A Tribute to the Replacements, 11/26/10


A Tribute to the Replacements' Tim

November 26, 2010

First Avenue, Minneapolis

Reported with special help from Robyn Lewis

Now in its third installment, the Thanksgiving weekend tradition of reveling in the songs of the Replacements has grown into a gigantic local music event, the likes of which probably couldn't happen in any other city than Minneapolis or at any other venue besides First Avenue.

[jump] The iconic venue has been curating its own brand of events for a while now, and each of these community gatherings seems to grow even bigger than the last; between Rock for Pussy, Curtiss A's John Lennon tribute, this year's inaugeral Paul McCartney tribute and the Replacements extravaganzas, First Ave has been home to some of the most memorable one-off collaborations and all-piled-on-stage grand finale sing-alongs this town can muster.


Friday night's mission was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Tim, the Replacements' first album on a major label and last with founding guitarist Bob Stinson. As with last year's Let it Be tribute, the evening climaxed with a front-to-back performance of Tim by a stellar house band (Pony Hixon-Smith and Ryan Smith of the Melismatics, Terry Eason, Peter Leggett) and a magnificent cast of guest vocalists.

But before the evening could reach its apex, dozens of bands shuffled on and off the stages in both the Mainroom and the Entry to take turns covering the much revered Twin Cities legends. Here are a few highlights:

  • The Goondas paid proper tribute to the 'Mats by switching instruments throughout their set, blasting out of the gates with a powerhouse performance early in the night.
  • Toward the beginning of the evening, Brianna Lane stood alone on the Entry stage with her banjo and played a touching version of "Skyway" to a small antsy crowd.
  • Though Johnny Solomon scoffed that he had too many beers and admitted to fudging more than a few lines of lyrics, Communist Daughter took control of the Mainroom stage with their sweeping, full-band harmonies on "Androgynous" and "Answering Machine," with Solomon tossing his guitar to the ground at the end of their set and storming off stage.
  • Martin Devaney, dressed in plaid pants and an oversized Guided by Voices t-shirt (it looks like he's in his pajamas!" an onlooker squealed) wielded an electric guitar similar to Westerberg's signature First Act, complete with matching plaid pickguard, and crashed through a balls-out version of "I'll Be You" with his backing band the Rock 'n' Roll Outfit.
  • The same song was covered beautifully on the main stage by Story of the Sea, who performed with Dave Campbell and Jim McGuinn of the Current. The band also played a nice countrified version of "If Only You Were Lonely Too."
  • Pink Mink blazed through a punk set of songs off Sorry Ma... and Stink, while the Honeydogs (with new addition Darren Jackson) played more straight-laced but equally enchanting versions of "I Will Dare" and "Unsatisfied."

Five hours into the tribute, it was finally time to ramp up for the finale performance. Here's a quick rundown of who played what during the performance of Tim:

  1. "Hold My Life": Sarah Nienaber of Gospel Gossip
  2. "I'll Buy": Erik Hendrickson, who stood in for a missing Jim Walsh
  3. "Kiss Me on the Bus": Johnny Solomon and Molly Moore of Communist Daughter
  4. "Dose of Thunder": First Ave contest winner Erik Hendrickson
  5. "Waitress in the Sky": Jimmy Gaines, a.k.a. Dude Weather
  6. "Swingin' Party": Ben Kyle of Romantica
  7. "Bastards of Young": Arzu Gokcen of Pink Mink
  8. "Lay It Down Clown": Dale T. Nelson of Otto's Chemical Lounge
  9. "Left of the Dial": Josh Grier of Tapes 'N Tapes
  10. "Little Mascara": Brian Vanderwerf of Chooglin'
  11. "Here Comes a Regular": Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack
By the end, a raging crowd of amped-up dudes were thrashing and pressing up to the stage during every song, whipping the crowd into a furor and making those of us at the front railing feel like we were riding out some kind of massive storm, holding on for dear life. Surrounded by friends and staff from First Avenue, it was hard not to get a little choked up during Pierre's touching rendition of "Here Comes a Regular," a song that the drunk man next to me slurred was the "greatest song since sliced bread" and which certainly summed up the evening poignantly.

First Avenue is one of the Cities' biggest clubs, but it's also one of the most welcoming, especially for those of us who tend to go to a lot of these shows. And on a holiday weekend bringing everyone together, it was the perfect time to cozy up in our home away from home with the hundreds and hundreds of family members we share in this crazy, talented, incestuous and inspiring creative breeding ground we're proud call our local music scene.

Reporter's bias: I'm all mush, really. Especially this time of year.

The crowd: Ready to party.

Overheard in the crowd: Inside jokes, cheers, "cheers!" and the sound of strangers kissing.


For more photos: See our full 63-photo slideshow by Erik Hess.