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Feb 12th

New Primitives, Casual Confusion throw down with true strength

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New Primitives, Casual Confusion throw down with true strength

Let's talk warhorses and young lions. Recently I had the pleasure to catch both New Primitives and Casual Confusion throwing down with true strength.

Photo: New Primitives left to right: Tommy Peterson, Joel Arpin, Brian Powers, Stanley Kipper, Chico Perez, and DJ Trichrome. Sitting: Javier Trejo Casual Confusion left to right: Zach Dennison, Colin Hodges, and Mike Hayostak

Let's talk warhorses and young lions. Recently I had the pleasure to catch both New Primitives and Casual Confusion throwing down with true strength.

Veteran aces New Primitives brought thoroughbred Afro-Cuban rock to the Sommerfest doings at Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis on the 14th. It was welcome to catch these guys in the open air, drawing a crowd of casual strollers-by. Folk would get nosy, stop for a minute to listen and find themselves sitting down, head-bobbing to the music. At length the inevitable occurred and people -- a fascinating mix of ages, colors and ethnicities -- started getting up and dancing (me too, for that matter). "Must Be Love," by bandleader Stan Kipper was the hands-down highlight of the afternoon, insistently pulsing percussion and snaking bass fueling a solid groove while Kipper laid down his distinctive, raw-edged vocal phrasing. Javier Trejo wasn't any slouch either, with his humorous hard-charging jam "Sketchy Cat." And when they broke into the Temps number "They Way You Do the Things You Do" done to Trejo's uncanny ska arrangement, yours truly just about lost it. New Primitives rocked the outdoor house a good two hours, giving attendees the priceless opportunity to catch some amazing sounds and a suntan at the same time. Rumor has it New Prims sooner or later will make good on their threat to release the eagerly anticipated second album American Nomad before everybody in the band is in a rocking chair. Meanwhile the debut disc New Primitives, featuring "Wild Horses" and "Bring Me Down," is very much available at the record shop. And you can catch them next in town at St. Anthony Main Summer Concert Series (another fresh-air affair), 213 S.E. Main St. on Fri. Aug 17 at 7:30 p.m.

The boys came back on for an evening set, but by then I had hot-footed it over to Casual Confusion at The Varsity Theater in Dinkytown, where they headlined a bill that boasted firebrand alt-rocking Kymara, soul-deep R&B monsters Bluestone Moon and excellent avant-garde jazzer Matthew Santos.

Casual Confusion, quite simply, is a full-out explosion awaiting sufficient exposure. Headed up by extraordinary guitarist-singer-songwriter Colin Hodges with fluid bassist bass guitarist Mike "Haddy" Hayostek and slam-tight drummer Zach Dennison, they are to this era what The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Love were to the '70s -- powerhouse rock brandishing exciting music, inventive melody, strong lyrics and more crowd-rousing showmanship than the law probably allows. And they have a killer CD, Casual Confusion, to prove it.

They tore the place up straight from jump, opening with the gem "Chances." It's a haunting ballad that starts out mellow enough, and then gradually raises the hair on the back of your neck, transitioning from a reflective scheme of things to raising pure and absolute hell. And man, catching them do this song live is freshly new and improved entertainment itself. Hodges, a long, tall good-lookin' drink of water, breaks into a bad to the bone, jitterbug-strut, strangling his axe and singing his you-know-what off. "Still Care" steams such funk you have to hold your nose. "Future Shock," stone-cold steeped in the Robin Trower school of yes-you-can-do-a-slow-jam-and-still-rock-the-roof-off-the-joint, is downright scary. I got the chance to catch them again, opening on July 26, for The New Congress at Bunker's in Minneapolis' Warehouse District. It amounted to a double-bill for the books: both bands burned. Casual Confusion breaks bad next at Aug. 22 at The Uptown Bar, 3018 Hennepin Ave. South in Minneapolis. Info: 612-823-4719.

It does the heart and soul a world of good to kn

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