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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rift Magazine 36 Hour Songwriting Contest #7

The Rift Magazine 36 Hour Songwriting Contest #7 is coming up, and you'll note that one of the contestants is HowWasTheShow's own David de Young. This will be an interesting feat as de Young is not only covering the show, but also broadcasting it live. It should also be a lot of fun. (Okay, I gotta stop with the talking about myself 3rd Person!). Read my review of last year's 36 Hour Songwriting Contest here.

More info:

The songwriters will get a topic, they will have 36 hours to write a song, they get to perform it in front of a live audience who will ultimately decide who gets the award for the best song!

Claire Taubenhaus, David Brusie, Eliza Blue, Eric Kalenze, Holly Hansen, Neil Zumwalde, Chris Hall, Nicholas Roesler, Shug-E, David DeYoung, Sam Keenan, Pete Wannemacher, Ben Cook-Feltz, Andrew Lynch, Adam Marshall, Jen Markey, Dave Mehling and Nikki Schultz.
(contestants are subject to change if they get a better gig)

When and Where:
Saturday, April 11th, 2009
Doors Open 7:00, Show at 7:30 sharp
The Beat Coffeehouse – 1414 West 28th Street.
Only - $5

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"God Damn I Could Use A Drink" and 4 more videos from the Evening Rig CD Release Party

The Evening Rig played to a packed and enthusiastic 7th Street Entry last night (Friday, March 27th) as they celebrated the release of their new Heart of a Champion release, Is Doin' Stuff. We captured some of the excitement with the Flip Mino HD.

Also on the bill was Dynamiters. Visit the HowWasTheShow Youtube page for a few by them and others.

Look for a full review of this show by Pat O'Brien with photos by Sara Montour on the main site soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sara Montour SXSW Day 3 (final) slideshow and report

Saturday was a pretty relaxed day for the crew of the Molly Trixie. Most of us started the day by searching for power to charge our phones since we got busted at our previous power source. We then walked over to the Belmont to see Manchester Orchestra, who played a set full of brand new songs.

From the Belmont we decided to walk over to the Fader Fort to see if we could get in for Kanye West. After standing in line for a solid hour and a half we finally got in, grabbed some free SoCo, and hung out. I'm not a big Kanye fan, but the people-watching was priceless, and the freestyle with Common and Erykah Badu was impressive.

I declared that I didn't want my first SXSW adventure to end with Kanye West, so a few of us made our way back to 6th Street and rocked the town.

Thanks, Austin!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sara Montour SXSW Day 2 slideshow and report

(Photos and text by Sara Montour.)

Friday was a magical day in Austin and ended up being my favorite day of the whole trip.

The first stop on Friday's musical whirlwind was the Iron Gate for the Cash Moneyapolis show. Shayna and I hung out there to catch sets by KaiserCartel, Romantica, and John Swardson. The sound was a little sketchy in there and there weren't any lights on the "stage" at all, so it was really hard to shoot, but it was nice to hang out with fellow Minneapolitans and watch the Minnesota music that I love filter into Austin.

After Swardson's set Shayna and I decide to head over to Mohawk because I wanted to see Alela Diane. I had no idea what else was going on there, I just knew that she was playing and I missed her when she was in Minneapolis, so I wanted to catch her set. We got to Mohawk and to our pleasant surprise Port O'Brien was in the middle of another rockin' set. After their set I noticed some of the members of the Rosebuds were setting up and I was completely confused because I knew that Alela Diane was suppose to be playing at that time. Josh then pointed out that there was another stage inside, so I ran in and caught the last few songs of her set. When I came back outside the Rosebuds were just about to start their show and the timing of every set continued on this perfect streak throughout the rest of the day.

Delta Spirit played next with more energy than should be humanly possible. As we were leaving Mohawk to go find some food we passed by another tent and noticed that the Hold Steady was playing and there wasn't a line at all, so we jumped in for their last song.

After dinner at Habana (yuca frita, YUM!) we made our way to the Elephant Room to see local band Josiah Wordsworth in a gritty basement jazz lounge where the bartender almost punched me in the face because I dared to ask for a red bull. Josiah Wordsworth totally rocked the Elephant Room and the crowd was completely captivated.

