Doomtree Blowout IX @ First Avenue

My Doomtree Blowout cherry has finally been, well, blown out so-to-speak. In it's 9th year, I attended night 2 of a four night engagement, primarily at First Avenue's mainroom. The almost two and a half hour show treated the sold out crowd to 2 different shows Friday night. A show, within a show, within a show if you will.

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Jay-Z @ Xcel Energy Center

It turns out Jay-Z had pretty low expectations for his stop in St Paul Saturday night, which was the first night of his Magna Carter World Tour.  Noting a couple of times how he thought St Paul was going to be just "ok".  Thankfully the exuberant crowd changed his mind.

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MGMT @ First Avenue

How does a band, originally slated to play the 5000 person Roy Wilkins, handle the move to the much smaller 1500 person First Avenue mainroom? Quite gracefully actually.  

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Pretty Lights @ Myth Live

Insert witty comment about how pretty the lights were here. The lights were indeed amazing, but these days that's a given at an EDM show much less a Pretty Lights show. This tour, Derek Vincent Smith aka Pretty Lights was heading out in support of his most recent album, A Color Map of the Sun. However, this time around he was bringing along a number of live musicians to support him onstage.

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Toro Y Moi (w/ Classixx) @ First Avenue

Toro Y Moi were back in Minneapolis Saturday night, for the 6th time in the last 3 years. I caught him, Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi at the sold out Triple Rock show, and then later at the sold out Fine Line show.  The latter was more dancey and upbeat than the former, so I could only imagine graduating to the Mainroom at First Ave would be an all out dance party.   

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Figure and Crizzly @ Mill City Nights

When this show was originally announced, I had no intention of going. Even though I had been listening to Crizzly's 'Crunkstep Volume 2: Back 2 Da Streets' regularly, it wasn't enough to convince me to get a ticket.  But then the music blog,, had an offer that included a signed poster and the chance to meet the guys before the show, so I bought my ticket.  I figured if anything, at least I'd get an autographed poster even if the show wasn't great.  So if you ever want me to attend your event, just give me something with your signature on it, I'll be sure to go then.  

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Nine Inch Nails @ Xcel Energy Center

Sometimes when you go to see a band that you loved in high school 20 years ago, your expectations aren't high.  They have a tendency to not have the same power and impact.  This wasn't the case Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Centerfor Nine Inch Nails.  Touring in support of their new album 'Hesitation Marks' they played unlike a band that released their first album 24 years ago.  

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Zed's Dead / Paper Diamond @ Mill City Nights

As much as I was looking forward to this show, it ultimately was a let down.  We spent very little time listening to the main acts and spent more time down stairs listening to the local djs.  Oh well.  

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Empire of the Sun @ The State Theater

I've been hooked on Empire of the Sun since their newest album 'Ice On The Dune' came out. Then I saw a live show of theirs that was broadcast on the Palladia network, and I knew I had to see them myself. Between the poppy electronic songs and the over-the-top costumes, Empire of the Sun has the ingredients for a great live show.

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Washed Out @ First Avenue

Washed Out made his first appearance in Minneapolis this past Thursday telling us he's not sure what took so long. He kicked off the hour long set with "Entrance" off his newest album "Paracosm". While Washed Out, real name Ernest Greene, himself played acoustic guitar, keyboard, and a drum machine, his band had all the same instruments, which included a drummer, a bass player, and keyboardist, and a guitarist. Although it seemed like everyone had a mixer or keyboard for themselves, it ended up blending very well together with each musician adding a subtle layer to each song.

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Icona Pop @ Varsity Theater

My expectations were pretty low coming into this show on Tuesday night.  I had missed Icona Pop at Lollapalooza back in August, but heard the show was good, except for the huge number of teenagers making out everywhere.  I assumed, incorrectly after all, that these 2 Swedish ladies were all fluff, and riding high on a single pop hit.  Thankfully, I was wrong.

