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Friday, September 24, 2010

Mercy Seat Lutheran Church Presents: Masses for the Masses

For immediate release:

Mercy Seat Lutheran Church Presents:

Masses for the Masses 
7 Liturgies by 7 Composers in 7 Weeks
Sundays at 5:00 pm
October 3 – November 14
Mercy Seat Lutheran Church
1500 6th st. NE
Minneapolis, MN

This fall Mercy Seat Lutheran Church of NE Minneapolis will showcase seven original setting of the Lutheran mass, each composed and performed by local artists. Every Sunday from October 3 through November 14, another composer will lead the congregation in a unique take the order of service.

Composers include Chris Koza of Rogue Valley, Ben Kyle of Romantica, John Hermanson of Story Hill & The Hopefuls, Scott Randall Munson, Wes Burdine of The Small Cities, and jazz composers Jon Pemberton (featuring Fat Kid Wednesdays) and Greg Schaeffer (featuring Dana Thompson). Their settings have ranged in tone from experimental Jazz to mournful alt-country; from Beach Boys-y pop to textured ambiance a la Sigur Ros. 

Masses of Masses is presented by Mercy Seat Lutheran, a mission church in NE Minneapolis committed to the incubation of artistic expression. For more than four years Mercy Seat has given creative control of its worship to local songwriters, bringing into the church some of the best musicians The Cities have to offer. Mercy Seat meets Sundays at 5:00 pm inside the former Holland School building.


October 3 - Greg Schaefer (w/ Dana Thompson)
October 10 - Chris Koza (Rogue Valley)
October 17- Jonathan Pemberton (w/ J.T. Bates and Mike Lewis of Fat Kid Wednesdays)
October 24 - John Hermanson (Storyhill, The Hopefuls, Alva Star)
October 31- Scott Randall Munson
November 7- Wes Burdine (The Small Cities)
November 14 - Ben Kyle (Romantica)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lottery hosts free Minneapolis rock shows

The Minnesota Lottery has put together a great set of free shows with many of HowWasTheShow's favorite bands on board. Check out the summary below. The Lottery has engaged social media marketers to reach the fans directly and has been successful in generating buzz about these top notch lineups. Check out the summary of May's events in the e-press release below.

MINNEAPOLIS – Free rock will be on tap at local venues in May, courtesy of a new concert-themed scratch game from the Minnesota State Lottery. The shows are open to anyone 18 years and older:
  • Sunday, May 16, 8 p.m. – Triple Rock Social Club: Red Pens with BNLX and Voytek. (Facebook event -
  • Wednesday, May 19, 8 p.m. – Fine Line Music Café: Melismatics with Alarmists and The Idle Hands. (Facebook event -
  • Thursday, May 27, 8 p.m. – Varsity Theater: Rogue Valley with the Jason Shannon Band and Strangelights. (Facebook event -
Cash & Concerts is a concert-themed Scratch Game that features music downloads and VIP concert tickets, in addition to cash prizes. Details for the shows and the new game at

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Chasing the Sun: The Best of The Honeydogs

Just in time for them to help First Avenue celebrate its 40th Birthday on Saturday, The Honeydogs are releasing a digital compilation of some of their best songs of the past 15 years.

The Honeydogs play First Avenue Saturday night, May 8th along with Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles and Anders Ponders. The 18+ show starts at 6PM. (Tickets and details here.)

Kings Wine Bar will be hosting a special listening party for the Honeydogs with members of the band on hand to help celebrate featuring rare live tracks and studio outtakes on Wednesday, May 5th. That event gets underway at 9:30 p.m.

I was honored to be asked to write the "liner notes" for the digital release of the record:

There aren't many Twin Cities bands or contemporary bands, for that matter, who would dare (or even could) assemble a “best of” album 35 tracks deep, but from the first song on the new Honeydogs compilation "Chasing the Sun: The Best of The Honeydogs,” you will find yourself swimming in an ocean of smart, catchy songs selected from their nine studio albums since 1995, and you won’t see the shore for more than two hours.

They aren’t all obvious singles like “Rumor Has It” (the opening track) or “I Miss You,” two of the Honeydogs most recognizable songs; but you can’t throw a dart at this collection and hit anything that even comes close to being considered filler. This truly is an “essential” Honeydogs collection.

