By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
I'm fed up with clubs. I'm torn up about First Avenue closing, but emotionally, I probably have a lot less invested than most of you, because my formative club years are now encased in a parking lot in Ann Arbor. What I will miss is all the great music I saw there, but brother, they can't take that away from me.
That's why I appreciate the Triple Rock and love the Acadia. I can get good food from pleasantly pierced waitresses at the Triple Rock. Most nights I don't have to take a shower when I get home, thanks to the good ventilation system. Plus, there's lovely Blue Moon on tap (Friend: "Wow. It tastes like detergent. But I like that!") The Acadia has an expansive selection of boutique beers at neighborhood bar prices--and Bells on tap. Plus, no smoke! I thought its Tuesday night improv series was dead with the departure of the awesomely talented Andrew Lafkas to NYC, but Mike Hallenbeck and GST's Greg Schaefer have admirably taken up the slack. They appear to be putting a little bit more rock and electronica into the mix, which I think can only extend the natural life of the series. I say "appear" because, since I now have TiVo and can leave my house on Tuesday nights, there is the problem of ATU union meetings falling on many of the evenings when there's a good bill. And that's something you just can't pause, rewind, and watch later.
OUR TOWN'S BETTER THAN YOUR TOWN
Having spent most of the past year working at a recording studio out of state, I've had a chance to experience the Twin Cities music scene vicariously through friends, new releases, and pals in the biz. After spending the better part of 14 years living in such a rich and varied musical environment, it's been a bit of a culture shock for me to find that, although I'd long suspected it, there really is no other music scene quite like ours. People are genuinely amazed when they find that most of my CD collection is made up of Minnesota artists. They're doubly blown away when I play them the albums and they find out how really, truly great so many of our musicians, songwriters, and performers are. I can honestly say that I've been as proud and puffy as a new papa time and time again as I cranked out tunes from artists I figured everybody either knew (or should know) about: artists like Ol' Yeller, the Summer People, the Midnight Evils, Mark Thomas Stockert, and Halloween, Alaska. Despite the fact that we're living in some of the most trying and challenging times in recent history, a steady flow of great new music continued to come outta the Twin Cities over the past winter, spring, and summer, proving that we've only just begun to scrape the surface of one of the richest musical mines in America. Thank your lucky stars you live where you do, and show your appreciation by supporting your local artists. They really do represent you to the rest of the music-lovin' world!
I have traveled all over the country playing shit gigs, and there is no more hospitable and active music scene than here in the Twin Cities. Although sometimes I feel the scene gets taken for granted, there still are music lovers out and about seven nights a week here. What is strange is how nothing ever seems to affect all of this directly; on the coldest, most miserable nights, there still will be a packed house somewhere. I have yet to see a traveling band go away hungry or without a place to crash. Unless they're total assholes, they have a great time in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Most of that is because our local bands and music people have a good sense of "what comes around goes around." A lot of bands are my favorites because of their collective personalities as well as their music. Most of what I get off on when watching a band is their interactions. Music isn't about competition. If you want to be in a contest, go play baseball. Music is about sharing moods/feelings, stories...you know, expression. It's about bringing people together, sticking it to the man.
I just want to give a hefty shout-out to all of the local musicians for all the joy they bring to the ears of the local music supporters. This past year has been amazing. I've uprooted my entire life so that I could do my part and work in this crazy business. If I weren't from an area that had such a high concentration of incredible music, I probably would not be working in the music industry. The artists here have given me the inspiration, know-how, and passion to simultaneously build our roster and our business on a national level. Could the Twin Cities scene be the next big thing? If Seattle, Omaha, and Detroit can do it, why the hell can't we? Special props go to Rhymesayers, Rift Magazine, 2024 Records, Heart of a Champion, Howwastheshow.com, and First Avenue. Oh, how we love thee.