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CHVRCHES @ First Avenue

Here I thought it was strange, a band with one album, was able to play 2 sold out nights in a row at First Ave [alt-J].  Along comes Chvrches, who play a sold out night with only a couple EPs (their official full length ‘The Bones of What You Believe’ is due in a couple weeks).  However, as soon as the show started, it was easy to see why the trio from Scotland were able to pack the First Ave mainroom on a Monday night.  In fact, Lauren Mayberry (lead singer) mentioned that this was their largest headlining gig yet.  Also to note, this was actually their second time in Minneapolis, previously playing a sold out Fine Line gig.

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alt-J @ First Avenue

On one hand, it seems unusual that a band with only 1 album to their name is playing 2 sold out shows at First Avenue.  However, when you take into consideration that alt-J has already been here twice, selling out the Triple Rock, and selling out the Varsity Theater, it's doesn't seem that unreasonable.  Even more insane were the number of people still searching for tickets to either of these sold out shows.

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Flume @ First Avenue

"It's a Tuesday, what the fuck are you guys doing?!" asked Harley Streten, better known as Flume. That question perfectly sums up the unusually large and lively crowd this past Tuesday.

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Ke$ha @ Myth Live

“How much glitter is enough glitter”, was a question many apparently asked themselves on Monday night, but few accurately answered. Arriving at Myth Live in Maplewood to the almost sold out Ke$ha crowd, the use of glitter seemed as if it was a requirement. Many of the overwhelming amount of female attendees appeared to incorporate it in some degree in their outfit for the night. The heavily costumed all age crowd definitely weighed heavily on the late teen early twenties demographic. Although many an older fan could be found throughout the crowd.

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Baauer & RL Grime @ Skyway Theatre

The last time Baauer was in town, it was at the peak of Harlem Shake mania and the show sold out.  This time around, not so much.  Obviously the Harlem Shake got played, and played, and played, so it's no wonder it isn't the draw it was just a few months back. That's not to say we didn't get a good show, because we did.  

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ First Avenue

Easily one of the best, most entertaining shows I've seen this year. Karen O puts on such an amazing display, it's almost not human. Monday night, First Ave was absolutely packed. Sold out of course, but also packed. Like, couldn't get near the stage, packed. Like, couldn't find a decent spot to see, packed.

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QUESTLOVE and DANGELO: Brothers In Arms - A Two Man Show @ First Avenue

Remember back in 2000 there was that video of that guy in cornrows that was just him singing naked. Well, 13 years later he doesn't have nearly the same body but he absolutely has the same voice. D'Angelo, along with ?uestlove, are doing a few gigs called Brothers In Arms. As ?uestlove put it, it was a way for the 2 of them to play together and do what they do in the studio and allow the audience to be the fourth wall.

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James Murphy DJ set @ First Avenue

LCD Soundsystem are no more, but that doesn’t mean their front man James Murphy, has retired.  The DFA record label co-founder is still performing, as a DJ.
He stopped by First Ave to spin a 3 hour set, which by most measures, is pretty lengthy.  Truth be told, I only made it an hour.  Having just come from another concert and needing to get up to go to work the next day, I was intent on seeing 2 AM from my bed.  Sadly, I wish I could have stayed the entire time, because I’m not sure when I’ll get that atmosphere again.
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Kings of the Mic Tour @ Target Center

Kings of the Mic Tour @ Target Center

Walking into the Target Center to hear the Kings of the Mic tour, 3 security guards ran by saying concernedly “it was either a knife or an iPad”. You’d think those 2 things would be easy to tell apart, but more importantly, it perfectly describes what the Kings (and their fans) were, and are now.

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The Bloody Beetroots (w/ Valentino Khan) @ Skyway Theatre

How can less people attend a Monday night show you might wonder? Simple, make that Monday night a holiday. Toss in an extra late night set time, and it becomes painfully obvious why the Skyway Theatre was empty for The Bloody Beetroots. Lucky for the few in attendance however, the performances that night weren’t reflective of the small crowd.

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The Presets (w/ Dragonette) @ First Avenue

Two bands with similar sounds, but very distinctive stage shows. This was the scene at First Ave for Dragonette and The Presets.

