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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

"I'm Feeling Just a Little Overloaded", or "So much music, so little time!"

Monarques rock the Entry at their CD Release Party
Friday 9/26 - Photo by David de Young (click for full size)

Mike Gunther preaches to the choir at the Entry
Friday 9/26 - Photo by David de Young (click for full size)

Dana Thompson lulls the Triple Rock into submission
Saturday 10/27 - Photo by David de Young (click for full size)

This weekend I saw some old local favorites (Monarques, Dana Thompson, Rob Skoro) and saw some great acts belatedly for the first time (Mike Gunther, Jeff Hanson, and Portland's All Girl Summer Fun Band.) And then there was the Sound Unseen film festival featuring Spectrum, videos by local bands and filmakers that felt like watching MTV except that all my friends were on. Wow, so much great stuff that I haven't had time to write a word about yet over at howwastheshow.

(The) Monarques are picking up speed with the release of their new EP "My Imaginary Move." Monarques must also be credited with assembling this great bill Friday which included Mike Gunther and Davey Jones-voiced singer/songwriter Jeff Hanson.

Saturday night I was enthralled by Dana Thompson's performance at the Triple Rock. I must say I'm chomping at the bit awaiting her soon to be released CD, which will include backup vocals from Robert Skoro. The CD is under tight wraps as final mixing is being done.

Writer and musician Nancy Jane Meyer is one of a select few people outside the producer and musicians involved who has heard the work in progress. She told me in an email this morning:

"It's fabulous--subtle, merging harmonies, tempo tensions that play and pull back and forth like only old school country can, sincere lyrics with a world-weary naivete, a contradiction that in men usually results in blank cynicism but with Dana, evolves into ballads and lullabies buoyed by guarded optimism crossed with sweet regrets. And the tunes are damn catchy--they'll give 'Tailspin' a run for its money in no time."

At Saturday's show, I myself was struck by Thompson's impeccable rhythm and pacing in addtion to her captivating voice. After a 9 song set that included several songs from the upcoming CD, Thompson asked "Do we have time for one more?" A voice was heard to loudly proclaim, "I hope so!" Then I immediately recognized that voice as my own.

Help me out here

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed just trying to keep up with what's going on in the local and national music scenes, and that's even before I make an effort to assemble any cohesive, semi-intelligent prose about it that's worthy of publishing. In that information overload coupled with still feeling out of the loop, I'd like to give myself a break by publishing some of your thoughts for a change.

I'm interested in hearing what people do to keep up with what's going on in local and national music.

I'll start by mentioning a few of the things I do to try and stay informed:

  • I listen to Jason Nagel's Minnesota Music and Brian Oake's Freedom Rock program on Cities 97 every week without fail. (I usually tape them both and listen to them a few times.)
  • I browse through the Alternative Shows List and check for informational headlines list on a regular basis
  • I listen to as frequently as possible. (Here's a whacked out idea. Our firewall at work blocks internet radio, so I tape it onto cassette at home and listen to it in my car and on a work boombox!)
  • Radio K's off the record is about as good a place as any to find out what's up for the weekend.
  • I also keep an eye on the Twin Cities Babelogue for postings by Melissa Maerz or Pete Scholtes.

I do all this, and I still feel like I'm in the dark sometimes. Send your tips to and I'll start publishing some of the ideas in the next week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Part 1: Artamotive. Part 2: Bottlehouse calls it quits with final Fine Line show

Everyone suffers from motivation problems from time to time, and I’m no different. It hasn’t helped my show-going that I continue to battle a cold that has been lingering for nearly a month. About the last place a recent ex-smoker worn down by a cold who’s trying to save money wants to be is a smoky bar. So last week, instead of going out and seeing shows I gave a much-needed face lift. On the outside chance we actually win an MMA award and new folks flock to the site, perhaps they won’t be as perplexed as to why we won out (if we win) over much more professional-looking sites like and

Somehow Saturday night, however, with the help of a couple cans of Red Bull, I actually managed to get my ass out the door. Had I written about it (which I didn’t) Saturday night's showverdose during which I saw 7 or 8 bands in 3 different venues could have made up for a week's worth of writer’s drought.

The first event I failed to cover was my stop at Artamotive, the N.E. Minneapolis Art Gallery that this month is showcasing "The Art of Rock and Roll." In addition to its regular fare of fashion design, wearable and fine art, home d├ęcor and art cards, Saturday’s meet the artists reception featured music art and photography and live music from Jonas, Dander and one of my new local favorites, Luke's Angels.

Dander in their Jammies at Artamotive (click for full size)

I was too late to see Jonas, but Dander put on an energetic set in highly-fashionable matching pajamas, purchased, according to drummer Pete Boulger, in the women’s section of Target. Dander’s set showed yet again why it’s hard to touch these guys for a good time party atmosphere. Standing in the front row of the crowd, I was honored to be greeted personally by lead vocalist Shane Flannery between songs with, "David, good to see you." (There’s nothing like being recognized by the band at an artsy event. Hell, maybe things like this, plus the fact that I was recently called a “scenester” by the Star Tribune mean I’ve finally “arrived.” Though where I’ve arrived, I’m not quite sure.)

