Friday, May 11, 2007



Go away for a day and come back with loads to talk about. The hubby and I went to a concert in Minneapolis last night. It was at The Cedar Cultural Center - The Cedar for short. The headliner was Andy McKee, with Antoine Dufour and Jeff Schmidt also playing sets. Andy and Antoine play guitar in a complicated picking and percussive style. Jeff does the same thing with bass, if you can believe it. He plays a five-string right-handed guitar with his left hand. Fabulous, and he was quite chatty, too.

The CandyRat record label sponsored the concert. While Andy and Antoine are both on the label, Jeff isn't, but he did tell us how CandyRat got its name. When the label's owner was looking for a name, he had one in mind and went online to register it as a domain name. The name he wanted was taken, but the domain name registration site gave him a list of random alternatives. CandyRat was one of them, et voila! A record label was born.

Watching Antoine, I swore he had six fingers on his strumming hand - not really - he's just that good. I especially like his song "Toi et Moi," which he wrote for his wife. Andy, whose videos have reached number one status on YouTube in the last half-year or so, played his arrangement of Toto's song "Africa." This was an eighties song, in case you missed it. Very cool rendition. He told us that he just had a chance to meet Toto after they had seen his video of the song on YouTube.

This was a phenomenal concert from another standpoint: the audience. The Cedar is an intimate little place. Seating consists of folding chairs on an open, gym-like floor, with a low stage up front. We sat in the third row. Everyone was extraordinarily respectful of the musicians. There were no lyrics to any of the songs, just pure, complicated music, and that's what we were all there for - not to scream, or be seen, or to jabber on our cell phones telling people about the cool concert we were attending. Even Jeff noticed our demeanor and he said we were too quiet! That's when some audience members started lobbing him questions, which he obligingly answered. And, get this, the whole experience was ours for only $15 per ticket, plus the gas money it took us to drive to the Cities. What a bargain.

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