Visit our sponsors

Friday, April 25, 2008

Voltage: Fashion Amplified 2008 in retrospect

Voltage: Fashion Amplified 2008 slid into the past on Wednesday, April 16th, leaving in its wake great memories, lots of warm fuzzies, a ton of press, and thousands upon thousands of fantastic new photos (photos and more photos) by some of the best live show photographers in the Twin Cities. As a committee member for each Voltage show since it was founded in 2004, this year’s show was so well organized I was able to to actually watch a good chunk of it for a change. More than ever, I have come to appreciate the thrill experienced not only the participants (bands, designers and models alike), but also audience, press and the photographers who document the show year after year.

This year, HowWasTheShow has chosen to present all six photo slideshows by BeeTour’s Sara Montour part of our Voltage retrospective. Sara captured everything from the zaniness of openers Zibra Zibra, to the model-baiting antics of MC/VL.

Sara’s work is also posted to her blog at


Zibra Zibra

The Haves Have It

Bella Koshka

White Light Riot


Birthday Suits

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rock For Pussy V - A Musical Tribute to David Bowie

HowWasTheShow loves David Bowie. HowWasTheshow loves Mary Lucia, and of course HowWasTheShow loves Pussy.

It's that time of year again, folks. Time to mark your calendars with a spray of urine for… REBEL REBEL - ROCK FOR PUSSY V - A musical Tribute to David Bowie with all proceeds to benefit Minnesota Valley Humane Society.

Friday May 16 2008
First Avenue Main Room
Tickets: $6 advance, $8 at door.
Doors 8 pm, 18+

Rotating guest singers: John Eller, Dave Campbell, Tommy Alsides, Michelle Langner, Ben Kyle, Tim O’Reagan, Venus, Noah Levy Laurie Lindeen, Eric Lovold, Steve Price, Janey Winterbauer, Chris Pericelli, Sam Keenan, Jeremy Messersmith and more!

Hosted by "your friend and mine" (TM) , Mary Lucia.

Revisit old Rock For Pussy shows:

Rock For Pussy II (4/4/2005)
Rock For Pussy III (4/29/2006)

Join the HowWasTheShow Facebook group and RSVP here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ben Weaver signs multi-record deal with Chicago's Bloodshot Records

(YouTube Video of Ben Weaver performing in the Netherlands in the Spring of 2007)

He's played all over the world over the past five years - I even had the chance to catch him performing at the Windmill in London in the summer of 2003 - but Twin Cities music fans may remember Ben Weaver as a Turf Club favorite. Weaver has just signed a multi-album deal with Bloodshot Records with his label debut set for release August 12. His new album, his sixth, will be called The Axe and the Oak and is produced by Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine.) Signing to Bloodshot means he joins the ranks of Ryan Adams, The Sadies, Neko Case and Alejandro Escovedo.

Weaver has also created a hand-made book of poems and drawings and contributed a story to an upcoming anthology of fiction by songwriters, fitting as it harkens back to his early press from Sylvie Simmons of Mojo,who called his songs "strange, skin-prickling tales picked up from the Moebius strip of a lost highway he's been compelled to travel on" and compared him to a "hillbilly Leonard Cohen."

The Axe and the Oak tracklisting:

1. White Snow*
2. Red Red Fox
3. Soldiers War
4. Anything With Words
5. Pretty Girl
6. Hawks and Crows
7. Dead Bird
8. Said in Stones
9. Alligators and Owls*
10. Hey Ray
11. Out Behind the House
12. The History of Weather

Listen to White Snow and Alligators and Owls at

More detail from Bloodshot Records in this Press Release:

For Immediate Release

April 22, 2008

The songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/artist Ben Weaver has signed a multi-album deal with Bloodshot Records, with his label debut set for release August 12, 2008. The Axe and the Oak is Weaver’s 6th album at the ripe old age of 27; it is by far his most adventurous to date. Weaver explains, “The majority of this record was written in Berlin, the summer of 2007. I was staying in a friend’s flat in Prenzlauer Berg. I had many pictures in my head at that time. This record is not about Berlin, but about what being in Berlin allowed me to create.” Produced by Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine), the album juxtaposes electronic musical sounds with warm acoustic instruments with textural results that defy the usual expectations of the singer/songwriter genre. It's hard to argue with the results - evocative, hushed songs that illuminate Ben’s affinity for the natural world of birds, phone booths, empty parking lots, strangers in the checkout line, plastic bags stuck in trees and whatever else typically goes unnoticed in the sidewalk cracks.

