Funk Inferno, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
WE'VE ALL HEARD by now that oft nude, corn-rowed R&B hunk D'Angelo considered his album Voodoo an "audition" to eventually produce Prince. Maybe such a project was discussed when D was invited to jam at Paisley Park with his diminutive idol on Tuesday, August 15. Regardless, D'Angelo's performance at the Orpheum the next evening was an eye-opener for anyone who had filed his studio work away as murky and overrated (like me, for instance).
D'Angelo remains an incorrigible clit-tease--the intro to "Brown Sugar" alone strung us along for at least ten minutes. But he pulled out all the stops: band members shrouded in medieval cowls, the gratuitous destruction of a drum kit, disrobing to bare his formidable pecs (and that was all just during the first hour of a show that stretched to well over two). And I should apologize to all fans of ?uestlove, best known as the drummer for hip-hop crew the Roots, and the linchpin of D'Angelo's seriously funky backup band. You see, I tweaked the Roots (and not for the first time) in my recent Heiruspecs profile ("Funk Is Instrumental," August 2), and now I realize the error of my ways. I ran into Heiruspecs bassist Sean McPherson and drummer Kevin Hunt outside of the Orpheum after the show, and I hung my head in shame.
Speaking of Heiruspecs (well, I was, wasn't I?), the baby-faced funk crew will return to the Foxfire Coffee Lounge on August 25. They're sharing the bill with Brother Ali (perhaps the most jovial MC of the entire Rhyme Sayers Collective), Northeast up-and-comers Unknown Prophets, and NY/MN rappers Odd Jobs. Word has it that Ali placed second at the MC competition at Scribble Jam in Cincinnati on August 11, thereby establishing a legacy for the Twin Cities, and the Rhyme Sayers in particular. (Fellow Rhyme Sayer Eyedea placed first in the competition last year.) And Unknown Prophets are reported to have a disc dropping by the end of the month.
Speaking of the Foxfire (yeah, I'm gonna use this cheap transition all the way through), that beloved, cash-strapped venue has found a new way to pay off some of its bills while accruing a smidgen of good karma in the process. On August 11 the Foxfire sponsored its first Smoke-Free Saturday, in cooperation with Target Market, the folks who've been using the tobacco settlement cash to counter pro-tobacco propaganda. Turnout was adequate, if not as crammed as I've seen the club on some nights, and the slickly poppy combo Camp Superfun was as insistent about us having a good time as their name might lead you to fear. And there were no fewer kids puffing outside on First Avenue than usual. (The next Smoke-Free Saturday is scheduled for September 20.)
Finally, speaking of downtown Minneapolis (okay, that was a stretch, but it's the last time, I swear), I applaud hometown MC Lil Buddy for his Herculean postering efforts. You can't turn the corner without seeing his brawny arms folded in defiance on some lightpost or bare wall. I can't recall the last time I've seen an independent PR blitz of this magnitude in any city (especially one that attempts to fine posterers). If I condoned any use of the word kudos, I would happily bestow it here.
Music Critic: Available for Events and Parties
ON AN ENTIRELY unrelated note, I was skimming the back pages of CP for a reputable escort service the other day, when I happened across Rob Brezsny's Real Astrology column. "I advise you to appropriate every good idea that comes your way and make it your own, only better," Brezsny advised me (and, I guess, anyone else born between December 22 and January 19). No sooner had I flipped back to the sex ads than an idea presented itself fresh for the swiping, courtesy of my editor, who'd pilfered it from the Memphis Flyer. (How's that for following Brezsny's advice--I even stole the idea to steal this idea!)
How often have I heard the plaintive cry, "Whom do I have to sleep with to get my band written up in City Pages?!?" Well, while I remain free and open to reasonable negotiations on most weekends, here's your chance to get written up, no strings attached, sparing yourself any awkward breakfast conversation and the cost of my cab fare home. Yes, it's the premiere of the RPM Band Challenge. All you've got to do is respond to the e-mail address below, inviting me to see your band live. Once a month, I'll take one of the respondents up on the offer--for one evening and one evening only. My opinions, for better or worse, will be printed in this column, making you either an instant star or resulting in a nasty letter-writing campaign from your pals.
Oh, and speaking of stealing, this is personal to the dickhead who made off with my bike outside the Loring Post Office last Wednesday: You will wish that your slithery hide had never been secreted from your mother's accursed womb, y'dig?
To request a live-concert review from RPM, send pertinent info (band lineup, CV, show date, Myers-Briggs personality-test data) to: [email protected]