BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Minneapolis 2003 -
The day after the Fourth of July, the Minneapolis music scene declares its independence. In an art space that once housed Sunday school classes, dozens of riotous self-released and minor-label bands (highlights include Wolf Eyes, Charalambides, Six Organs of Admittance, and local psych icon Michael Yonkers) amass midday to launch an epic concert that rages until the sun rises the next morning. Hordes of artists in bank-robber masks, animal costumes, and various other flights of fashion flood the stage, producing so much skull-crushing noise on guitars, violins, gongs, trumpets, tape recorders, sequencers, what-have-you, that you can't tell whether the audience is screaming from joy or pain. In an adjacent room, musicians join up with their fans to see who can most quickly guzzle down the ambiguous fruitpunchdraincleanersomethingorother mix they've concocted. And out on the front steps, two MCAD students kiss quietly. (Overheard pickup line: "You've got the weirdest tattoos I've ever seen.") It's one of those summer nights when everyone feels a certain invincibility. The air is warm, the crowd is big, the music is loud. And there you are, standing in the middle of the American underground music scene, feeling a little like a rock star yourself.