Mark Mallman Marathon 3 live blog, day 2
While the rest of us slept last night, tucked away warm in our beds, Mark Mallman continued laboring away during the first overnight lap of his Marathon 3, which continues through Sunday.
We're picking up where we left off last night to find out how the Marathon is going so far -- welcome back to the live blog.
10:01 a.m. Since it's too early to go to the Turf (doors open to the public at noon), I'm streaming video of the marathon on Mallman's site. They've also added a bunch more videos to the site, including excerpts from last night's kick-off. Right now, he is alone at his keyboard, playing a slow, synthy ambient jam. His jacket has long since been removed and he is crouching over the keys calmly in a white t-shirt and glasses, looking very peaceful and studious.
I feel guilty for sleeping, and am curious to know what happened overnight.
10:57 a.m. Giant yawns happening on stage. Mallman is playing a slow harpsichord melody with one hand and the other hand to prop up his head.
11:49 a.m. The first shift of musicians are trickling in to prepare for their noon-hour slot, and begin setting up while Mallman tinkers around on a keyboard making pattering, off-kilter ambient noises. "I think I've got the experimental music out of my system," Mallman tweets from stage.
12:03 p.m. The band is slowly starting up a jam, with Mallman leading the way. LaFreak is back, and dressed in a bathrobe. Mallman's denim "Mr. Serious" jacket is back on, and he's pulled the microphone in front of his face so he can sing for the first time in hours
12:24 p.m. "This band's got it," Mallman says."We've got the flavors. All the flavors." He's backed by LaFreak, John Snell X, Alex Gaterud, and Noah Paster.
First photos of the day from Erik Hess:
John Snell X with Mallman
Photo by Erik Hess
Photo by Erik Hess
Still going strong 20 hours into the marathon
Photo by Erik Hess
Photo by Erik Hess
1:14 p.m. There's a real bluesy/Doors-y vibe going on now. Mallman is alternating between singing lyrics, reciting lines like poetry, and mumbling along with the music. A choice quote from the last hour: "This is our band lunch hour. You can hire us... We'll come play at your house, for your children... in our bathrobes."
1:23 p.m. Lyrics: "They call me marathon man out of jest/There a will buried deep in a marathoner's chest."
1:29 p.m. The whole song is derailed when Mallman forgets the chords. He shakes his head. "That's it, I quit," he jokes, "I'm done." He pauses for a moment to get the band back on track, then adds, "Life isn't about perfection, it's about finishing... Sex isn't about perfection, it's about finishing."
Al Grande, left, performed with Mallman in Marathon 1
Photo by Erik Hess
Photo by Erik Hess
1:40 p.m. Mallman: "I'm not gonna lie, this is the hardest marathon I've done. I'm not gonna lie. I'm already feeling like I'm going to fall down. I can do it. I want to do this. I might not remember it, but we're going to get through this, John. We're 20, like 21 and a half hours in or some shit. We can do this. I might have to... You might have to dress up in my clothes for a while. Put this on, and pretend that you're me. So I'm trying to conserve my energy, I think I spent a little too much of it in the night. If only there was some kind of drink, you know? Some kind of energy drink. [laughs]"
Someone goes to retrieve an energy drink, while Mallman adds: "This is my footnote to absurdity!"
1:49 p.m. I think the energy drink is kicking in. "Too much minor chord, I need something in a major key. Something Ramones-y! Let's do something Ramones-y!"
1:58 p.m. Mallman turns to Alex Gaterud, who is sitting in on drums. "What do you think we should name this band, with Al Grande, John Snell X, and yourself?"
"Wicked Sceptre," Gaterud replies.
"The most phallic name of Marathon 3 yet," Mallman laughs. "YET. All right."
2:13 p.m. While I drive to the Turf to witness the spectacle in person, Erik Hess reports: After abandoning the minor key, the band's jamming out to some serious tunes, inspiring a group of dancers by the stage. If this doesn't raise spirits a bit, I don't know what will. Looks like it's working.
