RNDM @ First Avenue

RNDM was one of those shows that I initially saw, and thought, "hey, it's got a guy from another famous band that I like, I wonder if I should go". That answer was, as it turned out, no. That was, until I got an email saying that members could go for free +1. I figured, well if it's bad, I didn't pay for it.

So a friend and I went to check them out. Although I knew they were more on the pop rock side of things and that isn't necessarily my taste, I went in with an open mind. Turned out, I really liked them. As musicians, they were amazing so it was really cool to watch them play. The songs were upbeat and fun which made it a very enjoyable show. Also really cool (or not cool, depending on how you look at it) there was no one there. So we were standing about 2 feet from the stage almost dead center.

The opener, GULL, was also a real treat. He was a one man band, which when you hear that you think of a guy with a drum on his back and maybe a harmonica. He did in fact have a drum, but it was on the floor. He also had a guitar, a mic, a sampler, and a mask (not sure why). This would be one guy on the street corner I'd actually stop and listen to.

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Madonna @ Xcel Energy Center

This had all the ingredients to be a great night. We were going with a handful of friends. We were having dinner at my sister-in-laws place before walking over to the venue. My wife was even going. But even with all that going in our favor, the show, ultimately was a let down.

I had high hopes for this show. I'm mean, all it had to do, was be similar to the previous time we'd seen Madonna, which was my #8 top show of all time.

Paul Oakenfold was the opener, that has to be good right?! Sadly, I don't think it translated well within the arena. Especially when people are just sitting around mingling, waiting for what they really came to see. Plus, I think his song selection sucked. He played all the safe dance choices, definitely nothing that showed he was one of the top DJs in the world. Nero was also on this tour, and I really wished they had played the St Paul stop.

Spectacle-wise, this show was very similar. It was over the top Madonna. However, the thing that it lacked, and when compared to the Sticky-n-Sweet tour, was song selection. This go around she chose to sing alot off the most recent 2 albums. She did cram some hits in, but they were either acoustic (which I think are always dumb) or some mashup/remix versions (also, usually not great).

I'd say the intro that started with Girl Gone Wild, was probably my favorite part of the show. After that, it was all down hill unfortunately. Even my wife who is a die hard fan, thought it was a lame show. Oh well, maybe in another 4 years we'll get another cool show, or maybe not.

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Crystal Castles @ First Avenue

After 11 months I finally cashed in my 2 free member tickets that came with my First Avenue membership. Considering these tickets retailed for $32.50 a piece and my membership was $75, I'd say it was well worth the purchase.

The last, and first time, I saw Crystal Castles was at Lollapalooza 2011. That performance made me a fan, and ensured I'd see them anytime they came through town. So imagine my excitement when I found out they were coming to First Ave, AND I could see them for free.

I started out the packed show on the floor, which was a great spot for viewing. It also happened to be a great spot to be bumped, shoved, and pushed. Needless to say, I moved. I retreated to the 2nd floor, which was more open, and more importantly next to the bar. Still a great view, but more enjoyable. The duo put on a fantastic show. It was loud, loud, and thrilling to watch. I loved seeing Alice Glass climb out onto the audience to drink from a bottle and spit it into the crowd.

Great show to watch, great songs to hear, and I can't wait for them to come back.

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