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Monday, December 28, 2009

Mark Mallman New Year's Eve 2009 at the Varsity Theater Poster

End 2009 the way you started 2009, at the Varsity waiting to see what Mark Mallman will do next.

Mark Mallman w/ White Light Riot, Koo Koo Kangaroo and DJ set by Attitude City
Doors 8PM
$12, 18+
Sponsored by

Buy tickets here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Minnesota Albums released in 2009

As I prepare to file my ballot to the Star Tribune for their annual Twin Cities Critics Poll, it's become a custom on my part to share the list that Chris Riemenschneider assembles annually to help jog our memories on what albums came out this year. This list is vaguely in alphabetical order and as extensive as it is, it is still not comprehensive. I share it in hopes people will post in the comments the names of albums that have been left off the list. I also share it to demonstrate yet again just how much great music comes out of Minnesota every single year. (Bolded items only indicate albums I have in my own personal collection or that I have listened to in full.)

  • Ada Jane, “Again … Again”
  • The Alarmists, "The Overhead Left”
  • Anders Ponders, “Nodes of Overtones”
  • Arms Akimbo, “You Want To”
  • Aquarelle, “Slow Circles”
  • The Arrest
  • Avenpitch, "Cast Off"
  • Banner Pilot, “Collapser”
  • Chris Bates, Jay Epstein & Chris Olson, “Framework”
  • Bill Mike Band, “Truce”
  • Birds of Virginia, “Trees at Dusk”
  • Bitch N’ Brown (self-titled)
  • BK-One, “Rádio do Canibal.”
  • Erik Brandt, "Sometimes”
  • Brother Ali, “Us”
  • Brother Ali, “The Truth Is Here” EP
  • Brutal Becomings, "White Lodge"
  • James Buckley, "Knowing and Losing"
  • Bunny Clogs, "More! More! More!"
  • The Chord and the Fawn, “This Has To Be Meant To Be”
  • Ben Connelly, “The Great I Don't Know Why”
  • Big Quarters, "From the Home of Brown Babies & White Mothers."
  • Black Blondie, "Do You Remember Who You Wanted to Be"
  • Capitol Sons, “Dirty Neon”
  • Tim Casey & Martyrs, “Boom”
  • Casanatra, "Death Ride"
  • The Chord and the Fawn, “M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I,”
  • The Chambermaids, “Down in the Berries.”
  • Chastity Brown, “Sankofa”
  • Chooglin’, “Sweet Time”
  • Crossing Guards, “Revenge of the Tall Boys”
  • The Danforths, "Amphibian"
  • Daughters of the Sun, "Rings,"
  • Desdamona, "Inkling"
  • Doomtree, “False Hopes XV”
  • Jay Epstein, Anthony Cox & Bill Carrothers, “Easy Company”
  • The Evening Rig, "Is Doing Stuff"
  • Eyedea & Abilities, "By the Throat"
  • Farewell Milwaukee, “Autumn Rest Easy”
  • Franz Diego, s/t
  • Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, “Lookin’ for a Little Strange”
  • Gay Beast, "Second Wave,"
  • Gay Witch Abortion, “Maverick”
  • John Gorka, “So Dark You See”
  • Gospel Gossip, "Dreamland" and “Drift” EPs
  • Grey Skies, “New Leaf”
  • Guante and Big Cats, “An Unwelcome Guest”
  • Gypsymania, “Hot Club Swing Jazz”
  • Halloween, Alaska, "Champagne Downtown"
  • Grant Hart, “Hot Wax”
  • Nancy Harms, “In the Indigo”
  • Haunted House, “Guess Who’s Not Coming To Dinner”
  • Heatbox, “System”
  • His Mischief, “The Perfect Lover”
  • Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, “Traveling Show”
  • Honeydogs, “Sunshine Committee”
  • Ice Palace, “Wonder Softly Crushing Us”
  • Idle Hands, "The Hearts We Broke on the Way to the Show"
  • Ingo Bethke (self-titled)
  • Maria Isa, “Street Politics”
  • Dan Israel, "See the Morning Light"
  • Roger James Quartet, “Pink and Green Blues”
  • Mason Jennings, “Blood of Man”
  • Roger Johnson, “Stag Cotillion”
  • Junkyard Empire, “Rebellion Politik”
  • Kill to Kill, “Fighter”
  • Kill the Vultures, “Ecce Beast”
  • Koerner & Glover, "Live @ the 400 Bar"
  • Lonesome Dan Kase, "So Glad I'm Livin'"
  • Lookbook, “Wild at Heart”
  • Gary Louris & Mark Olson, “Ready for the Flood”
  • Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles, “Special Party Time for Everyone”
  • Lusurfer, “Vulgar Display of Reverb”
  • Lynhurst, “Field Day”
  • Kill the Vultures, "Ecce Beast"
  • Mark Mallman, "Invincible Criminal"
  • Mally, “The Passion”
  • Man Is Doomed, “Escape to Europa”
  • Marvelle, “Marvelle”
  • Mayda, "The Interrogation"
  • Mercurial Rage, “Cascade”
  • Paul Metsa & Sonny Earl, “No Money Down”
  • Paul Metzger, “Anamnestic Tincture”
  • Military Special, “Civil Union”
  • Sam Miltich & Dave Karr, “Darn That Dream”
  • Monroe Crossing, “Heartache & Stone”
  • Mood Swings, “Recessionista”
  • More Than Lights, “The Electric Prescription for All Your Funky Illz”
  • Chris Morrissey, “The Modern World”
  • Mouthful of Bees, s/t
  • New Congress, “Anguish, Love & Romance”
  • Nicholas Mrozinski, "Together We're Stronger"
  • Willie Murphy, “A Shot of Love in a Time of Need”/“Autobiographical Notes”
  • No Bird Sing, “No Bird Sing”
  • Keri Noble, “Keri Noble”
  • Omaur Bliss, "Dirty v2.0" & Dirty v3.0"
  • Orange Mighty Trio, "Infrastructure"
  • Owl City, "Ocean Eyes"
  • P.O.S., “Never Better”
  • Pert Near Sandstone, “Out on a Spree”
  • Peter Wolf Crier, “Inter-Be”
  • Pictures of Then, "The Wicked Sea”
  • The Pines, “Tremolo”
  • Andres Ponders, “Nodes of Overtones”
  • Prince, “Lotus Flow3r”/“Mplsound”/“Bria Valente”
  • Prof and St. Paul Slim, "Recession Music."
  • Red Pens, “Reasons”
  • Quietdrive, “Close Your Eyes”
  • Sara Renner, "All for Love"
  • Rivet, self-titled
  • Rockford Mules, "From Devil's Spit to Angel Tears,"
  • Room for Gray, "The Next Step."
  • Tina Schlieske, "Evil Gal Blues”
  • Brad Senne, "Aerial Views,"
  • 757s, "Freeway Surrender"
  • So It Goes, "The Quick Fix,"
  • Six Mile Grove, "Steel Mule"
  • Slug w/ Murs & Aesop Rock, “Felt 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez”
  • Speed’s the Name, “Swell”
  • Spiritual Mansions, “Touched”
  • Starfolk/Typsy Panthre, “Lemon-Lime EP”
  • Story of the Sea, "Lunar Co."
  • The Tisdales, "Baker's Dozen”
  • Total Babe, “Heatwave EP”
  • Trio Tipo, “Costa Del Sol”
  • 20 Dollar Love, “High Dr.”
  • Trio Tipo, “Costa del Sol”
  • The Twilight Hours, “Stereo Night”
  • Two Harbors, “All the Places We Would Rather Be”
  • UltraChorus, “Ultra-Def”
  • Unknown Prophets, “Le System D”
  • Valley Few, self-titled EP
  • Vampire Hands, “Hannah in the Mansion”
  • Various, “TC Electropunk, Vol. 5,”
  • Various, “Headwater Blues, Vol. 1”
  • Various, “The Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 1”
  • Vibro Champs, “Mr. International”
  • We Are the Willows, “A Collection of Sounds and Something Like the Plague”
  • Wild Colonial Bhoys, “Live … What’s It to Ya?!”
  • Alicia Wiley, “Halfway Home”
  • Aby Wolf, "Sweet Prudence"
  • Wooldridge Brothers, "Days Went Around."
  • Toki Wright, “A Different Mirror”
  • Xross, "Tell 'Em tha Truth"
  • Yeltzi, "Snow in August"
  • Michael Yonkers/Blind Shake, “Cold Town/Soft Zodiac”
  • Zebulon Pike, “Intransience”
  • Zoo Animal, “Young Blood”