2:15 p.m. Mallman, turning to his current bassist, David Odegaard: "Okay, I want you to guess what I'm eating... Listen to the speaker... [crunch]" "Apple!" "Yes, it's an apple!... [snap]" "Carrot!" "YES!"
2:42 p.m. "Why is there no Malwolf in Marathon 3?" Mallman asks rhetorically, referring to his wolf-mask wearing alter-ego. "Because we got a singing skull, baby!" Shortly after, Mallman calls his assistant and requests that she purchase a second skull head so he can wear them as bracelets.
3:01 p.m. The band who played the 2-3 p.m. slot will forever be known as "Fortress of Solid Dudes." Here they are:
Things are getting funky with Martin Devaney on guitar and a man I don't recognize playing bass. There's a small crowd of people dancing in front of the stage at 3 in the afternoon -- this makes me happy.
A note about continuity: We're still in the "Giant Wave" portion of the Marathon song, the first of three sections that will unfold throughout the performance.
3:40 p.m. Love this: Earlier this afternoon, producer Chris Strouth held up a message for Mallman to read from the stage. According to the web traffic stats for the live video feed, Mallman is HUGE in Thailand right now, who knew?
New band name: Wet Ones. "It's a double entahhhnge," Mallman says.
4:00 p.m. Just hit the 24-mark and the crowd went wild. Mallman stands up and looks around the stage. "Look at this. There's nuts and cherries and wet ones all over."
4:09 p.m. I'm handing the live-blogging reigns over to local writer, booker, and KFAI DJ Cyn Collins for the next short while... Cyn, take it away!
Special guest blogger Cyn Collins
4:23 p.m. Here I am again at the Mallman Marathon 3, 14 hours later. Mallman is still going strong, stronger than ever, backed by punk poet, Frances Gumm lead Paul D (Dickinson) on guitar and F* Knight, Sex Ray Joe Holland on bass and Erik Mathison on drums. When I walked in they were rocking it hard, and just now switched over to intense, dark droning dramatic slow song . . . Paul D. is intent on his guitar action, and Holland is holding it down.
4:31 p.m. There are significantly more people here. Paul D. is now shredding, and wailing on the guitar, Mathison is rocking a primal rhythm. Mallman, to musicians: "I want to do a sonic scape of the narrative - no notes, a sonic scape." It gets atmospheric and ethereal and echoey at this point, with Mallman describing a scene... and then "you go crazy after this . . " musicians go crazy, crashing, pounding, bass riffs pounding through the rifts between the narrative, giant wave crashing, as Mallman yells his beat poet like story, part truth, part sci-fi. The crowd is enrapt.
4:35 p.m. Several people are dancing now. Numerous musicians are in the house in support, such as Chris Pericelli and Martin Devaney. I've got to say this is even higher energy by far (if possible) than yesterday. Mark Mallman is in the zone. Playing his keys in organ and electronic mode. Awesome dance music (get down here and shake it, people!). Paul D. and Joe Holland were meant to team up with Mallman. I want this hour to last for three. Luckily Holland has another set tomorrow, and Paul D. is moving over to the drum kit at 5. This is really rocking. It feels like 11 p.m. on a Friday at the Turf, rather than a sunny mid-afternoon. "This is where a playing in a rock band is different than being in a long distance, long term relationship! You can say, let's keep it cool, baby. We don't practice. We rehearse!" The band has just named themselves, said Joe Holland now: "We are Mallrats!"
4:41 p.m. Paul D. is screaming "POWER" repeatedly at the top of his lungs with Mallman. The bass is pounding like the wings of a giant liquid moth. We move into Phase 2: Blood Flow in one hour and 17 minutes. Mallman's lyrics are transitioning us there, with a Ginsberg or Robert Bly type vibe. Re: the liquid moth: "I swallowed it. And I did not spit it out!"4:46 p.m.