A former Casket Company warehouse is Weaver's current world headquarters. Multitudinous organs, synthesizers, guitars, a sampler, a piano, a dog, Polaroid cameras, sketch books, New Yorker back issues, boxes of CDs and a PowerBook mark the territory. There is an air of controlled chaos and the musty smell of old tube amps. Weaver writes continuously, a process perhaps more akin to breathing than composing, “I have always identified with those people who make art because they have to, that sense of necessity and urgency. That is why I make art, to fulfill that need within myself and to connect with the people of the world who also cannot live without it."

Aside from his prolific and constant songwriting and recording, Ben has created a handmade book of his poems and drawings and contributed a story to an upcoming Anthology being gathered by Steve Horowitz for Abrams – each selection of fiction is written by a songwriter. Expect to see this hit bookstores in March 2009, Ben will be featured along with the likes of Renee Sparks of the Handsome Family, Greg Brown and Jolie Holland.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Minneapolis band moves to Heartbreak City and is spotted on Billboard

If you were at the very first installment of the now institutional Voltage: Fashion Amplified in Minneapolis way back in 2004, you’ll remember a promising Twin Cities band called Shadowbox fronted by Dan Lichty stealing the hearts of many concert-goers. You may have also caught Shadowbox at England Swings that year sneaking in a cover by Ireland’s U2 and memorably covering Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees.” Either way, you will recall the band then had stature in this town later represented by bands such as The Hopefuls and even more recently by White Light Riot.

Though Shadowbox left town a few years ago for NYC, and Lichty is now known as Daniel Dean, he and guitar player Dmitry Iyudin have been kind enough to drop me a line from time to let me know what’s been going on out there. It’s been a while ago now that the band changed their name to 3rd Culture, and in late 2007 they released their debut EP "Sunrise for the Dislocated," now available everywhere for purchase, download and stream (iTunes, emusic, Napster, Rhapsody, etc.)

A quick listen to the EP has the band still showing the promise five years on that I heard when I first listened to them in Minneapolis venues like the 400 Bar and The Uptown Bar and CafĂ© back in 2003. Daniel Dean’s voice is strong, confident and charismatic, Iyudin is still one of my favorite guitarists, and production on the new EP – especially on the cover of the Psychadelic Furs “Heaven” – allows his Iyudin's guitar to sing brightly in the style of Coldplay, Travis, U2, or any of the (frequently British) influences they so proudly wear on their sleeves.

The band recently got the attention of Grammy Award Winning producer Thom Russo, who remixed their single “Heartbreak City” for a March 28th, 2008 re-release which garnered them the attention of Billboard Magazine and VH-1.

See live performance footage of Heartbreak City combined with audio from the original EP track here:

Want the boys to write a song for you? Help spread the word and you might get one.

Here are the details:

Add a 3rd Culture song to your MySpace profile and put 3rd Culture in your Top Friends list on Purevolume & MySpace for a 1 week this month, and in return they will randomly pick three participants and write each of them a song. E-mail them via their MySpace site or at to let them know that you are participating or just to get back in touch.

Sam Keenan Weekend

Listening tonight to the latest installment of the Minneapoliscast Podcast. This month Tony Thomas is joined by musical guests Peter Lochner and Sam Keenan, Stook, Kyle Matteson & Steve Mcpherson in the Minneapoliscast Lab (which I understand is another name for Tony's basement) for another roundtable discussion. The show features two exclusive performances from Keenan, "That Was Then" and "Waiting For a Missile," two songs that appear on his brand new album.

