IF YOU NAME your organization the Minnesota Music Academy, you're setting up some mighty expectations from people--so it's not surprising the MMA's had its share of detractors over the years. In fact, the most interesting event during the first night of Icebreaker '96 is actually "Leasebreaker '97"--a rogue showcase of eclectic artists sponsored by the so-called Minnesota Drug Money Academy, otherwise known as the, um, MDMA (see A-List, p. 39).
But in light of efforts to be more organized, resourceful, and inclusive, this year's MMA festivities--starting tonight and running through Saturday--promise some good times. You might start with tonight's (Wednesday's) formidable Turf Club rawk showcase of Ten Ton Bridge, Mezzofist, Kruddler, the Kerry Fladland Surprize (the band led by the drummer of National Dynamite), Dinkus Mayhem and Zelpha Trippe. At the 400 Bar, we suggest seeing Dan Israel prior to Thin Bone Jones and The Found, while at Bunker's it's rock prodigies The Vees.
Thursday night brings the 17th Annual Minnesota Music Awards ceremony at First Avenue (6 p.m. doors; $5), which is always a blast if only for the spirit and spectacle of it all. G.B. Leighton, Zuni & the Heart of Africa, Greazy Meal, Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hipsters and more are scheduled to perform. Drop in the 7th Street Entry for no extra fee to catch some of the MMA Best New Artist nominees: The Dust Bunnies, Fire Under Water, Hillcats, CP poll biggie Hot Karl, and the wacky Sandwiches. (Unfortunately, contrary to some listings, our coverboys 12 Rods will not play; they're underground planning a new phase to begin around September.) If that sounds like too much, the rocking Unbelievable Jolly Machine and 36 Headshots plus Dog Tooth Violet and Oxygen Cocktail do the 400 Bar; Dwindle, Speed of Rain, Pete, Skeleton Ed, and Hut Hut Hike are at the Turf; and Journey revivalists 2 Tickets 2 Paradise (a.k.a. "The Id of Rex Daisy") continue their endless stand at Lee's Liquor Lounge.
Friday the problem of choice becomes more acute. You could play it safe at First Avenue with Babes in Toyland (their first local gig with bassist Dana Cochrane of late Mickey Finn), Likehell, King Can, and Cooper (all-ages, 4 p.m.; $5/$7 at the door). Cross into the Entry for a beautiful cross-section of the pop spectrum sponsored by Tough Guy Booking--February, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, William & The Conquerors, and Rice (all-ages doors at 3 p.m.; ID doors at 8 p.m.; $5; band order will vary). Otherwise, funk jokers Detroit plan their summer blowout at the 400 with Splendid Creatures and Peter Lack's band, 69. (Bread will reportedly be baked onstage.) At the Turf Club, the St. Paul Music Club's first birthday will be celebrated with the Glenrustles, ex-Gear Daddy Billy Dankert, Mammy Nuns, Baby Grant Johnson, Waterbabies, and more. The Fine Line hosts Gutta Percha, The John Ewing Band, Superman Curl, Medium, and Skydogs. Or, don your bowling shirt for skiffle gals Rhinestone Chassis, Seth Hogan & The Buck-Fifty Boys, and Chicago's alt-country outfit Moonshine Willie down at Lee's. Conclusion: You are required to go out somewhere on Friday.
Saturday starts bright and early (i.e. noon) with seminars for all you musician or careerist types who want to learn the ropes of The System. The "One-to-One Mentorship Program" at Marriott City Center will pair walk-in guests with industry reps of all stripes; the concurrent panel "Airplay: Getting Your Music On The Radio" (2-4 p.m.) will feature local programmers discussing just that--so bring your needles and camels (kidding, sort of). Then there's the famous public-critique session, "DemoListen Live," at First Ave. from 4 to 6 p.m. Seminars are $16/$5 for MMA members.
Later Saturday, we recommend the 1996 Songwriters' Showcase at First Ave., with some of this year's best songwriter nominees. Two of the performers, Dylan Hicks & Stuart Davis, are featured in the CP Songwriters' Roundtable (see p. 18); Joel Johnson, Barb Ryman, Phil "Rembrandts" Solem & Jill "Wahinis" Krimmel will also play. Willie "Conqueror" Wisely will host (6 p.m.; $5). Meanwhile in the Entry there are two Hello Booking shows with the Honeydogs, John Casey & the Old Possums and Terry Walsh & 2.A.M. (all-ages show, doors 4 p.m.; ID show, doors 9 p.m.; $5). Drop by Jitters to hear rainTribe on the way to the Loring Bar, where Tea & Sympathy honor their CD release with Dylan Hicks & Golf Ball-Sized Boogie. After which, ampersand-ed out, you can go home, go to bed & wake up in time for next year's Leasebreaker '98.
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