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Thursday, November 27, 2003

The Second Busiest Bar Night of the Year

I guess I never knew that the night before Thanksgiving is the second busiest bar night of the year. But I should have guessed it from seeing all the "amateurs" crowding the streets of downtown on Wednesday night. It was so crowded on 1st Avenue that the Imperial Room, where Jake Rudh was hosting his regular Wednesday night Transmission, was at capacity. I had to stand outside for 10 minutes before being even allowed in the door.

Metric at First Avenue

Down the street at First Avenue it was no less packed. Metric was onstage opening for Ike Reilly. This was the first time I'd heard this Vancouver-based band fronted by Emily Haines. Just last week (11/18) they'd opened for fellow Canadians Hot Hot Heat at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Metric delivered a show full of old new wave charm and with great energy. Their most recent album, issued Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? was released earlier this year on the Everloving label.

Emily Haines performs with Metric at First Avenue Wednesday

The Belfast Cowboys

Next door in the Entry, The Belfast Cowboys (fronted by Terry Walsh, who also fronts Terry Walsh and the 2 a.m.) were performing a kick ass all Van Morrison all the time set.

And down the road at Lee's Liquor Lounge, 2 Ticket 2 Paradise were doling out covers by a wider variety of bands including the ever popular Cheap Trick.

Details to follow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Have some free music on Ol' Yeller

Rich Mattson writes in a Thanksgiving email:

"I keep forgetting to mention, our German friends at Blue Rose Records have put our "COUNTRY" cd up on their site--this is a FREE downloadable album, and they have also included cover art! Go directly to and burn one today!"

I'm listening to this album now whilst the color printer spits out a copy of the cover art. This is great down to earth country music as only Ol Yeller can do it. And you can't beat the price.

Mattson also writes, "Coming up in December, we'll have a string of shows promoting the release of "Iron Country", a Duluth-based compilation of country-style songs. We did a quasi-political rant/song called "Mob Rule" that is bound to get us on some government charts if anything..

Also in December I'm getting the GLENRUSTLES back together for a couple of shows in the Twin Cities: December 19 at the Turf, and December 20 at Mayslack's. Don't worry, I'll remind you.. We're assembling a c.d. of some of the old cassette demos and lost artifacts for the occasion, even meeting with JIM KENNEDY's people to discuss his appearance at the shows.."

This is the year for re-unions, and a Glenrusltles re-union will be another one for us old farts to enjoy.

Does this quotation from Mark Twain make you think of any recent Minnesota music related event?

"It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them."

-- Mark Twain "

Sunday, November 23, 2003


I'm going to take the fact that Minneapolis is suddenly buried in about six inches of snow as a sign I should stay in a for a while and catch up. I think I'll work backwards...

Last night was one of the first night's in a while I've managed to make it to every one of my recommended shows.


Karen O in a photo by Matt Schmidt, who braved the front of the crowd

First stop was the Yeah Yeah Yeah's at First Avenue, another all ages show, which when crowded like the Shins last week can be extremely irritating. However, I'm not drinking these days and you can still get a Red Bull downstairs so that was easy enough to cope with.

The Yx3's show was not as crowded as the Shins the week before. I spent most of the show trying to figure out if it was a great show or one of the most boring I'd seen in months. I'm told that up front in the midst of the crowd the energy was incredible, and I'll take Matt Schmidt and several others word for that.

Another of Matt's shots of Karen O

Karen O shows the microphone who's boss

The Yeah Yeah Yeah's are not the same as the White Stripes despite obvious similarities. (No bass.) Nick Zinner's guitar is more on the metal side whereas Jack White keeps more friendly company with the blues. I'd never seen the Yeah Yeah Yeah's before so I'm not sure if Karen O's laughter is always as breathy or if she was a little punchy because of her birthday. Har Mar Superstar, just returned from a successful UK tour, introduced the band, and brought out a birthday cake with 25 candles just before the encore.

Whatever you make of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Karen O is a charismatic and strong front woman.

Friends Like These

Before hitting Mel Gibson and his Pants and the Har Mar Superstar welcome home show at the Triple Rock I was able to drop into the 400 Bar for about 1/2 hour and see Friends Like These. I swear that these guys get better and better every time I see them live. Always solid in the studio, they have started recording their next album. Relentless in their performing, they are becoming (if they aren't already) one of the best live bands in the Twin Cities, and probably one of the best horses we have running in the realm of original rock here in Minnesota.

Har Mar Superstar

He's baaaaacccckkk! I was luckily on the guest list for this one because the show sold out nearly two hours before Har Mar took the stage at midnight. Locals Mel Gibson and his Pants did a bangup job of warming up the house for him. Har Mar arrived through the front door a little after 11 and I finally got the chance to glad-hand him after chasing him around the Witnness Festival in Ireland this summer. (See my interview with him and other in this week's Pulse Twin Cities.)

Har Mar came onstage claiming he'd been doing the same set for so long he was bored with it. "Don't fucking clap," he said, "It's patronizing." "I'm so fucking bored," and "This is my fucking job," were other remarks delivered totally deadpan you'd almost think he was serious, but I'll be damned if he didn't have me and Mei Young from KQ laughing our asses off by the rail where we were standing.

