Downtown Music

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March 1, 2004 // UPDATED 9:20 am - April 25, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

The Chieftains are coming

I spent countless evenings as a kid, sitting by the radio with my mom and listening to NPR's "Thistle and Shamrock." My wonderful and wacky mother is almost a whopping one-eighth Irish, so she's compelled to listen to such shows and collect Irish records and books she'll never listen to or read about Celtic culture. (It may seem like an awful thing to say, but it's true.)

Before I realized this about her, I went out when I was 16 and splurged: I bought her a copy of The Chieftain's fabulous "The Best of The Chieftains." She seemed to like them best of the many Irishy-sounding bands in circulation.

Many people do. The legendary Irish folk band has won six Grammys, and devoted fans across the globe eagerly await their upcoming release of a 40th anniversary CD.

Unfortunately, a release date was not be found on the band's Web page, thechieftains.com; at press time. The site consisted of the name of the band and a notice that their new Web site is "coming soon."

Hmmm . . . I wonder if Irish genes come with Luddite tendencies. Along with being nearly one-sixteenth Irish, I come from a long line of extreme technophobes.

My mother loved the album -- she loved holding it and looking at it and showing it off to various friends who stopped by. Honestly, though, I'm not sure she listened to it more than once or twice.

This had more to do with her extreme distaste for anything with an "on" button than some hidden apathy towards the record, which I eventually confiscated for myself.

Mom's further along than my great-uncle John in Kansas, though. He'd rather use an outhouse and ride in a cart pulled by his swayback nag Molly than admit that the year 2000 has come and gone. I'm sure the Irish bits in his bloodstream would make him like The Chieftains, too, and that he, as well, would prefer to see them live.

Wednesday, March 3, 7:30 p.m.

Orchestra Hall

1111 Nicollet Mall

$30-$45. 371-5600.

Evolving vocabularies

I have no idea if Say Hi To Your Mom is a "he" or a "they." The "band" describes itself on his/their CD as a "boy named Eric."

Regardless, he/they sing songs like an alert Hayden, or a sharper, crisper Vermont -- all gloomy, melancholy, depressing and charming as all get out.

The lyrics of his/their first album, "Discosadness," are what I believe fall under the category of "neo-naive" -- that is, childlike and innocent, but obviously from a grown-up perspective.

For example, the Say Hi song "The Pimp and the Sparrow" discusses adult material (prostitution and death), but the song is written as if someone is having a conversation with a sparrow.

"Neo-nave," is an emerging art genre. (Just when I was catching on to the whole "shoegazer" thing -- which means bands that literally stare at their shoes on stage as they layer their instruments into an indistinguishable mish-mash that dives and soars while keeping their vocals low in the mix.)

However, since "neo-naive" is still primarily considered a literary form and not a musical one, scenesters don't need to worry about rushing out and billing themselves as such, unless they want to be really pretentious or "intellectual."

Thursday, March 7, 8 p.m.

First Avenue's 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave. N.

$5. 332-1775.

Pop quiz

"Dreampop." What the heck is it, and how is it different from "shoegazer"? Damned if I know. All I can gather is that the band Elefant calls itself "dreampop," and from the sound of their new record, "Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid," I'm guessing "dreampop" is some kind of slow rock with lots of swooping atmospherics and fuzzy effects.

Kind of like what you might hear in your head when you're drifting off to sleep. Ah, yes, like a dream. Very clever.

Tuesday, March 2, 7 p.m.

The Quest, 110 N. 5th St.

$8. 338-3383.