Drawing on some of the best pop of the last 50 years (Elvis Costello, Merle Haggard, Brian Wilson, Harry Nillsson, Dylan, Bacharach, Randy Newman, Serge Gainbourg, Brazilian Tropicalia,and Nick Drake)“Chasing the Sun” delivers pop, country, rock, jazz, boss nova, and occasional middle eastern seasoning, showcasing the broad spectrum of musical styles the band has not just dabbled in, but mastered over the years. However you cut it, this is addictively listenable music: pop with a conscience, and proof that brainy rock can be fun.

- David de Young (April, 2010)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Voltage Band Spotlight #5: Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps

Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps - Photo by Amanda Johnson

Band members: Caroline Smith (guitar, vocals), Arlen Peiffer (drums), Jesse Schuster (bass) and Colin Hacklander (keyboards)


Caroline Smith is going places. Literally. Smith and her three piece band band The Good Night Sleeps, which consists of Colin Hacklander (Something With Kites) on keyboards, Jesse Schuster (Lucy Michelle) on bass and Arlen Peiffer (Cloud Cult, The Wapsipinicon) on drums, will hit the Voltage Fashion Amplified stage a week after a tour of the Midwest and the East Coast that takes them from Iowa City to Brooklyn and back again. As soon as Voltage winds up, the band will be back out on the road less than a week later to Madison, Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.

Smith’s folk/pop debut Backyard Tent Set came out in 2008. Often compared to Lucy Michelle, with whom she shares bassist Jesse Schuster, for her Billie Holiday/Joanna Newsom-like vocals, Caroline Smith played First Avenue’s Best New Bands showcase in 2008. On her Myspace page, Smith cities an exceedingly diverse list of influences, from Ben Gibbard, to Wilco, to Carly Simon and The Pixies. It all adds up to a listen that is always engaging, often tender and accessible whichever direction your musical taste runs.

What strikes me most about Smith is her poise. She’s a performer fully aware and fully in control while on stage. Her songs are often troubling, but matter of fact stories. Check out “Closing the Doors” as an exemplary song.

Smith released Live At The Cedar in January, and the band is currently working on a full length album due out later in 2010.

For Voltage, Caroline Smith and her band will be outfitted by Calpurnia Peach, the designer team of Luci Kandler and Ashley Wokasch. (In the publicity photo above, Smith is wearing one of their dresses.)

Voltage is Friday, April 16th at First Avenue. Buy your tickets now!

Head over to our Voltage partner, L'etoile Magazine for this week's designer profiles on Emma Berg and Kevin Kramp.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Voltage Band Spotlight #4: Red Pens

(Red Pens - Photo by Stephanie Colgan)

Band Members: Howard W. Hamilton III (guitars, effects) Laura F. Bennett (drums)


Guitarist and drummer two-piece rock bands have appeared on the local and national scene in the past whom I have wished would get a bass player. Red Pens is not one of those bands. The duo of Howard W. Hamilton III and Laura F. Bennett have no trouble filling rooms (even First Avenue’s main room, where they played the most recent “Best New Bands” showcase) with their powerful, feedback and emotionally-drenched dissonant sound. The band holds the stage with the energetic presence often reserved for three and four-piece ensembles.

Bennett (drums) and Hamilton (guitars, effects) are both veterans of the Twin Cities music scene, Hamilton most recently a member of The Busy Signals, and Bennett the former drummer for the Mood Swings. Red Pens won the coveted “Picked to Click” designation from the City Pages in 2009 even before their debut album, Reasons hit the streets. Reasons was released in February on the Grain Belt Records label, and vinyl aficionados will delight the album was also released in limited edition 12-inch format with a record release party a couple weekends ago at the Hexagon.

Red Pens’ moody, sonic attack is best experienced live; though Reasons does a terrific job of representing the range of sound the band is capable of. The band toured earlier this spring, playing venues from Chicago to New York City. Both Hamilton and Bennett give it their all when they perform live, Bennett often smiling from behind the drums balancing Hamilton’s stern visage. It’s the perfect balance of yin and yang.

If you like Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine or the Velvet Underground, you’ll likely find much to love about Red Pens, who will bring fuzzy, art-rock intensity to Voltage 2010.

