7 Minute Miles

Burnt Sugar at the Walker

Posted Sunday, April 27th, 2014 11:52 pm GMT -5 in Concerts, Museums, Music

Social media can sometimes freak me out a bit. I posted on Twitter that I didn’t know what to expect from Burnt Sugar at the Walker on Saturday night. Just before the show started, my phone vibrated – their official Twitter account favored my tweet. I posted a pic from the show to Instagram (and Twitter) and that tweet got re-tweeted, followed by a personal reply too. You never know who’s in charge of their account, but it’s a whole new world in fan interaction, that’s for sure.

Colleen purchased tickets to this show after she read that Living Color guitarist Vernon Reid would be the conductor. I was initially reluctant to go, since the last time she bought tickets to the Walker (Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche), it was just plain weird. Living Color was the first band we ever saw live at First Avenue, but when you read the intro on the Burnt Sugar web site, it makes you wonder exactly what you will see:

BURNT SUGAR THE ARKESTRA CHAMBER is a ter­ri­tory band, a neo-tribal thang, a com­mu­nity hang, a soci­ety music guild aspir­ing to the con­di­tion of all that is molten, glacial, racial, spa­cial, oceanic, mythic, antiphonal and telepathic.

There was really nothing to worry about – this was just a group of very talented musicians interpreting the songs of Steely Dan (read more in this Star Tribune preview article). I was never a big Steely Dan fan growing up, so I’m not sure if all the songs they did were covers, but the big hits like Deacon Blues and Kid Charlemagne jumped right out as songs from my 70s childhood.

I loved reading the program notes and the bios of all the performers. There are some serious Kevin Bacon connections going on with this group: V. Jef­frey Smith played saxophone on all the big Billy Ocean songs, bass player Jared Michael Nick­er­son recorded and toured with Bernie Wor­rell and Freedy John­ston, while trombonist Dave Smith was listed as being on the cast of Treme.

Vernon Reid was a very enthusiastic group leader – both of the band and of the audience. He unfortunately played very little guitar over the course of the evening, but the other musicians more than made up for that. The vocalists were all very strong and it was fun to see Leon Gru­en­baum play the “Sam­chillian Tip Tip Tip Cheeepeeeee.”

Still trying to figure out what a freak-a-phone is, though…

Originally published by DK on April 27, 2014 at 11:52 pm

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