Best Dressed Award goes to Prince Rama at 7th Street Entry (04/07). These two sisters are dressed like they are from the 80s.
Once in a Life Time Award goes to Prince Block Party at First Avenue Block (04/21). When news of Prince’s death reached the internet at midday... fans all gathered at First Avenue for an unexpected block party, some six hours later. We’ll never forget what happened, it was pretty awesome to see some 8,000 people in one place.
Rarely Seen Award goes to Peter Murphy at Mill City Nights (04/12). The Gothfather rarely tours... this was a very rare opportunity to see Murphy in person.
Self-Destructive Award goes to Fat White Family at 7th Street Entry (04/26). Best show ever, despite the smoking, the drinking, and their lateness.
Show of the Month Award goes to Kid Koala at Walker Art Center (04/02) as part of the unique Liquid Music series. Kid Koala and company managed to create a film live via live puppetry, live soundtrack, and special effects. Simply amazing.
We previously announced The Hapa Tour (featuring co-headliners Meiko and Marié Digby) earlier in January 2016... and finally the tour will be making a stop at the Cedar Cultural Center this Monday, March 14th.
Man, the last time I saw Ty Segall, we were on a boat and Redd Kross’ Steve Mcdonald was on bass! There was maybe about 100 people on the small boat, and it was pretty rad. You can read all about it here: NXNE 2011 (Saturday).
Here is the wrap-up for last month: March 2016.
Officially, I’m out of winter hibernation ... and thanks to SXSW in Austin, Texas, we got a lot of bands booking Midwest tours. March and April are generally our favorite time of the year.
So, looking back at our 24 shows we covered:
Best Billing goes to the Meiko and Marie Digby at Cedar (03/14). Billed as “The Hapa Tour”, the concept behind this is that they are both Asian mixed.
Canadian Award goes to the Basia Bulat at Cedar Cultural Center (03/08). Like Basia Bulat’s previous appearance, she was quite happy and positively glowing.
Buzz Award goes to the Foxing at Triple Rock (03/04). Loads of young fans helped build up a massive Foxing fanbase in Minneapolis.
Most Entertaining Award goes to the Ty Segall at First Ave (03/09). Segall has been around for ages, but keeping it fresh, he re-invented himself as a giant man-baby. Very interesting...
Local Artist Award goes to Soul Asylum at Electric Fetus (03/25). The local band has been around for ages, but it’s always good to see them perform.
Since I love all-things Riot Grrrls, naturally I wanted to check out Babes in Toyland live. A little trivia, but the legendary Minneapolis band actually fired bassist Courtney Love in 1987. She, of course
From the current incarnation of Morris Day and the Time as well as rising songstress and Grammy winner Judith Hill, who had her debut album, last year’s Back in Time
Here is the wrap-up for last month: January 2016.
I know it’s late, but let’s be honest, there really weren’t many shows we covered for the month of January. In fact, December to February (our current month) is pretty dead on account of my personal hibernation, but also bands aren’t really touring Minneapolis in the winter months (a smart move on their part).
I’ll never forget watching Ben Folds talk about his very first national tour and he made the mistake of booking Minneapolis in the Winter. What happened was there was a blizzard and they had to push Folds’ piano from the venue to their van... and ended up leaving it in the middle of the street. The band was so naïve about Minneapolis and snow that none of them wore heavy coats, and Folds described it as the harshest lesson he’s learned and since then, the band has never, ever come to Minneapolis in the Winter.
Trust me when I tell you that I’ve seen a lot of bands and for many who has never been to Minneapolis in the Winter (especially if they’re from a warmer area), they all say the same thing: Minneapolis is pretty darn cold. It’s also probably because many of these touring bands aren’t properly dressed.
Anyway, with that said, here are some highlights from January:
Buzz Award goes to the Bully at Fine Line (01/18). The Current loves her... and so does everyone else!
Come Back Award goes to Morris Day at Paisley Park (01/29). The last time The Time played was in 2001 - a 15 year absent!
First Time Award goes to Venom Inc at Turf Club (01/12). The band’s very first St Paul appearance, even though they’ve been around for at least 35 years.
Legendary Award goes to “local” Babes in Toyland at First Ave (01/30). Officially their first non-festival Minneapolis appearance... and it brought out all the local musicians and riot fans.
A classic Vincent Price introduction led to the curtain fall and a canvas backdrop of a close-up of Alice Cooper’s eyes as the shock rocker and band launched into the opening ‘Black Widow’ of its too-short 50 minute set.
Matt Healy, lead singer for Manchester UK band, The 1975, is a marked man. And this past weekend, he returned to the city where it all happened.
Here is the wrap-up for last month: December 2015.
As expected, with "the great Winter Hibernation", our show coverages have gone drastically down in December (and possibly equally worst in January and February). That's not new, if you look over our year-end summary, this is typical.
December is the worst, because basically the last week are holidays (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, etc.)...
Largest Show Award goes to the Rhymesayers 20 at
Target Center (12/04).
Featuring a million Rhymesayers acts, this was an unbelievable show for all ages.
