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A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:

Karl Maanum of Circle Pines:

1 Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Palace Theatre. Seeing Todd Mohr shred his guitar with the ferocity of some of the greats makes you realize how underrated he is. Brian Nevin plays drums like a kid half his age. While their album success may not match some of the bands' of their time, playing live is where they excel.

2 "Live on 4 Legs: The Pearl Jam Live Podcast," episode 215. The guys break down their last show in St. Paul on 10/19/14. This concert was special for reasons other than the music. Eddie Vedder and his wife have brought awareness and money to epidermolysis bullosa (EB). Throughout the set, he referenced the disease and even brought out a University of Minnesota doctor who does research about young children with EB. Very touching.

3 Guns N' Roses, "Use Your Illusion I & II." This boxed set is absolutely worth it. It brings you back to 1991 with live shows from New York and Las Vegas when GNR were at their best. The very mercurial Axl Rose has a vocal range that ranked among the best. They remastered both albums, which hold up remarkably well.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:

1 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Live Nation/Ticketmaster. Outrage over the Taylor Swift ticket debacle prompted the hearing, but nothing was more insightful into the monopolistic hegemony of the conglomerate than the testimony of the indie-rock band Lawrence. Ticketmaster collected $42 for a $30 ticket ($12 in fees) and the band saw only $6 out of the entire amount.

2 Jamecia Bennett, the Dakota. Her wonderful jazz and blues revue has grown into a masterful, musically deep show, with jazz standards with her distinctive touch, a knockout trio of Sister Rosetta Tharpe tunes, two winning blues originals and a riveting reading of "Beauty and the Beast." She needs to be heard beyond the Twin Cities.

3 Turn Turn Turn, the Dakota. Celebrating their brand-new second album, this rising Twin Cities trio showed off their harmonies, songwriting and team spirit. Backed by four additional musicians, they wore their influences on their sleeves (Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Beatles, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac) but still sounded fresh and refreshing.