Visit our sponsors

Friday, December 31, 2004

Greetings from Chicago

Five of my friends from Dublin flew all the way here from Ireland to see the final Guided By Voices shows at the Metro last night and tonight. Initially worried how my Irish friends might find the Chicago winter, I am flabbergasted to find temperatures that are veritably balmy. It feels more like Spring than mid-winter, but I'm not going to complain. Though I'm wishing I brought a lighter jacket. (Current relative temperatures at writing? Chicago: 55F, Dublin: 45F. Who woulda thunk?)

The Gingerman bar, right next door to the Metro filled up steadily pre-show last night as an ever-growing line formed waiting for the 8:30 door time. Extra tickets were actually easy to come by, though I forewent the opportunity to purchase two for last night. Not a big enough Guided By Voices fan. Sue me. I had no trouble unloading my extra one for Friday night, however. (At face value, of course, despite the fact that at least one person on the Postal Blowfish listserver was attempting to unload a pair for $345.)

I haven't seen this much craziness revolving a round an event since the Pixies kickoff performance in Minneapolis in April. But as I said then, tickets have a way of finding their way into the hands of those who need them. One of my friends from Ireland had actually flown all this way without one. No need, therefore, to try to hard to get rid of my extra.

I'm not sure what kind of a show review if any I'll have of GBV tonight. I may, however, report on the mania.

I'm WAY behind on show reviews, and a year end wrapup of music is probably just under a week off. I failed to to cast my votes in time for the Star Trib critics poll so I'll need to make recompense for that by publishing a list sometime in the first week of the new year. With the hindsight of seeing everyone elses's list first, perhaps I can tackle the task of addressing the oversights.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Nickelback rip themselves off

As a songwriter, I know how difficult it is to not repeat your own musical phrasing from song to song sometimes.

Kate Galloway of Vamp Music Source alerted me to this link which mixed Nickelback's new single "Someday" with their previous hit "How You Remind Me." Galloway remarked, "love the state of the music industry right now..."

There is a saying, "Good poets borrow, great poets steal." But from themselves? This is fucking ridiculous.

You've gotta hear this to believe it. These are two songs they better be damn careful not to play back to back in the same set.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Kari Tauring's 6th Annual Yuletide Celebration this weekend

This weekend Kari Tauring presents the 6th Annual Yuletide Celebration at the Cedar Cultural Center. This year’s program, entitled “Connected at the Core,” thematically involves trees. Expect songs and skits illuminating not only why the Evergreen is a common symbol of this season, but why the World Tree is a symbol common to many societies, how people are like trees, and what trees can teach us about ourselves.

Two shows will take place this year: Saturday December 18, (doors at 7, show at 7:30), and a Sunday matinee December 19 (doors at 2, show at 2:30.)

Tickets are $10 advance/$12 at the door. Ticket price includes a complimentary copy of the original Yuletide Celebration CD.

Kari Tauring’s Yuletide Celebration had its start in 1999 with a performance entitled “Discovering Origins, Building Traditions” performed in the tiny Gus Lucky’s Art Space. For the three years that followed, it was hosted by Patrick’s Cabaret then moved to the Cedar in 2003. "Discovering Origins, Building Traditions" has been the jumping off point for each of the seasonal ritual shows that followed.

The Yuletide Celebration is an all ages, all faiths, multimedia production done in a ritual framework that provides opportunities for both quiet observation as well as full participation through group chant and spiral dance.

Nordic staving (the art of chant and staff work) will end the show. Attendees are invited to bring their walking sticks, shepherd’s crooks, wizard’s staffs or broom sticks.

Anne Sawyer-Aitch ( will join Kari again this year with stilts, puppets and masks. Tamara Rogers, will again dance the role of the three-fold goddess. New to the group this year is Gabrielle Robinson Bajuscik who will share her stilting and puppeting. You will hear vocalists Marin Amdal and David Moore, Greg Stern leading the drums and staves, Matt Spillum, Ken Sherman, and JR Hartly backing up Kari’s music, and David de Young playing piano and leading the pre-show caroling. Maya Rose will also share her spoken word piece, “Epiphany.”

You can find out more about the show and hear Kari sing a song or two on KFAI Friday 12/17/04 at 11 a.m. on Marya Morstad's "Art Matters." KFAI is at 90.3 FM in Minneapolis, 106.7 FM in St. Paul, and on the web at

See also:

KQ Critic's Show Panel Photo

Photo by Miranda Anderson (click for larger version.)

Ever wonder what a good chunk of the people who write about music in the Twin Cities look like at 2:45 a.m. on Monday morning?

Check out this photo of the gang who participated in the 2004 KQ Critics show Sunday night. From left to right, KQ Homegrown co-host Dave Campbell, Ross Raihala of the Pioneer Press, Chris Bahn of the Onion, Rich Horton of Rift Magazine, Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune, Rob Van Alstyne of Pulse Twin Cities, David de Young of and KQ Homegrown co-host Mei Young.

Sunday night's show featured each critic presenting a song for discussion. (Howwastheshow selected "I Don't Know" by Redstart, who play Friday night at the Cedar Cultural Center opening for Barbara Cohen.) The show also featured selections from Eydea and Abilities selected by Chris Riemenschneider, and Swiss Army selected by Rich Horton, Heavy Sleeper selected by Rob Van Alstyne.

Here's the full playlist of the critics selections:

1. Heavy Sleeper - "Back to Me" from "The Gifted Curse" (Rob Van Alstyne)
2. Swiss Army - " False Starts and Timelines" from " Private Ambulance (Rich Horton)
3. Red Start - "I Don't Know" from "So Far From Over" (David de Young)
4. Thunder in the Valley - "After" from "Thunder in the Valley" (Chris Bahn)
5. Eyedea and Abilities - "Kept" from "E and A" (Chris Riemenschneider)
6. Trashed Actor - "WMD Disco" from "Glitter and Alcohol" (Ross Raihala)

Howwastheshow found the discussion to be a little dry at times and suggested that next year instruments be forced into the critics hands and they should be asked to play a few songs, then field calls from the bands critiquing their performance.

The show, which starts at midnight, is normally just over an hour in length. It ran for two and a half hours Sunday night, and that says something. I'm just not sure what.

Friday, December 10, 2004

KQ Homegrown Annual Critics show Sunday 12/12/04

"How many music writers does it take to screw up a radio show?" Chris Riemenschneider mused in his weekly local music column today.

Get your answer Sunday night December 12th when KQ Homegrown hosts its annual "Critics Show" with guests slated to include Rob Van Alstyne of Pulse Twin Cities Chris Riemenschneider of The Star Tribune, Ross Raihala of The Pioneer Press, Melissa Maerz of The City Pages, Rich Horton of Rift Magazine, Christopher Bahn of The Onion, and David de Young (that's me) of

Each writer will present one of the songs that he or she liked best in 2004.

Homegrown co-host Mei Young tells me the show format will be loose and conversational and could go just about anywhere.

Be prepared to stay up late! This show runs longer than most.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A report from Dmitry Iyudin in New York: U2 Under the Brooklyn Bridge

Though I missed it myself, U2's appearance on Saturday Night Live Sunday where they played 3 songs, closing with "I Will Follow" is apparently destined to become historic. One viewer claimed they hadn't seen such craziness since FEAR appeared on the program performing "Beef Bologna," "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones," and "Let's Have a War." And that was on Halloween of 1981! (I watched that one live.)

If you missed U2 Saturday, check out this Quicktime video of "I Will Follow" Rumor has it that the band played 3 more songs off the air.

Monday, U2 drove down Broadway performing on a flatbed truck while filming a video for "All Because of You," the second single from their new album "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" out today. At the end of the day, the publicity stunt culminated in an hour-long free show at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.

Dmitry Iyudin, guitarist for now NYC-based Shadow Box (formerly from Minneapolis) ended up at that show last night in Brooklyn, say it was like seeing them play at a small club. "Bono was very funny and we got a little striptease from Larry." (I wonder what that means.) He sent me a link to these great photos from

Just because Shadow Box has moved to NYC, doesn't mean HowWasTheShow won't keep you posted on their doings. Iyudin also tells me their new album is almost done so stay tuned for more.

Robert Skoro signs to Yep Roc Records

Robert Skoro, one of HowWasTheShow's favorite Twin Cities musicians has just signed to Yep Roc Records, one of HowWasTheShow's favorite indie labels.

Yep Roc announced yesterday that Skoro's yet untitled followup to 2002's Proof (which Skoro recorded in his home studio) will be released by the North Carolina-based label in the Spring of 2005.

