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Sunday, July 27, 2003

This just in from MMA Events Chair, Kate Chapman.....

Minnesota Music Academy Presents: Minnesota Artists Tribute Night

The MMA is gearing up for the 23rd Annual Minnesota Music Awards with a few special shows to pay homage to Minnesota music artists. The first show, “Minnesota Artists Tribute Night” where local music heroes pay tribute to their favorite Minnesota musicians, past and present, will be held on Thursday, July 31st at Mario’s Keller Bar. This unique show will feature Dan Israel & the Cultivators, Mike Gunther & His Restless Souls, Martin Devaney Band, Matt Anderson and Cheddar Slim & The Elvis Minds (featuring members of The Rakes, Betty Drake, Reluctant Prophets and The Bottlehouse). Each artist will play various Minnesota covers of their choosing, always keeping us on our toes. This is certainly not an event to be missed by anyone who’s a fan of the local music scene.

Just in time to get your membership and make your nominations!
August 1st is the official deadline to turn in your ballot nominations for the 2003 Minnesota Music Awards. MMA volunteers will be at the show to get you signed up for your membership and let you fill out a ballot nomination form right there.

Mario’s Keller Bar is located at 2300 University Avenue NE in Minneapolis below Gastof Zur Gemuetlichkeit Restaurant, 612-781-3860. This is a 21+ event and admission for the evening is $5 for MMA Members and $7 for non-members. Memberships can be purchased at the door for $15. Music kicks off with Cheddar Slim & The Elvis Minds at 9 p.m. Mario’s serves 2-for-1 rail drinks all night in addition to their wide selection of delicious German suds. For more information, contact the MMA Events Chair, Kate Chapman. To download MMA Membership and Nomination forms, please visit

Friday, July 18, 2003

Flavor wants everyone to know they're playing at Bunkers on Saturday

According to their website, the local rock quartet Flavor play music "with a pop/rock sensibility laced with funky hooks, latin rhythms and soulful melodies." The local band who formed in 2001 wanted so badly to let people to know about their gig tomorrow night at Bunkers in Minneapolis (Saturday, July 19th) that they hung four large banners on the overpass over 35W near the I94 interchange to get the word out. How many people pass under that bridge during a typical Friday afternoon rush hour I don't know, but let's just assume it's in the low tens of thousands.

I'm not sure how such shameless promotion flies with either the authorities or the club hosting the gig, but it certainly was a good way to get the word out. Oddly enough, the gig advertised above the freeway isn't listed on the band's own website or the show bible I use, The Twin Cities Alternative Shows List.

However, if only one in a hundred people who saw the sign show up tomorrow night, it won't take long for Bunkers to reach capacity. From what I've heard about the band, fans of Sting, Dave Matthews and Jamariquai might enjoy what they hear if they choose to go. Being a closet fan of shameless promotion myself, you might even find me there. But don't look for any banners hanging over any freeway interchanges anytime in the near future. Link exchanges with Pulse Twin Cities and other sites are about all I'm ready for right now.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

The funny thing about a plan....

Lew Welch once said, "The funny thing about a plan is that that never actually happens." Well, so much for my plan of keeping up with this blog during my travels. After the problem with the Brussels keyboards, the internet access at the country house of my Welsh friend Norma not far from Llangollen was spotty at best. Now, here in Dublin at last, for the last few days of my journey, I've managed to grab a few minutes of internet time at a cafe on O'Connell St. whilst my friends have already headed off for the final day of the Wittnness Festival where I will shortly be joining them.

Echo and the Bunnymen got the festival off to a slow start yesterday. If both they and the crowd didn't seem to into it, I could understand. They started playing at 1 p.m. while the beer tents didn't open until 2:15! Surprisingly it's actually difficult to get drunk at Witnness since the beer tents close down again at 10 p.m. even though the last acts don't hit the stage until nearly 11.

One highlight yesterday was seeing Coldplay again so close to the tent where the Raveonettes were playing that I got a stereo earful of both bands at once. Not that that's a good thing, but only at a festival!

Mull Historical Society was probably the best show I saw yesterday. They are suprisingly animated and tight live, which you might not expect by listening to them on disk.

Today at around 5 p.m. on the so-called On-Stage will be the fabulous Har Mar Superstar whom I plan to cover fully for this site and anyone else who will print it. Apparently, his show yesterday at sister festival T in the Park in Scotland went over swimmingly. He's been called a "must see" act by some of the most respected DJ's in Dublin, so look out Ireland, here comes Har Mar.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Belgian keyboard's suck

Not only do the keys on this particular keyboard stick, they're all moved around again. Reports of my last few days in London and seeing Ben Weaver at the Windmill in Brixton will have to wait until I get to Wales.

They have Stella Artois in the soda machine in my Brussel's hotel:

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Day trip to Avebury....not Stonehenge.

On my sixth trip to England, I was able to pass up the temptation (not!) to visit Stonehenge for the third or fourth time in my life. Honestly, you must trust me on this, Stonehenge is just a circle of rocks in the countryside, and not much of a site at that. Still, for some reason, year after year, tourists flock there to walk around and gawk.

