By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Greazy Meal started out a few years back playing '70s soul and funk covers at the Cabooze. The weekly gig earned them a reputation as the best live act in town--plus a fiercely loyal, multiracial following. When the Meal got off the road and returned to the Cabooze in August, the band's Sunday shows relied more heavily than ever on originals, and spoken word performers were brought on as between-set "palate cleansers." Greazy's audience apparently doesn't mind the mild gestures toward "seriousness," and it filled the club to capacity, garnering the group an invitation to extend the Sunday parties through the end of the year.
But the question remains: Is the West Bank's tightest funk band ready for international consumption? Let's consider the evidence. Exhibit A: Jamiroquai. Exhibit B: Greazy's soon-to-be released sophomore album, Gravy, which out-souls and out-grooves their debut by an ocean of boiling grease. If Visualize World Greaze was a sop to fans, then the deeper stew of Gravy has enough contemporary R&B flava ("Too Cold") and bank-rockin' trip-beats ("Forgiveness") to extend the retro-ish scene they created. Speaking of, Greazy was among the winners in Musician Magazine's recent "Best New Band" contest.
Summer's over, that's where it ends
The first cool breeze of fall is traditionally a time of breakups, reunions, and last-ditch flings, when bands and lovers alike decide whom they're going to accompany into the oncoming cold. Martin Zellar must have had this in mind when he booked August 29's Down by Iowa festival in Austin, Minn. With all his former mates from the Gear Daddies present--Nick Ciola in Zellar's own band, Randy Broughten of Trailer Trash, and Billy Dankert with his band--a brief reunion was inevitable. The twang-rock heroes indeed reassembled after Zellar's set for a few of their early-'90s standards.
On the down side, punk notables Calvin Krime, the Freedom Fighters, and Thee Viceroys have all broken up. Contrary to persistent rumor, though, the Odd has not. Members of the glammed-out rawk group planned to disband last April, as reported in these pages ("A Star Is (Still)Born" 4/28/98), but that was apparently just a momentary freak-out after winning "Best New Band" in the City Pages music poll.
They played a blistering set at Lee's on August 28, and will celebrate the release of their great, fuzzed-out new disc, Oh My God--It's the Odd, Thursday at the 7th St. Entry. When I recently asked keyboardist Mark Mallman if the band would continue to be an item, he nodded, saying, "In what other band would I get to wear leather pants?" (For more information on the Odd's CD release party, call 338-8388.)
Farewell Random Radio
Run by one DJ Starfire, (a.k.a. Scott Lunt), Random Radio was Duluth's pirate radio voice for more than a year until July 1, when Lunt got a letter from the Federal Communications Commission listing the relevant laws he was breaking. Lunt shut the station down shortly afterward, but not before he'd recorded enough visiting musicians in his basement studio to put together a wonderful CD of indie-pop acts, including Low and spoken-word artists such as Heidi Bakk-Hansen.
Lunt's Random Acts of Radio CD is out now, and has a low-key, lo-fi intimacy that could make a glittery band like Detroit sound like the Spinanes. Lunt is holding a CD release party on Saturday, with Detroit headlining, at the Historic Norshor Theatre. He says he has invited the FCC. (Tickets available at the Duluth Electric Fetus. Call 218-724-1419 for more information.)