Skoro cut his teeth starting at age 17 playing and touring as the bass player for Mason Jennings and hit the ground running while still in his early 20's with his own solo shows. Those performances (read about his 2003 CD Release for Proof here) have been mesmerizing, and his debut album was a moody, reflective gem. HowWasTheShow has remarked that Skoro is as ready for the national spotlight as anyone playing music on the Twin Cities scene today, calling his songs "down tempo, but unpretentious...seemingly very personal and very real, sung with a voice that is honest, modest and reassuring," and considered Proof an essential Minnesota music CD of 2002.

In a press release, Skoro says of the new material: "The stuff I write now is very personal ... for any person my age, most people should and are being introspective – maybe for the first time. You're finding a way to define what the rest of your life is going to be like now that you're coming into your own and actually gaining perspective of what the "big picture" might be ... gaining an understanding of politics, religion, spirituality, and society in general. And if you’re going to express yourself, more often than not it's going to reflect your developing view of the world around you as opposed to impersonal anthems."

Glenn Dicker of Yep Roc "was immediately impressed with the maturity of his songwriting" when he first heard Skoro's demos and said the label was looking forward to a long relationship with Skoro.

The label's roster includes Robyn Hitchcock, Nick Lowe, Jason Ringenberg, Big Sandy, Paul Weller, Los Straightjackets, and the list goes on. And right now they're having a holiday sale (through December 16th.) Take $3 off each and every Yep Roc general release offering in their catalog.

Friends and fans can congratulate Skoro when he plays a post-Thanksgiving show Friday, November 26th at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis with special guests Dosh and Monarques.

Monday, November 22, 2004

So did he, or didn't he?

In Jim Meyer's review of Saturday's Los Lonely Boys show at First Avenue (Review: Los Lonely Boys rally back from monotony) he makes no mention of RT Rybak's promised stage dive.

Meyer does say of the Spanglish trio's show that "it's clear they possess more musical flavor than they offered Saturday night," so I'm not going to kick myself for missing their set.

But what of the mayor? Was he even there? Were you? Darlin' you got to let me know.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

RT Rybak to stage dive at tonight's sold out Los Lonely Boys show at First Ave

It wasn't a race to press, but I got my GWAR review from last night's First Avenue show online by 10:45 p.m. even before heading over to the 400 Bar for The Glad Version and Love-Cars. (Local musician Steve McPherson , a recent addition to the HowWasTheShow writing team, has reviewed of that show here.)

The Star Trib covers the re-opening here, and the Pioneer Press weighs in here.

Apparently, the Star Tribune (music critic Chris Riemenschneider and photo journalist Jeff Wheeler) will be on hand again tonight for RT Rybak's stage dive, probably wisely rescheduled from last night, so it's only 50/50 at this point HowWasTheShow will try to attend tonight's sold-out show. HowWasTheShow does it's best to fill coverage gaps, but there's no sense in us trying to compete with major news organizations with backstage and photo access as that's a sure-fire road to frustration.

I will say that one thing I did not miss during First Avenue's closure was being yelled at by door staff for being in the wrong line. After waiting for 10 minutes it wasn't until I was already through the security check that I was told that guest listees were to queue at the other door, putting me to the end of yet another now longer line in the rain. Anyone who goes to a lot of shows at First Avenue (or other large clubs) knows that copies of the guest list are sometimes kept at more than one entrance for efficiency. Okay, my mistake, but it was likely unnecessary for the woman at the door to yell at top volume three feet from my ear at the rest of the line of maybe 30-40 people that this was the TicketMaster only line. ("Welcome back to you too," I may have muttered under my breath while making my way to the other door.)

A minor guest list mix-up once inside the club led to my meeting the genial (and efficient) Sam Peterson, the club's new operations manager, who is quoted in today's Star Tribune as saying service and cleanliness are two of the club's new priorities. Read that article here: First Ave.: Rock 'n' roll revival

Now I'm pretty thick-skinned after 20+ years of attending rock shows (16+ years of those at at First Avenue), and I am far from an average rock fan, but some people have been turned off and away by the sometimes surly treatment of the First Avenue door staff over the years. "First Avenue wasn't called First Attitude for nothing," one poster remarked last week on the messageboard at

But the last thing that First Avenue needs right now is bad press. And if such real or perceived service issues can be addressed it can only help the club that needs the support of everyone (and I mean everyone) from the white collar workers who inhabit the office towers of downtown during the day to the tattoed punks ostensibly born and bred in the dark, smelly and smokey confines of the 7th Street Entry.

Waiting at the door for admittance also gave me the opportunity to chat very briefly with a happy looking, but extremely busy Steve McClellan who didn't have much time to stop moving on what appeared to be overall a bang-up of a successful re-opening night.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

First Avenue to reopen Friday with GWAR show - And a thank you to the many volunteers who helped along the way

If I only had a dollar for every time in even the past few days people said to me, "So I hear First Avenue closed....." I'd have a good chunk of HowWasTheShow's annual $384.75 budget right there. It seems like a long two and a half weeks, but the club will be back in operation tomorrow.

On Tuesday evening, a slough of volunteers gathered at First Avenue to help clean up and ready the club for re-opening on Friday evening for the GWAR show. (Those volunteers are just a few of the people fans should thank for the quick turn-around after two weeks during which dozens of people basically worked for free--I'm just guessing this doesn't include the lawyers involved--to get the club back on its feet and ready to open.) The irony of the clean-up is that GWAR is known for hurling fake body fluids from the stage during their half theater/half heavy metal shows that are practically guaranteed to have a little something to offend everyone.

In true antagonistic fashion, GWAR's website even includes a "fuck you, welcome to the email blacklist" to the people people that kept emailing them with questions about whether the First Avenue show was on or off in the interim. The website asks: "Do ANY of you read this funny little section of the site that is dedicated to NEWS? Anyways..."

HowWasTheShow intends to be onhand (though standing out of distance of the reportedly machine-washable liquids.)

The First Avenue calendar has now been updated to reflect what you can actually expect in the coming weeks at both the Main Room and the Entry. As reported here earlier, the Ike Reilly show (w/ Friends Like These and The Lift) will stay at the Triple Rock on Thanksgiving Eve where it was moved during the closure, but Urge Overkill will be at First Avenue.

Read more in today's Star Tribune: First Avenue gets OK to reopen Friday

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

DJ Jake Rudh & TRANSMISSION club night exit downtown for South Minneapolis Hexagon Bar

Debut set for Wednesday, November 24th (10PM to 2AM)

DJ Jake Rudh at the Loring Pasta Bar - howwastheshow file photo by David de Young

After two years (has it really been that long?) tonight will be DJ Jake Rudh's final night in residence downtown Minneapolis' Imperial Room. Tonight Jake will be featuring "Meet the Beatles" as the CD of the week, and "She Said She Said" as the song of the week as he celebrates the reissue of the first four Beatles albums on CD..."Meet the Beatles", "The Beatles Second Album", "Something New" and the "Beatles 65". He tells me he sent Ringo a postcard (I believe him) asking him to make an appearance, so keep your fingers crossed.

Where's Transmission going next? It's set to re-debut Wednesday, November 24th from 10PM to 2AM at the Hexagon Bar in South Minneapolis. (2600 27th Ave. S in Minneapolis near the Stardust Lanes)

Jake's DJ nights have always been a personal favorite of mine, nights when you can mingle and chat with local rock stars and fans alike and take a break from live music as many of us need to do from time to time. (On occasion, however, Rudh does feature acoustic performances by some of the Twin Cities finest musical offerings.) It's been a place where people who have been informal acquaintences from the live music scene have turned into real live friends.

Background: Prior to organizing "TRANSMISSION " at the Imperial Room, DJ Jake Rudh spent 8 years as DJ-in-residence at some of the Twin Cities premiere club spaces, including Jitters, Ground Zero, The Front, Loring Pasta Bar & the Kitty Kat Club. In addition, he was named "Best DJ" by City Pages for two consecutive years (2003/2004) and has been featured in numerous articles in the Strib, PiPress, MN Monthly, Rake, City Pages (and even and is a frequent guest on local radio, promoting the work of regional and national artists on Cities 97, Radio K and Drive 105.

Over the past two years, DJ Jake Rudh has mined his connections both local & national to bring Twin Cities music fans an array of themed nights at "TRANSMISSION", featuring CD / DVD & other prize giveaways from major & Indie labels. Jake has also been a longtime supporter of the local music scene: one of the few DJs playing local music locally on a regular basis, he has offered frequent live showcases for emerging local artists, including: Revolver Modele, Friends Like These, Coach Said Not To, Idle Hands, Shadow Box (sounds a little bit like last year's Voltage lineup, doesn't it?)and many others.

