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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Art-A-Whirl and more

Art-A-Whirl's 2004 cover art by Chad Hoffman

The Spring crazies have set in. So much to do, so little time. But the event organizers in this town are relentless and continue to effectively tempt me out when I really should be.....well out, actually. So thanks!

As it starts to rain on Sunday evening and Art-A-Whirl has come to a close, I'm wondering if I can even name, yet alone write about all the bands I've seen since Thursday night. Let's see:

Thursday - Ben Connelly and Vox Vermillion at the Triple Rock. And The Beatifics at the Dinkytowner.

Ben Connelly put on another excellent show and gained some new fans including a woman who jumped up and promptly straddled a friend she'd dragged into the middle of the empty dance floor during Connelly's haunting "Evangeline." The "You Burn Hotter" singer/songwriter euphemistically referred to this couple's antics as "dancing" from his spot on the stage behind the microphone.

It was my first time hearing Vox Vermillion, and though I had to leave after a few songs I look forward to giving their quirky keyboard-based rock another listen soon.

I totally missed opening band Shoveldance, but with a name like that my friend remarked that they're likely to be the biggest band in town within a year. Travis Henspeter who heads up Shoveldance promises some more gigs in June. Thursday was their very first show.

Over at the Dinkytowner it was a joy to see Sean Hoffman back behind the drumkit for the Beatifics. There are great vibes and communication (hell, there's love!) in this band. They had fun, we had fun, and the after party at mplshappyhour.matt's nearly killed me.

Friday - The Vestals and Jessy Greene at the Fine Line and The Beatifics, The Staring Contest, The Autumn Leaves, The Conquerors and Ol' Yeller at the Tribute to 1966 at the Hexagon Bar.

The Vestals had an awesome show at the Fine Line demonstrating again why they are the new band to see. They sounded great despite singer Jeremy Gordon having an awful cold that he said he caught from the Hangups Brian Tighe.

Jessy Greene has a cool new multi-color streak in the middle of her hair. Greene's new band features members of Heiruspecs and sounds as good as ever. If you have not seen her in the past few months you need to see her again.

Saturday - Cowboy Curtis, The Vestals (again) at the Rift Magazine Launch Party at the 400 Bar, and then TV Sound and We Invented Tornadoes at the After-Whirl at the Spring Street Bar and Grill.

Cowboy Curtis announced they were heading out on tour the following day and hoped to make it to Seattle in a van they purchased for 400 dollars. Good luck! I picked up their disk Observations | Assumptions from drummer Nate Perbix and it's a very tight 8 song pop record featuring some real gems.

The Vestals' Jeremy Gordon's cold was even worse tonight, but the Vestals still put on a good show.

I met Rift Magazine's editor Rich Horton for the first time, despite the fact that he interviewed me for their first issue and I contributed a live review to the magazine. I'll be conducting an interview with The Vestals for the next issue. Look for that around June. And if you see a copy of the first issue of Rift lying around, you'd better snap it up quick as the first run of 10,000 is almost gone.

The Rift t-shirts are cool. Look for them soon on the Rift website?

The basement of the Spring Street Bar & Grill was packed with a diverse assortment of eager rock fans to see The Field, Latchhook, Walker Kong, TV Sound and We Invented Tornadoes. As I left the Spring Street a really noisy brawl was taking place in the parking lot of the sports bar across the street. I drove away to refrains of the old standby of justifications "But he hit me first!" being bellowed in a crybaby like voice from a grown man.

Sunday - Lonsome Dan Case at an Art-A-Whirl event on Johnson St. in NE and a bit of James Apollo at Art-A-Motive.

The 2004 Art-A-Whirl CD produced by Catherine Campion (of Latchhook) provides a great overview of many of the particpating bands in this year's event including songs from The Owls, Mike Brady, Johnnyrock and Work of Saws.

16 bands in 4 days? Suffice it to say I will not be writing 16 music reviews, but here are some photos to whet your appetite.

Ciaran Daly played a Rolling Stones song from 1966 at the Hexagon Bar Friday night. Turnout at the Hexagon was awesome for this fun-filled night of high quality music and also included music from The Conquerors and Ol' Yeller.

Drummer Sean Hoffman keeps a close eye on Chris Dorn as the Beatifics played some killer covers, including The Beach Boy's "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)." This would not be a song a band should even attempt to cover if they don't know what they're doing, and the Beatifics, to their credit, nailed it beautifully.

Beatifics again. The Beatifics will appear at the 2nd Annual Anniversary party at the Dinkytowner on June 5th with Sean Hoffman again on drums.

At Art-A-Whirl's After-Whirl at the Spring Street Bar and Grill Max Mileski (bass) and Steve Hutton (vocals and keyboards) are TV Sound, an 80's synth poppy combo who promise they will be playing a lot more this summer. Look for recorded material soon.

We Invented Tornados are a band you might wonder if they live up to their name. They most definitely do.

We Invented Tornados. Bassist Dan Riley somehow managed to break his hand after the show according to the band's website, which will put the band on an unplanned break from gigging. "Please Don't ask...good times" is all the website has to say about the unfortunate mishap.

Lonesome Dan Case and the Crush Collision Trio played some old time covers from Leadbelly and others as well as many originals. Lonesome Dan appears every Thursday at Dusty's in Minneapolis

Describe in one publication as "Eddie Cochran on acid" James Apollo played Sunday afternoon at Art-A-Motive

James Apollo