Har Mar was fucking around a little more than he did the last few times I've seen him, but from what I could see, it was working. Always one step ahead of the critics, this guy has never failed to entertain. Whatever you might think of him, and I know many even of my own friends who can't stand the guy, I remain in a position of the utmost professional respect for what he's done to put Minneapolis back on the international music map.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

More Anti-Fashion District Fashion Show

Fashion by Emma Johnson

I may be slow, but I'm true to my word. Here are another couple dozen non-Anna Lee photos from Tuesday November the 11th's fashion show at the Fine Line.

Next promise: I'll fill in the names of the designers and add some captions to the pictures soon.

Click here or on the photo above for the full set.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Anti-Fashion District Fashion show at the Fine Line

The latest hat from Anna Lee - Click the image above
or here for more photos of Ms. Lee's work from this show.

The Anti-Fashion District fashion show at the Fine Line might have been better if it had been 30-40 minutes shorter than it was. Tuesday's show clocked in at just under 1 hour and 45 minutes, and I'd hazard to guess that designers showing their wares in the last 30 minutes didn't receive nearly the attention of those who came earlier in the night. It wasn't that the models didn't hustle their way on and off the stage. (I talked to many who felt they were actually moving too fast. ) Perhaps the time between designers could have been cut, or a max time per designer of 7 minutes max could have been suggested. Music could have been faded and segued into new songs quicker instead of designers waiting for the start of a new song to start marching their models across the stage.

The music itself, however, was expertly chosen, mostly provided by DJ Jake Rudh. I really dug hearing everything from Flock of Seagulls to Ladytron, and I didn't realize how much I missed hearing Revenge by Ministry until it was played at dance club volume last night. Overall, for a first foray into this type of show, Matt Halman did an excellent job of putting all the pieces together.

I had a great seat for the show, appropriating a table front and center clearly marked "Reserved for Steve Marsh" (of the City Pages), as Steve arrived a few minutes late, wondering why all the tables up front were filled. Thanks Steve!

I shot 10 fewer than a gross (144) digital photos last night and haven't had a chance to go through them all yet. But as an unabashed (er, proud) fan of Anna Lee of Ruby3 I offer these humble photos up for your consumption while I sort through the rest.

I'll post the best of the rest in the next few days.

Oh, and anyone who stayed for the rock show that followed, feel free to email me and let me know how it went.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Joanna James at the Fine Line and Jonas Motherf**cker at the Entry

I've just returned from an early Monday night out in the city, stopping by Joanna James gig at the Fine Line where she opened up the evening's music.

I caught James for the first time when she opened for Ben Connelly at the Bryant Lake Bowl a few weeks ago. On the Fine Line's full size stage and with full size sound, James more has no trouble looking and sounding at home.

Lizzy Brown (left) with Joanna James

James was joined again by her friend Lizzy Brown for "Ride," and they also performed one I don't recall hearing at the BLB, an a song she wrote for Jeff Buckley (because she loves him) called "Echoes of You." James dug out the accordian for this song, which was another bonus.
She said she and Brown had been in the studio earlier in the day recording this one. James debut release is expected in Spring 2004 and I for one am looking forward to it.

James makes it look light, but that accordion is heavy

I wandered the club a bit, and from what I could see, James had quite the contingent of fans present who were thoroughly enjoying the show quietly, listening to every nuance. It was therefore unfortunate when the fans of the rest of the evening's bands, and even some of the band members themselves arrived and began talking a little too loudly, forcing me to move closer and closer to the front of the club again to avoid being distracted.

James finished too early at about 8:50, clearly having more material left. Shouts of one more song from no fewer than 3 places in the room surely warranted an encore. But that was not to be.

From the Fine Line I walked up the the Entry to see if I could catch a bit of Mars to Mercury on their drummer Saun Sauder's invitation (and damn, I forgot to ask him how his plans for an all Smiths cover band are shaping up.) But the schedule had changed, and someone named Jonas Funny Motherfucker (or something) was doing a stand up routine from 9:15 to 10.

I'd describe JFM as offensive, disgusting, and downright sick at times, as well as being disturbingly funny on occasion considering his complete lack of regard for political correctness. Ever feel ashamed to be laughing because your conscience is telling you should be walking out the door?

Where You Should Be Tomorrow Night

I didn't hear a single note of Mars to Mercury as I left before 10 to drop off an apple pie from a recent evening of baking for Anna Lee to feed to her models and stylists during tomorrow's Anti-Fashion District show tomorrow night at the Fine Line. (In case you weren't aware, that is where you should be tomorrow night. )

The local fashion designers showing their work include Chrystina Hanson, $teve Hutton, Barrett Johanneson, Emily Johnson, Erin Knutson, Ann Marie De Lathouder, Anna Lee (of Ruby3), Emily Litjens, Azure Marlowe, Lynn Sabin and the MPLS Sewing Collective.

Music includes a set by DJ extraordinaire Jake Rudh and live music by Red Satyrs, A Bomb Nation, Audrey, Producal and the final performance by Ice-Rod. Don't miss this.

The Pie

In an effort to make the appearance of the pie less than gratuitous in this review, I offer youo the link to the recipe for this delicious Dutch Apple Pie. (Thanks go out to Aleah for the link and her coaching/help in this effort.

The pie, in process, balanced precariously on the edge of the counter.

The final product. Yes, I always bake in shiny velour zip up shirts from Gabriella's boutique.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

The Full "Mourning" Moon just passing out of total eclipse as viewed in Minneapolis - 7:30 p.m. CDT November 8th, 2003

The eclipse as viewed from my deck. Click for larger version.