HowWasTheShow to sponsor Mark Mallman's 2009 NYE show at the Varsity

Mark Mallman has won New Year's Eve the past several years running now with his out of this world party at The Varsity Theater. This year is sure to be no exception, and has jumped on board as a web sponsor of this year's event.

Check out this fabulous video Mark and friends put together to promote this year's event.

Join us NEW YEARS EVE at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis for the GREATEST NEW YEARS SHOW ON EARTH - Featuring MARK MALLMAN, WHITE LIGHT RIOT, FIRST COMMUNION AFTERPARTY, and KOO KOO KANGAROO!!! with special DJ playlist by ATTITUDE CITY. Sponsored by Summit Beer, The Onion, and this 18+ is 12.00 tickets available at - btw this song is originally by "The Cure" ... and if you didn't know that, boy are you missin out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Guthrie's 2009 A CHRISTMAS CAROL by the numbers

Photo: Peter Michael Goetz (Ebenezer Scrooge) and James Ramlet (Ghost of Christmas Present) in the Guthrie Theater production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, adapted by Barbara Field, directed by Gary Gisselman, set design by Neil Patel, original costumes by Jess Goldstein, additional costumes by David Kay Mickelsen, lighting design by Marcus Dilliard. November 19 - December 31, 2009.
2009 © Michal Daniel

I've always loved these "by the numbers" type of wrap-ups as they often give you a realistic sense of the scope of a production. Plus they are fun.

We didn't do a full review of this year's show on HowWasTheShow but we did see it opening night. That made the third or fourth time I've now seen the production during it's 35 year run. (The first time was back in 1989 when I was actually a Guthrie employee for a short time.)

The biggest difference between this year's production and when I saw and reviewed it in 2007 is that it now runs without intermission and is shortened somewhat (run time 95 minutes). For many theater-goers on week nights, this is a good thing as you get out much sooner. For the kids, however, it might be a bit of a stretch. (The Guthrie will admit well-behaved children as young as 5, but recommends 8 years as the guideline.)

As usual, the sets dazzled. And despite the continuing silliness with the Christmas goose in the feast scene, this is a pretty difficult show to ever grow tired of.

Here are the results of Christmas Carol by the numbers from the big G.



A Christmas Carol: 2009 By the Numbers

2 trap doors used in the show

3 real candles used in each performance (plus 47 fake ones)

4 days from the final performance of The Importance of Being Earnest to the conclusion of setting up the set for A Christmas Carol

9 cubic feet of fake snow needed for the run of the show

9 consecutive years director Gary Gisselman has helmed the Guthrie production

20 backstage staff for each show (4 on the deck, 2 spotlights, 2 board ops, 3 stage managers, 4 dressers, 2 wigs, 1 wardrobe, a crew supervisor and a wardrobe supervisor)

20 years the longest performing A Christmas Carol actor (Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Fuller) has been in the Guthrie production

25 wigs used in the show

26 years the longest working crew member (Stage Supervisor Brian Crow) has been involved with the show

28 simultaneous “quick changes” (costume changes done in under 2 minutes) following the Fezziwig scene

30 fake food items used onstage

36 actors in the show (16 adults, 11 children and 9 Londoners/Party Guests/Vagrants)

40 distance of the conricopter (used for the entrance of the Ghost of Christmas Present) from the stage floor at full height in feet

47 fake candles used each performance

52.5 height of this year’s shortest performer (Kyle Feller/Tiny Tim) in inches

151 costumes in the show

161 links in the chains used by the Ghost of Jacob Marley

163 light cues (that’s approximately one every 33 seconds)

700 pounds of dry ice used each week to create the fog effects

800+ number of actors that have appeared in the Guthrie’s production of A Christmas Carol over the years

1843 year Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol

… another fun fact: The prop building plans that Young Jacob Marley shows to Young Ebenezer are actually architectural plans for the new Guthrie building.

About the Guthrie’s 35th anniversary production of A Christmas Carol

A Minnesota tradition since 1975, the holiday classic will feature legendary stage and screen actor Peter Michael Goetz in his fourth Guthrie appearance as Ebenezer Scrooge, alongside a cast of 26 Twin Cities actors in a fresh, 90-minute adaptation by Barbara Field. Director Gary Gisselman returns for his ninth consecutive year at the helm of this perennial favorite. Filled with music, magic and holiday spirit, this classic tale of redemption and the true meaning of the festive season has brought joy to thousands of theatergoers since the Guthrie’s first staging. A Christmas Carol continues through December 31 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. Single tickets start at $34 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE and online at

For more information, visit

Hootenanny and staving concert breaks out at Dusty's during Eliza Blue Cookie Exchange

Joel Bremer and Eliza Blue

Jim Walsh and friends hoot.

