October 9, 2009 in Features

Aimee Mann transforms CdA’s Kroc Center into concert venue

Isamu Jordan Correspondent
Photo courtesy of Aimee Mann photo

Singer- songwriter Aimee Mann performs at the Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Aimee Mann
(Full-size photo)

If you go

Aimee Mann

When: Saturday at 8 p.m.

Where: The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Center, 1765 Golf Course Road, in Coeur d’Alene.

Tickets: $15, through TicketsWest, www.ticketswest.com, (509) 325-SEAT.

Since opening in May, the $38 million dollar Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Center has served as a community place for Mario Kart Wii tournaments, old-time hymn sing-alongs and lectures on healthy meal planning.

But on Saturday, Coeur d’Alene’s premiere multipurpose facility’s performing arts theater will make its debut as a concert venue, when Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Aimee Mann comes to The Kroc.

Located just off of Interstate 90 in Coeur d’Alene, the 400-seat Kroc Center is one of the most intimate rooms Mann is playing on her current tour. She’s playing the 1,400-seat Moore Theatre in Seattle and the 600-seat Aladdin Theater in Portland. The smallest stop Mann makes in the region is the 300-seat State Room in Salt Lake City.

With ticket prices slashed in half – dropping from $30 to $15 earlier this week – a show of this size and magnitude should sell out.

The former bassist, co-vocalist and co-songwriter of 1980s New Wave group ’Til Tuesday, Mann was an MTV staple during the mid-’80s, and she made more major strides at the turn of the millennium as a solo singer-songwriter.

While the title track for ’Til Tuesday’s 1985 debut album, “Voices Carry,” won the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist that year, Mann made a breakthrough when she contributed songs to the soundtrack for the 1999 Paul Thomas Anderson award winning film, “Magnolia.” The soundtrack was nominated for Academy, Golden Globe, and Grammy awards.

Mann earned her first Grammy Award for her 2005 album, “The Forgotten Arm,” a concept piece set in the 1970s about two lovers-on-the-run who meet at a state fair in Virginia.

Mann’s current tour is in support of her latest CD, the unpronounceable and virtually unspellable “@#%&*! Smilers.”

This is Mann’s seventh studio album, released least year on SuperEgo Records. “@#%&*! Smilers” depicts eccentric personalities affected by fame, or the pursuit of it.

The cast of characters include weary road wanderers, hopeful drunks, couch zombie burnouts, disillusioned artists, and broken financiers.

“When I write about them – the narcissists, performers, eccentrics, know-it-alls – it helps me recognize some truths about the world and about myself,” Mann says in her press bio.

Aurally, the album drifts away from familiar electric and acoustic guitar sounds, incorporating distorted Wurlitzer organs, Clavinets and analog synthesizers. Some songs were written with string and horn sections in mind.

For the Kroc Center show, Mann will be joined by a full band and making use of the theater’s grand piano.

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