In the tradition of Lees, Mayslacks & the Chatterbox, the Hexagon Bar is a long-time Minneapolis bar space now featuring a consistent schedule of cutting-edge live music and DJ nights. Always a friend to local music, the Hexagon Bar welcomes DJ Jake Rudh & "TRANSMISSION" beginning Wednesday, November 24th.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

In The New York Times: First Avenue Is Dead (Long Live First Avenue!) - Lunch at the Entry Saturday?

No new info here, but the New York Times weighs in on the First Avenue saga in an article published November 15th.
The New York Times > Arts > Music > First Avenue Is Dead (Long Live First Avenue!) (Note: You must be a NY Times online subscriber to read. OR, do a Google search on the article First Avenue Is Dead (Long Live First Avenue!)and you'll be able to do a single read of it through Yahoo news.)

Another show at First Ave's 7th Street Entry that's back on for this weekend is STNNNG, Signal To Trust and Aneruertical who are playing Saturday for a special all-ages show at NOON. THE 2ND ANNUAL LUNCH SHOW HOSTED BY ROBOT COMIC! will feature free food while supplies last.

Doors at 12 PM Noon sharp

more info:

Monday, November 15, 2004

Allan Fingerhut weighs in on First Avenue's Closure

Here's another article by Chris R. from Friday's STrib that I missed the first time around: Blame for closure disputed.

As far as First Avenue's grand re-opening on Friday, November 19th goes (GWAR with Dying Fetus and All That Remains), HowWasTheShow will be onhand if for no other reason than for the chance to get a better picture of Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak stage-diving than I did at July's Rock For Democracy benefit.

Here's the photo from July.

If he does dive again, perhaps he'll take my advice and ride top side up this time.

After GWAR on Friday night head over to the 400 Bar where The Glad Version will be celebrating the release of their new CD Smile Pretty Make Nice which Jesse Norrell reviews here as a special to Also on the bill at the 400 Friday are Love-Cars and Superdanger.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Judge gives First Avenue's landlords OK to reopen

Judge gives First Avenue's landlords OK to reopen: "'Did we get the keys yet?'" Steve McClellan asked one of his attorneys after a ruling in federal bankruptcy court that cleared the way for First Avenue to reopen pending a judges signature.

Read the story on what's next for First Avenue in the Star Trib here. And in the Pioneer Press here, and a late update here including words from Steve McClellan and Nate Kranz on what's next for the club.

With First Avenue probably re-opening next week, is there still time to move Ike Reilly's traditional Thanksgiving Eve show back to First Avenue from the Triple Rock? Sorry, according to Reilly's booking agent, Craig Grossman of Vamp Music Source, contractual obligations will keep that show at the West Bank venue where it was moved.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

First Avenue - Open again by next weekend?

Rumors (and actual ink on paper in the mainstream press) are starting to suggest a possible re-opening date for First Avenue of either 11/19 or 11/20, next weekend.

A deal that would allow First Avenue to keep its name and liquor license is apparently in the works, subject to a judges approval tomorrow (Friday, 11/13).

Read today's local music update by Chris R. for a little more info:

Chris Riemenschneider: Bellwether makes a soft return

Pixies are back. No ticket? Check out the Missing Children's Benefit (Part II) at the Cabooze

HowWasTheShow will be going to tonight's Pixies show. (Foolish me, I bought tickets right away when they went on sale and they added the second show on the day BEFORE.) Of course, buying right away (April 17th seems so long ago now) I ended up with four seats in the 13th Row on the main floor. I wasn't planning on writing a review as this will be the 4th time I've seen the band this year (Fine Line in April, and the Hurricane and Roskilde festivals in Europe this summer.) But these look like the best seats so far, so I may be unable to resist.

Going tonight? Check out the reviews in the STrib and the PiPress of last night's show:

There's also a Pixies Pre-Party at Station 4 (formerly 4th St. Station) on Kellogg Blvd, just 1/10th of a mile from Roy Wilkins in River Centre.

No tickets to the Pixies? Here's a consolation prize that you can feel good about. (Or go post-Pixies like we plan to do.)

Tonight (11/11) is the second benefit/CD Release Party for Missing Children Minnesota.

The show, featuring MOLLY MAHER, MARTIN DEVANEY and ROMANTICA starts off at 9:00 at the Cabooze. Tickets are just $5, and all proceeds from the door and cd sales benefit Missing Children Minnesota and its mission of helping to ensure the safety of all children in Minnesota.

For more information on Missing Children Minnesota please visit

For more information on the Missing: Code Blue benefit CD please visit

If you can't make it to the show on the CD is available at Best Buy, Cheapo, The Electric Fetus and other independent record stores in the area.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

First Avenue could reopen in a few days

First Avenue could reopen in a few days

Saturday, November 06, 2004

First Avenue's Black Tuesday

Read Pete Scholtes installment report on includes many additional links and comments regarding First Avenue's closing and potential re-open not available elsewhere. Read it here.

Matthew Sweet at the Cabooze

Paul Chastain of the Velvet Crush

Another moved First Avenue show, Matthew Sweet w/ Velvet Crush went off swimmingly at the Cabooze last night, though fans who weren't there by the 7 p.m. music start time would have missed a good part of Sweet's set. Sweet started off at about 7:05 and played a 10 song set. Then the band metamorphosed into the Velvet Crush (same players, same spots on stage, different lead vocalist) and played another set before turning back into Sweet to finish the show by just after 9. The Cabooze hosted another bill that evening that included Hanz Solo that was to start at 9:30 p.m., which had led Hans Erickson in an email earlier in the day to joke that Matthew Sweet was actually opening for him.

Meanwhile, in another sign all may still be well with the world, a line was forming halfway down the block at the Triple Rock for entry into the Olympic Hopefuls / Mark Mallman show.

I'm jetting off to Chicago today to see Robyn Hitchcock and report on another Chicago Venue, Schubas, where Twin Cities bands are known to play when in the Windy City.

Note: there's no relationship between First Avenue being closed and howwashtheshow reporting on shows in Chicago venues (i.e. Drive by Truckers at the Metro last week.) At least not yet.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The latest on First Ave: Will the club open again soon?

Though the subject of the email message read "First Avenue to Re-Open," the attached press release added the key word "may."

Late Friday LeeAnn Weimar, a publicist for Steve McClellan and Jack Meyer, said they "may get the venue up and running again as early as Saturday, Nov. 13."

Read more in the Pioneer Press here. The article includes the latest summary of moved shows.

More First Ave show updates

Here's some more First Ave show updates

Jay Farrar / Anders Parker -------> Cedar Cultural Center, Thursday, November 11, 2004 8PM $10

And this just in:

Le Tigre which had moved to the Quest Ascot room tomorrow has now been cancelled.

  • Papa Roach -----> Quest (November 12th)
  • Muse --------> Quest (November 15th)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

More on First Ave...

So many First Ave staffers were on hand at the Robyn Hitchcock show at the Cedar last night that it was almost as if the club had moved to the West Bank for the night. Spirits were better than might be expected considering the difficulties ahead. Ousted First Avenue manager Steve McClellan, who introduced Hitchcock from the stage was genuinely optimistic about the future of the club.

There's more in today's Star Trib here.

In the meantime, here's another venue move I received word of this morning from Destijl Records Clint Simonson:

  • Miminokoto (Tokyo) / Plastic Crimewave Sound (Chicago) / Michael Yonkers (Saint Paul), ------> Viking Bar - Thursday, Nov. 4th, 8PM - $7

And another one I found in the Pi-Press:

  • Vice Records Tour featuring Vietnam, Death from Above and Panthers------> Triple Rock - 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7th $6; 612-333-7399.

Also see:

What's ahead for First Ave? Pi-Press article today.

Local musicians muse in the Pi-Press about their favorite First Ave Stories.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

First Avenue shows moved to alternate venues

Here are the shows I have heard have already been moved....

  • Robyn Hitchcock/Jonathan Richman ------> Cedar Cultural Center, Wednesday, 7PM (612-338-1687) Purchased tickets will be honored. Comps will not. Tickets will be $10 at the door. Doors at 7PM.
  • Blues Explosion------->400 Bar, Thursday, 7PM $15. 18 and up. 612-332-2903.
  • Matthew Sweet --------> The Cabooze, Friday 7PM ( (I have confirmed this show. Doors at 6, show at 7, First Ave tickets honored.)
  • Le Tigre w/ The Gossip------->Quest Ascot Room, Saturday 6 p.m. $12. 612-338-3383
Until some coordinated effort gets underway to try and pass this information onto the public, I'll do my best to keep it updated. But as always, PLEASE CONFIRM WITH THE VENUES if you have any questions.