For Voltage, Red Pens will be outfitted by Red Shoe Clothing Company, a design group founded by Kerry Riley in 2002.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Voltage Band Spotlight #3 - Mayda


Band Members: Mayda Miller (vocals, guitar), Michael Bland (drums),Cory Eischen (keyboards, samples), Andy Mark (bass), Jacob Hanson (guitar)


St. Paul’s Mayda Miller (or simply Mayda) comes to Voltage hot on the heals of her 2009 EP Eyes on the Water which was released digitally on Michael Bland’s Sonic Matrimony Collective label in November. (Bland, Mayda’s drummer, is best known as the drummer for Prince during The New Power Generation years and even more recently as the drummer for Soul Asylum.)

I first encountered Mayda when she played acoustically at the Mad Ripple Hootenanny in 2009. Those who were seeing her for the first time that night will never forget when she strapped on her blue guitar for the wonderfully risqué “Good Girls,” which appears on her latest EP. (That song is a great starting point for a new listener, and you should check it out here.)

Though “Good Girls” is an catchy and clever acoustic ditty, Mayda is known for tearing it up at electric shows: exact, energetic and in control, she is an attention-getter and attention-keeper.

I’m proud of myself for making it halfway through this profile without mentioning Mayda is a petite and unassuming 4 foot10 inch tall Korean woman, but seems at least twice that tall when she hits the stage. In person she exudes a calm and gentle confidence.

CD Baby recommends Mayda to music lovers who like Black Eyed Peas, Grace Jones, or Prince, and that’s a start. Her power pop, and both acoustic electric alternative hip-hop have mainstream appeal, but are more than engaging and intriguing enough to endear her to the most critically-minded music fan as well.

Of all the other comparisons I’ve read in reviews, perhaps Mark Brenden put it best in the fall in the Minnesota Daily when describing her new EP, saying it contains “the vocal prowess and Aretha Franklin-level emotion” as well as the “guitar goddess-ness of Nancy Wilson.”

However you describe her, Mayda and her band are a brilliant addition to the Voltage line-up bound to add cutting-edge flair to their segment of the show that’s bound to get the heads of the crowd bobbing.

Mayda and her band will be outfitted for Voltage by veteran local designer Laura Fulk.

See also this week, Juleana Enright’s Voltage Spotlights on designers Raul Osorio and Elena Mercurio.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Voltage Band Spotlight #2: Blue Sky Blackout

Blue Sky Blackout - photo by Kate Iverson

This is the second in a series of Voltage 2010 band spotlights we'll be running here on the HowWasTheShow blog, one each week up until the week of the show. (Last week we profiled Ruby Isle, who will also be playing Voltage 2010 at First Avenue on Friday, April 16th.)

Blue Sky Blackout

Band Members: Jon Hunt, Christian Erickson, Marc Iwanin, Mykl Westbrooks, Tim Ritter, and Brandon Dalida.


If there’s such a thing as good cholesterol, perhaps there’s such a thing as good testosterone. Every time I see the six members of Blue Sky Blackout on stage, I can’t help but think: damn, that’s a lot of dudes. And cool, fashionable dudes at that, who know how to rock.

Blue Sky Blackout was conceived by Jon Hunt (Shatterproof, Landing Gear, Medication) in 2009 and played their first show in July 2009 with a lineup that reads like a veritable super group of Twin Cities rock: Christian Erickson (Astronaut Wife) provides lead vocals, Mykl Westbrooks (Landing Gear) and Brandon Dalida (Mercurial Rage, The TV Sound) both play lead guitar in addition to the guitar by Hunt himself. The band is rounded out by Tim Ritter (Astronaut Wife) on bass and drummer Marc Iwanin of Basement Apartment. Blue Sky Blackout proves beyond a shadow of doubt that there are times in life when three guitars is exactly what the rock doctor ordered.

Blue Sky Blackout plays heavy, catchy Brit rock with hooks and attitude that literally spills from the stage. The songs are fresh yet somehow familiar. I don’t believe anyone in this band would dare claim they are doing anything particularly new; my take is they are just doing something extremely cool that they are all very good at that no one else on the local scene is doing right now. The result is a whole helluvalot of fun.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out this teaser of “Somebody Said That You Loved Me” from their upcoming Susstones 3-side, to be released in April and I believe you’ll instantly see what I mean. Blue Sky Blackout are sure to bring a rock star touch to Voltage this year.