Avebury is much harder to get to. It took us most of the day to get there and back, starting out from London. You need to take a 90 minute train to Salisbury, where you can catch a slow, slow bus to get the rest of the way, changing from the #3 bus to a #5 or #6 in Amesbury. Total journey time of nearly 4 and a half hours (there must be a better way, but I haven't found it yet!) we arrived to have a total of about 45 minutes to walk amongst the much larger display of often much larger stones. I must say that even before we got off the bus and saw the odd spread of the remaining stones I was overcome but a sense of mystery and downright weirdness. Even in its currently over-developed state--the town has grown right around the site--there is still a sense of history here that is unmistakable. And hearing "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" by Meatloaf blaring from the pub jukebox at the Red Lion where the bus stops only contributed to the feeling of being somewhat displaced in time.

I will go back to Avebury. But next time I plan to spend a a full day there.

Back to the hotel after that to drink too much wine and break the hotel room chair and fall squarely on my ass. This morning, I boldly went to the front desk to request a new chair.

Off to Southwark to see the Globe and the Tate Modern.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

To London

After my EasyJet flight from Copenhagen to London was delayed, and then the train from Stansted to Liverpool Street station, I finally made it to my home away from home in Bayswater, this year at the Garden Court Hotel. Time to unlearn the Danish computer keyboard layout and get used to one pretty similar to the ones back in the US, except for certain things like the £ key handily located over the numeral 4.

Anna Lee's friend Andrew had recommended a couple bands playing upstairs at the Garage last night. The Garage features national acts on the larger main floor, and local bands (mostly) in the smaller, intimate second floor. Andrew has a website ( that I plan to explore more fully when I have some time, but I like the philosophy behind it so far. Check this out:

"There aren't any reviews of albums or shows because people don't need to know what I think and most folks realise the experience of music is indescribable. Blacktop is not about consumption of yet more babble, it is about enjoyment to be had by leaving the house and being part of a shared public experience. That means going to see bands! The point of Blacktop is to get some background to the live experience, not to try and describe it."

Yes, yes! I couldn't agree more wholeheartedly that music is indescribable. But it sure is fun to write about the experience of seeing bands, and one always hopes that doing so will help to get a few more potatoes off their respective couches.

S.Rock Levinson

Andrew's friends' band S.Rock Levinson were headlining last night. S.Rock Levinson are an East London 5 piece rock band (who for some reason chose to name themselves after an American neuroscientist.) Headed up by vocalist Phil Canning, they kind of reminded me of a cross between Joy Division and the Gang of Four with a little Alice Cooper thrown in to keep things interesting. (A. Nunn of described them as "the Pixies being poked in the eye by Joy Division.") One song in particular, Wide Eyes, caught my attention with it's diversity and vocal harmonies (and multiple vocal lines) filled out pleasantly by bass player Karen Slavid. The band turns out a fun crowd of good, intelligent fans.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Jayhawks big in Sweden

The other day I was reading the howwastheshow referral logs (which I read religiously) and found it interesting that someone is hawking the second CD from the Jayhawks new album Rainy Day Music on eBay by linking into my review of the show at the Women's Club. You can see the sales pitch here. Of course we realize it's not exactly a rare recording as the first pressings of the CD all included the special second disk which features live recordings as well as demos produced by Ed Ackerson at Flowers Studios.

And speaking of the Jayhawks, I failed to mention the other day that on my brief trip into Sweden, I stopped in a local record shop to notice that Rainy Day music was one of the top featured CD's at the listening station and that their complete discography was located front and center right by the front door. Having been a fan of theirs for years, I wish them increasing international success, as they surely deserve it as much as any band playing today.

I've checked out of my Copenhagen hotel now and in a few hours time will fly out of here to London to meet up with the fabulous designer, Miss Anna Lee of Ruby3. Her website has just come online, so there's not much there yet but a photo of one of her signature hats. For more of her work, however, you can check out photographer Steven Wolfe's website" to see highlights of her part of the Fresh Faces showcase at First Avenue in May.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

I'm getting into the habit of sleeping really late and staying up until 4 a.m., which due to the time difference of 7 hours puts me basically on the same schedule I'd keep if I were at home. (It'd be like getting up at 6 and going to bed at 9 p.m.) Because Copenhagen never really closes down (you can buy liquor round the clock) the schedule actually works quite well.

Last night I went to a small music club called Stengade 30, with the intention of seeing Tomahawk a supergroup which features members of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More. The show was sold out, so I couldn't get in. But afterwards hearing the first American accent I'd heard in a while, I approached a fellow from the band to ask where he was from. Mr. Mike Patton himself brushed me off with a simple "all over" and that was that. Too bad, because a simple 1 to 2 minute chat, once I realized who he was, would have yielded some kind words about the success of their current European tour with the Melvins. (It appears to be going quite well.)

It's raining again today, and my Copenhagen visit wraps up tomorrow. Then I'm off to London. My plans today include a trip to the Copenhagen City Museum for a little dose of history, and perhaps a visit to the "free state" of Christiana, an area of the city where the hippies moved in about 30 years ago and declared a free country and legalized pretty much everything. (Though after it became a haven for heroin dealers, they thought twice about that, banned it and actually did a great service by helping a lot of junkies get off the stuff.)