Luke's Angels was a second to last minute replacement for The Idle Hands, who had to back out of their scheduled slot, which was originally to be an all Plasma Entertainment showcase. If the rumor that key members of the Idle Hands had gone on a fishing expedition is true, I say more power to them. And that got me on a weird tangent where I came up with this great idea of giving the Idle Hands their own fishing show on TNN and they could drink and talk about rock and roll and fish, and … well, maybe not.

The mix didn’t due justice to Luke's Angel's great harmonies, but it was still a good set and good exposure for the band I have high hopes for this next year.

After L.A.’s set, I accompanied Raven over to the Fine Line where he wanted to help bid farewell to band The Bottlehouse who were to play their final gig at midnight. Members of the Bottlehouse, minus singer Karl Obermeyer, will be forming a new band shortly with Emily Olson as the lead singer called the Blue Mollys. I don’t have many details yet, but look for them to take off fast. howwastheshow will likely to cover their debut gig.

The Bottlehouse perform Saturday at the Fine Line (click for full size)

It says a lot about Raven that he was in the bar supporting live local music the night before he jets off for his UK tour. Raven plays London's famed Garage--the big room downstairs, not the little one upstairs--on Friday night with Overdrawn, the Chapters and Toll. I feel I have a personal part in Raven’s UK tour this year, as Anna Lee and I carted well over a dozen press packs over in our luggage this summer and distributed them through Royal Mail. Our energy must have been good luck for Raven as those packs landed him several gigs. (Check the Garden Records website for details on Raven’s tour.

Incidentally, the stage Raven plays at the Garage on Friday is the same stage Minnesota's own Har Mar Superstar plays tonight (9/17.) Hopefully, the club’s crew will have cleared the stage of any sweaty, discarded Har Mar clothing in time for Raven’s Friday night set. I've sent a word of warning about both these Minnesota invades London gigs to howwastheshow’s London-based contributor Andrew Zincke, so who knows, after the weekend we may hear a word or two about how those gigs went.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Dan Israel's thoughts on 9/11 from NYC

Dan Israel, whom I called the Energizer Bunny of the Twin Cities music scene here, is in New York City this weekend to play a solo gig Friday night 9/12 at the Living Room, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Among other things in his email update this week Dan writes:

Thursday, of course, is the 2nd anniversary of 9/11. Sometimes, when you turn on the TV these days and have such intelligent fare as "Paradise Island" or "For Love or Money" to choose from, it's easy to forget that awful day two years ago when "reality television" meant something horribly different.

Forget the political posturing, the crass attempts to cash in on a tragedy, the 3-minute capsule summaries of an event that can't be encapsulated, summarized, or even explained. In fact, I've already said more than I wanted to here, but I just wanted to say I'll end this by saying let's never forget the sacrifices made on that sunny Tuesday morning in September 2001 by some ordinary people who were thrust into extraordinary situations and did their best to help their fellow human being.

If you haven't road-tripped to NYC to see Dan, stop by the Cabooze tonight to see Steve Polz, an entertaining singer-songwriter who comes highly recommended to me by folks I trust. (You know who you are!)

Saturday, September 06, 2003 is flattered to have been nominated for a Minnesota Music Award in the best new Media/website category! Actually, I'm as surprised as I am flattered because I didn't get my membership in time to vote in the "primary." So thanks to whomever nominated the site, since it certainly wasn't me.

If you are a member of the MMA we would sure appreciate your vote in the final election!

Remember, ballots are due by next Friday, September 12th! If you'd like to vote but aren't a member, it is easy to sign up (and only $15)!

Just go to: for details.

In the interest of full disclosure, and because exists to publicize all things music, especially all things Minnesota, here's the full list of nominees in category 45 and their websites:

(45) New Media/Website
(f) (Twin Cities Alternative Shows List)

Please visit the above sites and check out their excellent contributions to the Minnesota music scene. Then join the MMA and vote for

And if you haven't visited lately, please do so to savor some of the latest reviews we've posted for you. Especially check out the recent reviews by new staff writer Kristen Hasler with whom I recently wrote dueling reviews of the Cirque Rouge de Gus cabaret.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Andrew Haas and Sarah Adams' Wedding Speech (Sunday, August 31st, 2003)

The wedding party - photo by Anna Lee

I'm not much of a speechwriter. But yesterday I was called upon as the best man of my friend Andrew Haas to deliver the best man's toast in his honor at the Landmark Center in St. Paul. For anyone who's interested, and to aid future best men who I know from experience are prone to scour the internet in search of ideas for their toasts, I make my speech available in full here.

Hello, I'm David de Young, Andrew's best man.