Blue Sky Blackout will be outfitted by Steve Kang of BlackBlue for Voltage 2010. For more on menswear designer and boutique owner Kang, check out this interview L’etoile did with him last fall.

Also this week, check out L’etoile’s Voltage designer spotlights on Brianne Jones and Christine Carmichael.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Voltage Band Spotlight #1: Ruby Isle

Ruby Isle, publicity photo

This is the first in a series of Voltage 2010 band spotlights we'll be running here on the HowWasTheShow blog, one each week up until the week of the show. Our first band profile is of Ruby Isle, who will be playing Voltage 2010 at First Avenue on Friday, April 16th.

Ruby Isle

Band Members: Mark Mallman (vocals, guitar), Dan Geller (bass, vocoder) and Aaron Lemay (drums)


Twin Cities/Athens, GA electro rock band Ruby Isle (who may or may not be named after a shopping center in Brookfield, Wisconsin) is at SXSW this week debuting their take on Guns ‘N Roses “Appetite for Destruction,” which they recently covered in its entirety.

Ruby Isle’s MySpace page claims they are a singing trio of brothers, though those in the know realize this is completely fictitious. Even those who don’t will begin to doubt that when they read on to hear that in 2008 the trio of brothers were asked to defend the Mexican village of Santo Poco from a bandit named El Guapo. Or who knows, maybe it's all true!

In any case, the band, who call themselves “the party band for the apocalypse” (if so, it almost makes you wish those four horsemen would gallop faster) come from three separate well-respected bands, Mark Mallman (Mark Mallman), I Am The World Trade Center (Dan Geller) and International Espionage (Aaron Lemay.)

Known for their electro dance covers of songs by bands like the Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, Animal Collective and Bon Iver (see the videos for several of these on their MySpace), the band will bring some of their originals like “So Damn High” and “Night Shot” to Voltage 2010 and the result is bound to be an explosive set you won’t want to miss.

At Voltage, Ruby Isle will be outfitted by Anthem Heart, who will also be designing this year's limited edition t-shirts for the Voltage event (available at the show.)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Ruby Isle covers Appetite for Destruction for 2010 release, performs project at SXSW!

Ruby Isle - Publicity photo

When I first heard Ruby Isle was slated to cover not just a song or two but the entirety of Gun's N' Roses Appetite for Destruction I thought someone was pulling my leg. I quickly remembered that Mark Mallman is a key member of this project and changed my thinking from "can't believe it" to "can't wait to hear it." At the time of writing, I have not yet had a listen, but am hoping I will get my chance soon.

Read full details about the Guns 'N Roses cover project and about where you can catch Ruby Isle at SXSW this year in the full press release below.

Ruby Isle will also be appearing at Voltage Fashion Amplified 2010.


Electro cover machine Ruby Isle has announced that they are unveiling their latest cover project in early 2010. The “party band of the apocalypse”, known best for dance floor versions of Animal Collective, Decemberists and Bon Iver, has been re-recording Guns N’ Roses’ 1988 LP Appetite for Destruction. The project is nearing completion and the band will debut their take on GNR at SXSW 2010.

What started as a straightforward electronic adaptation of GNR’s debut slowly evolved into a spaced-out experiment incorporating both live and electronic instrumentation. Ruby Isle vocalist Mark Mallman commented, “In the beginning of recording everything just seemed too obvious. We decided to go into the studio and bring in musicians with diverse musical backgrounds to make this thing a little more interesting.” The extended sound palette includes a jazz quartet, French female vocals, live strings and a guest appearance from Har Mar Superstar on “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

While the sonic direction of the LP is a huge departure for the electro-arena rock leaning trio; the members of Ruby Isle all agree that Appetite for Destruction was an easy choice as they were all very familiar with it from spending their formative years in bowling alleys of the Midwest. Says Ruby Isle’s Dan Geller, “It is my older brothers’ favorite LP of all time, when he hears what we did to it, he is probably going to kill me.” Dan’s brother Kevin was unavailable for comment.

Ruby Isle will debut their new project live at SXSW 2010 and the LP will follow later this year.