Dickinson's guitar is like a machine gun hammering into our souls. Holland's bass is following Dickinson's driving lead . . . now Dickinson is channeling his Thurston Moore-esque skills (Sonic Youth) - he played on shows with Pavement and Sebadoh and hung with Sonic Youth in their heyday. There's a steady, intense garage rock thrum happening. I wish I could experience this set three more times over the weekend. But, there are 50-plus more hours and 50 more musician combos to go. I want more people to experience this live. Its really fun, driving, and inspiring people to dance. The Mallrats are in the Mallman groove. I want the Mallrats to continue as a band. The heavy garage rock has just transitioned into a killer dance groove. Now, bringing it down . . . as we near transition time.
4:54 p.m. Hard to believe this can get more intense. It just did. The Mallrats are shredding as though their lives depend on it. I'm certain this is helping Mallman to go on. Its musician teamwork of the highest, grungiest caliber. Mallman is at his peak right now. And there will be many more over the course of the next 3 days . . .
4:58 p.m. The musicians are bringing it down. Way down. The transition is occurring. Paul D. is moving behind the drum kit. You read that right. He's drumming - a debut, here, now. I'm betting he's as good at drums as guitar. Mallman just channeled the journey during the chorus, he told the new guitarist Clara Salyer, from Total Babe. "Bet you didn't expect that, did you?" Al Grande is taking over the bass.
5:02 p.m. Mallman encourages the musicians to pick up the pace. It accelerates rapidly for a minute and now we're rockin' again. There are about 50 - 60 people here, chilling, most of them watching intently. Mallman's singing about music getting into your blood . . . I feel a sense of anticipation as we're nearing the Phase 2: Blood Flow hour, 6 p.m.
5:08 p.m. Paul Dickinson's drum debut does not disappoint. Turns out, he is excellent at drums. He's grinning ear-to-ear, so happy to be behind the drum kit. I'm delighted to witness this. Wish you were here.
5:13 p.m. Mallman skull puppet is singing for Mallman again. Key change to "E minor, C, D, E . . . " and. Now we're rocking '60s style. Positive, upbeat sounding - they've transitioned from the darker keys (and singing skull) territory into happy glam-pop songs making people dance. Mallman's vocals are still really good! I think the honey-lemon tea is helping! Its a "whoa, whoa, whoa" song. Who doesn't love those songs (and its an anti-war song to boot).5:17 p.m.
The band rocks on while Mallman walks to the back for a (very) brief bathroom break. Paul D.'s got some percussion skills, there. Mallman's keys, now harkening to the '50s "The Hop" or "Monster Mash" are really sweet. This is a very different set, than the last hour - a thing (of many) that I love about attending as many hours as possible of the Mallman marathons is the variety of genres Mallman and band perform. It's never boring, as it keeps on going . . .
5:23 p.m. Mallman food/drink report: Mallman says: "I feel self-conscious eating and drinking in front of you, but they're worried about me drinking enough water." That being said, chef Greg Norton has just entered the building with his fine food galore for Mallman and musicians.
5:41 p.m. Greg Norton, chef, and formerly of Husker Du, is setting up the crock pots so we attendees can get his yummy pulled pork or vegan sloppy joes (only $5). Bet you can't smell those on the webcam! Come down here and be part of this fun music community, if you can!
5:56 p.m. Mallman just gave props to staff helping him, such as event producer, Chris Strouth, always waiting in the wings to assist with musician transitions, food, all the many things it takes to produce this big event.
They're now removing the "Giant Wave" sign, as Mallman sings dramatically and the drums thunderously roll . . . and the new musicians kick off in high gear with scorching licks as we enter . . ."Blood Flow!" We are at 26 hours. And Mallman is standing on top of his piano proudly singing about completing Phase 1!
6:04 p.m. Paul D. swings by after his set. He shows me his bleeding finger from the guitar. Rock 'n' roll! I asked "How are you, how did it feel?" Paul D: "Now I know how it feels to be in a wedding band!"