Speaking of Sam Keenan, his CD Release Party last night at the Triple Rock (referenced in the above show) was a whole lot of fun. And it was great to hang out with both Andrea Myers (former HowWasTheShow editor and now new City Pages Music Editor) and Bob Longmore (current HowWasTheShow editor.)

Keenan's show as as diverse as his (believe it or not) debut album, All The Dark Colored Markers Have Gone Dry, which sounds almost like a compilation of about five different bands, and that's not a bad thing. the album features XTC-like bouncy pop and at least one song ("Power Play") that is borderline death metal, if not all the way on the other side of that border.

HowWasTheShow's Bob Longmore will have a full review of the show shortly. In the meantime, enjoy these photos from Sam Keenan's CD Release show last night that also features photos of opening bands The Glad Version, North & Chicago's The Pawner's Society.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Double is better - Your gift to the Cedar Cultural Center counts double in April

Kinda makes you want to give both at the office AND over the phone, eh?

You can make twice the impact with your donation this month. The McKnight Foundation has challenged The Cedar Cultural Center to raise $10,000 in donations by April 30th. If they succeed, The McKnight Foundation will match it with another $10,000.

Click here to donate and see how the campaign is going.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

All 3 Voltage Fashion Amplified Highlights Videos now available on YouTube

Relive the fabulousness of Voltage before re-experiencing it yet again on Wednesday, April 16th. Here are the official Voltage: Fashion Amplified videos from all three Voltage shows, 2007, 2005 and 2004.

Voltage Highlights 2007

Voltage Highlights 2005

Voltage Highlights 2004

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Voltage Fashion Amplified on WCCO Radio

David de Young of HowWasTheShow and Voltage Fashion Amplified talks to WCCO's Jason DeRusha about Voltage Fashion Amplified 2008. Includes a song clip from The Haves Have It. (5 mins, 40 seconds)

MP3 File

Monday, April 07, 2008

Indie Tickets giving away a pair of tickets to sold out Bon Iver show Sunday

bon iver07

Both this weekend's Bon Iver shows Saturday and Sunday at the Turf Club are sold out, but Indie Tickets is given you a chance to win a pair to get your beards or buns into the club to enjoy the performance.

The show in January was really great, and Sunday's performance features fab openers The Wars of 1812. I recommend you enter early and often.

Details below:

"Miss out on your chance to get tickets to the Bon Iver shows this weekend at the Turf Club? Man, we feel you on that. . . and believe us when we say, you're not alone.

Not to worry though, Indie Tickets has your back. After a fun-filled ticket giveaway for the sold-out Vampire Weekend show last Thursday at the Triple Rock, we've decided to try it again. But this time, you're going to have to work a little harder.

Send us an email (to with your name, email, and a phone number, as well as the answer to this question by noon on Friday April 11th. We will pick a winner at random from the correct answers to receive 1 pair of tickets to the Sunday April 13th SOLD OUT Bon Iver show.

Question : What band coming to the Twin Cities for a show on May 12th has a picture on showing 8 people standing diagonally? *

*hint, you may want to buy tickets for their show now, so as not to have to try for another giveaway from us in a month!!

Please feel free to add yourself to the Indie Tickets email list, and be first in line for tickets and special offers like this one.


The Indie Tickets Crew"

Saturday, April 05, 2008

New Polara Album - Beekeeping, out May 6th on Susstones

Here's something worth blogging about. Hot on the heels of Ed Ackerson's solo album released just last year, Ackerson's band Polara, return this spring with their first full-length album since 2002's Jetpack Blues.

Beekeeping (the album cover is pictured to the left) will be released May 6th on Ackerson's own Susstones label.

