Downtown music

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February 7, 2005 // UPDATED 1:51 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

Famous hats for a good cause

First Avenue's annual Acoustic Garage Sale was first conceived when club management approached Pastor Paul and his mission nearly 10 years ago with the intent of getting the music community involved with his charitable projects.

Pastor Paul's mission provides free groceries for over 10,000 families monthly through the Twin Cities region and beyond. Pastor Paul's mission, by the way, is the largest grocery giveaway project in the United States, distributing over 14 million pounds of food to families annually.

Proceeds from the worthwhile event go directly to helping the mission with operating expenses and food purchases. A highlight of the event - besides the music, that is - is the silent auction and garage sale, where club patrons can purchase a variety of rock paraphernalia that has built up at the club over the previous year, like guitars, stickers and famous people's baseball caps.

The musical acoustic acts coming to the stage this time around include local stalwart Grant Hart, Country Mike Suade, Slim & Louis Dunlap, the extremely dreamy Ben Connelly, and mean ol' Mean Larry.

So what kind of music does the man behind the event prefer? During a very rare interview opportunity, the media-wary (weary?) Pastor Paul once confided that he himself plays a mean "comb wrapped in wax paper."

"The only time I have to stop playing the comb is when it tickles my lip," he said.

Pastor Paul also has a serious background in tap dancing and told me he tries to make the "shuffle off to Buffalo" whenever he can.

"If somebody could play the banjo for me, I could sing and tap along with them," he offered when asked if he would ever consider performing on the First Avenue stage himself. "I am very talented that way."

W Feb 9, 7 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. $5 in advance, $7 at the door. 338-8388, www.first-avenue.com

The name game

I don't know specifically who calls him this, but apparently, local vocalist Robert Robinson is known as the "Pavarotti of Gospel."

While I personally don't see many exacting parallels between the two vocalists - Pavorotti's voice always seems to me to be coming from some beautiful, deep hole in the ground, while Robinson's voice sounds more like it's welling up from somewhere in his actual body, rumbling out and pouring forth like a great, somber wave.

But hey, I guess people need labels and comparisons, and if the Pavarotti comparison is something people need to draw on, then I suppose they could do worse.

For this sure-to-be-amazing performance, Robinson will be joined on stage with vocalist Holly Collison - those familiar with Robinson's recorded work should be equally familiar with the work of this amazing gospel diva.

Sa Feb 12, 8 p.m. Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave. $29. 651-989-5151, www.hennepintheatredistrict.com