6:08 p.m. Oh, this new band fe: Greg Norton (Husker Du) on bass really tears it up '80s Minneapolis old-school garage and punk rock style, with John Swardson on guitar, and Matt Batchelor on drums. Very cool primal rhythms. Mallman seems reinvigorated, as the "Blood Flow" is going strong, now he's eaten "lots of soup!"
6:15 p.m. Mallman is rapping "Blood Flow," interjected with other words, "telephone," and more - kind of free-form stream-of-consciousness rap he does so well. Its really fun here, more fun by the hour. Exciting to be here. Now I'm going to hang with some of the musicians and turn this live blog back to your host, Andrea Swensson!
Back to Andrea (Thank you Cyn!)
6:24 p.m. Mallman is yelling, and the energy, unbelievably, just keeps growing. Since the music never stops (all 78 hours are one continuous song, performed from start to finish), it gives the whole experience an innate momentum, always pushing forward, even when the tempo is slowing down. After being here for several hours, it starts to feel hypnotic and becomes a source of steady comfort. Sailors get their sea legs once they've been aboard a ship for a period of time; I think I'm getting my Mallman ears. Silence will seem strange after this.
Mallman is standing on his keyboard, dramatically eating a sandwich. "I'd like to introduce you all to my sandwich. I'm pretending it's each and every one of you."
6:57 p.m. The lyrics keep returning to Mallman yelling "Blood Flow!" It's so cool to watch this instant-collaborations unfold; that hour was especially powerful, with John Swardson feeding off of Greg Norton's spare, booming basslines and drummer Matt Batchelor impressing everyone with his drumstick twirls and rockstar antics.
7:00 p.m. The band changeover is taking place once again, and things have already slowed down into a mellow funk groove.
7:07 p.m. Was just informed by Chris Strouth that the bassist playing right now is Paul "St. Paul" Peterson from the Time. There are two guitarists joining him on stage, Nick Ryan and a third man who apparently "Just showed up and started playing" and may or may not be from Kenny Loggins' band. I love that people are just showing up and joining in the performance.
7:19 p.m. A couple is slow dancing in front of the stage as the band winds through a sprawling, bluesy '70s rock ballad. "All of a sudden, it's a Faces song!" Ian Rans says, laughing. Without missing a beat, one of the sound techs fires up the disco ball and sets it to slowly spin, casting flecks of light on the dance floor.
7:38 p.m. Heard from the event organizers that the unidentified third guitar player on stage is Al Church. He does not play for Kenny Loggins, but Paul Peterson does! Two guitar players on stage = punk rock of epic proportions. The tempo has built steadily over the past half hour and now we're going about 70 miles per hour.
7:51 p.m. Mallman declares that the "Ski Vests," a.k.a. the current lineup, are breaking up in 10 minutes. The band doesn't look to upset and proceeds to barrel through a heavy finale.
Photo evidence of the sandwich!
Mallman with Paul Peterson and Al Church
Paul "St. Paul" Peterson of the Time
8:04 p.m. Hot damn, it's honky-tonk time! Lazy Ike and the Daredevils are backing Mallman for the 8 o' clock hour, and we're chugging along to the sweet sounds of pedal steel.
8:06 p.m. I'm jetting over to First Ave to catch a bit of the Brad Kern benefit, so I'm passing the blog over to our photographer Erik Hess for a few hours. Erik's been here since noon today. Damn!
Special guest blogger Erik Hess
8:13 p.m. Before sitting down to continue the liveblogging excellence started by Andrea and Cyn I figured I'd step outside and get some fresh air after 8 hours inside. I couldn't handle it. Must be immersed in music. The rockabilly stylings of the Daredevils lured be back in - it's like a square dance up in here.
8:17 p.m. "Thing about a marathooooon is that it's easy when it's just a song!"
8:39 p.m. "Paula Poundstone, Wayne Newton, and me. Legends of our time."
9:02 p.m. And so the changeover goes! I'm still amazed at how smoothly these band changes go, thanks in large part to Mallman's crew. This time around there was a bit of a stylistic shift from the loping country rhythms of Lazy Ike and the Daredevils and the more straight-forward rock jams of the 9 p.m. backing band of Matt Johnson, Matty Schindler and Judd Hildreth.
9:32 p.m. "Hey Matty, I've gotta eat a salad now... So... Um... Could you hold the crowd while I eat this? I bet you could." And so begins an excellent guitar solo from Matty Schindler of Faux Jean while Mallman munches on some salad. Hey, guy's gotta stay fed.
9:41 p.m. Mallman's turned to interviewing band mates for entertainment. "What's your favorite state to play in, Judd?" "Here." "I mean when you're not here." "Chicago" "The state of Chicago?" "Yep." Didn't miss a beat.
10:01 p.m. The music takes a turn for the epic as the 10 p.m. crew takes over with a driving rhythm that breaks down ever so gently as the change wraps up. Mallman even comments that it's a smooth changeover. Changeover number 30 of 78.
10:06 p.m. As the night goes on I'm finding myself more and more enraptured by Mallman's monologues. This is a man on the brink, a man possessed. Possessed by rock and roll. "Ladies and gentlemen of the bar. Malwolf could not be here tonight, so I am the talking skull. Many are mystified at the magical way that Mallman gets me to talk. I ask you not to waste your time asking how he does it because you are not of sound mind to understand his genius! You have to understand, this man... He's half breed! He's half alien, half man! He's not like the rest of us, he can do magical things!"
10:14 p.m. The crowd's grown substantially since Jessy Kwakenat (of STNNNG), Jon Tester (of Voytek) and BADnRAD took the stage as the fresh 10 p.m. band.
10:30 p.m. Looks like a fire broke out a few doors down from Big V's in a building that houses band practice spaces. Looks serious, University to the west of Snelling is blocked off. Mallman's show goes on though! From what I hear it sounds like the show at Big V's tonight will go on as planned too. Hoping nobody's hurt and hoping that nobody's gear gets damaged.
10:35 p.m. "You can overstimulate part of the audience with, uh, too much stimulation! I've learned that! Now it's time for a power ballad!"
10:41 p.m. "This is some Warrant level shit!" Yes, yes it is. "I hope that Brett Michaels turns to the webcast right now and goes like, 'These guys are tits!'"
11:06 p.m. Going into the 31st hour of Marathon 3, Mallman has a doctor his blood pressure checked to assure that he's alright for the duration. "Such a tender touch!"
11:41 p.m. While rummaging through a box that contained part of an avocado, a half-eaten sandwich taken in from home (sometime yesterday, I'm sure) and other random items Mallman produces a Flip camcorder and proceeds to record video of the audience. A member of the audience is recording him too - "How ironic!"
11:57 p.m. "Is this a pillow? Did you bring a pillow on stage to tease me?! Do you know what this pillow does to the energy on this stage? This pillow looks like it's been sat on... I'll just put this pillow on this amp over here."
12:06 p.m. A fresh lineup with Jeff Quinn, Har Mar Superstar, Kermit Carter and Dameun Strange have taken the stage with Sean Hoffman remaining stalwart on the drums. The crowd's pressing in on the stage now, things are getting intense.
12:11 a.m. First order of business? Get Har Mar a microphone. Second order of business? Skull toss with the audience.
12:26 a.m. Dameun Strage's saxophone solos are turing this segment into a whole different beast than anything that preceded it. Also: Kermit and Sean's guitar work. And, well, the entire band. After 12 hours of music this is something quite different. Mallman's feeding off of the crowd, freaking out and flailing about.
12:50 a.m. Looks like Andrea's back from First Avenue! She'll be picking up live blogging duties from here, it's been fun! I'll be here as long as I can stay awake. After 11 hours I'm exhausted - I don't know how Mallman does it.