Ruby Isle SXSW 2010 – Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction Sets

  • 03/17/10 - Lambert’s - Green Room Music Source Official SXSW Showcase - 7:00PM
  • 03/20/10 - The Side Bar - The 40 Watt SXSW Day Party - 6:00PM

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Voltage Fashion Amplifed 2010 tickets now on sale

Voltage Fashion Amplified 2010 tickets are now on sale.

Where: First Avenue Mainroom
When: April 16, 2010
Show starts at 8pm

Ticket Price:
$25 in advance
$30 at the door

Voltage: Fashion Amplified 2010 Tickets are on Sale!

Ticket Price Includes:
Voltage Lookbook
CD Download Card of the 2010 Compilation CD

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Heiruspecs Scholarship Fund Concert at St. Paul Central High School

Heiruspecs Scholarship Fund Concert from Meredith Westin on Vimeo.

Heiruspecs staged a benefit on behalf of the Saint Central High School Foundation (Facebook group link) to create a scholarship fund at the school in the schools' auditorium on Thursday evening.

Meredith Westin
was there and got this great set of shots of the concert, backstage, and the crowd which she posted to Vimeo. the movie is set to Heiruspecs' “I Know.”

We recommend you watch the video full screen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Online Marketing for the Creative Industries and Small Businesses


Christian Erickson
of Zeus Jones along with Kate Iverson and Kristoffer Knutson talk about how creative people and small businesses are using online media to rewrite the rules of marketing.

The event was sponsored by MNFashion, the non-profit organization which provides resources and professional development to Minnesota Fashion Designers. MNFashion is also the parent organization of Voltage Fashion Amplified. The event was held in MNFashion's Northeast Minneapolis studio and was recorded for presentation by HowWasTheShow.

This podcast includes a 1 hour presentation + 50 minutes of discussion.

(Christian has posted the full accompanying slide deck to this presentation in a Facebook photo album here so you can follow along with the audio.)

Open player in new window | Download

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Free download of "The War on The Terror And The Drugs" by Ike Reilly

In honor of Ike Reilly and the Assassination’s impending Twin Cities Residency in March (read more about that here), HowWasTheShow is proud to offer a free download of the first single from Reilly’s latest release, Hard Luck Stories. The track is called “The War on The Terror and the Drugs” featuring Shooter Jennings.

This track sees its official physical release today.

Download MP3 of "The War on The Terror and the Drugs"

Reilly kicks off a 4 night stand in Minneapolis March 16th with a solo acoustic show at Bryant Lake Bowl followed by 3 full band shows at the Turf, 7th Street Entry and Triple Rock on the 17th, 18th and 19th of March.

Also, starting today, Amazon is offering a free 10 song catalog collection of Ike Reilly music.

Link to Amazon's free 10-song Ike Reilly Catalog.

Listening Party for The Mad Ripple's "Her Tattoos Could Sail Ships" tonight at Kings Wine Bar

I'm proud to call music writer Jim Walsh a good friend. The degree and varying types of support he has lent to the Twin Cities music community over the past 25-30 years of his life (more actually) is beyond compare. He has fostered musicians and other writers in that time, including me, in both capacities. Over the past few years of covering his Mad Ripple Hootenanny's at various locations throughout the Twin Cities as both a photographer and journalist, I have frequently found myself on stage with him and the crew, playing my own original creations alongside some of the best musicians in this town. For that, I am eternally grateful.

I am also honored to be able to invite the public to Kings Wine Bar, my favorite South Minneapolis restaurant for a listening party tonight for Walsh's new Eclectone Records release, Her Tattoos Could Sail Ships. The album's title comes from one of the album's tracks, "For Banjo Lisa Wherever You Are," a song which even occasional Hootenanny attendees over the past couple of years are bound to have heard at least once.

These songs are sexy and honest; modern folk tunes, if you will; songs which get stuck in your head and just won't leave. I hope you can come down tonight and join us as we play Jim's new record, and expect to find yourself singing along before the night is through.

What: Listening Party for The Mad Ripple's Her Tattoos Could Sail Ships
Where: Kings Wine Bar, 4555 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis (46th and Grand)
When: 9PM to 11

RSVP on Facebook here.