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Black Moth Super Rainbow (w/ The Hood Internet) @ Fine Line Music Cafe

For a Monday night, this was a really great show to see.

First up was The Hood Internet. These guys have been around since 2007 releasing some really awesome mixtapes. They've even been through Minneapolis a number of times, but I've missed them every time, so it was great finally catching them live.

Tonight manning the decks was just one half of the Hood Internet team, Steve Sleeve. Starting right on time at 9:45 with a pretty unenthusiastic "Ok, I guess I'll start now", Steve blasted through 45 minutes of great dance-able mash-ups. As the set built up, the crowd got more and more lively, cheering louder with each new song. He told the crowd how crazy they were for a Monday, which is true, although calling them a crowd was being generous considering their actual numbers. It was still a Monday after all.

The crowd got noticeably larger or at least they all gathered on the floor around 10PM for Black Moth Super Rainbow. I was able to get a pretty good spot right upfront, but realized my view might be blocked by the giant mixer/briefcase/laptop setup. As it turns out, the lead singer hides behind it. So I ended up having a great view of a guy that clearly didn't care to be seen. His hat and hoodie didn't help matters either. This briefcase held his mixer and microphone which allowed him to alter his voice for each song as it was performed.

There were some obvious fans in the crowd, with someone in the middle yelling "People in the front row, what the fuck is wrong with you". He obviously felt they weren't into the show as much as he thought they should be. Whether he moved up, or they got into the game, it eventually got rowdier as the hour long set progressed. At one point a small attempt at a mosh pit was made.

The set ended exactly at 11 o'clock. Although they never once addressed the crowd, or really even acknowledged we where there, it was an interesting show to attend. If you were high, it was probably an out of body experience. The music was great and was a perfect soundtrack to a somewhat weird and awkward stage show.

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Marijuana Deathsquads @ Icehouse

The 2nd night of a 5 night Marijuana Deathsquads residency at Iceshouse was a who's-who of local Minnesota music, and I didn't even know who everyone was. The Icehouse Twitter said the show would kick off at 10ish. In reality it was almost 11:30.

Lizzo (ft Cliff Rhymes and Lazerbeak) blazed through a quick and energetic 30 minute set called LIZZOBANGERS. And bang, it did.

Next up, the main event, Marijuana Deathsquads performing something dubbed SLAM DUNK. Although their equipment had been setup the whole time, and Lizzo finished before midnight, MDS didn't start until after midnight. But hey, who needs sleep on a Wednesday night.

The set starts out with a video of Dee Brown's Pump-Up Slam Dunk, but just the part of him pumping up his shoes, over and over and over. Then the "Oh!" from EMF's "Unbelievable" starts to get mixed in, timed with video of a different NBA player slam dunking. Finally the pair of drummers started and everyone else joined in. Slam dunk, I get it now.

This wasn't the typical MDS show though, this time around all the vocals were done by a rotating cast of MCs. Two at a time, they would take the stage, rap, and get the MDS remix treatment in the process all while video rolled of well timed slam dunks. The cast of MCs included Lizzo, Sophia Eris, Mike Mictlan, POS, Manchita, Cliff Rhymes and Spyder Baby, and that was only half of them. They carried this through for the next hour and never once let up.

I thought previous MDS shows were a sight to see, but this one tops them all. There are still 3 more shows this month, ending with the debut of their two new EP's "Music Rocks 1 and 2".

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DJ Shadow @ Mill City Nights

Last December DJ Shadow was booted off the stage at Mansion Miami after only playing 20 minutes. He has since gone on tour promoting that mix called the 'All Bases Covered' tour.

He stopped at Mill City Nights this time around to do a traditional DJ set, as oppose to the last time he was here at First Ave for the 'Live from the Shadowsphere' tour which had some pretty impressive production.