Eliza Blue held a cookie exchange and concert at Dusty's in Northeast Minneapolis Thursday night with her friend Joel Bremer, a fiddle player from Sweden.

Jim Walsh and Kari Tauring were both on hand which ultimately turned the event into part Hootenanny, part Norwegian staving concert.

The casual atmosphere gave me a perfect chance to test out the new live UStream app for the iPhone and spontaneously broadcast part of the show over the internet. (Jason DeRusha from WCCO was one of the viewers.)

You may have tuned in to see Kari Tauring staving along to the Norwegian song, "Vem Kan Segla" which she learned from a Norwegian camera man named Martin when she was a contestant on the Norwegian reality tv show "Alt for Norge!" in early 2009.

And if you were lucky, you stayed tuned in long enough to see this, Joel Bremer playing a Swedish Christmas Carol.

Or this, Joel and Eliza performing reprising The Replacements song, "Here Comes a Regular," which they had played at the Replacements Tribute at First Avenue a couple weeks ago.

Later on, Brianna Lane showed up. Here's another Replacements song, "Skyway," performed with Jim Walsh and Joel Bremer, captured by Kari on my FlipCam.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dinosaur Jr. Photos by Erik Hess from First Avenue

sent Erik Hess to First Avenue Wednesday night to capture images from the Dinosaur Jr. show.

Erik submitted the following report:

Dinosaur Jr. roared through First Avenue on a chilly November night, bringing new and old songs to an almost sold-out crowd. Fans at the show covered a pretty wide range; from hip 30- and 40-somethings to a younger crowd that weren't even born before J Mascis started his 25-plus year musical career.

Psych-folkers MV & EE opened up the night with a sleepy blend of acid-tinged folk. It was an odd match for Dinosaur Jr's sound and the crowd appeared to be a bit restless during their performance. Dinosaur Jr. took the stage with the down-tempo "Thumb", continuing from the lethargic tone set by the openers. While the set started with slower tunes like "Plans" it ramped up heavily mid-set when they brought out the classic, "Feel the Pain". By the time "Little Furry Things" came on the crowd, young and old, were well into their groove. While some crowd favorites were left off the set list (which is difficult to avoid with such a prolific career) the newer material from "Farm" stood up quite nicely to the older, often more energetic material from earlier works.

See higher resolution versions of these photos and more of Erik's music photography on his Flickr page.

Dinosaur Jr. Set:

MV & EE:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Mad Ripple - "Death Bed Bride" video now available

Directed by Jennifer Prill and filmed on location at Kings Wine Bar (yes, I mention that wonderful place yet again), Jim Walsh's video for "Death Bed Bride" is now streaming exclusively on the HowWasTheShow YouTube Channel.

How many Kings regulars and employees can you identify? Featured prominently, of course, are Hootenanny staples Shawn Gibbons, Brianna Lane and Eliza Blue. And there is the requisite cameo by Martin Devaney (dressed up like Santa Claus.)

And I'm in it too. (I'm the guy at the end of the bar drinking wine and fiddling with my iPhone. And no, I was not acting. I really was checking my Twitter feed.)

"Death Bed Bride" is from the Mad Ripple's forthcoming album.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's cooking at Kings in November

Technically I don't work at Kings Wine Bar, but November has some really exciting stuff on the schedule that I feel compelled to spout off at the mouth about.

Trivia Mafia
starting a residency at Kings on Monday, November 16th is just the start of the fun. On Thursday, November 19th, Mayda does her official EP Release listening party for her new EP Eyes on the Water. (I'm honored to have had a hand in setting that up.) I'm also a founding member of the Kings Wine Bar Book Club (Facebook group link) which will meet on November 29th to discuss our second book selection, Jim Walsh's The Replacements: All Over But The Shouting.

Kings is at 4555 Grand Avenue South in South Minneapolis's Kingfield neighborhood. HowWasTheShow records its monthly CD review podcast there and provides local music for the all-Minnesota-music-all-the-time playlist that Kings features on its sound system from brunch through closing time at midnight.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Voltage 2010 Band Lineup and Runway Designers announced

Blue Sky Blackout at Clubhouse Jaeger in September

Voltage Fashion Amplified just released the band line-up and runway designer list for 2010, and it's awesome.

Bands include Blue Sky Blackout, Ruby Isle, Mayda, Red Pens and Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps.

Click here for the full press release and runway designer list.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Me and My Arrow: Two free MP3s from new EP and big show at Uptown October 28th

Me and My Arrow are out on tour right now, but will be returning to Minneapolis to release their second EP (appropriately titled "EP2") on Wednesday, Oct 28th, at the Uptown bar.

HowWasTheShow is pleased to provide you with two free MP3s from the upcoming EP.

Song 1 Download Link

Song 2 Download Link

On 10/28, there will be six bands on the bill, with music starting at 6:30. Schedule as follows:

  • Alicia Wiley
  • Death Cube
  • Speeds the Name
  • Chooglin'
  • Story of the Sea
  • Me and My Arrow

The show is just $6, and no cover is charged until 9.

Me and My Arrow on Myspace:

RSVP on Facebook:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fantastic Merlins release new CD, A Handful of Earth October 30th

The Fantastic Merlins will celebrate the release of their new album Handful of Earth on October 30th. It's an album of world class jazz that should be in every Minnesota music fans collection this year, one I've been enjoying personally, one your dad will probably like too, and one that has been popular since I squeezed it into rotation at Kings Wine Bar in South Minneapolis which now spins only local music (more on that great news in a future post.)

Read more about the Fantastic Merlins and sample some tracks below.

For Immediate Release

St Paul, MN—

Fantastic Merlins, will be performing live on Friday, October 30 from 8:00 - 11:00 PM at the Black Dog. Concert will include performances from special guests, Desdemona and Carnage.

-- Fantastic Merlins, a trio of tenor saxophone (Nathan Hanson), bass (Brian Roessler), and drums (Pete Hennig), create a mysterious blend of jazz and chamber music by bringing together the visceral power of Charles Mingus and the sparse textures of Steve Reich through original compositions and improvised pieces - producing sounds that are intriguing, energetic, and positive.

A Handful of Earth, their latest CD, has been garnering notice and favorable reviews in the US and Europe, including “three stars” from Jazzman in France.

Fantastic Merlins will celebrate the release of A Handful of Earth with a concert at the Black Dog in St. Paul. Special guests Desdemona and Carnage, of Ill Chemistry, will join them onstage. Copies of the CD will be available for sale at the concert. All ages, No cover.

The band is available for interview and live radio performance spots prior to the event. Review copies of the release are available by request.

Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar

308 Prince St.

St. Paul, MN 55101


CD Details and Sound Clips:

The Final Days of the Uptown Bar

As local media everywhere prepares stories reminiscing about the days gone by at the Uptown Bar, here's a handy list of what's still in the future. And no, it's not your imagination that there are some killer good lineups on here.

*Mon October 19: Repo + Gallactic Cannibalism + The Running Scared - 9pm doors, no cover

*Tue October 20: Switzerlind + Butcher's Bag + Phil Solem (of The Rembrandts) - 9pm doors, no cover

*Wed October 21: The Deaths + Nightinghales + Bloodshot - 9pm doors, no cover

*Thu October 22: Alpha Consumer + Tarlton + This City Defects (Calgary, AB) + Ghostband + Shegeki - 8pm doors, no cover

*Fri October 23: Dumpster Juice + Spittin' Cobras + Spacewolf - 9pm doors, $tba

*Sat October 24: The Show Is The Rainbow (Lincoln, NE) + Super 8-Bit Bros (ex-Mindless Self Indulgence) + Unicorn Basement - 9pm doors, $5 cover

*Sun October 25: Prozac Rat (CD Release) + Sherbetty + Koo Koo Kanga Roo + John Snell The Tenth - 8pm doors, no cover

*Mon October 26: Where Astronauts Go To Hide + The Invincible Kids + At Any Speed + Nallo - 9pm doors, no cover

*Tue October 27: The Evening Rig + Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo + tba - 9pm doors, $tba

*Wed October 28: Me and My Arrow (CD Release) + Story Of The Sea + Chooglin' + Speed's The Name + Alicia Wiley + Death Cube - 6pm doors, no cover before 9pm, $6 cover after 9pm

*Thu October 29: Faux Jean (original line up) + John Swardson and Get Gone + Luke's Angels - 9pm doors, $8 cover

*Fri October 30: Janis Figure + The Rockford Mules - 9pm doors, $10 advance/$12 at the door. Advance tickets are available online. At or at the bar.

*Sat October 31: Lusurfer + Zebulon Pike + Buildings - 9pm doors, $tba

*Sun November 1: The Day of The Dead: The Hawaii Show and Friends. More information on the final show will be released as the day gets closer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Videos and photos of Red Pens (and more) at Jagerfest

HowWasTheShow will be playing and discussing Red Pens on the October HowWasTheShow Podcast being recorded tomorrow, but seeing as Red Pens just clinched the City Pages 2009 "Picked to Click" contest with almost twice as many votes as the also awesome first runner up Zoo Animal, I thought it would be fitting to share all the videos and photos we took this weekend when Red Pens played a killer set at Clubhouse Jager as part of the at the 3rd Annual Jagerfest.

Photos of the entire event are also available on the HowWasTheShow Flickr page. Click the photo of Red Pens' Howard Hamilton below for the full set. (Videos of Blue Sky Blackout and Astronaut Wife also playing Jagerfest are on the HowWasTheShow Youtube.)

RedPens_7548 stamped

Reasons (title song from first album)

Cave Something

Blue Lighters

Hung Out

Baby Alligator

Street Issue

Children and the Kids

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brianna Lane phones in from Hubbard Square

Brianna Lane had two shows tonight and a somewhat nerve-wracking ride today (Friday, September 25th.)

Played with Liz Stahler last night. Liz and Brianna will go on tour together in less than two weeks.

Tomorrow's the last day on the bikes, and Brianna is a bit sad about that. Tune in for one of the last few audio blogs as the tour wraps up.

MP3 File

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brianna Lane Goes Candlepin Bowling and gushes about Peter Mulvey

Opens with strains of Peter Mulvey in rehearsal at the Lizard Lounge.

Brianna reports on Candlepin bowling and gushes about Peter Mulvey with whom she has been performing on this tour. Mulvey has a new record out called Letters from a Flying Machine. Find out more at

MP3 File

Brianna Lane updates from Boston

Brianna Lane is still in Boston, calling in from at brunch at Alfresco in Davis Square. This episode features appearance by Gillian, Brianna's roommate from Minneapolis, and Nicole who is hosting Brianna while she's in Boston.

They planning a candle pin bowling expedition soon, and they play tonight at The Lizard Lounge.

Email Brianna at to let Brianna know where you are listening to this podcasts an what you think.

MP3 File

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Brianna phones in from a hot tub in Boston

Brianna Lane audio blogs from a hot tub in Boston as she's about to get a massage in this newsy and fun report.

She reflects again on the ride in from Vermont and New Hampshire (which she mentions again is too hilly, and that there there are more up hills than down hills.)

They threw a party at the Massachusetts state line. (Photo at left of "Welcome to Massachusetts" sign.

Tomorrow they play the Lizard Lounge and Friday at Club Passim.

They are sore and loving it all. They can't believe it's winding down.

MP3 File

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Brianna Lane biked all the way to Massachusetts

Brianna Lane reports that they made it to Massachusetts. On their bicycles! Part of New Hampshire was grueling, however.

They are almost to Boston. Their next shows aren't until Thursday and Friday so they get a day or two off. They plan to find some hot tubs and get massages.

Listen here for much more.

MP3 File

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brianna Lane checks in from Saratoga Springs, NY

Brianna Lane checks in from close to Saratoga Springs at a diner they came across. She says one of the nice things about riding so far every day is they allow themselves to eat whatever they want and as much of it as they want.

Brianna says Peter Mulvey and Brianna have aptly begun covering "Bicycle" by Mark Olson & Gary Louris.

Tonight they play at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. (

MP3 File

Friday, September 18, 2009

Brianna Lane phones in from Syracuse, NY

Brianna Lane is now in Syracuse, NY after logging 64 miles by bike today.

She points out that she didn't do much training before they started, and days have been of varying degrees of difficulty, pain, hunger and sleepiness, and that today was definitely a "listen to your body" day.

She manages to seamlessly segue into a discussion of flatulence.

MP3 File

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wendy Rule with Kari Tauring at the Capri

[From a press release issued by Eye of Horus, Minneapolis.]

Northside Arts Collective (NAC) and Eye of Horus Metaphysical present Australian Wendy Rule with cellist Rachel Samuel and Kari Tauring with Huldre for a mystical night at the recently renovated Historic Capri Theater in North Minneapolis. This is the first of the twelve part “Great Streets Concert Series” held at the Capri, sponsored through a Great Streets grant from the City of Minneapolis’ Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED).

Presented by Northside Arts Collective & Eye of Horus. Tickets are $15 and available at OvationTix or by calling 866-811-4111. Eye of Horus, 2717 Lyndale Ave S. is also selling premium seat tickets in the first three rows. Call 612-872-1292 to check availability.