More info in today's Pi-Press regarding the future of First Avenue here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

First Avenue closed indefinitely as of 1:30 p.m. today

As if we didn't have enough to worry about on election day, there's this other thing in which many of us have a vested interest going on....

Chris R. has as much info on First Avenue's closing and what it may mean as anybody (which isn't a whole lot when it comes to the "What's going to happen next?" kinds of questions) in this late-breaking story in the Strib.

See also this story in the Pi-Press. And the First-Ave website.

Robyn Hitchcock was incidentally the first show I saw at First Avenue in the late 80's, so I am most immediately saddened by the fact that I may miss him at the show that was scheduled for tomorrow night.

I will continue to pass on any word regarding re-schedules of affected concerts here and on the new calendar page at

HowWasTheShow's Presidential Election Prediction: Kerry Wins

Like any cynic, especially one steeped in undergraduate political science studies, I don't trust the polls or the papers. So to determine the outcome of today's presidential election, I did what any rock critic worth his salt would do: I consulted the Tarot.

Here is my projection based on that reading.

Card 1 - The Sun (inverted)

Recently I saw a photo of a bouncing baby Bush (W) in the New York Times where he has held by his daddy in 1955. Baby bush was wearing cowboy boots, shorts, and bore the goofy childlike grin that still remains on his face most times to this day. The image of the small child on horseback on the Sun card of the Rider-Waite Tarot was clearly W. (In this case "Sun" obviously equates to "Son.") Inverted, this card indicates that W will indeed be toppled from his horse. Bush's day in the sun is over, and Kerry is likely to win the election.

Card 2 - The Devil

Here's the bad news. There is likely more mischief already afoot and more mischief that will be brought to light in this election than in any contest in recent history, including the fiasco known as Indecision 2000. Prepare for the worst, including having no clear result of the winner of the election by tomorrow morning or Bush winning the election questionably as he did in 2000.

Disclaimer: HowWasTheShow polled absolutely no people to arrive at this forecast. It has a margin of error of 100%.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Did you miss Bellwether? Well, they're back...

If you missed Bellwether as much as I did, good news. The band will return with a brand new album on November 9th, followed up by a CD release party at the Turf Club on Saturday, November 13th.

The new album is called "7 & 6" and features recordings made in the Winter of 2003 on an eight track analog recorder before the band called it quits.

In a press release, singer/songwriter Eric Luoma is said to have called 7 & 6 " a ghost ship that vanished in a gale and has now suddenly reappeared with its original stores of coal and silver bars."

At the CD Release show at the Turf scheduled for November 13th, Luoma and long-time Bellwether member Jimmy Peterson will bring together a Bellwether lineup that will feature Chadwick Nelson and Aaron Lundholm from the Hang Ups on drums and bass respectively and Brian O’Neil of Big Ditch Road on pedal steel.

The CD release show is another in the series of "Heartbreak & Harmony" showcases curated by Dave Campbell and Free Election Records. The CD release show will also feature the Ashtray Hearts first live performance in more than seven months. Opening the show the singing duo The Get Up Johns.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Missing: Code Blue Benefit Thursday 10/28 at the Fine Line

Don't go forgettin'....

Jessy Greene, Dan Israel and JoAnna James will be on FOX 9 Morning News Thursday morning between 6 and 9 a.m. with a little preview of Thursday night's CD release party at the Fine Line.
Doors for the show open at 7:00 p.m. and music starts at 8:00. Performances will include include Alicia Wiley, JoAnna James, Jessy Green, Billy Johnson and Dan Israel. Proceeds benefit Missing Children Minnesota.

Dan Israel tells me he will have a revised lineup that night featuring Randy Casey on guitar, Sean Hoffman on drums, and possibly another surprise special guest. That right there is reason enough to show up.

Here's the latest on the lineup and set times:

8-8:45 - Alicia Wiley
9:00-9:30 - Joanna James
9:30-10 - Jessy Greene
10:15-11 - Billy Johnson
11:15-12 - Dan Israel

Cover- $12 at the door. It's a benefit remember, so pay your and feel warm inside.

Also benefiting the charity will be all proceeds from the CD, Missing: Code Blue Volume which hit store shelves TuesdayOctober 26. It can be found at Best Buy, Cheapo, Electric Fetus or area independent record stores.

The CD includes 15 tracks from local bands all recorded over a two day period by Tom Herbers. Read more about the CD, the show and Missing Children Minnesota at

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Death of a DJ: John Peel dies at 65

BBC Radio 1's longest serving DJ is dead. Read more about it and send your tributes here.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Music and Politics - There and back again

Some readers noticed part of one of my recent blog entries quoted in today's Metro/State section of the Star Tribune. Read the article "They like the music, not the politics" by Mark Brunswick if you missed it.

I have a confession that I was only guessing in August that Toby Keith was a Bush supporter when I wrote my original blog entry regarding Governor Pawlenty's disappointment that Bruce Springsteen had come out in apparent support of John Kerry. Read my original piece about the Governor here.

Then check out Jon Bream's interview with Toby Keith from October 3rd, and the Star Trib roster of who's rooting for whom for more on the subject of where various musicians stand on the presidential race. The biggest surprise on that list might be Aerosmith's Steven Tyler supporting Bush, but if you think about it for a minute Steve and George are known to have shared some of the same, uh tastes in the past.

Friday, October 01, 2004

First presidential debate between John Kerry and President George Bush, Thursday, September 30th, 2004.

Full Transcript:

From the moment President Bush and John Kerry stepped on stage together, Kerry appeared more presidential. He appeared taller and seemed more comfortable at the podium. Though he rocked from side to side behind his podium from time to time, he was a model of calm, confident control throughout. And he employed expert control of pauses to emphasize that control.

In contrast to the stately John Kerry, President Bush looked like a miniature talking torso, his arms and hands often completely invisible behind his podium which looked taller than Kerry’s. Tonight’s television appearance found George Bush looking more like Alfred E. Newman than he usually does. Bush not only looked smaller than Kerry, his voice sounded like a whiney little scratch next to Kerry’s senatorial boom.

Bush was on the defensive through a good part of the debate, ironically even while claiming the best defense is a good offense when talking about his strategy in the war on terror. By the end of the first 30 minutes, Bush was floundering, stumbling over his words, nervously swigging on a glass of water while John Kerry referred to his Bush’s own father’s recommendations regarding a foray into Iraq.

Bush may have made a mistake when he said he defensively insisted on his awareness of the facts of the war by saying, “I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is.” If this president is getting his information about war being tough from what he sees on the TV news we’re in bigger trouble than I thought.

Bush went for the emotional jugular with his anecdote about Missy Johnson. What he was doing was obvious, exploiting an individual family’s story of loss for his own political gain. This would have been something President Reagan could have pulled off with seeming grace, but George Bush just appeared to be struggling to insert the scripted remarks his campaign advisers prepared for him.

Kerry managed to plug his website saying more details of his Iraqi withdrawal plans can be found there. Though he seemed more articulate overall on Iraq and terrorism, I was not pleased with his repeated “hunt and kill” phrasing when it came to the routing out of Osama Bin Laden and his followers. I don’t know, but “hunting and killing” no matter how you cut it sounds uncivilized.

Bush caught himself at one point, correcting himself before almost saying, “You cannot lead if you send mexed missages.” Ah, the Bushism that never happened.

The metaphorical group hug initiated by Bush in which he praised Kerry’s daughters and Kerry in return praised Bush’s wife was annoying and unenlightening. It only showed how professional politicians can be, well professional politicians.

Bush finally almost looked like a president in closing statement. (Which reminds me of a remark a former art teacher of mine said about a year into Bush’s presidency when she said he was starting to look "almost mayoral.”)

Kerry clearly won the debate, and most polls already back this up. He was just plain better. But for this debate to have damaged President Bush’s re-election chances--the only thing that really matters at this point--he needed to screw up; and he didn’t. Actually, because neither candidate screwed up, nor were there any moments of shining brilliance, this debate had virtually no highlights and was an almost tediously boring 90 minutes.

I probably shoulda gone to a rock show instead.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

MMA Awards Wednesday - Ride the Free Bus to St. Cloud

If you were wondering like I was why the MMA's were in St. Cloud instead of the Twin Cities this year and were worried about transportation to and from the event, worry no more. The Minnesota Music Academy is providing free bus service to and from the Red Carpet.

The busses depart from and return to Gluek's in downtown Minneapolis (16 N. 6th St.) on Wednesday, September 22nd.

5:00pm & 6:00pm (departing Mpls to Red Carpet)
12:30am & 2:00am (departing Red Carpet to Mpls)

Red Carpet doors open at 6:30pm and show begins at 7:30pm, ends around midnight.