We rounded out the night dancing like crazy with a bunch of Minneapolis peeps as White Light Riot and the Alarmists rocked our socks off.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sara Montour SXSW Day 1 slideshow and report

(Photos and text by Sara Montour)

After 24 hours in an RV along with eight comrades, I made it to Austin for my first SXSW experience. Thursday was our first full day at the festival, and we started off by going over to the Fader Fort to get our wristbands. On the way Gabe got attacked by a cactus (after I bad-mouthed it), and we ran into the guys from White Light Riot and Eric Lovold from the Alarmists.

We grabbed our wristbands and then made our way back to 6th Street to get some free Red Stripe and breakfast tacos at Peckerhead's. We scored some free Red Stripe, but Gabe and Paul stole all of the breakfast tacos, leaving Josh and me starving all day.

First up at Peckerhead's was Roadside Graves from New Jersey. They brought tons of energy and were a fun start to SXSW. Port O'Brien was up next and rocked my socks off. Twitter was buzzing the night before because of their show and I understood why after seeing them. Just listen to "I Woke Up Today" and try not to dance and/or sing along.

After Port O'Brien we found out that fellow Minneapolitans Roster McCabe were playing at the Belmont so we left our free drinks and hustled over to see them play. We danced it out to a few of their songs before making our way back over to Peckerhead's to see Megafaun. I'd only seen them once, but that one show (with the Rosebuds and Justin Vernon at the Turf Club) was one of my favorites of the past year, so I was super excited to hear them again. They played a bunch of new songs, had bad ass beards and didn't disappoint.

Ignoring that there are 7 million venues on 6th Street we left Peckerhead's and walked back over to the Belmont to see Roster McCabe play a second show. Before them was Mandy Lauderdale, who isn't really my style, but she's a definite performer and had the crowd amused the entire time. Fellow RV-rider, Krista, was less amused, though, when Mandy threw a glass on the ground to break it as part of her act. Right after Mandy told the audience "don't worry, it won't bite", Krista looked down to find blood streaming down her leg. As it turns out shattered glass DOES bite. Who knew?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chris Riemenschneider talks SXSW on Minnesota Music

Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune was Jason Nagel's guest on Cities 97's Minnesota Music on Sunday night, March 22nd with an extensive overview of his 2009 SXSW experience. Good listening.

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HowWasTheShow talks SXSW media coverage with Cities 97

Sunday night, March 22nd's Minnesota Music with Jason Nagel featured interviews with the Star Tribune's Chris Riemenschneider, who was in Austin, and HowWasTheShow's David de Young, who never left Minneapolis but reports in on the extensive media coverage of SXSW via blogs, Twitter and Facebook status updates.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reactions to Cloud Cult's "No One Said It Would Be Easy DVD screening

I've just returned from the Varsity Theater and a press screening of Cloud Cult's forthcoming DVD, No One Said It Would Be Easy.  The film is first rate, informational and moving.  All bands should be so lucky to have this sort of documentary/concert film made about them.

Perhaps the most memorable part of the film for me was Cloud Cult founder and front man Craig Minowa playing guitar outside at the farm where he lives with his wife, painter Connie Minowa. Antiqued film footage accompanyied the music for "Transistor Radio."  I hope this bit is released on its own as a music video.  It was absolutely mesmerizing.

Included below are more details from the press release, the video trailer, and the reactions of 3 local music lumanaries, Rich Horton of Rift Magazine, Bill Mike of the Bill Mike Band and Barb Abney of 89.3 the Current, as well as an excerpt from the introduction to the screening from director John Paul Burgess.

Rich Horton just before the screening.

John Paul Burgess introduces the film.

Mike Michaels reacts after the screening.

Barb Abney outside the Varsity after the screening.

More about the film from the official press release:

No One Said It Would Be Easy is an intimate, inside look into the origin and development of the ethereal and epic Cloud Cult. The film envelops viewers into the story and people behind Cloud Cult. Serving as both an introduction and introspection meant for newcomers to the music and fans of the band alike, the film explores the emotional and philosophical underpinnings on which Cloud Cult was founded and continues to operate, namely those of love and hope. Revealed through interviews with the band and fans, the artwork of Scott West, as well as never- before-seen tour footage, concerts and recording sessions, No One Said It Would Be Easy encapsulates the whole story and epic journey of the band, from the establishment of Earthology Records, a one-of-its kind eco-friendly label through which Cloud Cult self-releases albums and records from within a small, home-built studio run on geothermal energy, to the inclusion of live painters as full-time members of the band. 


