

It was a great night.

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CakeIn15 Presents: Communist Daughter at The Cake Shop (UPDATE: SOLD OUT)

28 Oct

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THIS SHOW IS NOW SOLD OUT!

We here at The Cake Shop are excited to announce our next house show! We’re very happy to welcome back Johnny Solomon and Molly Moore of Communist Daughter. Last time their shows sold out, so make sure you get your tickets sooner rather than later. This is their last Minneapolis show for 2013 as well!

Who is Communist Daughter? The band features founder Johnny Solomon and his wife Molly Moore. In 2007 Solomon moved from Saint Paul, MN to Prescott, WI after the break up of his band Friends Like These. There he began writing and recording under the name Communist Daughter, taking the name from a Neutral Milk Hotel song.

But when he moved out of the Twin Cities his demons followed him. Plagued by his continuing troubles, he spent his nights writing and recording what he thought would be his own eulogy, songs about lost love and lost chances. It wasn’t until he met a young singer named Molly that his collection of songs became the beginning of something new. Promising to sing with him if he got clean Johnny began the long road back to music.

Calling his new band Communist Daughter, he moved back across the border and released the debut album Soundtrack to the End in 2010, then checked himself in to treatment. Clean and sober, and (in 2013) married to the singer Molly Moore, and with their band, (Adam Switlick on bass, Dan Demuth on drums, Al Weiers on guitar and Dillon Marchus on keys and guitars) they released the EP Lions & Lambs and toured extensively.

Reservations are $15 a person and are limited, so reserve your spot via Brown Paper Tickets today. Watch for your BPT confirmation as that will contain exact address of the Cake Shop. All funds from the door go directly to support the artist.

What: CakeIn15 presents Communist Daughter
Where: The Cake Shop, address upon reservation
When: Friday, November 15. Doors at 6:30pm, Music at 7pm
How Much: $15 reservation ($16.52 with fee), all funds after fees to the artist
Reserve Your Spot

The Cake Shop is dedicated to providing artists and audiences with a unique and intimate experience that allows artists to freely experiment with new material. Shows at The Cake Shop directly financially support the musicians playing. Previous performances include Caroline Smith & Jesse Schuster, Rachel Ries, Spirits of the Red City, Zoo Animal, Dark Dark Dark and Elephant Micah, Pezzettino, Roma Di Luna, Jeremy Messersmith, The Pines, Ben Kyle & Carrie Rodriguez, We Are The Willows (Peter Miller), batteryboy, and Chastity Brown.

Tonight! Radical Face at the Varsity Theater

16 Oct

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So there’s this guy Radical Face that CAS and Staciaann have been raving about since around 2007.The story starts like this… Staciaann had an old school MySpace account and actually used it to find new music. A photo of a dude with a lightbulb in front of his face popped up in a sidebar, and so she decided to check it out.

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When she clicked on the page, this song began to play:

A few days later, she still couldn’t get this song out of her head. The melody, the swells, the lyrics… so she went to the Electric Fetus in hopes they’d have his only album, Ghost. Oddly enough, they actually had one copy, so home it went. Some tracks, like “Wrapped in Piano Strings” were instant favorites, and as she listened it began to seep into her mind as something incredibly relatable. It was a winter album. Something that connected somewhere inside during that season. So every year since 2007 that CD stays in her car starting in October and continuing until March. It’s an album you can keep the windows rolled up and turn the dial to its max and just absorb. It makes things better when it’s dark outside as you’re coming home from work. It’s also on every computer she’s ever owned “just in case.”

After some simple internet research Staciaann found Ben Cooper. Cooper isn’t just the genius behind her favorite album and the moniker Radical Face, but he’s also the founder of bands like Electric President, Unkle Stiltskin, and a few others. However, he’s proven fairly elusive given he apparently only likes to leave Jacksonville, Florida, to do things like play in Street Fighter tournaments (Thanks to Astronautalis for the tip).

So now it’s 2010 and Staciaann and CAS venture to SXSW. Turns out, Electric President is playing the last night. It’s a shitty hole in the wall dance club. The sound sucks, the kid next to Staciaann won’t stop (loudly) singing every word, and there are multiple issues with the monitors and computers. It is bad enough that one of Cooper’s bandmates steps up to do some yo-yo tricks to keep the audience engaged (he was actually really amazing). BUT they didn’t care. Who knew when this opportunity would come again? It seems all fantasy-like and perhaps we’re overselling it, but it was a great night. …and Staciaann even got to meet and talk with Cooper a bit. She begged him to come to Minnesota or somewhere close-by with a Radical Face show.

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A few months later Cooper attempted to put together a series of house shows around the country – and hey! That’s what the Cake Shop is for! But alas, funding fell through and the tour never happened. Flash forward to 2013 and specifically to tonight. This guy who seems to be a bit of a recluse, who never tours, is here. In Minneapolis. As Radical Face.

Tickets will be available at the door. For more information on tonight’s show, click here.