Tix: $8.00 advance/$10 at the door. For more info on the Awards Show, visit

No drinking or smoking on the buses (operated by Voigt Bus Co.), but there will be FREE Red Bull Energy Drink. Space is limited - each bus holds about 45 people.

There will be a MMA volunteer for each bus, so when you arrive at Gluek's, make sure to check in with them to get your name on the list. There are 90 available spots.

This year's performer's list has been released. It includes Nachito Herrera, Monroe Crossing, Alicia Wiley, John Starkey Project, POS/Doomtree, Hydrophonics, Jack Norton & the Mullet River Boys, Honeydogs, Viento Norteno, Dallas Johnson w/ JD Steele & Desdamona, Bryan Barnett and Celebrity Records Bryan Gerrard & David Drone.

The event is hosted by the lovely Mei Young (KQ Homegrown) & Jason Nagel (Cities 97)

Presenters include David Campbell, Melissa Maerz, Peter Scholtes, Lars Larson, Tony Paul, JD Steele, E.G. Bailey, Chris Strouth, David de Young, Rich Horton, Drinking w/ Ian Cast, Jen Boyles, St. Cloud Mayor, Maya Lopez, KVSC hosts, Electric Fetus staff, Jim Weber, Taco Martin, Red Bull Energy Staff, Red Carpet Staff and MMA Board Members.

I myself will be presenting the awards for best horn player, best bassist, and best guitar player. If Prince, who is nominated for best guitar player wins and actually shows up, who knows, I may even get to shake his little purple hand.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Minnesota Music Awards Ballot is Out - HowWasTheShow vs. City Pages, Pulse and Rift in MMA deathmatch

Ballots for the Minnesota Music Awards, hosted by the Minnesota Music Academy (MMA), are now available online at

In this, the 24th year of the Academy, 50 categories are featured on the ballot including Best Indie Label Recording, Hip Hop Artist/Group and New Group/Artist of the Year. HowWasTheShow was a nominee (and loser) last year in the "Best New Media" category which was won by (who aren't nominated this year.) On the 2004 Ballot, the MMA category HowWasTheShow is nominated is called "Best Music Media" and includes both web and print media organizations, pitting us against the likes of City Pages, Pulse of the Twin Cities, DU Nation, Misplaced and Rift Magazine. This means that HowWasTheShow will probably lose, but it'll be a good company of losers whoever takes home the trophy. Besides, since I write for Rift Magazine, and the City Pages and Pulse pepes are deserving friends, we all win, right? And on the outside chance any of us are unhappy with the results, I'm sure we can settle our differences in a good-spirited drinking contest.

Voting deadline this year is September 13th, and winners will be announced and at the Minnesota Music Awards Show on Wednesday, September 22nd. Though this year the ceremony will be held at the Red Carpet Nightclub in St. Cloud instead of in St. Paul at O'Gara's.

For additional information on how to become a member or volunteer your time to MMA, please contact them via their website at or (612) 305-4487.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

MusicScene.ORG has a new look

Last year's New Media/Website winners have a new look and feel to their website.

I confess I continue to stop by this site every day or so to see their users views on politics, home theatre accessories and local music.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

Yahoo! News - Dave Matthews Band's Big Stink

Yahoo! News - Dave Matthews Band's Big Stink

Just in case you missed this story. This is the kind of news that just asks to be shared.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Re:Connect opens Saturday, August 28th at Creative Electric Studios

Re:Connect is an exhibition featuring independent short film, visual art, literary works, & music presented by Mental Contagion and DV Cinema and sponsored by It runs from Saturday, August 28th through Sunday, September 5th at Creative Electric Studios (2201 NE 2nd Street Minneapolis.)

Re:Connect is curated by Mental Contagion and DV Cinema, organizations that utilize technology with a grass roots approach to increase awareness of independent work through online exhibit. The objective of Re:Connect is to bring independent film, visual art, and literature to a physical space where selected works can coexist in one installation, encouraging independent voice in a group context. Film makers, artists, and writers local to the Twin Cities and from around the world have been selected to participate in this event to present a variety of mediums and formats.

Saturday's opening night festivities (8/28) will feature performances by The Deaths, Spaghetti Western, Maria May & John Jerry of The Owls, Christopher Danforth (solo), and Kasi, starting around 5 p.m.

Check the complete schedule here. Or download press release here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Surrealism at the Hexagon Bar

Jeaneen Gauthier sings over a can of Bud at the Elliot Smith Tribute. That's Ciaran Daly's right arm on the left as he grabs a mic, and Jacques Wait on bass.

The Ouija Radio/Melismatics show at the Triple Rock ended early enough Friday night that I was still able to hightail it to the Hexagon Bar to catch the end of the Elliott Smith Tribute Show staged by Chris Dorn and friends. However, by the time I arrived the show had degenerated into craziness, with coincidentally Ouija Radio producer Jacques Wait on stage playing bass in an impromptu "band" that was covering Blondie and Fleetwood Mac with various musicians swapping in and out of the group, including Sean Hoffman on drums and Janeen Gunther on vocals. I must say this was one of the most bizarre, goddawful and weird musical phenomena I’ve stumbled into in a while. Did I mention goddawful?

It was just the end of the show that was bad, however. I heard that the Elliott Smith Tribute itself featured several ethereal performances, and a goosebump razing performance by Erik Kassel.

Turnout, was also very good, leaving more than a dozen of us dumped out onto the sidewalk after 2 a.m. looking for the after-party.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Governor Pawlenty to miss Bruce Springsteen gig at Excel

Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty feels bad that Bruce Springsteen is using his popularity as a musician to promote his political convictions. "I really appreciate his music, but I wish he wouldn't interject his music with politics," the governor said after learning that The Boss is participating in several Democratic fundraisers that hope to help limit George Bush (who Pawlenty supports) to just one term.

Apparently the Governor feels so bad he's not even going to go to the concert, currently slated for the Excel Energy Center on October 5th. Poor guy. If he doesn't go he's also gonna miss R.E.M., John Fogerty, and Bright Eyes. I wonder if this mean's he'll also eschew The Faint at First Avenue that night, since members of that band are friends of Bright Eye's Conor Oberst.

Maybe it's a good thing that music fans generally don't attend shows of bands that politically disagree with them. How many staunch Reagan supporters do you think you might have found at Dead Kennedys shows in the early 80's? And how many Kerry supporters or liberation theologists are you going to find at a Lee Greenwood or Toby Keith show?

I can understand music fans with political differences avoiding each other when possible, but musicians (and actors, sports figures, etc.) should clearly continue to use their celebrity to promote their politics. What value does celebrity have if it's not the increase in visibility when you champion the causes you hold most dear?

I just hope the Governor doesn't stop reading when I come out in support of Ralph Nader.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Minneapolis council OKs smoking ban - Non-smoking Music Fans will soon breathe easier

Minneapolis council OKs smoking ban

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Beta Band play to play Dublin, and I'm there in spirit

(5:13 p.m. Dublin time)

In a few hours time, Beta Band will take the stage in a Bud Rising Music Festival show at the Temple Bar Music Centre in Dublin. Unfortunately, I am back in America now and will not be there. The Beta Band is one of my favorites that I did not have a chance to catch live this year. As a consolation, however, I will be getting live phone reports from the show from a very special friend who promises me a first hand report and will hold her mobile phone up so I can catch a song or two. (Nary a doubt that's reach is world wide!)

Recently, Beta Band performed a live studio session for London's 104.9 FM XFM ( which is archived in broadband hi-fi right here. Quite a lovely set, I might add. Though an older show, you can also watch a live concert from London's 93 Feet East from September 17th, 2001 archived here.

(7:05 p.m. Dublin time)

Erin rang me from the venue where she just heard the sound check. The Beta Band played all of Assessment and Easy, the 1st and 4th songs from their new LP "Heroes to Zeroes." In a weird twist, she was just hanging out outside with the band, but didn't realize it because she hadn't seen a picture of the lads, who are: vocalist Stephen Mason, drummer Robin Jones and DJ/ sampler John MacClean who all hail from Edinburgh and bassist, Richard Greentree (pictured above.)

(9:39 p.m. Dublin time)
I just got my anticipated phone call, and for the first time was on the other end of a multi-minute transatlantic mobile phone transmission of a live show as the Beta Band played "Assessment." In the past I'd always thought it was odd to see people holding up cell-phones at shows (Jim Froelich had commented on this weird phenomenon to me at one point), but having now received one of these calls I must change my opinion. I definitely picked up a bit of the energy of the show, which was only augmented by Erin's enthusiastic words, "This is awesome, I wish you were here." I really felt "jacked in", to borrow a phrase from Neil Stephenson's Snowcrash.