I'd like to welcome all the family members and other friends here tonight, and I'd like to say on behalf of the wedding party that we're sorry that our friend Dirk Balow can't be with us. Are thoughts are with him, and we wish him a speedy recovery from his illness.

Today is a fitting day for this marriage celebration, as it was on this day in 1888 Jack the Ripper claimed his first victim.

I'm not exactly an expert on marriage myself, only having done it once. But what is marriage about? Well, marriage is a sort of friendship recognized by the police. And what is at the heart of any good wedding reception? The food, of course. (Though it's been said that the most dangerous food a man can eat is wedding cake.)

Andrew and Sarah getting married marks the end of an era. Granted, it's been a much longer era for Andrew. . .

Some people might tell you that the institution of marriage has lost its seriousness over the years. But getting married these days is a far bigger deal than it used to be. Andrew and Sarah will likely be spending the next 40 to 50 years of their lives together. However, Sarah, if you'd lived a few hundred years ago, marrying Andrew wouldn't have been such a big deal because most people were already dead by the time they were Andrew's age. In fact, when Mozart was Andrew's age, he'd already been dead for FIVE YEARS!

Now some of you may know I'm a big English history buff and spend as much time in England as possible. This got me intrigued by a few ancient nuptial traditions. Has anyone been to a wedding where they tied old shoes to the back of the just-married couple's car? It was back during the reign of Henry the 8th that this tradition originated. Guests would throw shoes at the bride and groom, and it was good luck if they or their carriage were hit! Also in Anglo-Saxon times the bride was symbolically struck with a shoe by her groom to establish his authority. Brides would then throw shoes at their bridesmaids to see who would marry next. The contemporary use of the bouquet is just one example of the strides towards civility the modern wedding celebration has taken.

I promised I wouldn't talk about Andrew and Sarah's difference in age because when you get to the heart of it, age doesn't really matter. Some people will tell you that older folks are out of touch with the younger generation. But as our recent president Ronald Reagan said a just few years ago when he was debating Walter Mondale in the presidential election, "I will not make age an issue. . . I'm not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience." (And let's hope Andrew feels the same way about Sarah.)

I've never been a best man before, and I'm not sure how well I'm doing. At the bachelor party I managed to lose the bride's brother, and we only changed bars once! One can only imagine how many people I might have lost if we'd actually tried to paint the entire town. (David, I'm so sorry.)

But as far as my other designated duties I appear to be doing alright: The groom is here, his shoes are tied and ... (take a peak in Andrew's lap) . . . his fly is zipped.

I'll always remember the first time I met Andrew. It was 19 years ago this very week, Tuesday, August 28th, 1984, (again, back during the Reagan administration.) I was hanging around Gardner lounge at Grinnell College at what was called the "Optional Underwear Party," (Grinnell was a very progressive school) and had my eye on an attractive freshman girl. I was just getting ready to approach her when Andrew moved in, dashing my chances with her forever. According to my journal, I left the party, "feeling dejected, rejected and pissed." Of course I've forgiven him for this now.

Our relationship improved as we made a somewhat informal deal not to pursue the same woman at the same time. In time over the years I've come to know some of Andrew's most marked characteristics: his genuine generosity and wicked sense of humor. One Christmas years ago I remember him showing up at the CC Club with wrapped gifts for all his drinking buddies. He is also a living example of the saying, "If you want a friend, be a friend." Andrew knows who he wants in his life and makes every effort to let those people know he cares about them.

I asked Andrew the other day how he knew it was time to get married and settle down, and he said it really wasn't something he rationally figured out, but rather something he kind of just knew. Sarah told me she seemed to know Andrew was the one from their very first date. Both their responses exemplify a kind of knowledge that is far more real than intellectual. Charts, graphs, weights and measures probably should be thrown out when it comes to a marriage decision.

It's traditional for the best man to offer some sort of advice to the groom at this point. And I'd like to offer some advice I found on the internet recently that struck me as sound: Andrew, I know you're good at this, and the gifts you are receiving today from Home Depot today should come in handy with it. But always help Sarah with jobs around the house. I'm told there has never been one recorded case in human history, where a wife has shot her husband, while he was doing the dishes.

Before we close, I'd like to read an email that came today for Andrew. Apparently, this email was sent in 1940, but due to the internet congestion some of which was caused by the Sobig and Blaster worms, it was delayed for 63 years. It comes from a Mr. Thomas Stearns Eliot who writes from East Coker, a village near Yeovil, Somerset, in England.

Dear Andrew,

Congratulations on your wedding to Sarah Adams. I regret that I am unable to attend the ceremony due to the unfortunate reason that I died in 1965.

I've emailed Mr. de Young to read a few words from the second of my Four Quartets in your honor.

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

(From the second of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets)

I'd like to conclude with a toast to Sarah and Andrew that comes from Shakespeare's, Macbeth, Act III, scene iv: let us "Drink to the general joy of the whole table."

And congratulations!