Joe Kellen


Bully wows Pitchfork Music Festival 2015

Nashville, Tenn., garage rock outfit Bully may blast sneering, raucous punk âÄônâÄô roll tunes, but they were scared off pretty easily when massive thunderstorms hit this yearâÄôs Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. âÄúWe just ran straight to the van,âÄù Vocalist and guitarist Alicia Bognanno said. Bognanno started Bully shortly after finishing her degree in audio engineering at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. She met drummer Stewart Copeland there, and schooling led to an internship at famed musician and producer Steve AlbiniâÄôs recording studio Electrical Audio.

Playing with gravity

Perci Chester started her artistic career as a painter, thanks to her father. “I thought he was very magic,” she said. “He probably played a part in the reason why I feel most art is magic.” Chester’s dad painted commercial signs, which explains the sheeny color scheme that often appears in her work.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down to play Skyline Music Festival

When Thao Nguyen performs, she’s something of a contradiction. At Bonnaroo in June, Nguyen shyly walked on stage and waved hello at the audience with a small smile that matched her diminutive frame. Then, in an instant, she looked back at her band, the Get Down Stay Down, and her quiet presence toppled into an explosion of energy for the lead single from “We The Common,” the group’s latest record.

Eric Johnson to play Cedar Cultural Center

Guitarist Eric Johnson’s favorite thing about making music isn’t necessarily making music. "Why I enjoy what I do is because it gives me ability to meet people and have nice visits with them,” he said. “That camaraderie is kind of extraordinary." To say that Johnson doesn’t love his six-string, though, would be wildly inaccurate. The acclaimed musician won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1991 for his recording of “Cliffs of Dover” on his multi-platinum selling album “Ah Via Musicom.”

U community finds Fringe home

From the outside, the Rarig Center doesn’t look like a whole lot of fun. The concrete monolith stands tall above the brutalist architecture that dominates the University of Minnesota’s West Bank — the fact that it looks like it can’t be burned down is glaringly obvious. Though the Rarig appears unfriendly, executive director of the Minnesota Fringe Festival and University of Minnesota alumnus Jeff Larson said it stands as a testament to the University’s consistent involvement with the Minnesota Fringe Festival each year.

7 Seconds over 30

Kevin Seconds takes issue with the word “legendary.” He’s been the frontman of hardcore band 7 Seconds since 1979 and inspired legions of musicians to go out and keep the punk tradition strong, but Seconds can’t help but brush off the past.

A San Franciscan in Australia

Last week, comedian Arj Barker’s comedic side took a backseat to his inner romantic as he vacationed at his family’s northern California getaway. “It’s chilly, like, 55 degrees and there’s a lot of fog rolling in from the shore,” Barker said. “It’s nice to be on vacation, though; my grandfather built this cabin in 1957.” Coming off his 2013 special, “Heavy,” Barker deserves the time off. The break comes right before he heads to Minneapolis to test out material for his new tour.

Right in the G.U.T.

Science can be dumb — or at least misinformed, according to photographer Eric William Carroll. “The thing I love about humans doing science is that humans are inherently wrong,” he said. A selection from a 1914 children’s encyclopedia explaining the future of space travel provides a great example  in his latest exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, “G.U.T. Feeling, Vol. 2.”

Bring out the hounds

In Welsh folklore, Cwn Annwn is an otherworldly group of hounds whose presence portends death. In the Twin Cities, Cwn Annwn is a melodic metal band that rehearses underground at Kooler Sound in St. Paul. Yes, that’s a fairly melodramatic way to describe a basement, but the gritty fluorescence of the halls in the facility felt separate from the outside world above. The growled lyrics and harsh electric guitar of 20 or so other bands flooded the hallways that make up a grid of practice rooms.

Scripted and tactical: Six Elements Theatre’s Human Combat Chess

Skot “The Real Knight” Rieffer wielded a halberd as he exited the storage unit in a meeting room last Thursday at Minneapolis’ Historic Wesley Center.  “You’re going to want to use both hands to hold this,” the Human Combat Chess performer said, hefting the heavy medieval axe-spear.