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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%.