Australian visionary songstress Wendy Rule will bring her stirring and sensual dark cabaret to Minneapolis for one night only on Thursday September 17. Renowned for years amongst the world’s alternative spiritual communities, Wendy is now deservedly gaining a much broader following. She is about to embark on her 12th international tour. This will be a rare opportunity to experience one of Australia’s most enigmatic and prolific artists.

“Dark, sensual, sonic theatre…compelling stuff” – Rolling Stone Australia

Fiercely independent, Wendy has managed to carve a unique path through the musical mainstream, and has emerged with seven major albums and a string of side projects to her name. Her live performances demonstrate a passionate union of her incredible voice – moving from soaring heights to intimate whispers – and her beautifully dark and visionary lyrics, the album is strong, Earthy and Shamanic. More than music, Rule weaves ritual and story into a net that continues to draw an ever-growing audience into her otherworldy realm.

“Every so often Melbourne throws up a singular talent, someone previously hidden amongst the well-established musical tribes, someone possessed of a unique vision. Wendy Rule, the vocalist, songwriter and visionary behind this remarkable album, is such an artist.” – Beat Magazine, Melbourne

KariHuldre-duo-2009-0815-thumbOpening the evening will be Kari Tauring and Huldre — tonight a duo with Drew Miller of Boiled In Lead. Kari sings and tells stories from our deep Scandinavian tap root. Waving her antler feather fan, she conjures ancient spirits that hover and dance around her classically trained voice. The bone beads of her Bronze Age string skirt punctuate rune songs danced to the pols (pulse) of staff and melodic dulcimer.

Author of “The Runes: A Human Journey” (2007), Tauring’s performances draw on 20 years of research and experience. Her EP “Völva Songs” (2008) includes songs in Votic, Old Norse, Norwegian and English — in performance, her music is both sweet as a lullaby and frightening as a Valkyrie; both intensely emotional and thoroughly researched. She wakes something from deep in our bones, something simultaneously ephemeral and elemental.

Kari teaches Volva staving at Eye of Horus on the second Saturday of every month. This performance is an opportunity to see the depth and power of the use of stav in performance.

“Her shows educate as well as inspire” – David de Young,

More info.

Brianna Lane from outside Buffalo, NY

(This audio blog is a little longer than the others, but really worth the listen.)

Brianna Lane is shown in this photo relaxing on a porch outside of Buffalo, NY. In this audio blog entry she announces she is now officially a queen and waxes philosophic about coffee and the morning.

Roads in Michigan were pretty bad. They took the ferry to Canada the other day.

This is definitely Brianna's most intimate blog yet, and she really lets you share in the experience of the trip, including the music of Joe Pug that sweeps over the porch mid-blog.

Brianna pushed over her former limit of 100 miles per day by bike since she last phoned in.

Sounds like she's livin' the life.

MP3 File

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Daredevil Christoper Wright with Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps and more at the Nomad


Event: Daredevil Christopher Wright / Caroline Smith and more @ The Nomad
"5 Amazing bands!"
What: Concert
Start Time: 20 September at 17:00
End Time: 20 September at 23:00
Where: Nomad World Pub

Monday, September 14, 2009

Brianna talks to Josh Stevens

Brianna talks to Josh Stevens, who started the ride in Columbus, Ohio. Josh tells his version of the bike trip.

Josh has also seen every single show so far on the trip.

MP3 File

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Brianna Lane interviews videographer Kathy Wittman

Brianna Lane phones in from Ann Arbor as they are about to cross over into Canada. She gives a shout out to folks listening to her cross-country audio blog in Alaska and talks to Kathy Wittman who has helped gather 18 hours of footage of the bicycle journey so far which will be made into a documentary.

MP3 File

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brianna Lane on the road to Ann Arbor

Brianna Lane is having so much fun, she's not sure what day it is anymore.

They had a show in Lansing, MI last night after riding 74 miles yesterday. (Yesterday's roadkill count was 44.)

This morning they got up early and rode into the sunrise. (So far the roadkill count is only 1, but they have 40 miles to go.)

Tonight they play at The Arc in Ann Arbor (The Proclaimers play there Monday.) And tomorrow Brianna and crew leave for Canada.

MP3 File

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Brianna Lane reports in from Kalamazoo

Note, this podcast cuts off at the 2:57 mark.

Brianna Lane phones in a report from in a fog (we could hear you loud and clear Brianna until the line dropped.) They rode 50 miles today and have a show scheduled at 9PM.

In this audio podcast she speaks to two other riders, Andy from West VA and Heidi from Minneapolis who talk about the various counts and competitions they are running to keep themselves entertained on their cross country bike trek from Milwaukee to Boston to benefit Bolder Options. (Here's the story behind the ride in case you are just tuning in.)

Brianna is also soliciting questions to be addressed in future episodes of this audio blog. Email her at

MP3 File

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Brianna Lane audio blog from Grand Rapids

Brianna Lane checks in from the green room at the Wealthy Theater in Grand Rapids tonight. They left Milwaukee in the dark at 4 a.m. and biked 45 miles today.

They play tonight at the Wealthy Theater at 8PM.

Email Brianna at or follow her on Twitter at

MP3 File

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Brianna Lane audio blog from Sheboygan

Brianna phones it in from outside a laundromat in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

She has two tips today:

1) Paradigm Coffee & Music in Sheboygan
2) Revolution Cycle in Madision

Familiar with these places? Send Brianna a note at and let her know.

MP3 File

Friday, September 04, 2009

Brianna Lane's inaugural audio blog

As promised, Brianna Lane has begun her series of Audio Blogs from the road.

She left the Twin Cities two weeks ago, spent some time in Sheboygan writing songs. Tonight she checks in from Madison, from where she will leave on a cross country bicycle tour on Wednesday.

You can post comments here or contact Brianna at

The musicians Brianna speaks of in this entry can be found at the links below:

MP3 File

Little Lebowski Urban Achievers new split LP due out soon

Is there an award for best song titles? On their new split LP with Divorce Force, Little Lebowski Urban Achievers would be in the running for it if there were.

It's a toss up between "Someone's too good for the dollar menu" and "Listen here, Eddie Van Halen" for my favorites.

Read on.

For immediate release: September 4, 2009:

LLUA and Divorce Force announce album details, release show

The Little Lebowski Urban Achievers and The Divorce Force have announced the tracklisting and released the cover art (attached) for their split LP due out next week. The LLUA portion of the split is titled "Get This Low Life a High Life" while The Divorce Force side is titled "Whose Land Have You Occupied?". You can hear a sneak peak at LLUA's myspace page where they have posted the track "You could be a supermodel with a mole like that".