See Erin's full review on the main site here.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Har Mar Superstar in Shocking Family-Oriented Performance

Har Mar Superstar exhibited a surprisingly family-suitable charm on Monday night in his pre Steve McQueen movie performance at the Music and Movies in Loring Park. Playing with a live band consisting of John "Strawberry" Fields on guitar and Michael Bland on drums, Har Mar opted to close out his set in red gym shorts instead of his normal tight green underpants, and though the lyrics to the songs were the same, his toned down in-between song banter gave them a less risque feel.

Har Mar debuted his upcoming new single DUI (which stands for Dialing Under the Influence) due out in the UK on August 16th (more info here) saying "This next song is going to make a lot of people a lot of money!" a theme he returned to more than once later in his show. From his traditional "give it up for me" he dropped the "because I'm fucking awesome" part for the sake of the children.

Har Mar was the perfect gentlemen Monday night, demonstrating his ability to put on a real ALL-AGES show for anyone doubting this after the second of two appearances at the Minnesota State Fair were cancelled in 2002. A nice touch was women lining up with their ID's in hand to prove they were of age before getting a chance to snog with the flabby, sweaty celebrity.

Last weekend when flying home from Dublin, Starsky & Hutch was the in-flight movie, and I had my first chance to see Har Mar Superstar in his role as Dancin' Rick. In the film, Rick has a dance off against Ben Stiller that must be seen to be believed. Har Mar's role is larger than I thought it would be; although far from a main character, it's still more than a mere cameo. Starsky & Hutch comes out on DVD today (July 20th, 2004.)

Har Mar made his appearance in Minneapolis between shows at the Siren Music Festival in Brooklyn, New York, shows this weekend in England, and a show next month in Los Angeles with The Donna's and Ima Robot.

Here are some pictures I snapped last night at Har Mar's show in Loring Park.

Har Mar and dancer girl

Har Mar climbs on the stage railing to get a better look at the massive audience that has assembled on the grass in Loring Park to witness his performance.

Har Mar ("back stage") after changing into gym shorts jogs back onto stage to the sound of a drum roll from Michael Bland

Har Mar works the crowd.

Photographer Dave Maloney has a number of additional photos from this show in a gallery on Har Mar's site here.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Mayor RT Rybak Stage Dives and Crowd Surfs at First Avenue during Rock for Democracy

You probably will hear it here first folks, unless you were there or someone who was there told you about it.

Making references to the late, short, "funny-looking professor" with the crazy hair who was once our senator, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak fires up the crowd of 1,350 at First Avenue. (1,250 paid entrances should have raised a good chunk of dough for the Minnesota DFL). (Click for full size photo)

Rybak made his bid to become the first mayor of Minneapolis to crowd surf at First Avenue. Anyone want to challenge his claim? Aside to RT: Next time, you might want to flip over on your back to protect the, uh, giblets, you know. (Click for larger version)

Meanwhile, over at the Bastille Day celebration in Uptown, there seem to be a good 800 more people watching headliners Quintron and Miss Pussycat. (Click for full size.)

Back at First Avenue Sideways plays their brand of instrumental mod rock featuring Jessy Greene and Gary Louris.

Festivities at First Avenue are interrupted for a mock "press conference" featuring writers Shawn Boyd (left) and Nancy Jane Meyer (right)interrogating an ersatz Gee Dubya Bush (center.) When asked about the elusive weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, GW pulled out a plumb and let it swing back and forth before the audience, repeating, "There are weapons of mass destruction. There are weapons of mass destruction" until he hypnotized himself and ran from the stage screaming insanely.

Earlier in the day again back at Bastille Day vocalist Jenn Gori ledThe Bleeding Hickeys in an awesome and inspiring show. $3 PBR's were the perfect beverage to drink while watching this lively act. And Gori made use of an extra long mic cord to jump into the audience and sing to individual members including a couple of 4 year old girls sitting on a blanket who seemed to enjoy the special treatment.

More Bleeding Hickeys. The Bleeding Hickeys music is self-described as "out of the garage, and on to the dance floor punk rock."

Trailer Park Queen is a "Parody Band" at Bastille Day. Their covers of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band" and Courtney Love's "Doll Parts" were okay with a casual listen, and really funny if you were actually paying attention. Oddly enough at Bastille Day, when the fat lady sang the show was still far from over.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

July Street Festival to Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Historic Strike

July Street Festival to Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Historic Strike. One Day in July features The Strike, Brother Ali of Rhymesayers, Clay Moore Trio, Kari Tauring, Heads and Bodies, Paul Metsa, Belles of Skin City, food and beverage vendors and much much more.  Saturday, 7/24/04.  2-10 PM.  6th Ave N. and 3rd St. N, Minneapolis Warehouse District.  Free Admission. All ages. More info at
Full press release follows:
July Street Festival to Commemorate 70th Anniversary
Of Strikes That Made Minneapolis a Union Town
Young Union Activists Aim to Keep
Memory of 1934 Workers’ Sacrifices Alive
Minneapolis, MN (June 30, 2004) – Music and memory will combine in a street festival scheduled for Minneapolis’ Warehouse District on Saturday, July 24, to honor  the 70th anniversary of a bloody confrontation that resulted in the death of two strikers and the wounding of  65 more. The festival, called One Day in July, is being organized by young members of Minneapolis labor unions who want to keep the history and significance of the 1934 events alive.
“We found that very few people in our generation know about the day in July 1934 when the Minneapolis police opened fire on the striking truck drivers,” said Kieran Knutson, 33, a member of the Communication Workers of America and the lead organizer of One Day in July.  The Minneapolis labor turmoil of 70 years ago is widely regarded by historians as a major turning point in labor organizing during the tumultuous Depression years.
One Day in July will take place at the intersection of 3rd Street North and 6th Avenue North, a block south of Washington Avenue in the Warehouse District – the site where police opened fire on unarmed strikers in 1934. The street festival, which will be free and open to the public from 2 to 10 p.m. on July 24, will include food and beverage vendors and feature musical performances.

Performers committed to participate in the festival so far include The Strike, a political punk band from Chicago; Brother Ali featuring BK One from Rhymesayers Entertainment, a Twin Cities hip-hop collective; Sicbay, an alternative rock band; Clay Moore Trio, a jazz group; Kari Tauring, an acoustic folk singer; Heads & Bodies, a post- punk political band; Paul Metsa, folk/blues singer and band; and Belles of Skin City, an art-rock band. Commitments from additional artists are pending and will be announced later.
All performers are donating their services as a tribute to the sacrifices of the workers of 1934. 
“We want the character of the event to be popular and powerful, in the spirit of the '34 strikes,” Knutson said. “And, we hope to make this an annual event to keep the history alive and to connect it to the challenges workers face today.”
The murderous assault on workers in 1934 was the culmination of a series of three strikes that year organized by Teamsters Local 574. The bloody confrontation on July 20 occurred when the anti-union business organization known as the Citizens Alliance demanded that Police Chief Mike Johannes attack a crowd of unarmed pickets.  After the deaths and injuries inflicted by the police, pro-union sentiments rose decisively in Minneapolis and spread nationwide. Later, a special investigation commission appointed by Governor Floyd B Olson found that “Police took direct aim at the pickets and fired to kill.  Physical safety of the police was at no time endangered...”. The historic events are recorded in detail in William Millikan’s A Union Against Unions: The Minneapolis Citizens Alliance and Its Fight Against Organized Labor, 1903-1947, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2001.
Members of the organizing committee for One Day in July include Kieran Knutson, Communications Workers of America Local 7250; Jason Evans and Holly Krig, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789; Jim McGuire, Office and Professional Employees Union Local 12; Peter Molenaar, Teamsters Local 970; Kevin McKenzie, Teamster Local 320; and Jeff Pilacinski, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800. Volunteer first aid is being provided by union nurses.

Funding for the event is being raised through the sale of program book ads. 
The organizing committee has established a website:

Friday, July 16, 2004

Rock For Democracy Brings Local Musicians Together for Inaugural Fundraiser Sunday, July 18th

Event to Take Place at First Avenue and 7th Street Entry;
All Proceeds will Benefit the Minnesota DFL
MINNEAPOLIS – June 30, 2004Rock For Democracy, a new organization dedicated to using music to educate voters and raise funds for progressive local and national candidates, will hold its inaugural event Sunday, July 18 at First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry in downtown Minneapolis.  The impressive line up features, members of Golden Smog, the Honeydogs, Ike Reilly Assassination and a number of other artists.  All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Minneosta DFL.  Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door and are valid for both venues.  Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. with music starting at 7:30 p.m.
 “We are very excited to hold our first Rock For Democracy event with such an fantastic line-up of artists,” said Ryan Dolan, founding member of Rock For Democracy. “This show is the first of many we have planned in the coming months to support individuals campaigning for office at both the local and national level.  Through additional events in the coming months, we hope to educate voters and encourage people who have not previously participated in politics to get more involved in the extremely important elections this fall, as well as provide financial support to progressive candidates.”

