Posts Tagged ‘Cedar Cultural Center’
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
Last night the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis kicked off its fall season with a free show by Swedish folk trio Väsen, one of those bands on the Northside label that blends a bit of modern rock influence into its folk music. These guys have released something like 14 albums; their touring lineup consists of viola, nyckelharpa and guitar, with a percussionist appearing on some of their recordings as well. They were all strings at the Cedar last night, and put on a solid show for a good-sized audience.
Lighting was pretty dark and the front row of seats was jammed right up against the stage, so I was only able to shoot from the center aisle or way off on the sides. I shot from the middle for three songs and then wandered off to the sides for a few more. Tough shooting conditions, so nothing amazing from this show, but below are a few of my better images.
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Monday, April 11th, 2011
I’ve spent a lot of time at the Cedar Cultural Center in the past week, and capping off my run of three shows is Ohio’s Over the Rhine, a longtime favorite of mine. This was the last show on their current tour, and their set drew very heavily from their latest recording, The Long Surrender. That’s not a bad thing by any means, although I have enough of the “old fan” syndrome that I found myself wishing they’d played a bit deeper into their vast back catalog.
I always enjoy seeing the last show on a tour, as bands are often loose and having a good time, bantering and bickering and joking back and forth. This show was a bit subdued in that respect except for a few pretty amusing moments here and there. It did feature, however, a mighty struggle with the venue sound, apparently caused by some piece of the band’s equipment that was crapping out at the end of the tour. (”It’s for sale,” the frustrated soundman joked to the crowd after a particularly noisy flareup.)
Photographically, the Cedar’s incandescent frontlights were in full effect for this one, and I could shoot Karin Bergquist comfortably at f/2.8 and ISO 1600; lighting for Linford Detweiler and the rest of the band was a bit patchier, but this one was still pretty much a breeze. Three songs and then I got to sit back and enjoy. Here are a few more favorites:
Full set at Flickr.
Saturday, April 9th, 2011
I’m not sure I’ve ever photographed as many smiling and laughing musicians as I did tonight at Abigail Washburn’s performance at the Cedar Cultural Center. Washburn’s Americana is more beautiful than joyful on record, but this was a feel-good concert if I’ve ever seen one. Which makes sense, as it was a homecoming of sorts; Washburn went to high school in nearby Edina and apparently has a lot of family and friends still in the area.
While Washburn’s banjo playing is beyond reproach, it was her voice that really captivated me. In particular, her performance of a Chinese folk song - she’s a scholar of Chinese music and fluent in Mandarin - was amazingly powerful. A second Chinese song, this one a Tibetan children’s song set to a bluegrassy instrumental backing, was a gorgeous and moving meshing of the two cultures. Aside from these Chinese songs, much the setlist was drawn from Washburn’s new record, City of Refuge. It’s a nice recording, and the songs really came alive tonight, helped on by the band’s high spirits. A highlight for me was the closing of the first set: the initial vocal melody of “Burn Thru” burst through an amorphously noisy between-song segue like a warm sunrise, and the rest of the song with its beautifully plaintive harmonies was a truly heartfelt way to head into an intermission. Anyone who was on the fence about sticking around for the second set probably had their minds made up for them.
Photographically, this show made full use of the Cedar’s lighting rig, although the color balance was decidedly deep in the incandescent and red range for most of the show. I shot three songs crouched in front of the seated audience, and then spent the rest of the show sniping from the back and sides with a long lens. ISO 3200 did the trick perfectly well, except for when I was up close with my 85/1.4, in which case ISO 800 was more than sufficient.
Here are a few more favorites:
Full set at Flickr.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011
I had only a passing familiarity with Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears before seeing them tonight at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. Which was a shame, because they put on a fantastic, high-energy show that had my adrenaline (and sweat) flowing despite coming at the end of a rather exhausting weekend.
It was a tough show to shoot, with the low light and the lack of a pit at the Cedar. Lewis subtly favored the far side of his mic stand from where I was positioned, and I didn’t manage to make my way over to the “correct” side until late in the allotted five (!) songs. So many of my best shots are of the band rather than the bandleader. Oops. Still, I got some workable shots, and I’m particularly glad that I broke out the 85/1.4 a fair bit. Although I have to say, focusing that thing wide open on a fast-moving musician in low light? That’s pretty challenging.
Here are some favorites:
Those Darlins opened, and were in fact the reason I showed up; I’ve shot them twice before and both times were an absolute blast. Unfortunately, their set tonight was strangely low-energy, perhaps because it was early (8pm) and the crowd was pretty inert. It also may have been because they played almost exclusively material from their new album Screws Get Loose, which is a lot more straightforward garage rock than their unique, punky debut album. Still, as always they gave me some good photos.
Here’s the full set at Flickr. And here’s a new shameless plug: follow me on Facebook for yet another avenue for regular updates on my work.
Sunday, September 12th, 2010
So, here in Minneapolis I live within three blocks of at least three major live music venues, which is, you know, convenient. Last night Mary and I investigated one of these venues, the Cedar Cultural Center - a venue that reminded me a lot of the Birchmere near DC. It’s a similar size, the stage and lighting is the exact same kind of thing (minus the Birchmere’s weird painted stage backdrop), and the booking is a subset of the Birchmere’s more interesting stuff, namely the world and folk end of things. Last night’s booking was bluegrass quintet Crooked Still, a collection of fantastic musicians playing both standards and originals.
The lighting was quite nice, though I did have to push up to ISO 4000 or so to get decent shutter speeds, and set a custom white balance to deal with some strangely yellow incandescent cans. The layout of the venue made shooting tough: the show was seated (and absolutely packed!) and there was no room between the front row and the stage, so I was limited to aisles and the back and extreme sides of the venues. Never did quite get the angles I wanted, but I got some decent stuff crouching in the center aisle.
Unfortunately for my photos, aside from the flamboyantly expressive banjo player, the band didn’t really loosen up until well after the first three songs. Fortunately for my music appreciation, they put on an awesome show. More photos at Flickr.