Offering an annotated history behind each of Cloud Cult’s seven official full-length releases, the film deconstructs the back story, including the recruitment and inclusion of band members, as well as the tragic loss of singer / songwriter Craig Minowa and wife and visual artist Connie Minowa’s son, Kaidin—the impetus for much of the early music and ongoing inspiration surrounding Cloud Cult’s drive and mission to exude a message of hope and transformative love through performance and art. Echoing the emotional catharsis required of a Cloud Cult performance, the film ebbs and flows, is filled with soaring highs and crushing lows, and is about what happens when a group of people commits to something much larger than themselves. 


No One Said It Was Easy was directed by John Paul Burgess with collaboration from Scott West, the artist behind the film’s original, animated illustrations.

At SXSW, you take your gigs where you can find them

Hind sight is 20/20 (sometimes better) and we should have sent Sara Montour to SXSW with her own Flip Mino HD.  Next time!  Of course she will have batches of stellar photos once she is home, but in the meantime she submitted a bunch of videos, one of which jumped out at us.

It's fellow traveller Gabe Douglas and his band 4onthe Floor playing at the side of the road in Austin (on the corner of East and River actually, not even close to the festival.) If only people tumbled out of vehicles and somewhat sponteanously played shows everywhere all the time, what a world it would be.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

In line for Kanye West at the Fader Fort

(Twitpic from Sara Montour:  Matt Perkins and Gabe Douglas earlier at the Iron Cactus)

Our fearless crew is in line for Kanye West at the Fader Fort, plotting a way in. Matt Perkins and Nate are contemplating constructing a catapult to put them over the fence. Let's listen in.

MP3 File

Friday, March 20, 2009

Our crew gets busted stealing power from a mental hospital

Sara and her fellow travelers bemoan Brody McCoy's prime "parking spot" and tell a story about how they were recharging their multitude of electronic devices at an outlet at the mental hospital across the street until they got busted.

This report is up there with last year's Lone Star Beer Keg thief episode.

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First Communion Afterparty at SXSW on KEXP's "wayback machine"

(Photo by Jim Bennet.)

KEXP has a streaming archive, kind of like a way back machine, so you can go back and listen to First Communion Afterparty's SXSW set there YESTERDAY at 5:30 PM Central time in case you missed it.

Go here:

Select Thursday, 3/19, and go back to 3:30 PM and start your stream. (KEXP is on Seattle time, so they're two hours behind Austin right now.)

I wish all radio stations offered retroactive streaming archive of content.

Photos of FCAP on the KEXP blog here:

Edit: Looks like it'll start right up at the beginning of FCAP's set if you use this shortcut I pulled out of my streaming player.

The Sara & Shayna SXSW show continues

Sara & Shayna report in on the Kaiser Cartel, Romantica and John Swardson. They are now heading over to see Alela Diane now.

Shayna apologizes for her potty mouth on the last broadcast.

Sara and Shayna say you can spot the Minneapolis pepes in Austin because they are all looking for shade and respite from the heat.

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A selection of Minnesota blogs covering SXSW

This is an incomplete list, of course, but here are some of the blogs that are giving play by play, day by day coverage on the ground of SXSW in Austion. (For HowWasTheShow's own coverage by Sara Montour visit the main page.)

CultureBully (Jon Behm reporting)

The Decider (Stacy Schwartz reporting)

City Pages (Andrea Swensson reporting)

We Heart Music

Star Tribune (Chris Riemenschneider) - Many, many reports a day so go to the main blog link. Chris's reports include photos by Tony Nelson.

Sara and Shayna report in from Day 3 of SXSW

I believe I told Sara that the more random her reports from SXSW were the the better. After hearing the one she just filed, I think it's clear she took that to heart. Included are a story about their friend Josh volunteering to be clothes-lined by an oar and Shayna telling her own story about running into a man's penis in the middle of the night in the RV while trying to get to her pajamas. (Shayna's aside asking Sara asking if it's okay to say "penis" on her report, is priceless.)

Otherwise, they ran into John Swardson and Steve Marsh at the ill-fated Gophers game watching party. Today they plan to hit up all the Minneapolis kids playing at the Moneyapolis show, including Solid Gold.

MP3 File

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sara reports in on The Roadside Graves and Port O'Brien

Sara, Shayna and Gabe all check in on their way to support Minneapolis band Roster McCabe. They saw Port O'Brien and Roadside Graves. After Roster McCabe they head to Megafaun, Cold War Kids and M. Ward.

Report includes Shayna on her extremely organic lunch.

