Local Music Yearbook '06

Prince went to Vegas. Smokers went to Maplewood. Tapes 'N Tapes went to the moon. And sometime after the last zombie dance party got busted, we wrote it all down for you.

"While plenty of rap music is great," Rybak writes in the Star Tribune the same week, "it's time young listeners stopped buying exploitative work of self-styled 'gangstas' who make millions inciting violence though their only real experience with life on the streets is cruising Santa Monica Boulevard in their tricked-out Escalades." Despite Rybak's questionable references, even that dichotomy is lost on the KQRS-FM morning crew, who predict nine shootings at that same month's (Rybak-endorsed) Twin Cities Celebration of Hip Hop—three for each day. Snippets of the broadcast are played during the Chosen Few's triumphant set at the celebration.

Gary Burger, singer of '60s rock greats the Monks, fronts the black-clad Conquerors as the "Mock Monks" during the Sound Unseen film festival. Taking the Bryant-Lake Bowl stage, he updates the lyrics to the 1966 song "Monk Time." Instead of "Why do you kill all those kids over there in Vietnam?" he yells, "Why do you kill all those kids over there in Iraq, Iran?" and adds, "George Bush, who the hell is he?" In October, three of the original Monks unite to play Minnesota for the first time, at Jammer's in Burger's hometown of Bemidji.

• A torrential downpour and tornado nearly keep the equally radical Flaming Lips from playing the State Fair, though singer Wayne Coyne eventually takes the stage. "I wish they had bands like us play the State Fair when I was a kid," he says.

R.I.P.: Rudy Garcia, founder of '60s band the Jaymars. Dale Schatzlein, dance impresario and director of concerts at Northrop Auditorium.

september

• Playing for a packed First Avenue, dancehall great Buju Banton calls Minneapolis "Indianapolis" for the first half hour of his set, until a bandmate corrects him. Ghostface Killah's geography is only slightly better on "Outta Town Shit," a track on his December album More Fish (Def Jam). "Like one day, right, over a powerful dice game in Minnesota/We hit the Mall up for kicks," he raps, detailing the subsequent chaos before a newscaster breaks in with the bulletin: "Today in downtown Minnesota, a tragic shootout occurred at 5:23 p.m."

• Despite protests of "You sound great," Cat Power complains at length about the sound at the Varsity. She also complains about her flight, and other matters, for what seems like an hour. Half of the audience leaves.

• Nye's Polonaise is named the best bar in America by Esquire, in a grandiose tribute by Chris Jones: "The best bar in America occupies a corner where the path to righteousness and the road to perdition run parallel, east to west, perpendicular to the muddy river that cuts this country in two, north to south." Nye's accordion player Ruth Adams is honored in October by the Minnesota Music Academy with a Connie Hechter Award for lifetime achievement.

R.I.P.: Drew Gordon, composer and keyboardist of the New Psychenauts and Gondwana. Stephe Perry, singer of Erishkigal.

october

• Taking the award for best locally released recording at the 26th Annual Minnesota Music Awards, '80s pub-poppers the Flamin' Oh's rock out like little kids, giving the more genuinely youthful, less genuinely '80s upstarts ZibraZibra (who win best teen artist) a run for their collective lunch money. The best awards show since Prince actually showed up to one of these things owes its humor and ease to REV 105 morning-show legends Mary Lucia (now of the Current, 89.3 FM) and Brian Oake (now of Cities 97 FM), who maintain just the right pretense of ceremony. Then Belles of Skin City frontman Dave Matters graciously accepts the award for song of the year ("Black Sweat") on behalf of Prince, and all that's out the window.

• Catching an eyeful of pasties (courtesy of Le Cirque Rouge) and an earful of amplified cabaret, a city inspector issues a cease-and-desist order compelling the 331 Club to discontinue its use of electrical amplification by November 14. Yet the Nordeast outpost of freak folk and other delights goes unplugged with grace, making the most of a situation with the "Unamplified Improvisation" series on Sundays.

R.I.P.: Shamus Helgason, guitarist and member of A False Notion, Voice Activated Shotgun, and Sound Salvation. Stefan Olson, longtime Turf Club bartender and doorman. Danial Shapiro, choreographer and dancer.

november

• In less than a month, more than 20 bands in Duluth pull together to record a children's CD, Treasure Chest, to benefit Pearl Swanson, the newly adopted baby daughter of local studio engineer Eric Swanson. A month earlier, Pearl went into acute heart failure and was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy. "Eric Swanson has more karma in the bank than anyone I have ever met," says Homegrown founder Scott Starfire, who helped organize a four-day festival to raise funds in December. Other benefits this year include two for rapper Crazy Amy, who has her own heart problems; a metal scene-unifying tribute to Earl Root (of KFAI's The Root of All Evil fame, 90.3/106.7), who has been fighting Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma since 2000; and the two-CD set For New Orleans (Sugarfoot Music), raising money for New Orleans Habitat for Humanity.

• Following an encouraging trend set by singer Haley Bonar and radio personality the Dan One, former Lost Cause editor Mark Baumgarten returns to Minneapolis to run a new magazine, Metro.

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