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Andrew Broder: The Musician

Colin Michael Simmons

Colin Michael Simmons

City Pages' People Issue celebrates people making Minnesota a better place.

Andrew Broder is good at bringing people together.

Over the past three years, Broder, known for his work in Fog and the Cloak Ox, has organized one of the most compelling and charitable music residencies in the Twin Cities.

This year’s event was dubbed “Andrew Broder & People: A Residency at the End of the World.” The weekly series of Wednesday night shows at the Turf Club brought together an array of musicians from the Twin Cities and beyond. They included Big Red Machine, featuring Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, and the National’s Aaron Dessner, with proceeds benefiting four different charities selected for each show

The final show was delayed because of subzero weather and will now take place on Wednesday, February 6. The stacked lineup includes the Cloak Ox, Lynn Avery, Angel Davanport, Naeem, 26 Bats!, and more, with proceeds going to RAICES.

The first residency was born out of a combination of fear and the desire to do something after the 2016 presidential election.

“I balked at first,” Broder says of the Turf Club’s offer to start a weekly series. “But this was right after Trump won, and everyone was scared shitless and in shock. I had the thought that we should do benefit shows, just as a way to kind of stay positive somehow, in the face of that. It went really well, the response was super gracious, and everyone who played and attended just kind of needed something like this to feel some solidarity with their friends, even in worrying times.”

The residency also has tangible benefits that extend beyond music. This year’s series rose money for the American Indian Women’s Resource Center, 350.org, and One Tree Planted. Broder determined the issues and set out to contribute what he could to advance their causes.

“We all read 100 things a day that are fucked up and unjust happening all around us. And like everyone else, I am bewildered, feeling helpless as to where to start, or if I can ever be a part of something useful,” he says.

“So you just pick stuff. You just start. I care about climate change—it keeps me up at night. So… find what looks to be the most productive organization working toward a solution, and give them some money. It beats doing nothing. It feels better than just being scared, or in denial.

“I’m not naive to think that this is world-changing money we are raising. But planting the seed of awareness, talking to people, saying what you are afraid of and angry about in public, out loud—these are really valuable things.”

This experience has helped Broder “get to know my city better, humans better, myself better,” while also providing unifying nights filled with great music.

“I think it’s important to step outside of yourself, and what you expect of yourself,” Broder says. “I never thought I would be doing something like this, but here I am doing it, and to whatever degree it succeeds or fails, I am happy to have taken it on. It ain’t all doom and gloom. It’s a party and a hang. We need that, too.”

Click here to read other profiles from this year's City Pages People Issue.