The Year in Music

The Sound of Music, 2001: Our Favorite Things



On September 11 iconoclastic quadriplegic singer-activist Larry Kegan dies of cardiac arrest at age 59.

First Avenue and other clubs temporarily close in the wake of that day's other tragedies. Countless touring acts cancel shows. Even benefit gigs have difficulty drawing large crowds. On September 15 Atmosphere's Slug improvises a rap over the air on KFAI-FM (90.3 in Minneapolis/ 106.7 in St. Paul), to promote a concert the following night: "Y'all need to come out and see the sun/'Cause y'all need to come out and be the sun."

A week later "Elegy" brings scores of musicians and spectators to the NorShor Theatre in Duluth. Organized to remember poet Michael Lenz, killed by a gunman in March, the meditative, 25-hour drone jam inevitably takes on a wider meaning. In the free-for-all's cathartic final hour, someone from the audience climbs onstage and begins conducting the dozens of musicians, gradually bringing the volume down until the marathon ends with three full minutes of silence. Some of those present begin to weep.



Chicago's Cynthia Plaster Caster arrives in town and announces on 770 Radio K (KUOM-AM) that she is interested in "casting" the penis of Hawaii singer Steve Barone after hearing his song "Shaved Ice." She tracks him down at the Uptown Bar that night and arranges an appointment.

Meanwhile, after vehemently protesting their own existence (with placards and chants calling their own music "unfair"), expansive local avant-gardists 2i temporarily cease to exist when drummer Ram Zimmerman moves to Austin, Texas (possibly as a part of some sort of exchange program that sees Star Tribune writer Chris Riemenschneider move from Texas to the Twin Cities). The exit leaves those 300 bands Zimmerman plays in somewhat bereft.



On November 9 Mark Mallman plays a ten-hour gig inside a refrigerator box at the CD Warehouse in Dinkytown. Mallman's spiritual compadres Tulip Sweet and keyboardist Tom Siler leave town for New York, having originally planned to fly there on September 11.



Regular buskers on Nicollet Mall--kids drumming on empty deli buckets and Peruvian musicians pan-fluting over what sounds like cheesy Skinemax porno music--flee the cold. Now that they are gone, Crystal Court is left open to the onslaught of talented but scary suburban vocal groups looking to put their own Manhattan Transfer spin on "Sleigh Ride" and "Jingle Bell Rock." Rock critics vow to avoid the IDS Center until MLK Day--at the soonest.


Contributors: Jen Boyles, Cecile Cloutier, Peter S. Scholtes, Kate Silver.

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