Local Music Yearbook '04

We crowd-surfed with R.T. We bar hopped on light rail. And between some of our precious last sucks on a cigarette at the club, we scribbled it all down on a cocktail napkin.

In a year packed with memorable benefit concerts, "Rebel Rebel Rock for Pussy" is the best name of the bunch. Mary Lucia's Bowie-tribute-cum-fundraiser for no-kill cat shelters hits a snag, however, when the event's racy title leads two prospective beneficiaries to refuse to participate.

Onstage, Lucia announces that the money will now go to her anger management course.

R.I.P.: Sonia Peterson, founder of Hair Police and scenester extraordinaire, who pioneered the "dreadperm" and hosted legendary house music events.

Jane Sherman

MAY

Punk karaoke ringmaster Ian Rans hosts Drinking With Ian, a show in which bands do just that. Set to air on the local WB affiliate KMWB (Channel 23), the program is suddenly pulled over station objections to all that drinking. The series soon finds a new home on MCN Cable Channel 6, though, and bartender to the stars Ollie Stench goes on to appear on MTV's Control Freak in December.

On the same day that his redoubtable '60s garage band the Underbeats is inducted into the Minnesota Rock & Country Hall of Fame, singer and drummer Thomas Nystrom dies, losing a long bout with cancer. He's equally remembered for crying "Why?" with the Accents, and for drumming with Gypsy in the '70s.

 

JUNE

With more music fans than ever under the age of 18, Radio K (KUOM-AM 770, FM 106.5) revives its Battle of the Underage Underground event at First Avenue for the fourth year in a row. Clubs such as the Red Sea, the Triple Rock, and the Quest hold regular all-ages shows, and teen clubs sprout up in suburbs such as Shakopee, modeled on the nonprofit likes of the Garage in Burnsville, TC Underground in Minneapolis, and the Depot in Hopkins.

Playing his last gig with Guided By Voices in the Twin Cities, Dayton indie icon Robert Pollard participates in a Grand Old Day promotional stunt--being led onstage in handcuffs by St. Paul police chief-in-waiting John Harrington, who introduces the band as "Guided By Patience." In another bid to out-hip Minneapolis this year, Garrison Keillor begins hosting a live cabaret at the Fitzgerald called the Rhubarb Show, inviting "edgy" local acts such as Spaghetti Western, Coach Said Not To, and live hip-hoppers Heiruspecs to perform.

Fans, friends, and family pay tribute to local Caribbean music groundbreaker Aldric Peter Nelson at the Cabooze, in a celebration that doubles as an exuberant family reunion for the reggae and world-music scenes. The Trinidad-born multi-instrumentalist led Shangoya for 30 years until his death of a heart attack in May, just hours after playing a show in Duluth.

R.I.P.: Jackie Lee "Blackjack" Robinson, co-founder of the Institute of Production and Recording, a Minneapolis school that teaches the fundamentals of recording to musicians.

JULY

At First Avenue's Rock for Democracy event, a fundraiser for progressive candidates, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak invokes the memory of Paul Wellstone in a speech. He then stage dives into the audience, adding "crowd surfing" to his list of ceremonial mayoral obligations, alongside ribbon cutting and baby kissing.

Fresh from his dance-off against Ben Stiller in Starsky & Hutch, Har Mar Superstar returns home overexposed, yet with a surprisingly sweet set of live R&B in Loring Park. Backed by drummer Michael Bland and bassist John Fields, the loverman saunters out through the picnic blankets until he reaches his extended family, who are seated in lawn chairs, and begins serenading them from behind, massaging their heads.

Rapper Big C (born Darrell K. Humphrey Jr.) is found lying on a bench in front of the White Castle on West Broadway, with multiple gunshot wounds. He's taken to the hospital, but dies later that night. The MC had reportedly signed a record deal earlier in the year with Junior Mafia's Chico Del Vec.

R.I.P.: Gospel and reggae singer Julitta McFarlane, who launched the pop band Ethical Treatment and played in Ipso Facto, led by her brother Wain McFarlane.

AUGUST

12 Rods play a 28-song final show at First Avenue, having already performed each of their albums in its entirety at earlier concerts this year. Before leaving the stage for good, singer Ryan Olcott turns to the audience and shouts: "Remember!"

Squeezed into a pleather dress and fishnet arm-warmers, DJ Ian Lehman screams into a microphone over techno beats, leaving a Dinkytowner audience gape-mouthed. The venue has become a dance music haven this year, with minimalist DJ JP popularizing the slogan "Microhouse--little, mellow, different!" among Friday's jaded ex-raver regulars.

St. Olaf College in Northfield announces that it will sell its tiny, freewheeling classical music radio station, the 82-year-old WCAL-FM (89.3), for an estimated $10.5 million to the 35-station Minnesota Public Radio chain, which owns rival classical station KSJN-FM (99.5). Opposition soon builds in the form of SaveWCAL, an organization that condemns what it calls MPR's media conglomeration. Within months, the 12 remaining public radio stations not under MPR's control give their loose association a new name--Independent Public Radio.

R.I.P.: DJ Baby Judy (Nate Forneris), who collaborated widely on the scene, performing with If Thousands and Gild.

SEPTEMBER

"I know there's a war going on," says Mark Mallman, speaking in the middle of his nonstop performance of a 52.4-hour song at the Turf Club over Labor Day Weekend. "But there's another war I want to talk about: the cola wars."

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