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Michael Monroe gig in City Center, Mpls today review
I saw Michael Monroe do a free performance in the skyway of City
Center in Minneapolis around noon today when I was on my lunch hour.
This guy is freaking amazing. Instruments: 1 Godin acoustic-electric
classical guitar with synth pickup, Roland GR-1 synth, 1 Lexicon Jam
Man, 1 dbx compressor, 1 alesis reverb effect, a mixer, a PA, and
Michael on vocals, flute and ocarina.
I've never seen looping done like this live:
He'd play 8 bars of guitar with vocals, then add a harmony guitar
AND vocal line, then add bass and organ (as triggered from the GR1),
then add many layers of harmony vocals. It was all done totally
cleanly, clearly and professionally. And then he could extend
the arrangements - he'd play flute and it would get looped too.
He'd use Ocarina to create a seagull cry effect.
At one point, he had eight vocal harmonies in counterpoint, multiple
guitar arrangements (not unlike King Crimson's "Discipline" era),
with bass, drumming, organ/synth/strings/piano. Beautiful stuff.
Eventually, he'd fade the looping out and end the tunes or he'd
go back down to one instrument and gradually fade more and different
things in. He did everything from reggae tunes, a Joni Mitchell
piece, his own music, a few christmas tunes for good measure,
and really had drawn quite a crowd.
He basically had two Lexicon dual switch pedals to control the Jam
Man, the footpedal of the GR1, his hands to play guitar, flute,
control the audio mixer among other things.
He even did a little demo on how looping works to the audience and
did multiple levels of vocal harmony with himself. He also showed
off the GR1 and how that worked.
I've heard great musicians live in that space, Billy McLaughlin is
a notable example, but I've never seen a musician actually get
applause and he got it multiple times.
He'll be back tomorrow I'm told so if you're in the downtown Minneapolis
area definetely check this guy out.