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

Kevin Dillon of Minneapolis:

1 Todd Rundgren, Uptown Theater. This is the Todd Rundgren show that die-hard Rundgren fans have been waiting for. On recent tours, he has more or less focused on singing his hits while this show went deep into his broad catalog of excellent but somewhat obscure songs. Todd's voice was as strong as ever and his backing band was sharp and included Bobby Strickland on horns to add depth. And Todd did a medley of familiar tunes at the end for a feel-good send off.

2 Caroline Rose, First Avenue. The Austin, Texas, singer/ songwriter made her third trip to Minneapolis in as many years and we are glad she did. Her set started out with acoustic-driven and emotionally challenging songs from 2023′s "The Art of Forgetting" and then transitioned to more synth pop compositions from her excellent "Loner" and "Superstar." Opening was Ian Sweet, who offered poppy/synthy/dreamy songs that also had themes of heartache. Challenging subjects — maybe, but instantly likeable, memorable and fun.

3 Record Store Day. We made the tour of several awesome local record shops and found the crowds excited and in a buying mood. Any bargains to be found were most likely in the used record section as new releases are getting up there in price but that did not seem to hold anybody back. Wonder why Record Store Day (also held on Black Friday) is only twice per year? Somebody needs to fix that.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:

1 "Back to Black." Although this biopic paints Amy Winehouse's life as more tragic than triumphant, it's worth seeing for the brilliant performance of Marisa Abela. Not only does she masterfully sing with the soulful jazzy slur of Winehouse, but she perfected the wasted waif stumbling on high heels period. Like most biopics, this one takes liberties with the full story but, to its credit, effectively captures the essence of the talented Winehouse's sad story.

2 Kamasi Washington, Fitzgerald Theater. For an enrapturing 2¼ hours, the Los Angeles jazz saxophonist and his band offered mesmeric material from new LP "Fearless Movement," with almost all the pieces extended to at least 15 minutes, with compelling solos by bassist Miles Mosley, trombonist Ryan Porter, keyboardist Brandon Coleman, DJ Battlecat and flutist Rickey Washington, Kamasi's father. ⁦The highlight: the closing number "Prologue."

⁩3 "MJ the Musical," Orpheum Theatre. More a biopic onstage than a contrived jukebox musical, this condenses Michael Jackson's life story into a two-day rehearsal for his 1992 Dangerous Tour (with plenty of flashbacks to earlier in his life). The dancing of Jamaal Fields-Green (who alternates in the lead role) is remarkably nimble and suitably thrilling but his attempt to emulate Jackson's famously soft speaking voice seems forced and unable to fill the theater. However, the unstoppable music certainly fills the room, whether it's nostalgic or new to your ears and feet.

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