He started off the night by letting the audience know that he's basically going to play what he thinks is good music and that he's recently been experimenting with bass music. Later, he mentioned that those in the back probably aren't sure why they're here, but hope they learn something anyway. Midway through he pointed out the fact he was doing this all sans laptop. I'm a huge DJ Shadow fan, but man, he really sounds like he's got a chip on his shoulder. Mind you, the 2nd floor was closed off and there was plenty of room to move. We get it, you're not a mainstream DJ and you're not going to conform to the current EDM world just to make a quick buck. It was clear because that's all you seemed to talk about. In other words, he was "too future" for most people.

The show itself was good otherwise. If you've been to an EDM show of any sort and wondered what exactly the DJ is doing up there or if they're doing anything at all; it was obvious at this show. Not only did you hear/see all the regular DJ Shadow tricks (mixing, sampling, scratching), but you also saw him drum live on a drum machine. He's just not up there appearing to adjust the volume and twist some knobs he's doing what you'd expect a DJ to be doing. The music was good and got most of the crowd to move almost the whole time. My only gripe (other than his griping) was the bass. It was so overwhelming it was almost a distraction. In fact, it was a bit of a relief when he'd let up and you could actually hear the music.

He ended the show with a live rendition of the his classic, Organ Donor. Since I got hooked on DJ Shadow with Endtroducting, this was the highlight of the night. Based on the reaction of the rest of the crowd, I imagine it was their highlight as well.
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Justice @ Epic Nightclub

DJ Set or Live set, that is the question. Depending on your preference you may or may not have had a good time at Epic Friday night. A live set consists of the trademark Justice stage setup, which is a giant wall of speakers and the white cross, with them playing all Justice tracks or remixes (Check out their new album All Access Areas for a perfect example of a live set). A dj set on the other hand is what we got, which was the duo behind a nondescript table with a couple of laptops and some mixers, playing mostly other peoples music.

That's a pretty big difference, although you wouldn't know it from the price of the show. A $50 ticket would not be out of sorts for a live show, although for the size of Epic and this being Mpls, that's still pretty steep. So it was a little disappointing that was the price for this show. According to the promoters, they have to charge enough to pay what the group demands, but if you have to have a Groupon to help sell tickets, it's obviously too much.

Just after midnight, following 2 opening DJs (KPT & Soviet Panda), Justice finally took the stage to spin some tunes. In my opinion they did a great job with song selection. They didn't depend on your typical EDM tracks to get the crowd moving. They dropped in some classics, from 'Windowlicker' - Aphex Twin to 'Move Your Feet' - Junior Senior, as well as a few Justice tracks.

If you were hoping to see Justice perform, you were probably pretty let down, especially after dropping $50. However, if you were there to dance, have a good time, and let Justice curate the music for the evening, you likely had a blast. After all, hearing them mix in D.A.N.C.E. and Civilization is the next best thing to a live set.  
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STS9 @ First Avenue

I've been to a number of festivals with STS9 on the bill as well as in the same city they've passed through, but this was my first time officially catching them.

When I arrived at First Ave and saw the size of the line to get in, I was pretty surprised. I realize STS9 has been around for over 10 years and probably has a pretty loyal following, but I guess I just wasn't expecting a crowd that big. Needless to say it was packed inside and the crowd was really excited and energized waiting for the 5 members to take the stage.

I assumed I was in for quite a show with this sort of buzz and anticipation. When the band took the stage around 9:30PM and kicked off their nearly 2 hour show, the crowd went crazy, and didn't stop moving the entire time. The lights were a great compliment to the 5 guys on stage clearly enjoying what they were doing and feeding off the crowd's energy; even if they seldom addressed the crowd.

This all probably sounds like a great time right? For everyone in the audience, except for me, it was! However, after a few songs I felt like I got it. I was obviously seeing a different show than everyone else. I could see how STS9 would do really well in a festival atmosphere, especially outdoors. The unusual amount of white dudes with dreads seemed to confirm this.

I ended up leaving after an hour, which according to Twitter was the end of Set I (of II). I couldn't do another hour of what felt like a rave my parents would enjoy attending.