New Tradition Award goes to Go96's Snow Show! Featuring Silversun Pickups, Metric, The Wombats and Melanie Martinez for the first night and
Death Cab for Cutie, Best Coast and Panic is Perfect for the second night. We love it look forward to again next December. Read about Night #1: Go96's Snow Show Night 1 (12/03).
Legendary Award goes shock rocker Alice Cooper at State Theatre (12/06). The way he dances and sings, you'd never know he's nearly 68 years old!
Christmas Award goes Johnnyswim at Varsity Theater (12/08). Christmas only comes around once a year, and this couple absolutely love the holiday spirit.
Most Memorable Show goes to The 1975 at at First Ave (12/10). We've see the band at least five times, but this was probably our favorite. They're on the very cusp of arena shows, and a good indication was when we got out of the venue - there were bootleg T-Shirt sellers! That's unheard of for a "club" size band.
Below are links to all 11 shows we covered for the month of December 2015.
"The New Lennon and McCartney", Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook (billed under their popular band name Squeeze) will be playing an acoustic set across America this November. The exciting news is that ...
Here is the wrap-up for last month: November 2015.
Despite Vu's absent from show coverages (the great Winter Hibernation), we still covered 33 shows for November. Most of these shows were spillage from Rocktober 2015... but eventually slowed down due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Forecast for December shows will likely take a dive with only about 10 to 15 shows.
Unique Award goes to Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Orpheum (11/25). It's just like watching a movie, but completely live. Truly, a magical two hour jukebox of your favorite 50s/60s music biography comes to life on the stage.
Reunion Award goes to The Bird And The Bee at Cedar Cultural Center (11/02). The band's been away for a long time (their last appearance was at the Varsity Theater in 2008), and it was worth it to see them, despite Greg Kurstin's absent from the group.
Our favorite Material Girl has done things the old-fashioned way to get attention, but is showing some movement in the digital direction. First, she posed provocatively in the Art Issue of the Dec/Jan
FFS - the unique collaboration between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks - have announced their first ever North American live dates. This once-in-a-lifetime tour
Here is the wrap-up for last month: October 2015.
It's official, this is the most shows we've ever covered for the month of October, aka Rocktober. We typically only cover about 35 to 40 shows, but this year, we broke the record with 62 shows.
Busiest Day goes to October 28th for four shows: Leon Bridges at First Ave , Nathaniel Rateliff at Turf Club , Shannon And The Clams at 7th Street, and Mal Blum at
Nether Bar . Technically October 14 also featured four shows, but one of the show was The Struts in Los Angeles...
Unique Award goes to FFS at First Avenue (9 Oct 2015). Look, we have previously covered Sparks and Franz Ferdinand, but having the two band teamed up as its own entity is pretty unique. The collaboration was a success, but I have a feeling that we probably won't see FFS again... at least any time soon.
Most Entertaining Show goes to Peaches at First Ave (10/15). For just a one-woman show, Peaches is just a delight to watch. Sure, her shows are NSFW, but that's why we love her.
Most Diverse Booking goes to The Varsity Theater for booking these shows in a row: Singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata on 10/17, hard rock The Darkness on 10/18, goth rock IAMX on 10/19, and Americana The Lone Bellow on 10/20.
Reunion Award goes to Blur at Hollywood Bowl (10/20) & Madison Square Garden (10/23). Blur, with all the original band members, will probably never play the USA again, and that motivated some diehard fans to fly into Los Angeles and New York to see them for, perhaps, the final time.
These artists need no introduction, but perhaps I should explain why these shows are so important. There's also no denying that as one of two living Beatles member, Ringo Starr is just a legend. Same goes for Slash, formerly of Guns N Roses... and most importantly, Madonna is back on tour and it is perhaps her last tour before retirement. People often ask if she's relevant at a time when the music industry is packed with younger girls like Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Lorde, and many others. Of course, the Material Girl shows us how it's done.
Below are links to all 62 shows we covered for the month of October 2015.
We were really impressed with Go 96.3 FM's first Go Show #1 (featuring New Politics and Banks at Aria on Mar 2015). We were wondering how they can top that debut show
Here is the wrap-up for last month: August 2015.
Not counting our Winter Hibernation period - August was our weakest month in 2015. Between August and July, these have traditionally been our slowest months. The reasons? People are on vacation or summer break. Shows will pick up when the school season starts again, which usually starts after Labor Day and the shows will continue strong into November.
Anyway, looking over our measly 27 shows, the big "festival" type shows stood out: Go Fest '15, Cultivate, and the two-week big Minnesota State Fair. Between the three major shows, we had an excellent time at Go Fest, sponsored by radio station Go 96.3. Plus many of the bands appearing on Go Fest will be back in Minneapolis at a later date (Big Data and MS MR), so playing this high profile festival proved to be good promotions for them.
The Chipotle's Cultivate Festival would have been really good too - if it wasn't for the fact that the rain caused headliner Walk the Moon to cancel their appearance.