More detail below:

Fast facts about The Mad Ripple’s sophomore sweetheart Her Tattoos Could Sail Ships:

  • “There are real songs here, about love, life, bars, mortality, lust, sorrow, growing up,” said writer/singer/songwriter Jim Walsh (aka The Mad Ripple), about the nine tunes that comprise Ships, many of which were first heard at The Mad Ripple Friday Night Hootenanny, a rotating collection of songwriters that happens regularly at various Minneapolis locales. “The songs are personal, but the CD itself is something of a document of the community and magic that has sprung up around the Hoot.”

  • The Eclectone Records release was produced by Walsh and Stook! and recorded at Caleb Garn’s Five Watt Studios in Eagan, Minnesota. The tracks feature back-up vocals by Ashleigh Still, Brianna Lane and Shawn Gibbons; bass guitar and mandolin by Marc Perlman (Jayhawks, Golden Smog, Janey & Marc, Polara); drums by Richard Medek (Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers) and Jordan Carlson (Stook! & The Jukes); guitars by Stook! and Jim and Jay Walsh; electric dulcimer by Drew Miller (Boiled In Lead); harmonica and keyboards by Terry Walsh (Belfast Cowboys, St. Dominic’s Trio); keyboards by Pete Christensen, and violin and banjo by Eliza Blue. Mr. Medek did all his drum tracks in one night, a few days after his recording session for actor Kevin Costner’s CD. Ms. Still did her vocals with her two kids crawling all over her (no babysitter).

  • The CD title is taken from “For Banjo Lisa Wherever You Are,” a tribute to “Banjo” Lisa Zwier, owner of Banjo Jim’s on 9th and Avenue C in Greenwich Village, NYC, which hosted a seven-night Hoot stand last summer.

  • Upon hearing “Ballad Of The Tin Star Sisters,” a paean to the act of loving and losing your favorite local band, Minneapolis songwriter/writer Jay Hurley (Landing Gear) commented, “That’s the best lost Go-Betweens song I’ve ever heard.”

  • Her Tattoos Could Sail Ships is the follow-up to The Mad Ripple’s well-received debut CD Sink and/or Swim, which called, “a ramshackle gem.” The Mad Ripple is currently at work on a follow-up long-player, with a little help from his friends Tom Herbers and Romantica’s Ben Kyle. Coal Miner’s Grandson (working title) will be available in the spring.

From Electric Arc Productions, a New Radio Variety Show: PowderKeg Live!

Fans of the Electric Arc Radio Show should mark their calendars for a new production, PowderKeg Live! brought to you by some of the same folks coming up in March, April and May at the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis.

Twin Cities Music fans will note an appearance by Chris Koza on March 6th, and a rare appearance from light pop maestros Work of Saws on April 3rd. Read more in the full press release below.

From the creators of the Electric Arc Radio Show comes PowderKeg Live!—a variety show to be recorded live at the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis. Shows at 1 p.m. on March 6, April 3, and May 8. Tickets: $12 in advance, $14 at the door, purchased at the Ritz Theater Box office (345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis) or online.

PowderKeg Live! is hosted by non-married domestic partners Geoff Herbach and Stephanie Wilbur Ash, who live, tell stories, entertain special guests, showcase characters, and (gulp) raise a family, all in the PowderKeg neighborhood. Featuring original songs and sounds from the "dynamite" PowderKeg Men's Glee Club (David Salmela, John Munson, and Ken Chastain), PowderKeg Live! documents this community in story and song, including the ramblings of a neighborhood historian (Andy Sturdevant), the complaints of an erudite old lady (Jenny Adams), the sound logic of a Mexican neighbor (Kurt Froehlich), the beltings of a musical theater guy (Joel Liestman), the comic stylings of writer Molly Priesmeyer, and so much more.

Special guests for this three-shows-only run include Chuck and Sean from Trivia Mafia (they’ll run the 5-Minute Game Show each episode), and comedian Mary Mack. Musical guests include Chris Koza on March 6, and Work of Saws on April 3. Writer James Norton of the Heavy Table will drop by on May 8.

Even better: Free supervised childcare will be provided for kids aged 4 – 10, with cool films just for them screening in the Ritz lobby during the show.

PowderKeg Live! is sponsored by the Modern Café and 89.3 The Current. Foley artist Ken Chastain is sponsored by Bierbrauer Chiropractic. Films for kids are curated and provided by Isabelle Harder and Deb Girdwood of the Childish Films Series.

