Heliotrope Music Festival

After a stint in Northeast, Minneapolis's scrappiest music festival makes its debut at downtown's Loring Theater. The Loring might be closer to the beaten path, but the same can't be said for the program of jazz, noise, and twisted pop that resists categorization as fiercely as an ornery tabby en route to a tick bath. Thursday opens with twisted vaudevillians Dreamland Faces (pictured) and ends with the International Novelty Gamelan's bent Balinese stylings. Friday night features sets by Milo Fine and Charles Gillett, Paul Metzger with Adam Linz and JT Bates, and the powerhouse duet of Joe McPhee and Chris Corsano, who take prime time. Tenor saxophonist McPhee's raucous musical finesse has delighted and inspired for four decades; he can infuse abstract compositions with soul and make accessible melodies fresh and intricate. Drummer Corsano has played with everyone from Six Organs of Admission to singular saxophonist Paul Flaherty, and his jittery, kinetic style works wherever he goes. Saturday ends noisily with Skoal Kodiak, but not before Thunderbolt Pagoda perforate your eardrums and Votel's (formerly H.U.N.X.) improv mayhem melts your mind. A non-musical highlight is always video artist Emily Kaplan's arresting montages cut in real time to the sounds blasting from onstage. With Myrrh, Grain Belt, John Jacob 3, Humanda, and more. (Photo by Emily Utne)
Thursdays-Saturdays, 5 p.m. Starts: May 26. Continues through May 28, 2011

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