The first part of the month had some great shows: Screaming Females returning to the Triple Rock, Django Django returning to First Ave, Woody Allen playing New Orleans jazz (and not promoting his latest hit movie?), The Kills made a rare non-music festival at
at First Avenue, and the "new One Direction" band The Vamps made an impact with their young girl fans at First Avenue.
Of course, we like our old bands... and August had their fair share of these important guys and girls: Mötley Crüe's last tour ever at Xcel Center, Social Distortion at First Ave, KMFDM at Mill City Nights, Gwar at Wooly's (Des Moines), and X at Mill City Nights.
Despite breaking my camera, what a way to close out August than with goth/drone Chelsea Wolfe at Triple Rock.
Below are links to all 27 shows we covered in August 2015.
Weezer's singer Rivers Cuomo brought out his dad, Frank Cuomo, and they play "Back to the Shack". One of the most touching things I have witness in my many years of watching Weezer shows. …
Here is the wrap-up for last month: July 2015.
The Minneapolis summer festivals officially kicked off last month with Rock the Garden, and continues into July with the biggest music festival of July: Basilica Block Party and Vans Warped Tour. Personally speaking, this year's Basilica had a killer lineup with headliner Weezer and Nate Ruess (of fun.).
Traditionally, July has always been a slow month for music, speaking from personal experience - shows in July don't have the best attendance. I believe people go on vacation, travelling, living out on their cabins, or don't want to leave their air conditioned home. The shows that do really, really well are early outdoor shows - for example the Cabooze Outdoor Plaza shows (which we only attended the Switchfoot/Needtobreathe show).
Older, established bands who know their market prefer to tour Minneapolis in the Summer were: Toad the Wet Sprocket (who had a side show in Minneapolis from their regular tour with Smash Mouth), Say Anything (who was experimenting with a four-piece orchestra on their set), Indigo Girls (a nice reunion of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers), Veruca Salt (their second appearance in Minneapolis after reuniting with all the original members), Flock Of Seagulls (at the second annual Ribfest in Mystic Lake), and Everclear (with Toadies on their annual 90s revival Summerland Tour).
Other highlight in July: Blur's first show in Australia in 18 years took place July 25th in Sydney. Freezepop making a semi-rare Midwest appearance at the Nether Bar on July 18th.
Also what a great way to end July with soul music at the Secret Stash Revue at First Avenue. The show featured Sonny Knight and the Lakers, Wanda Davis, and others.
Below are links to all 33 shows we covered in June 2015.
The problem with free version of Spotify is that you're tied to your computer. Most people listen to music on their mobile device, such as a modern phone.
If you have a Nokia Lumia phone, the good news …
With over 14,000 fans in attendance at Imagine Dragons last appearance in Minnesota, I can tell you that the band has massive appeal to a younger demographic.
Here is the wrap-up for last month: June 2015.
The month started off slow, but once it got going, it was unstoppable. This was our busiest month so far in 2015, covering over 36 shows (up from 32 shows in May 2015).
Like 'Rocktober', June had multiple bands playing different venues on the same date. For one person, it's impossible to cover two or three bands the same date, so we had to regrettably choose one over the other (if we didn't have enough people to cover everything.)
The first date that we couldn't cover was for Catfish and the Bottlemen or Purity Ring on June 9th, but we were able to give coverage to Imagine Dragons with Metric and Halsey at Xcel in St Paul, and Embrace with Starsailor at Mill City Nights in Minneapolis.
The double/triple night shows would continue: June 10th (Shonen Knife and CJ Ramone vs Elle King), June 11th (Tori Kelly vs White Lung), June 12th (Michael Franti and Spearhead against Barenaked Ladies) and June 13th (Kate Tempest vs July Talk vs Hayden).
Personally, the very big big highlight was seeing Violent Femmes with Barenaked Ladies. Two key things: (1) my first show ever at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Red Wing, Minnesota (about two hours drive) and (2) my first ever Violent Femmes show. This is important because the Femmes had stopped writing music and essentially broke up in 2007 over disputes of selling out "Blister in the Sun" to Wendy's. When you hear some of these songs like "Kiss Off" and "American Music", you just have to sing along. It's so good live... and I hope VF do a normal club tour. You know we will be first in line to see them when they return.
June also meant big weekends for music festivals: particularly with Stone Arch Bridge Festival pitting against The Walker Art Center/The Current's two-day festival Rock the Garden. We had such a blast at Rock the Garden; this was our biggest highlight for the month of June. Where else are you going to see Belle & Sebastian playing with Courtney Barnett and Conor Oberst? For the second night, teaming up Modest Mouse with Babes in ToylandandSeun Kuti & Egypt 80? Each band had to top each other, and it's okay to love them all for their diversity.
The festivals continued into the last week of June with Twin Cities Jazz Festival (25-27 June 2015) in St Paul, Minnesota, and AthFest (26-28 June 2015) in Athens, Georgia.
With the double/triple dates show in the first half and music festivals in the second half of June ... this resulted in one of the busiest, biggest month we've had to endure in a long time.
Below are links (if available) to all 36 shows we covered in June 2015.