The album will be pressed on vinyl and include a cd-r copy inside. It will also be available on iTunes in the coming weeks. LLUA will celebrate the release of the album next week where they will be performing at First Avenue for The Onion's Lebowski Fest.

Tracklisting is as follows:

LLUA "Get This Low Life a High Life"
1. What are you going to do with Rip Van Winkle over there?
2. You could be a supermodel with a mole like that
3. My tolerance is at an all-time high
4. Someone's too good for the dollar menu
5. Listen here, Eddie Van Halen

The Divorce Force "Whose Land Have You Occupied?"
1. The Creeps
2. So right, right now
3. Jon
4. Conquerors
5. Marquee
6. Grassfire

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Twin Cities Singer/Songwriter Brianna Lane to Pedal from Milwaukee to Boston

Twin Cities singer/songwriter Brianna Lane is on the road with Signature Sounds recording artist Peter Mulvey. But before you get the image in your head of a couple musicians in an old car or broken down van, read on.

Lane and Mulvey will be pedaling their bicycles from Milwaukee, WI to Boston, MA, a distance of over 1,000 miles. Along the way, they will play a dozen shows in an effort to promote health and wellness and raise money for organizations that promote the same, specifically Bolder Options, a local non-profit that focuses on mentoring youth through running and cycling.

HowWasTheShow has made an arrangement with Brianna Lane to check in via audio blog during her journey and we will be publishing the audio right here on HowWasTheShow. Brianna tells us she is writing a bunch of new songs while in training for the long distance ride. Stay tuned for more later in the week.

For more information, visit To learn more about Bolder Options visit

Here's more from a recent press release:

Brianna Lane is a gifted singer/songwriter in the true Americana tradition. She writes and performs on an acoustic guitar as well as a banjo, crafting songs that are clear-eyed and pure—with an integrity derived from her gritty, unflinching emotional honesty. She pairs her lyrics with songs that match the lyrical mood with tremendous grace and skill, and nobody who is really listening walks away unaffected.

Long time music-writer/author/rock-journalist Jim Walsh recently wrote that Brianna Lane is “…a star in the making. She’s poised, ambitious, a great writer, a soul singer of the first order, and a lithe, accomplished guitarist.” (Star Tribune)

Lane grew up in Minnesota and still calls Minneapolis home. She once found a home in the mountains of North Carolina, but is truly a restless old soul. She now spends most of her days criss-crossing the country, touring out of her little black hatch-back or by bicycle—depending on the season, and on how crazy she’s feeling. You may blame her evident Midwestern sweetness on her roots, but this girl has been on the road non-stop for eight years and you can hear her experiences in every note she sings. In her years of touring, Lane has shared the stage with Billy Bragg, Dar Williams, Patty Larkin, Catie Curtis, The Weepies, Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland), and numerous other well-seasoned musicians. She has also shared powerhouse, leg-powered bicycle tours with Signature Sounds’ artist Peter Mulvey.

Lane has released three full length solo records and one duo EP with Cahalen David Morrison as “Harbor Collective.” Her latest full-length, entitled “Let You In,” is a collection of eleven well-crafted songs that digs into Lane’s natural Americana side.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little Lebowski Urban Achievers to play Lebowski Fest September 11 at First Avenue!

(Photo - Little Lebowski Urban Achievers at the Hexagon by David de Young)

This news really ties the room together.

For immediate release: August 25, 2009

Little Lebowski Urban Achievers to play Lebowski Fest September 11 @ First Avenue!

Well if that isn't fitting....drunk rockers Little Lebowski Urban Achievers will be a part of Lebowski Fest again in 2009 to celebrate the release of their split LP with The Divorce Force. The band played at the Los Angeles Lebowski Fest in 2007 and now is jumping on the Minneapolis dates for the 2009 Lebowski Fest Tour.

The two-day fest begins its Minneapolis stop with a "Movie Party" on September 11 @ First Avenue. LLUA will be opening for the Black Diamond Heavies. A special screening of The Big Lebowski will also be played that evening. The second night of Lebowski Fest in Minneapolis will be a bowling night at Memory Lanes. This is a can't miss event for Lebowski fans!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Claire Taubenhaus Austin Sendoff Party - Sunday, August 23rd

Sad news: Claire Taubenhaus is moving to Austin.

Exciting news: she's throwing one last shebang before leaving town. is proud to present Claire Taubenhaus's Austin sendoff, an arts extravaganza featuring live music by Taubenhaus herself, with super special guests Molly Dean, Alicia Wiley, The Tribe & Big Cats.

RSVP on Facebook here.

Visual art will be for sale by Matthew Harris, Jenn Barnett and Adam Carstens.

It all takes place Sunday night, August 23rd at the 7th Street Entry. Doors are at 8PM, and it's just $6.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kings Wine Bar in Kingfield finally open

I live in Kingfield, so I've been eagerly awaiting the grand opening of Kings Wine Bar, a European-styled cafe/bistro at 4555 Grand Avenue South. (Corner of 46th and Grand in South Minneapolis.)

This past week, when the restaurant finally opened its doors to the public, Twin Cities music fans may have noticed a few music related folks putting in a few shifts there, including Marc Perlman, Jim Walsh and Mike Brady.

Check out the menu which includes many fresh, local and organic ingredients at And visit them on Facebook. I plan a visit soon and will give a report, though at least one customer filed a report via Twitter that it's "faboo."

Here's the press release with more details:




“Your neighborhood bistro with a Minnesota twist”

Minneapolis, MN (August 16, 2009) – Sisters Molly Barnes and Samantha Loesch are thrilled to announce the grand opening of their new restaurant “Kings.” Named in honor of the Kingfield neighborhood, Kings is located at 4555 Grand Avenue South in Minneapolis.

“Sam and I had talked about going into business together for a while,” explains Molly. “And about a year ago, we decided to open a restaurant in the neighborhood.” They have created a friendly European café/bistro atmosphere featuring casual dining that is moderately priced.

“You can come to Kings in the morning and grab a cup of coffee on your way to work and then stop back later in the day for dinner and a glass of wine or a beer,” says Samantha. “It will be a fun and funky place to hang out.”

Chef Peter Maccaroni comes to Kings from the Sample Room where he was the Executive Chef. Prior to that, he worked as the Executive Sous Chef at the View and Executive Chef at Tiburon. He also held similar positions in Atlanta, GA and Plainview, NY. As for his education, he received an associate degree in Baking and Pastries from the Art Institute of Minnesota and an associate degree in Culinary Arts from the Art Institute of Atlanta.

