Ike Reilly plans another four-night stand with the Twin Cities

Over the years, I've heard a lot of people whisper rumors about Ike Reilly's legendary four-night stand at the Turf Club. Just today, Chris Riemenschneider called those Turf shows the "stuff of local lore." In a way, he's right. As the years wear on and those shows get further away, their power seems to grow exponentially. For those of us who were there for those hot summer nights, it's the kind of memory that can be hard to shake, hard to live up to, hard to move on from.

Here's why.

Some of the first shows I ever saw (well, not counting the Beach Boys at the State Fair or the Moody Blues at the DECC in the fifth grade) were during Ike Reilly's four-night Turf Club run. I was underage, let in through the kitchen and pressed up against the little stage, and everything about those nights felt intoxicating, despite the fact that I didn't have a single sip of beer. I'd never been in a real club before, I'd never seen a musician playing rock 'n' roll so close to my face, and I'd never seen a whole room of people jump up and down and sing along to dirty love songs.

Turns out the last part doesn't happen at every show, although I thought it did at the time. For those four nights, the Turf was crammed with people who love Ike Reilly so deeply and passionately that it seemed certain that he was going to become famous. By the last night, the sweaty faces in the crowd started to look more anxious, the dancing and the singing got even rowdier, and the anticipation became jarringly palpable -- we thought we were sending him off to go conquer the world.

Ike Reilly plans another four-night stand with the Twin Cities
Ike Reilly plans another four-night stand with the Twin Cities
Photos by Andrea Swensson
Photos by Andrea Swensson

Almost a decade has passed since then and Reilly never did become world famous, but his following in the Twin Cities has become so massive that they had to move his annual Thanksgiving Eve show to the First Ave Mainroom and it still sells out every year. I've seen some people scratch their head at Reilly's throngs of local supporters, but for me it makes sense -- after 10 years of seeing countless shows in dirty bars and big clubs, Reilly still stands out as one of the best rock 'n' roll musicians I've ever seen. Equal parts punk rocker, poet, and blue-collar barfly, Reilly's stories are as bizarre and filthy and honest and pure as the people who come out to his shows. His songs reach out and grab people, shake them by the collars, make them jump up and down. At his last Thanksgiving Eve show, he played for nearly three hours and he didn't even seem tired; the only reason he made his band take a break before the encore was because his buzz had worn off and he wanted to go backstage and get a fresh drink.

And here I am, another Minneapolis writer head over heels in love with Ike Reilly and painting him as some kind of punk rock prophet. Maybe, as they say, you had to be there. Or maybe you should see it for yourself.

Reilly is returning to the Twin Cities this March for another four-night stand, this time at a different venue each night including, best of all, a St. Paddy's Day show back at the Turf.

Bryant Lake Bowl (Ike solo acoustic)
21+ show

Turf Club (full band)
21+ show

7th St. Entry (full band)
18+ show

Triple Rock (full band)
21+ show

Get your tickets early, these shows are sure to sell out.

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