Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Local) Minneapolis 2011 - Mark Mallman's Marathon 3 at the Turf Club
How long is 78 hours, really? It's the length of a four-day, three-night vacation. It's the ultimate all-nighter, longer than anyone should ever stay awake in one stretch. And it's enough time to rally more than 100 musicians behind one lofty, maniacal goal; enough time to form dozens upon dozens of one-off bands, all in the name of the marathon. When Mark Mallman set out to perform his longest continuous song yet, all the usual questions came up: Will he be able to stay awake? Are there medical risks involved? Is he totally insane? But what nobody anticipated was that Marathon 3 would become a binding force in the local music community, forging friendships and uniting people through the common realizations that yes, Mallman is delightfully crazy; yes, he can stay awake and perform for an entire four-day weekend; and yes, his marathon was the weirdest, most wondrous thing that happened in St. Paul last year. At one point during the marathon, Mallman jokingly announced that Marathon 4 would be coming in 2015. The thought of it all happening again over an even longer period is simultaneously horrifying and exhilarating.
Damn right this was the best local show of the past 12 months, and by far one of the most surreal things I've ever witnessed, concert or otherwise. Never have I seen the local music community so united behind an event both on and off stage, let alone seen the Turf Club so packed when it came down to the very end.
Every hour there was a unique experience, and it practically pained me to tear myself away from the event when I had to work, sleep, and hit up another show Friday night. Still managed to spend about 36 hours at the event, but that's nothing compared to guys like Chris Strouth or Erik Hess. They practically lived at the Turf Club with Mallman (who I'm pretty sure is some kind of superhuman or demigod) for most of Marathon 3 too.