I haven't had a chance to hear it yet, but our friends at Sixty to Zero have, and this is what one of them had to say: "Beekeeping is a masterful achievement in PSYCHEDELIC ROCK. There's a 4 song sequence in the middle of the record that is quite stunning; it's as good as anything Ed has been involved with since he made his first record over 20 years ago. In some ways, this is a companion piece to Ed's recent solo album (they share one song in common, although that’s not immediately evident from the tracklisting), even though they bear few sonic similarities. Beekeeping is teeming with the trademark Polara sound – adventurous, exciting “pysch” excursions featuring always amazing instrumental and vocal contributions, all contained within a concise 3-4 minute pop song framework."

Glad to hear of the song overlap (and I personally hope it might be "Flashes of Light.") It's been a while I've been this excited about an album sight unseen, or "sound unheard" you might say.

Update 4/19: I've now had the chance to listen to the album several times, and I love it. It is indeed classic Polara, one of the qualities of that description being that there's a palpable confidence in the songs themselves that blasts its way out of each track. What I mean is, these songs know that they're good and sound as if they were just just dying to be sung. Beekeeping sounds like a companion album to both Ed Ackerson's solo album and Polara's Green Shoes EP. It adds a veritable pile of great new songs to the Polara canon and should make fans feel very lucky indeed, especially since Ackerson and his bandmates have still found time to attend to this important and central Susstones band despite being busy with other projects. (Fans should count themselves doubly lucky that it comes so hot on the heels of Ackerson's solo album.) My favorite tracks so far: The rockers "Game Over," and "Talk Me Down;" and the title track "Beekeeping" which oughtta ring a few bells if you've been listening to Ackerson's recent material. And there are great surprises like "Out of Your Hands," which comes on like Revolver-era Beatles meets Oasis and catches fire. I hate to get into the "best Polara album to date" game, but without quite saying actually that, Beekeeping is still really really good, very listenable and a joy to spin again and again. I know it's still April now, but I can't wait to find out what this album will sound like blasting through my speakers come Summer of 2008.

Polara will celebrate the release of Beekeeping with a release show at the Varsity Theater on Friday, May 9th and HowWasTheShow, stalwart fans of Polara and everything Ackerson will be sure to be on hand.

The full press release regarding the record is below.


Minneapolis noise-pop pioneers Polara release their fifth album Beekeeping May 6th on Susstones.

The core band of Ed Ackerson, Jennifer Jurgens, and Peter Anderson have traveled together on a minor odyssey of labels, tours, hype, dismissal, euphoria, boredom, missteps and victories. Through it all they've made precisely the sounds they wanted to make, and they've stayed friends doing it. They've certainly come a long way since the heady days of their 1995 debut -- Polara, a groundbreaking album that not only made them the toast of the Minnesota music scene but launched them into an orbit that included widespread acclaim from critics and peers alike, national press coverage and intense major label interest.

Each of Polara's 5 albums has been a postcard from the imagination of Ackerson and his fellow sonic explorers. The last Polara album, Jetpack Blues (2002), was a sterling accomplishment in songwriting and production that was in many ways its most ambitious achievement. Widescreen in scope, Jetpack Blues featured the massive "shoulda been" hit single "Is This It?" and the epic title track, both of which garnered very respectable airplay for a small indie release.

Beekeeping is a firestorm of a record, tighter and a little meaner than its more celestial predecessor. The emphasis is very much on songs - more guitars, less beats and blips. The sound of this superbly crafted record conjures the aggressive, poppy, whirlwind momentum of the band's live shows. In typical Polara tradition, Beekeeping is filled with catchy tunes to hum along with the ringing in your ears. Beekeeping is at turns poppy, experimental, honest, cryptic, hard and fast yet swirlingly psychedelic. There's a lot to like in this record for fans new and old. The new vistas opened up on Ackerson's debut solo album from last year -- a one man tour de force that ranks amongst his best work -- reach full fruition on Beekeeping. This release is a major event, perfectly in sync with a resurgent Psychedelic music scene full of adventurous fellow travelers.

Beekeeping is available through local stores and the major digital music retailers from May 6th. To celebrate the release of this milestone, the band is throwing a big to-do at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis Friday, May 9th with special guests The Alarmists, The Mood Swings, Mercurial Rage and others.

To hear new music from Polara and get more details about the album visit: