Christmas in April
Dad and I always played around at the International Music Products Association's annual "Music and Sound Expo": the coolest music gear show in the world.
It's like a World's Fair for music geeks, with just about any and every kind of instrument you can possibly imagine on display. There are guitars with bodies that look like they fell from outer space and complex computer software that can turn the sound of falling rain into any orchestral instrument you choose.
But this isn't a no-touch situation. In fact, this is the one place you get to play with hundreds of musical instruments, most of which haven't even hit the stores -- new digital gizmos, electronic percussion, digital pianos, keyboards -- you even create your own digital music with new music creation software or play the brand new Velocity "wheels of steel," which is a "scratching" CD player that's bound to become a favorite with a new generation of DJs. There are also tons of demonstrations put on around-the-clock by professional musicians, some of which will actually be giving music lessons and career advice for budding musicians.
For the kids, there are drumming demonstrations geared especially towards kids, and a host of Sesame Street characters to mingle with. Putamayo Records will present their "Introducing World Cultures Through Music" workshop, where families travel through worlds of dance, music and art.
Friday, April 16, 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday Apri 17-18, doors open at 10 a.m. Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. S. $12 (senior and student discounts available). (800) 767-6266 or www.musicandsoundexpo.com.
Local music rules!
The Developing Arts and Music (DAM) Foundation is putting on another benefit show, this time in conjunction with the CD release of "Raising Minnesota, Vol. 1." The concert and CD feature local bands Black Flood Diesel, Down and Above, Ginger Jake, Align and Quietdrive.
This all-ages show is a great way to catch some of the local talent before they get too big for their britches to stay in Minnesota.
Sunday, April 18, 5 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N. $3-$7. 332-1775.
The first time I heard the Pixies' "Surfer Rosa" I was simply amazed. My friend Erin was getting ready to go off to college, and we spent much of the evening driving around in his beat-up VW bug, listening to tapes and talking about what growing up was starting to mean to us. He put on "Surfer Rosa" and it was like the car stereo had suddenly come to life and was breathing out music: The crystal recording quality, the way you could actually hear Frank Black's fingers move across the strings of his guitar-it was almost a holy experience.
This, I'm embarrassed to say, was my first real introduction to Steve Albini, the engineer/producer behind "Surfer Rosa." (Somehow, that whole Big Black thing had slipped right past me. In defense of teenaged me, though, how could I know every band amidst things like apartheid, the Iran-Contra affair and my blossoming sexuality?)
Even without Albini, I'm sure that first record would've been memorable and amazing. The Pixies are known for their great lyrics, high energy and awesome guitar hooks, not to mention cool song titles and refrains: "This Monkey's Gone to Heaven," "Here Comes Your Man," "Gigantic" . . .
If you're lucky, you might still be able to get a ticket for this show, which kicks off the Pixies national tour.
Tuesday, April 13, 8 p.m. The Fine Line Music Cafe, 318 1st Ave. N. $24. 338-8100.
Holly Day can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.