When asked about the menu he’s conceived for Kings, Chef Pete says “I’ll be cooking with a lot of fresh, local, organic ingredients. You might describe it as Minnesota friendly, French cuisine,”

During the week, light breakfast items will be served and, on the weekend, a special brunch menu will be offered.

Highlights from the lunch and dinner menu include “Bigger Bites”:

A Fried Green Tomato BLT served on Rustica bread with Pete’s aioli served with fresh fruit or fries
Braised Beef Short Ribs with mashed potatoes and asparagus served with a rich red wine demi glaze.

Vegetarians will enjoy the Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich with spinach and pesto or Pete’s signature macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs.

Several soups and salads and other entrees are also available.

“Small bites” appetizers feature House Made Tater Tots with bacon and gruyere cheese sauce.

For dessert, try the Cookies and Cream, a house made chocolate chip cookie with espresso cream and chocolate sauce.

A late night happy hour, daily from 10-12 midnight, offers discount drinks and “small bites.”

Kings’ wine list is extensive, offering more than 70 wines. (Molly and Sam’s brother Mike is their wine seller.) There will also be four beers on tap and 17 or so bottled beers, including a Belgian-style ale from a small, local brewery. The coffee served comes from a local, Kingfield “small batch” roaster.

Stop by morning, noon or night to meet your neighbors Samantha, Molly and Pete.

Kings will be open daily from 8 a.m. – midnight. See you there.

Call Kings 612-354-7928 or visit


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our own DJ Jake Rudh is a finalist to land walk-on role on Mad Men

Jake's given the music community a lot. Here's one way to say thanks. Jake is a finalist to land a walk-on role in Mad Men. All you have to do to help him win is click a link. No sign ups, no fancy stuff. Just click.

Here's what Jake had to say:

Many of you probably know I'm in a national contest to land a walk-on role to the set of Mad Men...and many of you have voted to keep me up near the leader board. Well, there's less than 24 hours left now, and I'm really asking for your help to give me that final push that's needed!

To vote is very simple...there is no registering or signing up, it's clicking on the link and clicking on the 5th star under the pic. Here's the link to make your vote count -

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Video from Racktacular Art Bra Contest

Racktacular was a hoot, by all accounts. A great turnout, great music from bands Aviette, Maudlin and Hojas Rojas, and a definitely entertaining Art Bra competition. Show organizer Donette Ambrosy did a fabulous job of putting it all together and also served as hostess for the evening. Sadly, HowWasTheShow lost part 3 of our Art Bra video on the digital editing room floor, but hopefully parts 1 & 2 below will give you a sense of the creativity and fun that went into the creation of these, uh, "undergarments." The bras were modeled by the lovely and sexy ladies of Lili's Burlesque Review, and all in all 25 bras were showcased.

Video #1 includes the winning entry of the evening, "Treasure Chest" by Sarah White, who also happened to be celebrating her 32nd birthday.

Proceeds from the event benefited The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fund.

Friday, July 24, 2009

KSTP Channel 5's 35W Construction Coverage

KSTP's Brad Sattin stopped by today to ask how neighbors were holding up in light of the ongoing construction on 35W (Crosstown Project) going on in front of our houses on Stevens Avenue in Minneapolis for nearly two years now. Here's Brad's report, which features me sporting the new haircut that I got in Lisbon on Saturday afternoon.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

First annual NORTH BY MIDWEST MUSIC FESTIVAL at the Lowry Theater in downtown St. Paul on Saturday, July 25th 2009.

Willie McManus, a Minnesota musician who once called himself “the poor man’s Slim Dunlap” and counts among his heroes Bootsy Collins, Mojo Nixon and Terry Eason, has assembled the first annual North by Midwest Music Festival which will shake the Lowry Theater in downtown St. Paul on Saturday, July 25th.

According to a press release, McManus said he conceived the festival for concert-goers who seek the festival environment but aren’t so fond of porta potties, heat, mosquitoes and sleeping bags. Many music festivals, he said, are hundreds of miles away and multi-day events. He was looking to create something less expensive and closer to home.

North by Midwest is a one-day, indoor festival that won’t empty your pockets. Emceed by founder David de Young, the event features a stellar lineup: The Magnolias, The 757s, Little Man, The Hard Left, Middlestates and Chemistry Set. Ample parking and great bars and cafés are right outside the theater’s walls, and a $10.00 pass gets you in and out the door as often as you like.

It all starts at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday July 25th at the Lowry Theater, 16 5th St West, downtown St. Paul. Tickets are available exclusively at The Electric Fetus in Minneapolis and on the day of show at the Lowry Theater, or by phone at 651 263 7992.

Here's the full press release from Willie McManus:

Music festivals spring up this time of year by the dozen. Most are long-established, far-away, days-long extravaganzas, featuring big name stars and big-ticket prices. There are twangy country music festivals, noisy alt. rock showcases, mud-caked jamborees and acoustic folk festivals all over the continent, where music lovers can shell-out hundreds of dollars for days of camping and living on beans for a chance to hear their heroes for an hour. These events work fine for most fans, but what if you’re stuck for time, not made of money, and can’t stand the porta-pottys, heat, mosquitoes and sleeping bags? Said one concert-goer: “I love the rock, but I hate the bugs and the bad food and the long lines at the toilets. It doesn’t work for me anymore. I mean, I’m not twelve years old.”

St. Paul’s Lowry Theater, near the St. Paul Hotel in the heart of that city’s downtown might have the solution. This July they are staging a one-day, INDOOR music festival that won’t empty your pockets, or leave you wishing you could remember what a hot shower was like. Hosted by David de Young, and featuring local greats The Magnolias, the 757s, Little Man, and musicians of rising talent equal to anything at ten times the price and distance, this could be the Woodstock for you. Ample parking and great bars and cafés are right outside the theater’s walls, and a $10.00 pass gets you in and out the door as often as you like.

The First North by Midwest Music Festival kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday July 25th at the Lowry Theater, 16 5th St West, downtown St. Paul. Tickets are available at The Electric Fetus in Minneapolis and on the day of show at the Lowry Theater, or by phone at 651 263 7992.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The 757s as Judas Priest?

No words need be spoken, save those below:

The Taste of MN
THE 757s w/ the Romantics, Whitesnake and Judas Priest
Harriet Island, St. Paul
757s @12:30p
FREE before 3p

* The original photo is actually of a band called Manowar.

Report from the Pitkä kuuma kesä festival in Helsinki - Atmosphere, The Flaming Lips & Girl Talk

(Atmosphere in Helsinki - Photo by David de Young)

Pitkä kuuma kesä isn't the largest festival you'll visit, but it may be one of the most unique. Staged on the grounds of an out-of-use natural gas refinery in Helsinki,Finland, the festival hosted more than two dozen world-class bands this past weekend.

