What is it that makes an artist interesting? What makes them stand out from stream of sound and images that bombards us every day? If I had a reliable answer to that, I’d have a swanky corner office in Manhattan and be raking in money as a consultant. In this particular case it took about 20 seconds of listening to Eleanor Friedberger’s video ‘Are We Good?”’ to perk my interest and make my way to the Cedar on a rainy Wednesday night.
On a related note, the Cedar Cultural Center is turning 30 this year, and going strong with some recently renovated and expanded spaces. It remains the Twin Cities leading venue for world music shows rounded out a number of interesting, often quirky artists.
Starting the evening was Minneapolis’ Jillian Rae. As the crowd trickled in, Rae captured them before they even found their seat. She mentioned that she had listened to “that Garbage song” a couple of times – and promptly had to explain that she was referring to “I’m only happy when it rains” by the band rather than a song that’s garbage. She introduced a new song “Inebriated” from her upcoming record.
Pill was quite the change of pace. The New York band had just released a new video “Midtown” ahead of their upcoming second album “Soft Hell” that got some serious love from Rolling Stone the day of the show. Watching them on stage it was easy to see where that love came from. Wild and bass driven, their sound is accentuated by voice bursts from singer Veronica Torres. Feedback from the sax is used as an instrument
Set List: Vagabound / Side / Midtown / AIYM / P.Flaw – Fruit / Naked Muse / Scared Away / Pina Q
I think Eleanor Friedberger started her set with “My Jesus Please” (there was a mic stand in the way when I took a picture of the set list) – someone correct me if I am wrong! It was a low key song that did not get in my face, but its quietness pulled me in. Friedberger has a fascinating voice. It’s simple and unpretentious, it’s smooth and captivating.
“Everything” went up tempo and had people dancing, she encouraged them and told the dancers she expected a shoulder throw. Friedberger mentioned that she usually plays through her set but was enjoying the beautiful room and sound. Most songs were from her new album “Rebound”. I was unfamiliar with Friedberger walking into the Cedar, but I was treated to an very entertaining evening and enjoyed listening to more of her music afterwards.
Set List: My Jesus Please? / Everything / ? / Turquoise / 7th Ray / Stars / Tomorrow / Open / Sweet / Song / Mistakes