Rock For Democracy’s mission is to educate voters, encourage involvement in the political process and raise money for progressive candidates.  The organization is working with the Kerry Campaign to coordinate their involvement in the event.  In addition, representatives from former Vermont Governor and former presidential candidate Howard Dean are collaborating with the organization to support the show.  America Coming Together will also be present to provide information on voter registration. 

Adam Levy, another founding member of Rock for Democracy and local group the Honeydogs added, “The response from local musicians has been amazing.  Everyone involved knows the stakes are high for the election this year.  I think it is going to be a very exciting event and the cause is extremely important.”

Artists and groups scheduled to perform include members of Golden Smog, Jessy Greene, The Honeydogs, Dana Thompson, The Flops, Iffy, David Poe, Kraig Johnson and the Program, Chan Poling, Sideways, Ike Reilly Assassination, Martin Devaney and Molly Maher
About Rock For Democracy
Founded in the spring of 2004 as a way to influence politics on the local and national level, Rock For Democracy is the brainchild of Ryan Dolan, Adam Levy, Brian Halverson and Craig Grossman.  Its mission is to educate voters, encourage involvement in the political process and raise money for progressive candidates and causes by organizing events that create new ways to bring people of all ages and walks of life into politics by educating and encouraging them to become active in their communities. 

More information can be found at .
My friend and co-music promoter Craig Grossman of vampmusicsource will be on the Straight Talk network this morning (7/16/04) between 10:30-11:00am to talk about Rock For Democracy. Straight Talk is the local radio affiliate hosting most of the Air America radio network.  You can find it around these parts at both 740AM AND 1530AM on your leftist dial.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

The Shins vs. The Darkness in Oxegen Deathmatch - It's a tie!

The Darkness were moved into headline position at this year's Oxegen Festival to replace the ill Mr. Bowie. This put them head to head with the Shins who took the stage about 1/2 hour before on the New Band Stage in a tent just over 100 yards away from the Oxegen Main Stage.

Inside the tent, the Shins played a much re-arranged set from what they had been playing at other european festivals this summer (we'd caught them previously during a torential downpour at Roskilde in Denmark the preceding Saturday.) Lead singer James Mercer played some of the bands' most downtempo songs all in a row, saying "We're trying to get the quiet ones out of the way before the Darkness starts."

A few minutes later, the Darkness was heard revving up behind us and many of us made a mad dash towards the middle of the field. (Sean Hoffman was already stationed there, where he remained for the duration of the Darkness' set.)

The hits went off well, the 2 or 3 the Darkness have, but despite owning their debut album, Permission to Land, their other songs couldn't hold me live. And unfortunately, the naked fan who ran across the stage during their set had done so the night before at their performance at T in the Park in Scotland, and no such bonus was in store for us here. Between Darkness numbers I could hear the Shins back in the tent, and more than once I high-tailed it back to catch some of my favorites from Chutes Too Narrow.

The Shins finally quit just after 10 p.m., leaving the festival with the Darkness as the last remaining band playing. Of course, Oxegen closes the beer tents at 10 p.m. as well and the festival started to wear down.

We said farewell to my wonderful friends Pete and Laura and their entourage and headed for the busses, catching the final Darkness hit, "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" on the way.

After a pleasant journey back to Dublin, we called it a night. Thus ended for me, my 3rd consecutive Oxegen/Witnness Festival, and my 4th straight year of rocking in Europe.

Irish Rain

We've been in Dublin since Friday, and today we finish up the final day of the Oxegen Festival, headlined by Muse and The Darkness this evening.

I'm in an internet cafe on the River Liffey as I write and sad piano music is playing, so forgive me if this entry seems a bit more reflective than usual.

This festival has been much like previous ones, too much like them in many ways. Perhaps after the third year in a row at this one I should break habit and head to T in the Park next year, or even take a break from them all together. As much as I like live music, there's an element of "canned fun" that starts to grate on you after a while.

Yesterday, in reverse order, we saw what I considered to be a rather fine Cure concert which clearly featured a lot of songs from the new album since I did not recognize them and own everything they've ever released for the most part. The oldies moved me the most, I'd saw, "The Primary", "A Forest" and such. They closed out with "Boys Don't Cry" and I took the liberty of being anonymous in a foreign country and bounced around like an idiot with the rest of the punters.

I checked out Vegas's the Killers who started at almost the same time as the Cure. They were one of the bands I definitely came to see. I like what I've heard from their debut album, and I have a copy of it waiting for me at home. The sound seemed a bit off where we were standing, however, and once we moved to find a better spot the strains of the Cure on the Main Stage drew me out of the tent and kept me there. I plan on giving the Killers another chance though. I could see, though not hear, the potential they have.

Jumping back to the beginning, the Scissor Sisters were the first Main Stage act we caught yesterday. Their Elton John influenced disco kept us standing happily in the rain for 40 minutes. It struck me that if Faux Jean had somehow managed to get over to Europe a couple of years ago they would be superstars by now. I'm convinced that what the Scissor Sisters are doing will soon be copied and recopied and like the Darkness is another sign that the 70's is coming back again.

We lay down on the pavement near the ticket stage for a bit and were awakened by more rain in our faces just in time to hear a decent set by the Rapture while sitting under umbrellas and getting our asses soaked. While Sean headed back to the tent with my friends for a spell, I caught a bit of PJ Harvey, Snow Patrol and Electric Six.

It was extremely difficult to figure out what time the bands were actually playing yesterday and where. You almost had to steer by sense of smell. Badges with schedules on them sold out before the music even started for the most part. Though they were only ten euro, I couldn't buy one for 15, and someone even wanted 50 to part with theirs. Screw that. Today I came to the internet cafe with the explicit intention of printing the timeline off the oxegen website, but that is unfortunately down.

Off to more confusion. Then home tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

London Sun, Music (including the fabulous The Early Year) then Rain

On Tuesday the Early Year rocked our socks at the Barfly in North London

We arrived in London Monday after an uneventful EasyJet flight from Copenhagen. Sean was impressed by the amount of space in the seats, almost like first class. EasyJet is normally pretty good on the service, and cheap on the fares if you book far enough ahead.

Our hotel is cosy and we have our own balcony to sit on and drink Stella Artois and watch the people go by below in Bayswater. This is my 7th trip to London, so nothing too exciting for me to see. The weather was brilliant Monday and Tuesday, sunny and 75 or so, and we took advantage of that by taking a bus tour.

Monday night we went to the Carling Academy to meet up with Anna Lee and Andrew Zincke. Andrew's site, the Smoking Beagle is currently out of commission whilst one of his paws heals from a bizarre accident involving a broken wine bottle, but his tips on the music are still top notch. We caught S. Rock Levinson, whom I'd seen on his recommendation last year, and I found them in even better form than a year ago. They have a new single out. S. Rock was the band I enjoyed most out of the 4-5 band bill, though they all had merit.

Tuesday night, we took in a bit of the Tate Modern and then Sean made a few friends at the Anchor Inn who had been to the Glastonbury Festival (same weekend we were at Roskilde.) They gave us a tip on good music at the Barfly so that's where we went Tuesday, despite the fact that my ears felt like they needed a rest. I was glad I went though since I saw the best band I'd seen since Graham Coxon at Roskilde. The top billed band at the Barfly, a cool club with great acoustics in Chalk Farm, North London, was called The Early Year. Their sound was less derivative than many of the other bands we've seen in bars here, many sounding like a mix of the Clash, The Buzzcocks and Joy Division, not that there's anything wrong with that. The Early Year have their own sound, their vocalist distinct in the way that Guy Garvey of Elbow also is. They combined samples, guitar, keyboards and a top notch rhythm section that really got me going. One song with a repeated refrain of "I wanna hold you" made me drift off for a while and miss my sweetie. The lead singer Jim Scully kind of reminded me of Dan Lichty of Shadow Box and I envisioned a dream bill at the Barfly which had Shadow Box open, Friends Like These in the Middle, and the Early Year headlining. We'll have to see what we can do about setting up a "band swap" so we can put together bills like that. Sean and I both bought copies of the Early Year's new 7 inch vinyl and had them signed by the band.

Today has been a shopping and business day. I mailed home some shoes and a bunch of crap and it cost me nearly $100 for a 9 lb box. Christ. But freed up of some stuff I was free to buy more.

