Walter Trout & Eric Gales: I knew this January show would be an early standout in 2019. Two outstanding blues guitarists, both driven by significant stories of survival, despite being very different stylistically. This pairing was explosive at the Cedar Cultural Center as this picture communicates.
Patrick Dunn (Concert Reviewer/Photographer)
Having attended countless live music performances and photographing the action for more than 12 years, I find myself loving music more than ever. The landscape for this artform has changed dramatically since I began, but I still believe there is an appetite for reliving great concert moments through the coverage we provide. I’m expecting 2020 to be another strong year for the Twin Cities music scene and I am looking forward to being in the trenches trying to capture some of that magic.
Haley Reinhart: If there is any stigma associated with coming into the industry by appearing on a nationally televised singing competition, don’t buy into it. American Idol alum Haley Reinhart’s April performance at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall was legit. Her exceptional stage presence came across in the pictures and what a voice!
Prof: A concert photographer has a small window of time to try and capture the essence of a show. Sometimes, you have to make a choice on whether to shoot up front or further back. This time it paid off to be at the sound board as to my surprise, a foam “bridge” was rolled out above the heads of Prof fans’ during his August Grandstand performance at the Minnesota State Fair. Such a cool moment!
BB King Blues Band featuring Michael Lee: I was lucky enough to enjoy 12 days of music at the Minnesota State Fair this year and you may be surprised to hear my favorite performance happened in the afternoon at the Leinie’s Lodge. The person sitting next to me leaned over and said, “Holy crap, I can’t believe this show is free”. The BB King Blues Band demonstrated a level of excellence that can only come from playing together for 30 years. Michael Lee, a recent participant on The Voice, was an unexpected perfect choice to front the band in BB’s absence.
Joanne Shaw Taylor: There’s a reason for all the buzz surrounding British blues rock guitarist/singer Joanne Shaw Taylor. Her anticipated return to the Twin Cities at the Dakota in September was an absolute shredfest, with plenty of good hair flips for effect. If you’re a fan of blues guitar, you’ve got to check her out.
Ordinary Elephant: Not getting in to cover Lizzo at the Armory in October turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I was also very curious to check out Ordinary Elephant. I was so moved by their Warming House performance that I hung around after to buy a CD and visit.
Matt Andersen: Matt Andersen impressed me as an opening act a few years back at the Cedar. When a headlining date was announced for him at the Dakota, I felt it was a must see. He’s a big man who commands your undivided attention. His compelling personality will likely pique your interest, but it’s his voice that will win you over as a fan.
Vintage Trouble: Ty Taylor is no doubt a talented singer, but it’s his high-octane stage presence that makes a Vintage Trouble show memorable. The band wowed fans once again at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in December, putting an exclamation point on another great year of music in the Twin Cities.