Make it perfect, make it o.k.
Poor Michael Penn. He's got plans to play a decent-sized venue in Minneapolis, and they shove him into a restaurant nearby. Renovations at the Varsity Theater meant moving last Thursday's show a few doors down, and I can't say the Loring Pasta Bar's management was very organized about the whole thing. The show, however, was fantastic. Loring Pasta Bar is all brick, leafy plants and strung lights, and it was a great, intimate place to hear him play. Penn's deceptively simple pop songs sounded almost majestic in the restaurant's high ceilings, and even though he said we were all sitting too far away for him to see us, every note was crystal clear. Though well known for the late '80s hit "No Myth", he still writes good, solid songs. Penn is also known for long delays between albums - it's been five years since his excellent Days Since a Lost Time Accident - but the songs reflect a careful writing and recording process. Penn just moved to spinART from Sony, and his new album Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947 is set to come out in August after some delays. We received a promo copy from the fine folks at spinART, and I can tell you that it's really good. Here are a couple tastes:
Upon first listen, Mr. Hollywood Jr. sounded nice and all but didn't stick. The songs stayed in my head, though, and I had to listen over and over. I know it's a while until August, but keep this one in mind until then. Penn's worth supporting, and make sure you catch him when he's in town.
And for God's sake, tip the waitstaff.