Back to Andrea -- Thank you Erik!
1:04 a.m. The vibe and crowd size is almost exactly the same as when I left around 8 p.m., which seems odd but also appropriate somehow. I'm a little shocked that there aren't more people here for Har Mar's portion of the performance, but I was told there was a big crowd for BadNRad just a short while ago.
As Erik mentioned, the saxophone is adding a new layer to the maelstrom, and Strage is hanging out through until bar close along with drummer Sean Hoffman, who has logged quite a few hours behind the kit tonight, and Har Mar, who is hanging to the side of the stage and focusing on his guitar work. Paddy Costello and Kermit Carter are stepping in for this stretch. Once the clock strikes two the crowd will have to clear out, but I'm going to be sticking it out as long as I can tonight and will be reporting on the after-hours happenings.
1:15 a.m. Micah Mackert from Moonstone is stepping up to give a sermon. Mallman looks dazed. Micah's Moonstone bandmates are in the audience showing their support.
Mallman mid-air with Har Mar Superstar
Wrapping up the second day of Marathon 3
1:25 a.m. Onstage huddle time. Time to ramp it up -- 32 minutes until bar close.
1:33 a.m. Mallman finally hit that "Ramones-y" nerve he was searching for earlier. The crowd is pumping their fists to this punchy punk rock jam. "It's a blood flow!" As my friend Robyn just noted, this band sounds like it's been rehearsing for months. Outrageous!
This might be the longest item we've ever posted on Gimme Noise. Actually, I'd be surprised if it wasn't.
1:44 a.m. Mallman: "It's been 36 hours of solid music." [Cheers] "Fucking Paddy, look at him. This man radiates joy, he radiates positivity, he radiates good times."
1:45 a.m. Mallman again: "This isn't a jam. Dudes in bands jam. We're professional musicians, this is an improv."
1:51 a.m. The band is filing off stage, and Mallman is left alone again. The song technically "ended" for a moment as they came to a conclusion, but before silence could fall on the room Mallman launched into a significantly quieter, pensive ambient soundscape on his keyboard. The small crowd that is still here doesn't seem to want to leave.
2:42 a.m. The bar has been cleared out, and Mallman's support staff are bringing him snacks and talking to him on stage as a droning, computerized beat pulses and moans in the background. Mallman looks tired. He says that he thinks tonight will be the toughest night of the marathon, and bar owner Dave Weigert agrees. "At least tomorrow night there will be a light at the end of the tunnel," Dave said. "He won't even hit the halfway point until 7 this morning."
Mark McGee and Nicole Tollefson of To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie are getting ready to sit in with Mallman for the overnight shift. McGee says he's slotted to play until noon tomorrow, when doors open to the public once again.
2:52 a.m. Just listening to Nicole soundcheck her vocals sent chills down my spine. Maybe it's the effect of being in the bar after hours, but this set has already has a ghostlike feeling.
3:00 a.m. Mallman is looking disoriented. He staggered off stage and went backstage with two of his support staff, leaving the computer to play music in his absence. It looked like he was struggling to just walk down the three stair steps on the side of the stage, so hopefully he is stretching and getting his blood flowing again.
Mallman is executing the entire marathon without the aide of alcohol or chemicals; the only substance he's taken so far has been one shot of caffeine, which he had this afternoon.
3:13 a.m. Mallman's back! New change of clothes; now he's wearing a black Twin/Tone t-shirt. Also: THERE ARE LASERS. They are green and scribbly.
3:21 a.m. The whole room is still in transition. The cameras for the live feed are being checked, the lights are being aimed toward the dance floor and set to strobe lackadaisically. There's no hurry, really.
3:24 a.m. Time to go home. Might watch more online in a bit.
And... scene. What an enormous day. Thanks for everyone who has helped us document things along the way! Follow the link below for more live-blog goodness.
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