4.11.13 - First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN - Set I: #STS9setlist
Golden Gate #STS9setlist
Instantly #STS9setlist
Arigato #STS9setlist
Blu Mood #STS9setlist
The Rabble #STS9setlist
One A Day #STS9setlist
Hubble #STS9setlist
4.11.13 - First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN - Set II: #STS9setlist
Vapors #STS9setlist
Beyond Right Now #STS9setlist
Dance #STS9setlist
Kabuki #STS9setlist
Monkey Music #STS9setlist
Simulator #STS9setlist
March #STS9setlist
Inspire Strikes Back #STS9setlist
Encore: This, Us #STS9setlist
4 Year Puma #STS9setlist
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Modestep @ First Avenue

I knew very little about Modestep before attending their show at First Ave on Sunday night.  After giving them a listen and learning they were a dubstep-rock band however, it sounded like it could be an interesting show to see.  And interesting it was.

If you've ever attended an electronic or EDM show before and wondered what it would be like if the songs were performed by actual musicians, well, that's a Modestep show.  I enjoyed their song selection in their quick 60 minute set, and I just couldn't get over the fact that this was all live.  Along with their own songs, they performed 3 Prodigy songs, a Major Lazer song, a Porter Robbinson song, a Coldplay song(crazy right?!), and a bit of Rage Against the Machine.  All put through a dubstep blender and performed with actual vocals and instruments.

Each of the 4 members of the band did a great job showcasing their skills.  The lead singer had a great range considering he had to sing, rap, and even scream.  Plus, it was refreshing to hear live drums and live guitars on these same tracks that you've heard time and again mixed into DJ sets.  They definitely stayed as close to a "normal" DJ set as they could, all while reminding you they were a rock band too.  The respective drum and guitar solos were a welcome surprise.  The one rock element I think they should have left out was the break between songs.  The audience is there to dance, and they're accustomed to dancing nonstop through the show.  Although they did their damnedest to work the energy up with each song, certainly they wouldn't have had to work so hard had they not stopped so many times.

Even with the more traditional elements of a rock show sewn through a very dominant dubstep sound, the audience loved it all.  Although the crowd was small, everyone in attendance was on the floor and dancing to every song, drinking up every last "drop".

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Major Lazer @ First Avenue

Somewhat surprisingly this show sold out just in the time Major Lazer went on at 11:00 Wednesday night and not sooner. When the Major Lazer intro cartoon ended and the screen at First Ave went up, you could feel the anticipation and energy in the crowd.  The group entered to a low key Rhianna - Stay x Major Lazer mashup, but that quickly kicked into another song that shot the energy through the roof, where it stayed almost the entire time.

Fans of Major Lazer may have been disappointed that there were only a smattering of Major Lazer songs, but you couldn't tell by the crowds reaction.  They happily danced, jumped, shook, and stripped whenever the group requested it.  It was more of a DJ set with 3 hype-men and 1 hype-lady/dancer than a Major Lazer "show".

The party continued for over 90 minutes with the band providing entertainment along the way.  There was Diplo in the Flaming Lips inflatable ball.  There was the requisite Mad Decent reppin Harlem Shake audience participation.  There was a Pon de Flor-esqe dance drop onto an audience member   The crowd ate it all up.  The show, however, slowed down a bit once we got to the Express Yourself female participation moment of the evening.  Although humorous at times, and sexy at others, it did bring the show to a halt and deflated the crowd a bit.  I think they had a hard time getting the show back on track and to the previous energy level.

Whether you're a fan or not of Major Lazer you would have had to make a concerted effort to not enjoy yourself at First Ave this night.  Everywhere you looked you could see people dancing and moving to the music.  If you enjoy high energy shows and dancing, I'd advise not missing Major Lazer when he rolls through your town.  


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Django Django @ First Avenue

There was some discussion on Twitter if the $30 ticket price was justified, considering this was Django Django's first time playing in Mpls.  Compared to Alt-J who, winners of the Mercury Prize, have now played twice in Mpls in smaller venues  don't play First Ave until August.  

The fact they sold out this show I think settles the argument.  