Sara Montour Thursday morning update from SXSW

Up and at 'em in Austin, Sara Montour recaps a little bit of her first night at SXSW (Pure Volume party) and plans her Thursday concert going.

So far she's run into many Twin Cities locals, including Jeremy Messersmith, Matt Perkins and Andrea Swensson, Music Editor of City Pages.

Sounds like there's a lot of wandering around going on down there.

MP3 File

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sara arrives in Austin . . . finally

Sara Montour and her ragtag team of bloggers and friends have finally arrived in Austin. (Photo is an iPhone photo of 6th Street in Austin via Twitpic.)

As they are traveling in a tour bus, passenger Shayna reveals the back story the group has concocted about how they are a band called Sweater Teeth who only do songs about sweaters and teeth.

They fill you in on this and share breaking news that John Swardson is about to take a nap.

The adventure is clearly about to begin.

Minnesota (and honorary Minnesota) Twitterers at SXSW

Being at SXSW and not being on Twitter these days is almost like being invisible. As Twitter goes to SXSW for the third straight year now, here’s a list of the Minnesota Twitter pepes I have noticed are there sending updates. Follow them for the inside scoop.

HowWasTheShow ( is not in Texas but you should follow us anyway as we are happily serving as dispatch for many of the folks below.

Or, if you are trying to avoid hearing what’s going on in Austin this week, it would be a good time to un-follow these folks for a few days.

MN Twitterers at SXSW (in alphabetical order)

I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch. Please leave additions in the comments!

Ohhhhhhklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain

HowWasTheShow's BFF Sara Montour is now in Oklahoma where she phoned in this report (listen below) from The Waffle House.

Sara reports in on her van mates. Gabe Douglas from Twin Cities band 4onthefloor is driving the Molly Trixie. Also along are Vu from We Heart Music, Brody McCoy from britrockatthetop, Sean from Cedar Avenue Band as well as passengers Krista, Shayna, Josh, another Sara, and Paul. She wasn't kidding when she said it was quite a van load.

The crew expect to arrive in Austin at 5 or 6 p.m. and apparently have pre-arranged a great parking spot for the RV close to the action so they will not need to cab back and forth from the clubs.

Stay tuned.

MP3 File

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sara leaves for Austin for SXSW 2009 - Kickoff blogcast

HowWasTheShow's BFF Sara Montour just jumped in the RV known as "The Molly Trixie" to head down to Austin for SXSW 2009. She'll be providing reports along the way, and of course when she arrives.

Stay tuned to HowWasTheShow via Twitter for notifications about new episodes of Sara's blogcasts of commentary, interviews, and of course fabulous photos. You can follow Sara directly on Twitter at

In the meantime, check out Sara's photos of the SXSW kickoff show at First Avenue on Saturday night:

Dessa on MPR's Midmorning along with Aby Wolf and Kerri Miller

On Friday, March 13th, Dessa of Twin Cities Hip Hop collective Doomtree and author of the recently published book, Spiral Bound appeared on MPR's mid-morning for an interview and performance with fellow musicians Aby Wolf and Megan Currath. The audio podcast is a great listen, and host Kerri Miller asks about Dessa's creative involvement with Doomtree and the collective's artistic mission.

Also, check out the musical performance and Dessa reading from her book in the related video.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Go underwater with Solid Gold - Video for Bible Thumper

Solid Gold play tonight at First Avenue for the SXSW Kick off party.

Here's their schedule next week at SXSW.

Friday 3/20
3pm Levi's/Fader

5pm Beauty Bar, West Rocks Party
RSVP: send email

6:30pm Cash Moneyapolis Party - 1111 E. 6th St.
Free - Minneapolis band showcase - This party should be crazy, great bands.

Saturday 3/21

3pm the Compund
Vinyl Entertainment/MtVu Party

4:45pm Lambert's
Moshi Moshi records VS. Anorak London Party

8pm Club 115
Official SXSW Showcase

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ARE YOU LOCAL? - 2009 SXSW Sendoff Showcase

Here are projected set times for Saturday's ARE YOU LOCAL SXSW 2009 Sendoff Showcase at First Avenue.

5:15pm Bella Koshka
5:50pm First Communion Afterparty – introduced by Jill Riley
6:25pm FOUR ROOMS Trailer
6:30pm Gospel Gossip
7:10pm The Idle Hands – introduced by Mary Lucia
7:55pm Jeremy Messermsith – introduced by Steve Seel
8:30pm WINTER LILACS Short
8:35pm Sims of Doomtree
9:15pm Solid Gold – introduced by Barb Abney

$3 adv / $6 door

RSVP on Facebook:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Never mind that, Dude Weather today is epic...

