Downtown music

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January 17, 2005 // UPDATED 1:48 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Essence of joy
Essence of joy </b>

Born in West Point, Miss., home of Howling Wolf, Bruce A. Henry was singing publicly by the age of 5 in his Baptist church on the west side of Chicago. Classically trained at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, Henry's love for improvisation proved to be a stronger calling, resulting in a musical legacy that is as heavily influenced by Nina Simone and as it is by John Coltrane and Louis Armstrong.

He possesses a three-and-one-half octave range, a pure voice with versatility and depth few can match. His music has taken him to four continents, garnering a large following in France and the Far East. He has been heard on a Worldwide Radio Live Concert on the B.B.C., as well as on notable movie soundtracks; Henry has performed on such exotic and legendary stages as the Malate concert in Manila, the Klezmer Festival in Israel, Le Bilboquet in Paris, The WhitBread in London, the Coconut Grove in Miami, the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and the Grand Wailea in Maui.

For some strange and wonderful reason, he makes his home here in Minneapolis, and makes it outside, even in the cold of winter, to perform on a pretty regular basis for us, his very lucky and grateful neighbors.

Friday, Jan. 21 and Sat., Jan. 22, 8 p.m. Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall. $10. 332-1010.

Rock on!

Queensryche was definitely one of the most distinctive metal bands of the '80s.

Where their contemporaries built on the legacy of Van Halen, Aerosmith and Kiss, Queensryche constructed a progressive form of heavy metal that drew equally from the guitar pyrotechnics of post-Van Halen metal and '70s art rockers like Pink Floyd

and Queen.

They melded orchestral arrangements with metal long, long before it was popular and ironic to do so. Songs such as their stately art rock ballad "Silent Lucidity," as well as "I Am I" and "Bridge" are some of their most lasting contributions to prog rock.

Since breaking up after 1997's "Hear in the New Frontier," Queensryche has reformed as Q2K, broken up again, and released a pile of best-of collections, including last year's "The Art of Live" on Sanctuary Records.

Founding guitarist Chris DeGarmo performed for a while with Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell's touring band, while vocalist Geoff Tate formed a short-lived heavy metal supergroup with Judas Priest's Rob Halford and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, called Trinity.

Bassist Eddie Jackson briefly played the part of the evil Dr. Scott Winsfield on last season's "Days of Our Lives," while drummer Scott Rockenfield can be seen on late-night infomercials hawking his own line of hair care projects.

For this special concert, the band will be performing the complete "Operation Mindcrime" album.

Saturday, Jan. 22, 6 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. $22 in advance, $25 at the door. 332-1775.

Where is that damned groundhog?

What's the best way to pass these cold, winter days? Why, under a blanket, of course!

Or you can get out of bed, shake off those nasty sweat socks you've been hiding your feet in for the past month and a half, put on some make-up (or shave, depending on your gender) and go see The Winter Blanket, the band, perform.

Their slow, intimate, borderline acoustic grooves and winning on-stage personalities are sure to make you feel at least as warm as that big, wool afghan on your bed, and they probably smell a whole lot nicer, too. Also playing are local bands The Deaths, Deep Pool (featuring members of The Hang Ups and TVBC) and Arctic Universe.

Friday, Jan. 21, 8 p.m. 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave. $6. 332-1775.

Holly Day can be reached at