While the Talking Heads may never get back together again, the next best thing happened at the First Avenue Main Room Friday night. Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew, members of the band at the pinnacle
of the groups popularity, brought the music of “Remain In Light”, along with a bunch of other tunes, to Minneapolis backed by Cool Cool Cool. Cool Cool Cool have a pretty solid pedigree themselves, most of
the band being former members of Turkuaz.
Jerry Harrison, a Wisconsin native, and Harvard graduate, started playing in bands in High school. In the early 70’s he formed The Modern Lovers with Jonathan Richman. He joined the Talking Heads in 1977,
playing guitar and keyboards for the band. Also quite the artist, Harrison designed the cover of Fear Of Music, the third album by Talking Heads, and received a grammy for best recording package. Jerry has
released 3 solo albums, but has really shined as a producer. The list of bands he has worked with would fill the page, but include Violent Femmes, Live, The BoDeans, Crash Test Dummies and The String Cheese
Adrian Belew is from Covington, Kentucky who taught himself guitar while convalescing from mononucleosis. Not having the access to sound effects but wanting to manipulate the guitar in order to create his own sound, Belew became a legend at manually manipulating his guitar to develop an array of effects that have become his signature. He was discovered in Nashville by Frank Zappa in 1977 touring with him as well as appearing on Sheik Yerbouti. Belew caught the eye of producer Brian Eno, who recommended him to David Bowie. Adrian played on Bowie’s Lodger album and toured on ad off with him from ’78-’90. The connection he made with Brian Eno landed him the gig with Talking Heads, whom he toured with from ’80-’81. Belew is arguably best known as a member of King Crimson, having had one of the longest runs of any member not named Robert Fripp. He can also be heard on 4 Nine Inch Nails albums, and has 18 solo studio albums and a an app, Flux by belew.
The night started with a set from Cool Cool Cool. Fronted by vocalists Shira Elias and Sammi Garett, Cool Cool Cool brought the funk. It was impossible not to groove along with the powerful bass lines laid down
by Julie Slick. “Gotta Give It Away” featured a steaming hot solo by guitarist Craig Brodhead, who also shared keyboard duty with trumpeter Chris Brouwers. The groove filled horn section was rounded out
by saxophonists Greg Sanderson and Josh Schwartz. The pace slowed a little with “With You”, but the tune had a smoking hot trumpet solo. The set really got the packed Mainroom warmed up, the entire
audience was moving and grooving the entire set
the Mainroom as the ensemble launched into “Psycho Killer”. While not from Remain In Light, the tune certainly packed a wallop, and got the set off to an rocking start. Adrian Belew went “psycho” on the
whammy bar, creating unearthly sounds with each riff. When the band broke into “Crosseyed And Painless”, the crowd really let loose. Super funked up with Harrisons keys and Belews whammy dives, you could feel
the First Ave Floor vibrating under your feet. Fenders ruled the evening, Belew sporting a red Stratocaster and Harrison wielding a seafoam Telecaster. “Houses In Motion” got the reggae dripping in funk treatment Friday night. The world music sound of “I Zimbra” was an amazing addition to the fiery set. “Rev It Up” had Harrison in the drivers seat, and with the backing of Cool Cool Cool, definitely had a more funky feel than the Causal Gods original recording.
Unconventional, far out, downright bizarre, Adrian Belew is a force of nature. And all of his skills were on full display when they broke out “Thela Hun Ginjeet”. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, him or the audience. But the real apex of the evening was the three song run which included “Life During Wartime”, Once In A Lifetime” and “Take Me To The River”. The crowd danced and sang every word. And when the band took their final bows after the encore “The Great Curve”, the packed Mainroom showed their appreciation with an extended ovation. Most in attendance would agree, this music is timeless.