Twin Cities Music Yearbook 2013
Photo by Emily Utne. Lighting by Justin Guenther.
• A mysterious presence on Twitter called @3rdEyeGirl emerges with cryptic tweets. Little did we know. A week later, Prince hastily announces six intimate performances — dubbed "Rehearsal," "Jam," and "Surprise" — January 16-18 at the Dakota Jazz Club. No cell phones allowed. The rocking final night introduces Donna Grantis, Ida Nielsen, and Hannah Ford as his new all-female backing band, 3rdEyeGirl. Meanwhile, Fun. — y'know, "We Are Young" — rehearse at Paisley Park.
• After officially closing in December 2012, West Bank music venue the 400 Bar auctions off everything from its red piano to the actual bar. Eventually the building's new owners paint over the exterior, and a lengthy chapter of live music history closes.
• The Replacements' five covers on the Songs for Slim EP, their first new recordings since 2006, are released.
• A fire seriously damages the duplex in northeast Minneapolis where Astronautalis, Spyder Baybie Raw Dog, and La Manchita reside. Astronautalis then crashes at Sims's place. They lay down tracks, eventually performing a headlining show together at First Avenue, and Harley Davidson gives Astro a motorcycle.
• RIP: House Nation Under a Groove's DJ Man-X; the Wallets frontman Steve Kramer
• Zach Sobiech, a teen singer-songwriter from Lakeland, plays uplifting EP release show featuring viral hit "Clouds" at Varsity Theater. The benefit helps others afflicted with osteosarcoma, the bone tumor Sobiech developed in 2009. Sobiech dies on May 20.
• The Get Cryphy DJ crew — Plain Ole Bill, Last Word, Jimmy Two Times, and DJ Fundo — ring in five years as the Twin Cities' biggest hip-hop dance party in the First Avenue mainroom. Slug, Brother Ali, MaLLy, Lizzo, Haphduzn, Sophia Eris, St. Paul Slim, and Rapper Hooks are among the many jumping onstage.
• The embattled Twin Cities Hip Hop Awards gets the plug pulled again. This time, it's reportedly Myth getting cold feet before the event.
• The Okee Dokee Brothers' Can You Canoe? wins the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Children's Album.
• Har Mar Superstar debuts the most soulful single of his career, "Lady, You Shot Me." His Bye Bye 17 arrives via the Strokes' Julian Casablancas's Cult Records in April. Later, on the night of Har Mar's headlining First Ave show, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak declares September 20 Har Mar Superstar Day.
• Jeremy Messersmith signs with Glassnote Records, home of Mumford & Sons and Phoenix. Later, he releases "Tourniquet" and sets Heart Murmurs' release date for February 2014.
• Low are backed by Trampled by Turtles members for rapturous The Invisible Way release show at Fitzgerald Theater. Not a dry eye in the house.
• RIP: Cabooze manager Jason Aukes
• A female fan manages to briefly perform oral sex on Detroit rapper Danny Brown during a concert at Triple Rock. OMGross. After initially calling it a rumor, Brown admits that Minneapolis is one of his "favorite cities to play... and I think you all know why," and tells Complex magazine, "I just felt embarrassed because I wasn't all the way hard yet."
• Trampled by Turtles mark their 10th anniversary with three shows, which are taped for a live album and DVD called Live at First Avenue.
• The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra ends its six-month musicians lockout and reaches a new contract. As for the Minnesota Orchestra, the musicians-vs.-board war continues, and music director Osmo Vänskä adds a deafening exclamation point to his farewell concerts in October by refusing applause for the final piece, Valse Triste by Jean Sibelius.
• RIP: Rock journalist and A&R man Tim Carr; Phantom Vibration guitarist Henry Mackaman
• The Suburbs' "Love Is the Law" becomes the unofficial anthem of marriage equality. After Governor Dayton signs the Freedom to Marry Bill, a concert downtown featuring Chan Poling and co., P.O.S., Zoo Animal, and more marks the occasion. In August, the Suburbs release their first album in 27 years, Si Sauvage, and single "Turn the Radio On" rules the airwaves.
• Snoop Dogg headlines biggest Soundset in history with a reported 28,000 fans at Canterbury Park. Mac Miller, Tech N9ne, Atmosphere, and a surprise set by Prof (Busta Rhymes was a no-show) warm up a chilly day.
• Experimental troupe Marijuana Deathsquads perform five themed shows during a May residency at Icehouse. The events culminate with the release of EPs Music Rocks 1 & 2, which dots a busy year for label Totally Gross National Product. Releases by Pony Bwoy, Lizzo, Moonstone Continuum, and the Cloak Ox follow, along with a full-length from MDS. Their Totally Gross National Party returns to Icehouse in September featuring a Digitata reunion and coming-out party for emerging rapper Allen Kingdom.
• RIP: Basilica Block Party and Music in the Zoo concert promoter Sue McLean
• At the Walker-Current concert Rock the Garden, Dan Deacon and Low nearly steal the show from the headliners Metric. First, rain prompts Deacon to move his show to the underground parking garage, and an indoor dance explosion follows. Back outside, Low's entire set is a 27-minute version of "Do You Know How to Waltz?" to a half-delighted, half-befuddled crowd. "Drone Not Drones" enters the cultural lexicon.
