Thundercat at First Ave
BY HANNAH KLOOS
You wouldn’t have known it was a Sunday night by the way First Ave was grooving to Thundercat, the alter-ego of bassist, singer, and overall extraordinaire Stephen Bruner. Bruner, who is also an extremely prolific producer, can be credited for helping develop projects from Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly,” to songs by crossover band Suicidal Tendencies. During his live performance, the LA multi-instrumentalist spun the crowd through the songs of his most recent album, “Drunk,” a 23-track achievement of modern jazz. Thundercat blazed through songs at a relentless speed, taking very few breaks to even address the crowd. Stage lights flashed and blinding strobe lights pounded, enveloping the crowd in blue and red. As the lights changed, the music did too, keeping the crowd on its toes as he dove into the myriad of themes that “Drunk” explores. It was interesting to experience the concert through the lens of the lyrics on his album. Many of them are deeply personal and delve into topics like loneliness and isolation caused by his lifestyle as a touring musician, alcoholism and drug use, and unrequited love. Thundercat mainly showcased his newer material, but the crowd patiently awaited old favorites, including “Lone Wolf and Cub” and “Them Changes,” which he finally unveiled for the encore. As trippy as he is technical, Thundercat proved his chops as an outstanding live performer.
BY MEGAN HOFF St. Paul’s own Hippo Campus released three new songs on September 12th. The new EP, dubbed “warm glow,” provides a sweet taste of one of Minnesota’s rising indie pop quartets. These songs have arrived only a few short months after their full-length album, “Landmark,” was released in February. The first track, “baseball,” is a fan favorite that made appearances on tour, but had yet to see a studio recording. It begins with a 1975-esque guitar riff, bubbling and bursting with a melody that makes it hard to stand still. “traveler,” the second track, is similarly buoyant, but hiding underneath the upbeat façade and lead singer Jake Luppen’s occasionally unintelligible vocals are lyrics of longing. Ultimately, the trio of songs are rounded out by the title track. A slower, drawn-out stroll of a song that taps out at almost six minutes, “warm glow” is the perfect song to savor the fleeting moments of summer weather. “traveler” and “warm glow” were both played at the band’s two shows at the Minnesota State Fair over Labor Day weekend, though there was no mention of the upcoming EP at the time. Teasers for new music were posted on their social media accounts a week after the fair, and fans have eagerly devoured the new material. During your daily walk to class, listen to some music that has roots in the Twin Cities.
“The mediator between head and hands must be the heart” BY JACK HEDLUND-FAY In a vision of the future far ahead of its time, Fritz Lang’s 1927 science fiction epic, Metropolis, presents a dystopian future ruled by a wealthy elite who have turned a blind eye to the toiling masses in favor of gardens of vain pleasures and a fetishistic reverence for high technology. The story follows the parallel adventures of the master of Metropolis, Joh, and his naïve son Freder. From his headquarters, Joh hears of a possible workers’ rebellion. He consults the scientist Rotwang, who, because he hates Joh, completes and activates his “maschinenmensch,” a gynoid modelled after one of the more level-headed workers, Maria. He sends it forth to sow discord and ultimately destroy the infrastructure that supports all of Metropolis. Meanwhile, Freder follows the real Maria disguised as a worker in the Heart of Metropolis to learn of their struggles. He seeks to become a mediator between the elite “head” and the industrial “hands.” In its time, Metropolis was met with mixed reviews, and failed financially, but its revolutionary techniques, style, and tone have continued to influence dystopias in film and television, garnering acclaim as one of the great works of science fiction. A restoration of the film was released in 2010, including scenes found on recently-discovered 16mm negatives of the original. To any fan of science fiction, Metropolis is a must-see film, both as a dramatic tale of social inequality and as one of the most influential pieces of film in the history of dystopian fiction.