I like the album, but the live show takes it to another level.  I made a Spotify playlist of the set and it doesn't do it justice.  The whole set just sounded fuller, and louder and dancier.  

Any reservations I had seeing these guys live were immediately dissolved within the first song.  They even admitted during the set that even though it was St Paddy's day and they were from Ireland, this was the better place to be.

These guys must love their tambourines  because they were in almost every song, and they even had different sizes.  I even joked about it on Twitter and they responded with their tambourine budget.
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Mouse on Mars @ The 7th Street Entry

I know I've been following MOM for a long time.  At least that's what I thought.  I tried tracking down the CD I had but couldn't find it.  Regardless, I got a ticket.

Super show in a super venue.  These guys know what they're doing.

I'm drunk writing this, so you're lucky you got this much. 

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Marijuana Deathsquads @ The Belmore

Absolutely my favorite local band.  So how jazzed was I when they were playing the same night I was already going out for another show?  And how awesome was it when that other show let out in time for me to walk a block over to catch this show?  This is one of those times I wish it was 5 years ago, and I lived downtown.  

But alas, I'm now a parent and I live 7 miles outside of downtown.  I'm definitely thankful I get these opportunities though.  These guys sounded amazing   The next day I told my wife how much I wish she was there with me to experience this.  Back in the day she would have loved it.  

I can't wait for these guys to do more.  I love everything they do and wish I was able to catch them live more often. 

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Toro Y Moi @ Fine Line Music Cafe

This was my 3rd time seeing Toro Y Moi live.  It could easily have been my best time seeing them though.  

Although I couldn't get a good spot to watch this time around, they sounded amazing.  It's really weird how different the live show differs from the recorded versions. 

The last time I saw them was at the Triple Rock 2 years ago.  I really enjoyed that show.  This show was totally different. Which is strange because it's not like this new album was all that different from the first.  But again, the live set just translated so differently than the album.  And better, if you ask me.  

If you like dance, then you'd have a great time at this show.  It had a much groovier feel live than the album.

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One More Time: A Tribute to Daft Punk @ Mill City Nights

When I initially saw this listed as an event I laughed, I mean come on, an electronic cover band?! On a certain level there's a bit of irony here, since most DJs are technically playing other peoples music. 

 Then I watched the preview video for the show and was sold. Big surprise, right?

I saw Daft Punk at Coachella in 2006, so I know how awesome they are live. And I know what this "tribute" was going after. That was my all time best show I ever saw. I read some where that Daft Punk is the most requested band for Coachella, so it make sense that somebody is touring around trying to capitalize on that.  

The show opened the exact same way they did on the 2006 tour, with Robot Rock.  Great song, and great way to open a show.  

I'm not sure what all to say about the show other than yeah, it was a bunch of Daft Punk songs and remixes, so it's good music, if that's what you're into.  

They had the poor mans version of the pyramid which wasn't all that bad.  Being 2013 they also had the luxury of adding Tron soundtrack songs into the mix.  Overall, it was a good show.  If you like Daft Punk, then you would have definitely enjoyed yourself. 
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Family of the Year @ The 7th St Entry

I attend a good amount of concerts by myself.  This is due to my taste in music not aligning with most, if not all, my friends.  Those shows that would typically appeal to my friends, are further whittled away by being on a school night. Conversely, I believe this is why I rarely get invited to go to a show.  So when an invite does come through I definitely keep an open mind about the band.  It really doesn't take much for me to have some interest in a band.  As long as they aren't country, folk, or alt-country/folk, and are upbeat, chances are I'll enjoy them.

This was the case with Family of the Year.  I took a quick listen and well, they didn't suck, so I said "yep, I'll go" and grabbed a ticket.  Not only did they not suck, but they were a lot of fun to watch.  Most of their songs were full of energy and rockin', but they also had a lot of variety.  They didn't stick with the same formula for every song, so each song had the ability to stand out on it's own and was distinctive.  They also had a great banter with each other and the audience.  

