Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kimbra @ The Cedar Cultural Center 2/5/18

Well this was my 4th time seeing Kimbra live, 3rd headlining, and while all of the other times she had a full band with drums, last night at The Cedar, it was just her with a bunch synths, a guitarist with another keyboard or 2 and maybe an Electric Drum or 2? and a bassist also with likely more than 1 keyboard.

Kimbra for the 1st time in a long while, played some guitar on a couple select, stripped down tunes (the Prince cover during the Encore and "Past Love" which she said the album version is much different).

But let's get down to brass tax here.

1) I love Kimbra, her music, her personality at least on stage, in interviews, videos she's done, and for the most part on her email list, AMA's and Social Media. But, now seeing her live for a 4th time and trying-to and yet failing again to get to meet her after the show, tell her how much I love her music and maybe ask 1 or 2 questions, in person. Maybe get a photo or something. NO DICE again.

Which basically tells me at of all places, the Cedar Cultural Center, she doesn't come out, at least not initially.

At this point, she is in a lot of ways taking the Ian Anderson approach. Or I suppose Michael Nesmith and Neil Peart.

Seems highly like-able and cool when you're a fan in those platforms, but it doesn't seem she's all that into interacting with her fans outside of that.

I guess I respect that, many celebrities have that identical or similar mentality and approach.

But it just hit me last night, to not ever expect to meet her really.

Steven Wilson for some reason has also come across a little like that as well.

The only thing I would say is, if I didn't need to get home to sleep, so I can leave for work the next day at 6:40AM, I might have tried to wait as long as possible.

And with last night or with the other shows, I did wait, but I suppose maybe not long enough.

But the message I get is, even if I were to wait, there's a reason why she didn't come out nor come out those other times right away, or even within 20 minutes.

She doesn't want to hang out with the fans, at least in that context, at this point.

Kimbra is pretty young, so who knows if she will maintain or increase that approach like Peart or Ian Anderson. I recall James LaBrie was like that in the early days with Dream Theater, and then he opened up.

Or of course, the Michael Nesmith and even Mayer Hawthorne approach now in that she'll do a VIP and/or Meet-and-Greet, which I guess depending on the price (and if it includes SEATING) I might do. But I still wish that wouldn't necessarily be the only way.

But I'm now going to have to come to accept that.

2)  From The Cedar website:

This event is all ages

This is a standing show with an open floor.
Tickets are ​only ​available​ through First Avenue​ online​ (click the "Buy Tickets" button above)​, at Electric Fetus, ​and The Cedar during shows.​

Standing show + me and the wife =/= good.

We even tried to arrive later (knowing the potential standing time could be many hours), but when I played some of 1 of the openers "King" for the wife, she was a bit too curious to skip them.But as it turned out, we probably would have been okay with that. They were nice, but had a bit of a samey style among all their songs. The Smooth synth and vocal harmonies-Neo-Soul with pretty much every song being in the mid-tempo. The wife did appreciate them quoting DeBarge at least. And props to them with a Grammy and playing Super Bowl Live. And that 2 of them were from South Minneapolis originally. I kind of wondered if they may have known Janelle Monae per they are likely close in age and Janelle actually lived in Eagan, MN when she was growing up for a period of time.

But no, like 95% of the shows at The Cedar I have seen were seated. Now as it turned out, there were seats, like when the wife and I saw The Bird and the Bee, but they were way off to the side, and we arrived too late to give up out acquired spots anyway, to even try looking.

But it wasn't great for either of our knees or backs to stand for nearly 3 hours.

We stood for Nesmith at The Troubadour, but it wasn't as long, and it was only him and his band. No down time, nor any opener.

I will add though the other opener Arc Iris I kind of liked, and may be checking out their music soon.

3) With Kimbra's setup, and playing 9 songs from Primal Heart, some of course having never heard, and then the other 2 new ones Sweet Relief and Hi Def Distant Romance, it was a night of new and unfamiliar music, which overall I still liked but for the wife, didn't even go as far.

And it was highly electronic. A lot of keys and textures. The videos behind her did help at least.

Even the arrangements of Settle Down and Two Way Street threw me and the wife off a bit, although I still enjoyed them. I do wish she would still include the VOCAL CHANTING SOLO in TWO WAY STREET, per it is the greatest moment of that tune. Even in another arrangement or on a keyboard or guitar or something. But last night? I don't think she did it.

As a big positive though,  Black Sky sounded really good; better than the videos I checked out of it a few months back.

And then Everybody Knows. Holy shit, this song is fan-fucking-tastic! 

I re-listened to it again yesterday at work, and it hit me how well arranged and melodic it is. Definitely the biggest winner on Primal Heart among the songs I've heard, which including the live ones last night, is most of it.

of course Hi Def Distant Romance is 1 of many new songs that won't be on Primal Heart, that Kimbra said in an email, will be coming leading-up to Primal Heart's release (and maybe throughout 2018?, I forget). I.e. she has a lot of music she's made that won't be on the album beyond HDDR.

St.Vincent at The Walker in 2012 and Imogen Heap: That is kind of what she was doing in a lot of ways with the keys and stripped down ensemble. I wonder if part of that is cost to pay musicians to tour?

The new album titled "Primal Heart" she talked about being inspired by a trip to Ethiopia I recall and seeing the primal? way they live. Which I was thinking the new album would be more stripped down and have more acoustic instruments and DRUMS. Like lots of them.

I am now thinking this album is taking the electronic side to some songs from Golden Echo, and making an album with even more of it. I mean she even worked with Skrillex on Top of the World.

The thing though I am keeping in mind is in that AMA she did on Reddit, I think she mentioned how this new album will not necessarily be the way she records down the road.

But the chances of a Vows part 2 ever happening seem unlikely, which I get. Artists don't want to repeat themselves, etc. But I guess it is the whole self-ish artist to experiment and try new things constantly, which I applaud her, but I can't be sure if I will ever love as much as her earlier work as-a-whole.

I did say in my 2011 Albums of the Year that i don't know if she ever will be able to top Vows, but that was more of just HOW GOOD it was.

That all being said, it was a fun show, very energetic, highly electronic/ with HEAVY synths. And pretty good consistent energy. And the crowd loved her for the most part. It was almost sold out, which I kind of wonder if The Cedar might be too small for her at this point. Unsure she'd play like The Palace Theatre or Skyway or something if she headlines again, but we'll see.

The Prince tribute was nice, a little predictable, but still very much appreciated. And cool to hear a deeper track like "Call My Name."

I do know I will not plan to stand for long lengths, especially with the wife, and  not expect to try and meet her again. I.e. no waiting around afterwards, which is probably for the best anyway.

9 songs from Primal Heart + a bonus that didn't make it. Plus a recent single.
Version of Me
Hi Def Distant Romance
The Good War
Black Sky
Settle Down
As You Are
Love In High Places
Everybody Knows
Past Love
Two Way Street
Sweet Relief
Top of the World

Real Life
Call My Name
(Prince cover)