Downtown Music

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September 20, 2004 // UPDATED 4:05 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

The woman from New York City

You can't say "Manhattan Transfer" without saying "Janis Siegel." OK, maybe you physically can, but you'd be remiss to talk about the band without discussing the nine-time Grammy winner's voice.

Over the years, Siegel's memorable crooning has become one of the group's most recognizable trademarks.

She sang lead on some of the Transfer's biggest hits, such as "Operator," "Twilight Zone," "Birdland," "Spice of Life," and, of course, "The Boy from New York City."

Throughout her Transfer life, Siegel has also maintained a thriving life as a soloist. Her album, "At Home," earned her a Grammy nomination in 1987 for Best Female Jazz Vocal. And in 1989, the New York Music Awards named her Best Female Jazz Singer.

Siegel's eighth and latest solo recording, "Sketches of Broadway," spotlights classic Broadway hits by Irving Berlin, Lerner and Loewe, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and others.

Sunday, Sept. 26, 7 and 9 p.m. Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall $22-$27. 332-1010.

Noisy fun

Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, a.k.a. The Black Keys, have come a long way from when they toured around the country in their hatchback, using the money they earned from a lawn-mowing job to pay for gas.

Since their debut album, "The Big Come Up," hit the streets in 2002, the duo from Akron, Ohio has been raking in raves from everyone from "Rolling Stone" to "Spin" and appeared in venues all over the country.

Their newest release, "Rubber Factory," is more of what made this band's music great in the first place -- ragged sounding, rough rock 'n' roll that sounds like it came straight out of Iggy Pop's garage.

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 338-8388.

The trouble with sobriety

It's a good thing I'm not married to a musician with substance abuse problems. I'd be the worst enabler: "Honey, I like the new music you're writing OK, but ever since you got out of recovery, you just don't sound like you. Where's the brilliant guy who wrote [insert his favorite of his catalog]? I don't know, dear. Maybe you're just not trying as hard as you used to."

Yes, that's an unpleasant way to be with the one you're supposed to love and care for, but I've found that my tastes in musicians' works could be divided into "Before" and "After" sections -- as in "Before" and "After" they checked into rehab . . . and it worked. I'm probably reinforcing some terrible addictions here, but, really, at least 75 percent of the time, the "Before" music is far superior to the "After" stuff.

Unfortunately, the same can be said for the new release from former Butthole Surfers lead vocalist Gibby Haynes. Now performing as Gibby Haynes and His Problem, Haynes has gone from singing creepy songs about even creepier people living in one's cellar or smoking Elvis' toenails to pleasant-sounding pop songs about, of all things, LOVE.

For the record, though, Gibby's got his usual ensemble of great, unnamed musicians on board with him, his voice is in rare form and just as perfectly weird as it ever was. And his lyrics are still strange, yet beautiful.

OK, maybe the problem isn't with him after all . . .

Monday, Sept. 20, 9 p.m. 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave. N. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. 338-8388.