Sean is out running around in the rain somewhere and we will rendevous at the hotel shortly to figure out the plan for the evening. In the morning, we're off to Wales to visit a friend of mine before heading to the final festival, the Oxegen festival in Dublin on Friday.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Roskilde is Mudkilde - Iggy Rocks, Morrisey falls a bit flat

I forgot to mention it had rained a bit Thursday and Friday here, and also it has been unseasonably cool. Friday at the Festival was a bit damp, but nothing like Saturday. Veritable downpours on the way to the festival and after we arrived turned parts of the festival grounds into swampland. I'm not one to complain about a bit of mud, but really, it is so bad we have decided to opt out today and let our shoes dry. But here's a recap of yesterday.

We did some laundry in the afternoon, and I got a haircut. It started to rain around 2 p.m. and a search for rubber boots that we thought might come in handy proved fruitless. Apparently Copenhagen is nearly sold out due to the demands placed on it by 75,000 festival mudhoppers.

We caught a bit of Kings of Leon before heading to the Shins show. The Shins told the crowd they were from New Mexico and that that was "a long ass way from here." I was thinking I would be able to say how nice it was to see the Shins in something less than a shoulder to shoulder First Avenue, but it started to rain again about 5 songs into their set and things got ugly. Rain poured off the edge of the tent where we were standing and it was like taking a shower. Then some idiot young people started pushing, literally, trying to shove their friends deeper into the crowd. Real smart thing to do less than 200 yards from where 9 Germans lost their lives from the exact same thing just a few years ago. Before we left though, we were treated to a really nice slow version of "New Slang."

Iggy and the Stooges were on the main (Orange) stage and put on a forbidable show. In Sean Hoffman's words, "They've still got it." Iggy's pants slid down to reveal his 57 year old butt crack at times, but he is still the king of cool. A highlight for me was my favorite Stooges song 1969. They played I Wanna Be Your Dog twice, once during the set, and once during the encore. It poured during the middle of the set and we shared our umbrella, but this did nothing to dampen the show.

We managed to stay late enough to catch a bit of Morrissey. He started at midnight, but I knew we'd kick ourselves if we missed him. Problem was it was again very crowded at the Arena stage, though not so bad as at NERD the day before. Morrissey's show featured a cool 15 foor tall light show bearing his name, but his set proved self-indulgent and featured so many slow ballads I felt like I was in England. The crowd started to trickle out a bit to head to Fatboy Slim on the Orange Stage. Morrissey played a few Smiths songs including "There is a Light...". We could not wait to get to my new favorite, "America is Not The World" and we headed out around 1 a.m. taking the bus back to Copenhagen.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Roskilde Nude Race today - Martin Dosh and N*E*R*D (with backing band Spymob) play Roskilde

The Roskilde Festival's traditional nude race is today. Unfortunately, though I thought Sean would be a formidable contestest, we are not going to make it out in time for the event. Read about it here. I saw footage of last year's on tv, complete with full frontal and quite casual nudity. Last year's nude race, however, was all male and not too exciting.

We had our first day out at the festival yesterday. It was a real dissapointment and a bit of a problem that Bowie had been dropped from the roster. We caught nearly the entirely of a full set by former Blur member Graham Coxen at the Odeon Stage. I will definitely be buying his album. Best show I've seen so far on this trip.

Slipknot, Bowie's "replacement" put on a decent show to a crowd of probably 40,000 on the main stage. I admire their intelligence and stage presence, but the music does not do a lot for me. It was, however, one of the loudest things I've heard in a while. Apparently Slipknot (so strange to think they are from in and around Des Moines Iowa)had to play two shows yesterday, one in Denmark and one in Germany, but their energy was outstanding. They seemed as thrilled to be here as the fans did to receive them.

Around 6 o'clock we headed over to the Arena Stage where I'd seen Massive Attack last year to see N*E*R*D. As you may know, N*E*R*D's backing band is none other than local Minneapolis musicians Spymob. Unfortunately we were unable to locate Brent or any of the guys before or after the show to say hey. Part of the reason was that N*E*R*D is phenomenally popular here and nearly 5,000 people had crowded into and around the tent which probably safely accomodates around 2,000. We were near the edge of the tent before they started, and by 5 minutes into the show the crowd had swelled around and behind us to scarely safe levels. (Crowd Safety people had even come on before the show to remind people not to push.) When N*E*R*D's lead singer said, "Okay, everyone, on the count of 5 it's time to JUMP," we knew that meant it was really time to get out of that crowd. It took almost 10 minutes to get to the back of it and boy was I glad to get out.

Our evening treat was seeing the Pixies again. A much larger crowd than at the Hurricane Festival, and the Pixies rose to the occasion. Best show of the 3 times I've seen them this year. Except for once when Kim Deal said "Danke Viel" the show was without commentary from the band. The beauty of this show was that it was sunset at about 10:30 at night, and that's my favorite time in Denmark. The sun starts to set and it just sets and sets and sets in a kind of near permanent twilight.

When we got back to our hotel we freshened up a bit then hit the town again. By the time we left the bars at 3:30 the sun was already coming up. I am glad I brought a sleep mask along with me to keep the sun out of my eyes as two hours of darkness is not quite enough for a good night's rest.

Today, right now, Martin Dosh (Fog, Dosh) from Minneapolis whom I have previously seen at the 7th Street Entry is playing at Roskilde on a small stage. I wished we could have gotten out there to see him as he is our other connection other than N*E*R*D. We could have worked it in if we'd known he was here, but we didn't until we saw him on the schedule yesterday. I need to get myself on that guy's newsletter so that doesn't happen again. Would have been an awesome review for howwastheshow.

Time to head back out shortly to catch Mr. Morrisey, whom I am very much looking forward to seeing. Saw him in Milwaukee in 1987, but that seems like a very long time ago.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

More Coincidences - We arrive in Copenhagen

Sean asked me to remember something I said the other day, and to the best of my knowledge it was something to the effect of "The thing about coincidences is, if they don't happen, you don't remember them!" I am gifted with the ability to spout forth profundities of that sort when drinking.

Which brings me to another story. After 3 days in Berlin, we apparently felt confident enough getting around that we were mistaken for a local by a gentlemen emerging from a u-bahn stop. He asked in German where a certain street was, I answered in German and we tried to help him since he was clearly lost. He apologized for his poor German, saying he was French. We said we were Americans, which lead to him saying he was living in America actually. And where? St. Paul, Minnesota of all places, where he teaches French at the U.

Anyway, after a pleasant train and ferry ride we are now in Copenhagen. Sean's napping at the Hotel, resting up perhaps because we're not in Germany anymore and he has to learn a new language again. Actually, everyone speaks English well in Denmark anyway, so all we have to do is remember how to speak that language and we will be fine.

It's rainy tonight so we will head out to the festival tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Bowie pinches nerve, cancels festival appearances

The funny thing about a plan is, well, you know the scoop. We figured we'd have 3 chances to see David Bowie, so we ditched the first. Now, as you may have read, Mr. Bowie has pinched a nerve in his shoulder and has been advised to cancel his remaining festival appearances. Read about it here. Bummer. Slipknot is not a consolation prize in this case.

At Oxegen at least, the replacement headliner is a bit more of a fair replacement: The Darkness!

Today is our final day in Berlin. Last night we were bold and tried some traditional German food. I actually ate something called Pig Knuckle, and I must say it was about the most disgusting thing I've ever swallowed in my life. Mr. Sean Hoffman ate some kind of raw herring, country style and for him it was about the worst meal he ever had. Our "authentic" German dining experience was made even worse by a noisy graduation party from Mexico of all places.

Sean apparently has an uncanny sense of direction and managed to steer us back to our u-bahn stop almost by sense of smell. At least in Berlin, I have begun to defer to him for navigating the streets. Although the subway (u-bahn) and I get along famously.

Tomorrow we're off to Copenhagen, by train. It will take ten hours and we will pass briefly back through Hamburg. Of course, the last bit will be over water by boat. Should be fun.

Overall, Hamburg was actually more fun. Comparatively, I'd say Hamburg feels like a Milwaukee or even a Minneapolis to Berlin's Chicago or New York. Our bus and boat tours of the city allowed us to see most of the sites from the outside (Brandenburg Gate, miscellaneous bits of the remaining parts of the Berlin wall and such) but we never really went into many places. The shopping, however, has been extremely tempting. I've already bought two pairs of shoes and several shirts. I found a gift for our friend Heath Henjum of the Olympic Hopefuls et al, a 1976 Olympic Games t-shirt, so if you read this Heath, you have a present coming upon our arrival home.