• The summer comes without River's Edge at Harriet Island, no First Avenue fest, and no Heliotrope, but City Pages introduces 10 Thousand Sounds. After a nasty weekend storm, the Walkmen, Free Energy, Greg Grease, the Chalice, Strange Names, and Prissy Clerks entertain outdoors in downtown Minneapolis.
• The Replacements announce they'll play their first shows in 22 years at Riot Fest in Toronto, Chicago, and Denver.
• Bob Dylan performs "Suzie Baby" during a sold-out Midway Stadium show as a nod to his old bandmate Bobby Vee, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and was in attendance. "I've shared the stage with everyone from Mick Jagger to Madonna, but the most beautiful person I've ever been on stage with is Bobby Vee," he says.
• Volatile indie rockers Foxygen's headlining set at First Avenue lasts about five minutes before singer Sam France jumps and falls into the front barricade. The band later tweets that France sustained "complete fractures of the tibia and fibula," and the band itself is practically shattered by the incident.
• Target Field finally broadens past Kenny Chesney for concerts with the Skyline Music Festival featuring Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Soul Asylum, Matthew Sweet, and the Gear Daddies. The Twins' stadium also brings in Trampled by Turtles, the 4onthefloor, P.O.S., and others to perform during games.
• After secret rehearsals at First Ave, the Replacements, featuring Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, David Minehan, and Josh Freese, perform their first reunion date at Toronto's Riot Fest. Subsequent Riot shows follow in Chicago and Denver in September. The sets span Sorry Ma through Songs for Slim and feature some fun ramshackle moments and a giant middle finger made out of spotlights.
• Prince takes over the @3rdEyeGirl Twitter account with "PRINCE'S 1ST TWEET... TESTING 1, 2..." and later posts his first selfie.
• Pizza Luce Block Party returns and moves to downtown Minneapolis with Motion City Soundtrack as headliners.
• The Bachelor Farmer's KrÄftskiva block party features surprise guest Justin Vernon with side project the Shouting Matches playing feverish Americana off Grownass Man. With the release of Volcano Choir's second album and a successful mainroom show in the fall, people are all like, "Bon Who?"
• Is/Is sell their possessions and head to Joshua Tree in California to convene with nature following the release of their psychedelic self-titled album.
• Hip Hop Harambee's interactive fest returns to Nomad World Pub with a lineup boasting Big K.R.I.T., Shabazz Palaces, Devin the Dude, Psymun & K.Raydio, Lizzo & Lazerbeak, Vandaam, Toki Wright & Big Cats, and more.
• Doug Aitken's Station to Station art and music "happening" arrives at St. Paul's Union Depot with Patti Smith — backed by Mark Mallman and Gary Louris — No Age, Eleanor Friedberger, and a whole lot of booming echoes in the gorgeously renovated space.
• Lizzo is crowned Picked to Click champ for 2013 the very week that her collaboration with Doomtree's Lazerbeak, Lizzobangers, is released. Greg Grease and GRRRL PRTY round out the top three for the first time the City Pages new-bands poll is dominated by hip-hop artists.
• Prince opens up Paisley Park for a couple of late-night showcases featuring the New Power Generation and 3rdEyeGirl. Pancakes are served during the second one to celebrate the single "Breakfast Can Wait." He also attends Janelle Monáe's electrifying performance at the Skyway Theatre and raises his cane in approval from his suite in the balcony.
• P.O.S., who gets to "ruin" the Current with a weekly radio show, and Astronautalis unveil long-gestating Four Fists collaboration. He and Marijuana Deathsquads also drop a remix version of We Don't Even Live Here. He still doesn't have a new kidney, though.
• First Avenue buys the Turf Club, and the Artists' Quarter announces it is closing at year's end.
• RIP: Glam-metal pioneers Vixen guitarist Jan Kuehnemun
• Poliça celebrate the release of sophomore album Shulamith with two shows with Marijuana Deathsquads at Mill City Nights. A highlight is a cover of Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me."
• A man is shot and killed at Epic during a Yo Gotti show, and police presence expands downtown. The following weekend, a barricade collapses during Steve Aoki's performance at the club.
• Musicians band together to pay tribute to concert promoter Sue McLean. A tribute show at First Avenue features Eric Hutchinson, X-Boys, Soul Asylum, Rogue Valley, and many others.
• Dave King Trucking Co. perform a release show at the Artists' Quarter for possibly the last time.
• Comedian Dave Chappelle puts on the longest stretch of mainroom shows in First Avenue history and gets a star on the wall outside.
• RIP: First Avenue staffer Billy Sverkerson
• Prof wraps a monster year by signing with Rhymesayers a couple of weeks after Dem Atlas joins the local label. In 2013, he hits covers of City Pages and Vita.mn the week of sold-out shows at First Ave, and later hosts a sold-out festival at the Cabooze. He also gets in a hamster ball.
• The CC Club marks 80 years with a pair of shows with the artists' identities strictly under wraps until doors open. Though the Replacements are theorized to be involved, the bands playing actually are Tapes n' Tapes, Sex Rays, the Mighty Mofos, and more.
• Another compilation featuring Twin Cities funk and soul is released, Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound. Out via Chicago's Numero Group, it unearths early recordings by Prince, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, André Cymone, and others.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.