No Direction Home

Dylan does Duluth; To Ave. and Ave. not

Bald and dressed in the most demure stage gear she's donned this decade, poor Ana was visibly unnerved under the spotlight. Further, her cold techno backdrop seemed to keep her from converting that anxiety into the strange beauty she cultivated with her former band. Voog's entourage of assistants, who sauntered about blowing bubbles and theatrically dusting the room, weren't of much consequence, either. I wouldn't begrudge one of the city's most dynamic performers the chance to score a hit with her rapturous yet shallow CD, anavoog.com, but a return to warm, organic live performances may be in order.

Miscellany: Bust a move

What's with the new First Avenue calendar? If you've been frantically searching for those multicolored band schedules that were a First Avenue staple for some 18 years, you can officially call off the hounds. Taking the old calendar's place is a photocopied "in-house magazine" that's more than a bit mimetic of the defunct performance zine Gig--which makes sense, since (the recently hitched) former Gigsters Tiger Roholt and Winona Sorenson are now employed in the club's front office.

Scenesters who are averse to such abrupt changes in tradition can take comfort in the fact that the zine symbolizes the club's ongoing attempt at setting off in a new direction. My own knee-jerk protests were quelled by owner-manager Steve McClellan's first-issue memo. "Since change seems to be on the upswing at First Avenue this year, let's change some of our promotional tools and learn something in the process."

Change is, indeed, good, and one of my favorite additions to the Ave. this year is Bust-A-Move, a video game on the first floor, next to the restroom staircase. A Japanese combination of Super Breakout and Tetris, with a Hello-Kitty's-Keroppi-like frog character, it's the cutest game in years. And the machine's popularity is inversely proportional to the quality of the music on any given night. So if I want to know how a local band is faring, I simply Bust-A-Move.

Fortunately, it's possible to position oneself to play the game and still watch the Mainroom stage. That said, I'm holding out for a winter music season in which we clubgoers will be encouraged to save our quarters.

Club Scout is a monthly column about local live music.

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