The Year in Music: P.O.S., Solid Gold, and Owl City break through

Losses include the Suburbs' Bruce Allen, Dinkytowner, and Myth

Solid Gold headline First Avenue for the first time, asserting themselves as a prominent act in town. By the end of the year, the dreamy, guitar-driven electro-pop band will play to a crowd of thousands at the Walker Art Center's Rock the Garden, form a new partnership with Mountain Dew's Green Label Sound, play high-profile gigs in Brooklyn during the CMJ festival, and come home to sell out First Avenue at their second Mainroom show of the year.


St. Paul singer-songwriter Jeff Hanson dies unexpectedly of what is later determined to be a drug overdose, at the age of 31. Hanson was in the midst of a successful recording career with prominent indie label Kill Rock Stars, and was critically lauded for his angelic, high-register voice and his talent for creating intricate, complex compositions. His most recent album, Madam Owl, was considered by many to be his most accomplished work yet, making news of his death all the more painful.

After four years of business in the Warehouse District, Trocaderos nightclub closes with little warning or lamentation from the surrounding community.


Rhymesayers' latest phenomenon, P.O.S.
Nick Vlcek
Rhymesayers' latest phenomenon, P.O.S.
Slug of Atmosphere at Soundset '09
Nick Vlcek
Slug of Atmosphere at Soundset '09

On the heels of Gary Louris and Mark Olson's successful duet record and a one-off reunion show in Spain, the Jayhawks announce that they will play their first hometown show with Olson since the band opened for Bob Dylan at the Target Center back in 1995. The band reunites at the Basilica Block Party in early July, joined by Marc Perlman, Tim O'Reagan, and Karen Grotberg, and plays a set of early songs like "Waiting for the Sun," "Two Angels," and "Blue," complete with backing vocals from the Basilica Choir.

An act of arson sets a vacant building next door to University Avenue's Big V's ablaze, causing many to wonder if we are about to lose yet another venue this year. Luckily, the fire is quickly extinguished and the St. Paul dive bar is left unharmed.

A ray of light appears as a handful of new venues pop up on the local landscape, including the 501 Club on Washington, opened by the 331 Club's owner Jon Oulman; Sauce Spirits and Soundbar, which takes over the old La Bodega space on Lake and Lyndale; and the Music Box, which is repurposed to host concerts after serving as the home for comedy show Triple Espresso for 13 years.


There's not much good news to report in August. Mid-month, the Southwest Journal digs up an application filed with the city by a developer who intends to demolish the Uptown Bar and Cafe and replace it with a three-story retail space. Despite the bar being a profitable restaurant and a staple of the local music scene since the '80s, plans are quickly pushed through and the Uptown announces that it will close on November 1. Local musicians new and old rush to book shows at the ill-fated bar, and in its final days the stage is filled with acts ranging from the original lineup of Faux Jean to Janis Figure to a grand finale concert with the Hawaii Show, Happy Apple, and Matt Wilson and John Munson's new project the Twilight Hours. As part of the funeral process, surf-rock demons Lusurfer parade through the streets of Uptown with a casket on their shoulders, leading a parade of mourning fans into the bar for their farewell show. Just a few short weeks after the bar closes, a bulldozer reduces the building to a pile of rubble, paving the way for yet another yuppie retail chain to set up shop on Hennepin Avenue.

On the same day that news of the Uptown's demolition spreads across town, a source tells City Pages that the Myth Nightclub in Maplewood has fired its staff and closed. An investigation into the closing reveals that two co-owners are locked in a legal dispute over control of the club, and bookers and investors are forced to migrate elsewhere.

Like salt in an open wound, a tornado sweeps through south Minneapolis in late August to blow out the front windows and tear apart the roof of the Electric Fetus. With some remodeling, the record store is fully functional again by the end of the year.


After years of attempting to acquire a full-time FM signal, Radio K announces that it has purchased a new 99-watt transmitter and will begin broadcasting on 104.5 FM (100.7 FM in St. Paul) 24 hours a day, seven days a week in addition to its regular daytime broadcast on 770 AM. It's a big win for the station, acquired after a decade of PowerSurge fundraisers and campaigns, as well as a breath of fresh air for local listeners hungry for more around-the-clock independent music on their FM dials.

Owatonna-based electro-pop artist Adam Young, a.k.a. Owl City, becomes inexplicably huge. His Universal Republic debut, Ocean Eyes, opens at No. 27 on the Billboard charts and only rises from there. The first single, "Fireflies," becomes the best-selling download on iTunes in the U.S. and holds the position for weeks. While Young is praised by the mainstream pop and twee sets, he is simultaneously bashed by hipsters nationwide and accused of ripping off the Postal Service by more than a few snarky bloggers. At the time this article is written, over 22 million viewers have watched the video for "Fireflies" on YouTube.


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