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BEST PLACE TO SEE BLUEGRASS Minneapolis 2000 -

To a lot of folks, bluegrass is out of place just about everywhere--anachronistic in its instrumentation, themes, and values. And the little stage in the back of a shabby Lake Street pizza and karaoke joint would seem a particularly unlikely spot. But Dulono's Pizza has long been a pillar of the local old-time string-band scene, hosting local and regional bluegrass bands every Friday and Saturday night from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Because Dulono's is the only Twin Cities venue with music booking devoted solely to bluegrass, it's a hub for the picking-and-grinning social set. Over slices and pitchers of beer, folks listen attentively and appreciatively, clapping along to coax tempos faster and cheering well-played solos. The atmosphere is familial: Regulars measure their attendance tenure in decades, not years, and band members make their way from table to table between sets. In this community, the lines delineating performers and fans are always comfortably blurry, but the regular acoustic jam sessions (on the first and third Wednesday of each month) erase such distinctions completely. Local veterans the Middle Spunk Creek Boys (whose Alan Jesperson books the bands at Dulono's) play host, leading the instrument-toting attendees through freewheeling favorites and standards. Whether on a jam night or for other gigs, there's never any cover charge; arrive early, though, if you expect to get a table.

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