I had at least a double-dose of luck when it comes to how I ended up there. Arriving in Finland Saturday, for no other reason than I had not been, first a friend alerted me that local Twin Cities hip-hop group Atmosphere were performing in Helsinki on Sunday, then I happened to run into Wayne Coyne, frontman of The Flaming Lips, the headlining act for the festival weekend, as he purchased a cup of ice cream in the Helsinki City Centre. Enough luck yet? Wayne was then kind enough to put me on the guest list, saving me the 56 euros it would have cost for a one day pass. (A ticket for both days was priced at 90 euros in 2009.)

After touring the city by bus and boat Sunday afternoon, I took a cab to the festival site and arrived just Mogwai had begun their set on the larger of the two stages ("Lava" is Finnish for stage.) It was my first time seeing that UK band live, and they seemed a little reserved, but their down-tempo rock was a good way to ease me into my evening.

Video clip of Atmosphere's "Sunshine"

Up next on the Klubilava was Atmosphere, playing as a 5 piece this night, from The Twin Cities USA. They opened with "God Loves Ugly," and their set included many references to our fair city of Minneapolis. The set featured songs from their most recent album, "When Life Gives You Lemons..." plus some older tunes. The Finns seemed pretty impressed by them overall, participating with hands and fingers in the air when prompted, and the front row sang along to many songs. Slug was wearing a P.O.S. T-shirt, which thrilled me (P.O.S. is wrapping up his/their own tour of Europe right now) enough that I shouted out between songs, "Nice t-shirt," which prompted a friendly "Thanks" from Slug. While telling one story, Slug joked, "You have to forgive me, my English is not so good." He told of arriving in Helsinki on Saturday, which was a rather chilly and gray day, but that the Finns were still out partying until all hours of the night. Sunday's weather, on the other hand, was damn near perfect. Mid-set he introduced "Guns and Cigarettes" saying he's not normally political, but he thinks it's a shame that cigarettes
are getting more expensive while guns get cheaper.

flaming lips closer1
(The Flaming Lips in Helsinki - Photo by David de Young)

The Flaming Lips came on at 9PM, and the sun remained up for their entire set (sunset was around 10:50 PM last night.) One newspaper reported that the Lips had canceled their laser show tonight because they were in too close proximity to the Helsinki airport (20 kilometers.) It must have been my 7th or 8th time seeing The Lips, mostly at European festivals, but several times in Minneapolis as well including The Uptown Bar in 1988 or so and First Avenue. Wayne Coyne asked the pot smoking side of the crowd (stage right) and the beer drinking side of the crowd (my side) to move together into the middle to help support him during his space ball walk which he did before the opening song "Race For the Prize." I recall in Denmark a few years ago Coyne had introduced "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" with a short speech about how much he was embarrassed that George Bush was the president of the USA, but this time he quipped, "How lucky can we be to have Obama?" which drew many cheers, including my own. I gotta say it is weird (first time in as long as I can remember) that I would be proud in Europe to cheer publicly the President of the United States and have those around me actually do the same.

Coyne mentioned Michael Jackson's passing as he segued into a slow 1/3 time version of Madonna's "Borderline." He played "Taps" on his automatic trumpet after a few words on how he wishes the US would end "this stupid war" and that was possibly the most emotionally moving moment of the entire night. He said there were so many funerals, that there were not enough musicians to play "Taps" and someone had invented this instrument to do it. He looked forward to a day when the only people who had to play such an instrument were The Flaming Lips. My eyes got wet enough that I actually had to wipe them.

Set closer/encore was "Do You Realize?" for which I pressed myself up against the front barrier and got some good video. The size of the crowd was such that it felt like there was more confetti and more balloons flying around than normal at a Flaming Lips show.

Yet to come was Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis), whom I have never really gotten into, but I waited out his entire DJ set (some of it back in the beer garden.) Wasn't a bad way to end a Sunday night in Finland. The sun was down (sorta) by midnight as I left the festival grounds and walked half the way back to my hotel, flagging a cab eventually as I had no idea where I actually was, just a sense I was walking in vaguely the right direction.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I met Wayne Coyne in Finland

(Wayne Coyne -publicity photo)

By all counts, my European Rock 'n Roll tour 2009 is off to a Flamingly great start. Leaving Minneapolis Friday evening June 26th with a short stop in Amsterdam (long enough to check in on Foursquare and get my "Newbie" badge) I arrived in Helsinki, Finland early Saturday evening. There's a 8 hour time difference which really ate up a lot of my Saturday.

Fortunately, it's midsummer and I am as far north as Stockholm and Oslo (Helsinki is at 61°15'N and 28°15'E) and it's light out pretty much 24 hours a day (sunset 10:49 p.m., sunrise 3:58 a.m.) so I was able to drag myself out to wander a bit. Without even trying, just on the other side of the train station from me, I immediately stumbled onto The Tuska Open Air Metal Fest. Outside the gates, hundreds of punters in black t-shirts and long coats were swilling bottles of Koff beer. There was one band to go when I arrived, Suicidal Tendencies were closing out the night. I opted to skip the 43 Euro entry fee to see only one band and moved along.

tuska fest 2

Checking Twitter from my hotel, my friend Dahli informed me Atmosphere was in town. Their website told me a festival I didn't even know about, Pitkä kuuma kesä 2009 was in full swing and the lineup also included The Flaming Lips and Mogwai so I resolved to try and find if tickets were still available, where it was, etc.

As luck would have it, no more than 45 minutes later while wandering the City Centre, I ran smack dab into someone who would know stepping out of an ice cream shop, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne himself. Far too jet-lagged to even be nervous, I introduced myself and said I had just arrived in town from Minneapolis, had heard The Flaming Lips were playing in town and asked if he could tell me where the concert was and how to get there.

We chatted for 5 minutes or so about the various European festivals at which I've seen the Flaming Lips in the past, including my top show of all time, the Lips at the then Witness Festival in Dublin (reviewed on HowWasTheShow here.) The biggest joy was to actually get to tell Wayne face to face in casual conversation that the Dublin show had be my show of a lifetime so far. (It was a memorable one where The Lips replaced the White Stripes as headliner after Jack White of the White Stripes had hurt his hand in a car accident in Detroit a few days before.)

Unsure himself if the festival Sunday in Helsinki was sold out, Wayne offered to put me on the guest list, took my business card for HowWasTheShow with my UK mobile number on it so his wife could text me the deets.

Looks like my Sunday evening plans are set.