Avant genius Kenny Millions can teach us plenty -- Hexagon Bar tonight
One of the best things a person can receive is an insult from a complete stranger. Stay with me, here. Especially in the pearls-clutching, sideways-talking, eyes-averting trappings of the Midwest, it's refreshing to hear someone yell something vile at us every once in a while to really understand what's going on when people actually interact (or don't interact). South Florida's goggle-wearing, guitar-licking Keshavan "Kenny Millions" Maslak is a musical provocateur of the highest order in that respect.
During my two-year tenure as music editor at our Fort Lauderdale-based sister paper New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it was a satisfying brain massage to see roomfuls of people get the Kenny Millions treatment. Some expect the "You're all cocksuckers!" treatment, some are getting the put-down barrage for the first time. Either way, it's poetry smeared on a piece of toilet paper. And that's before we even get into the instrumentation.
Kenny Millions regularly gets dumped into some weird jazz bin because he "plays" a saxophone during performances. He also "plays" the guitar, which has a bunch of gadgets and one of those radios you use in the shower glued to it. The scare quotes are there as a reminder that Millions' approach to performance -- including his verbal assaults on the audience -- are all about re-wiring the assumptions we have about attending a concert. And if that translates to an eyes-open approach to our daily lives, all the better.
Instruments aren't to be stroked. It's not a crowd of your best friends out there. The world is a hoary, hostile place. And that's sure-as-shit fine with Kenny Millions. He's just putting up with us -- the same way we're all putting up with each other -- but he's getting out some of those demons onstage. Maybe it makes him sleep better at night, but probably not.
An interruption for people who need some sort of context and validation for their musical journeying, Kenny Millions has several dozen recordings. Names like Dr. John, Stan Getz, and Chet Baker are on his resume.
Here's a sample of what happens when he's in your town:
Not everyone is gonna like Kenny Millions, but why would a guy with an entertaining level of contempt care about something so trivial as that? You might not like Kenny Millions either, but that still might not be enough to keep you from wanting to watch him perform.
Kenny Millions. With Cock ESP, Cognitive Dissonance, Brain Tumors, and Tips for Twat. 21+, free, 10 p.m. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.