Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I Felt the Illinoise

Sufjan Stevens

I know, I know. You can’t pick up a zine nowadays without reading about Sufjan Stevens, and you can’t walk into a coffee shop without hearing Illinois. The last thing you want right now is to see Sufjan make an appearance on Dinosaur in Trouble. Sorry, I’ll make it quick then. [By the way, you’d think that with all the talk, people would’ve at least learned how to pronounce his name by now – it’s Soof-yahn (sorry Chris, it most definitely is not Surf-John).]

Sunday’s show (9-18-2005) at First Avenue was actually really, really good (I can’t make up my mind if I’m surprised by that fact). Liz Janes (who also plays in Sufjan’s band) opened the show. Her quiet, folky arrangements and powerful voice would have perfectly set the mood…if she was opening for Cat Power. The subtle beauty of her music, however, did nothing to prepare us for the circus that was to come next.

By 9:45, the stage was crowded with eight musicians dressed as University of Illinois cheerleaders (sans the racist Chief Illiniwek). The band stayed in character throughout Sufjan’s entire set – every other song was introduced with a clever cheer complete with pompoms and choreographed hand gestures (the band was even successful at topping off a human pyramid at one point).

I thoroughly enjoyed the gimmicks, but the show would have been just as strong without them. Sufjan’s brilliant compositions were competently interpreted by the band, and the diverse selection of songs ensured that there was never a dull moment. Sufjan Stevens finally won my heart.

There, I’m done writing about Sufjan. But I’m warning you…if you’re sick of all the hype now, just wait until the year-end lists!

The Illinoise Makers


Blogger Shawna said...

I'm sorry I missed Sufjan Stevens. I noticed the City Pages wrote about the STNNNG and I remembered you wrote about them before. Way to be in touch with the music here.
ummmmmm would you and Chris and anyone else want to go to the 7th street entry Oct.1? Call me.

12:09 AM


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