Saturday, December 12, 2009

Local Props

Having just come through a week with a major snow storm immediately followed by "dangerous" cold temperatures, it feels like a particularly good time to sing the praises of living in the Twin Cities. Since you are reading this blog, the odds are already fairly strong that high on your own list of reasons as to why this is a good place to live is the depth and quality of the arts and culture here, especially as it relates to live music.

Two weeks ago, singer Haley Bonar remarked from our stage, having just completed a short tour mostly in the upper midwest, that "there aren’t a lot of cities that care about music like Minneapolis does." We like to think that The Cedar represents the ultimate epitome of that.

What's so great about the situation here is that the audience and the venues tend to feed the cycle of talent, and vice versa. So, really, great artists like Haley are a huge part in cultivating that culture of appreciation; the reason we all care is that so many great local musicians give us so many reasons to care. Which then encourages other great musicians to contribute, and so forth.

I followed the Angel of Rock by one night to the Andrew Bird church show. I could echo her complaints, and add a few of my own (like a message to photographers: if you're not using a digital camera which can be fully silenced, you should not be shooting a mostly acoustic show at a church. And if you are using a digital camera and don't have it in full "silence" mode in that setting, someone should just take the damn thing away from you forever). But ultimately, Andrew's skill, talent, and humility always shine through in intimate settings, which will always make this kind of show compelling.

While Andrew Bird is not a Minneapolis-based artist, his entire band is from here (which makes us all feel like he's a homeboy), and are among that talented core group who can be credited with cultivating an appreciative audience. Mike Lewis and Jeremy Ylvisaker joined Bird last night, and also played with Haley on her recent tour. And coming to The Cedar this Friday is the remaining Bird band member, drummer and keyboardist Martin Dosh, for his annual end-of-year Cedar extravaganza:

As if that alone were not enough, other local shows coming in the next ten days to The Cedar: hands-down the funnest family show going with Bunny Clogs next Saturday morning, followed by the adult configuration of that band, local legends The Honeydogs that night; homegrown Americana stars Romantica, celebrating the release of their new recording with one of the best titles ever conceived: Control Alt Country Delete; and on the eve of Christmas eve, the annual holiday show by the enormously talented Roma di Luna.

I'll speak for myself: this is exactly why I live here, windchill be damned!

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