The show at the Entry was sold out which apparently was their only (ever) sold out show in the US.  That's pretty awesome that a small band from LA can sell out a show here in Minneapolis.  

My only disappointment was with how short the set was.  Even with a good amount of talk between each song the set was about 50 minutes, which include the encore.  Otherwise it a a great show at the Entry with some great friends!

I also have to note I was impressed that they responded to me on Twitter when I asked when they were planning on going on.  It's always fun to get a response from a band over Twitter.

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Prince @ Dakota Jazz Club

I'm not much of a Prince fan, which isn't to say I don't like him, because I do. I mean, I saw him at Coachella 2008 and stayed and watched most of his set. I enjoy his music, but if he went on tour, I probably wouldn't go see him. However, when an opportunity comes along to see someone on the level of Prince play at a 300 seat club, I can't pass that up. So when 6 shows were announced at the Dakota Jazz Club for Prince, ranging in price from $70 to $250, I figured I'd check it out. Since the wife wasn't interested I enlisted my buddy who's the biggest Prince fan I know.

It was only a matter of a couple hours between the shows announcement and tickets going on sale. There were the typical ticket server crashes that I've dealt with before, which were eventually resolved. I think due to those issues it made it very easy to grab my 2 tickets to the very first show of the 6, once they were finally available.

32 hours later, we were at the club. Normally I would have taken a nauseating amount of pictures and video, but there was a strict no cell phone policy. In fact it stated that if you're caught even using your phone, you'll get booted, no exceptions.

Our expectations were pretty low, not only because this was the cheapest show and it was dubbed a 'drummer audition', but also it was Prince. Not someone that's known for being punctual or even showing up. The show started right on time though, and sure enough, it was just a drummer. BUT, roughly 10 minutes in, Price comes walking out! Ok, we didn't waste our money, he at least showed up. He sits down at a set of keyboards and starts playing along. Mind you, we're behind him, like, 10 feet behind him. I keep looking at my buddy in disbelief, this was just insane.

There was a 6 piece horn section that makes it's way out New Orleans style and marches around the joint. There was a guy on bass, and a woman on piano (I think, I couldn't tell what was over there). And of course the drummer and Prince.

Prince never sang, but he did play a lot of keyboard and guitar. It was just amazing to watch him and the other musicians play with each other. It seemed all free form jamming, although, I wouldn't know otherwise, but it sounded awesome. Tons of energy, enough energy in fact that at one point Prince instructed people to get up and dance, and they did.

The fact we were so close made it even more surreal every time Price would turn around in our direction and smirk or smile as the crowd bobbed along to the music. It was like he was looking right at us!!!

This was probably one of the coolest live music experiences I've ever had. New York gets Van Halen, Paris gets the Rolling Stones, and Minneapolis has Prince!

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First Avenue's Best New Bands of 2012 @ First Avenue

Last years best new bands show was a such a great experience that I couldn't miss this years. This time around it was on a Friday, which brought in a a lot more people than last year, and made it a lot more attractive to attend. Again, this was the First Ave Member get together, one that allowed us to pick up our new cards and our gift (this year was a scarf). We also had the upper stage-right bar sectioned off for us members. We didn't get the 50% off drinks like last year, but that's probably a good thing.

I was able to get a listen of all the bands playing and definitely had my favorites. Unfortunately, a couple that I wanted to see actually played earlier than we arrived. No worry though, the other 2 I wanted to see were on later.

Wiping Out Thousands, which sound and perform a lot like Crystal Castles were amazing. I'll need to check them out live again at one of their proper shows for sure. They brought a lot of energy to what had otherwise been a lot of folk-y sounds for the night. If you want me to stop reading a music review of a band description, just insert the work 'folk' or 'alt-country' in the first sentence. Needless to say, up to that point I really didn't care who was playing.

The final group was The Chalice which was a trio of ladies that rapped and sang. Sort of a TLC type group. Again, these guys had a lot of energy and definitely got people moving.

Although I liked less of the bands this year compared to last year, I still had a great time, and discovered some groups that I'll have to catch live on their own.

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