Call it Snowmageddon, call it Wintry Spew...

I shot this 3 years ago, but could easily have done so today. It looks exactly the same outside.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Star Tribune's Newsbreak vs. Eskimo Witch

It's usually a bad sign when the parody is better than the original.  

Watch Eskimo Witch Episode 3 first.

And here's the original Star Tribune Newsbreak.

(I know it's painful to watch, but try and watch it all the way to the end, or at least skip to it.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Brad Senne - Sing and Dance music video

"Sing and Dance" by Brad Senne.

Beautiful song. Perfect mid-winter Minnesota video.

Minneapolis should hire Brad Senne to walk around town with his guitar all winter playing music, especially up and down the long escalator at the Guthrie Theater.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Charlie Smith ’07, from Latin Band to Military Special

Recently, I was invited to submit an article to my alma mater’s Minnesota newsletter devoted to sharing the activities of graduates doing things of interest in Minnesota. At an alumni function in February, I learned that Military Special’s keyboard player Charlie Smith was a fellow Grinnell College alum. I was already familiar with Military Special and jumped at the chance to both profile Charlie and write a piece promoting his band’s new CD Civil Union and their set of 4 gigs supporting the album which kick off Thursday, March 5th at the Nomad Pub in Minneapolis. The article I submitted follows:

[Photo of Charlie Smith by Adam Kreger.]

Charlie Smith ’07, from Latin Band to Military Special

Charlie Smith graduated from Grinnell College in 2007 with a degree in music. That summer, while Smith was off leading camping trips in Wyoming for high school students, a few friends back home formed the Minneapolis-based dance-rock band Military Special (named for a brand of whiskey available only on military bases). Smith joined forces with them later that fall. In just over a year of playing shows and the release of an EP in 2008, the band has gained critical attention in the Twin Cities music media. Articles in City Pages and Rift Magazine praise the band for deftly balancing synth and guitar driven music and their ability to “bring out the dance” in even people with two left feet. Military Special’s music has often been compared to Bloc Party for its frenetic dance energy and The Cure for its pained vocals.

Smith plays lead synth in the six piece group that derives its sound from two guitars, two keyboards, bass and live drums. He’s also one of the co-writers of the band’s pre-programmed beats, and he told me he found a lot of inspiration for this from the Latin music he learned at Grinnell working with Gabriel Espinosa (Pella, IA), his jazz theory teacher and leader of the Latin Band. “It’s surprising how similar Latin music is to the dance-rock I play in Military Special, rhythmically at least,” Smith said. “And I picked up a lot on creating a tight sound under Gabriel’s direction.” In college Smith played piano in a number of different groups including the jazz band and Latin band as well as miscellaneous groups that played Bob’s Underground CafĂ© (the former Pub) and Gardner Lounge. Though clearly Smith found no shortage of ensembles to play with, he feels campus bands not directly involved with the music department would be better served if the school would provide more appropriate practice space and equipment for the campus bands organization, Freesound.

When you say someone is a musician, often the next question that comes to mind is, so what do they do for money? To that end Smith is still tied into the arts scene and works in Minneapolis as an usher for the Guthrie Theater and also at the Cedar Cultural Center. He lives in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood where he also teaches music and records music at home.

On March 3rd, Military Special released their first full length album, Civil Union and they are celebrating the album’s release with a four-gig stand at the Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis. The shows are part of the club’s respected Minneseries showcase which puts musicians in residence on Thursday nights at the West Bank Club for one month along with some of their favorite bands. (The Minneseries lineup for March is impressive by anyone’s standards and also includes First Communion Afterparty, The Guystorm, and many more Twin Cities bands worth heading out to see on their own.)

Military Special plays an aggressive schedule of 6 gigs in March, then April 30th returns to Grinnell to play a show with Joe McNerty (Iowa City) and Phineas Gage (Watertown, MN).

This article wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t ask Smith for his own recommendations for Minnesota music right now. In addition to the bands playing with Military Special during their Nomad residency he mentions both Look Book as a recent favorite, and says he’s also looking forward to the next release by 2008 City Pages “Picked to Click” artist Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles. It was Lucy Michelle and her band, incidentally, for whom Military Special played their very first show at a house party and the U of M in December of 2007.

You can currently stream the entirety of Military Special’s new album from