About the PowderKeg
The PowderKeg is the kind of deep density, mixed use, urban neighborhood where the people you see look familiar, like maybe you went to middle school with them, or maybe you are just recognizing them from the gym. And you wonder what they’re doing with their lives, and if it’s anything like what you’re doing, or better, more like it is on TV. It’s home to a Mexican bakery, a saddle shop, a light rail station, and a yoga studio on the same block. Residents have invented many enterprising ways to snow blow their sidewalks and recycle their unwanted large appliances.

About Electric Arc Productions
Electric Arc Productions is the creative collective behind PowderKeg Live!, the Electric Arc Radio Show, the original musical Don’t Crush Our Heart!, and other projects for radio, stage, and screen.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Patches & Gretchen Listening Party for Sugar Head Pie at Kings Tuesday


Join us at Kings Wine Bar (4555 Grand Avenue South in Minneapolis) on Tuesday, February 2nd at 9PM as we spin the brand new record from Patches & Gretchen, Sugar Head Pie.

Gretchen Seichrist and members of her band will be on hand to help celebrate. Click here to RVSP to the invite on Facebook.

(Also, don't miss Patches & Gretchen at the 400 Bar, Saturday, January 16th.)

David Wynn, From The London Underground Rail says:

'Sugar Head Pie' is the second album from Minneapolis webcam video maker extraordinaire, artist, performer, poet, painter and any damn thing else she chooses ,the selfstyled sexy songstress Gretchen Seichrist and her band Patches and Gretchen.

Electric Fetus Tornado Benefit set for Friday, February 26th

(Carl Atiya Swanson of made this awesome poster with cutout paper.)

What: Tornado Benefit for The Electric Fetus
When: Friday, Feb. 26th
Time: Doors at 7, music at 7:30
Where: First Avenue Mainroom & Entry
Cost: $16 advance/$20 door

Who's playing? (bold = mainroom)

7:30 entry:Peter Wolf Crier
8:00 MR: Cloud Cult
9:00 MR: Roma Di Luna
9:30 entry: Total Babe
10:00 MR: Jeremy Messersmith
10:30 entry: Caroline Smith & the Goodnight Sleeps
11:00 MR: Trailer Trash
11:30 entry: Ruby Isle
12:00 MR: Unknown Prophets
12:30 entry: Bill Mike Band
*with awesome DJ sets by the likes of DJ Jake Rudh, Chris Riemenschneider & other friends of the Fetus!

Sunday, January 31, 2010



Voltage and the 501 Club are hosting "Bands of Voltage Past" pre-parties for Voltage 2010 every first Sunday in February and the last Sunday of March through April." Shows start at 8 p.m. sharp.

We're posting the schedule below. (Note, more bands will be added in TBA spots and we'll pass those details along as soon as we get them. Follow Voltage on Twitter for up to the minute reports:

  • Sunday 2/7 - The Melismatics, First Communion Afterparty, Black Blondie + L'etoile Magazine DJ Sets
  • Sunday 3/7 - Maria Isa, Dance Band, Neil Z (of Zibra Zibra) + L'etoile Mag DJ Sets
  • Sunday 3/28 - Mercurial Rage, Blue Sky Blackout (special preview appearance), TBA + L'etoile Mag DJ sets
  • Sunday 4/4 - Gospel Gossip, The Mood Swings, TBA + L'etoile Mag Dj sets

Voltage: Fashion Amplified 2010 will be held on Friday, April 16, 2010 in the First Avenue Mainroom.

Bands playing at this year’s show include: (in alphabetical order)

Blue Sky Blackout
Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps
Red Pens
Ruby Isle

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gimme Shelter: A Benefit for Haiti

City Pages, Gimme Noise, and First Avenue present:

A Benefit for Haiti

Featuring co-headliners
Solid Gold and Mark Mallman

Peter Wolf Crier
Zoo Animal
Jimmy2Times and Mike 2600

Saturday, February 6, 2010

First Avenue

18+ / $12 / 6 p.m. doors

Gimme Noise ( is rallying the troops for a concert benefiting victims of the Haiti earthquake, and we've invited two of last year's City Pages cover subjects to step out of the pages and onto the stage to play sets for the cause. Mark Mallman and Solid Gold will co-headline Gimme Shelter: A Benefit Concert for Haiti on Saturday, February 6 in the First Avenue Mainroom with openers Peter Wolf Crier and Zoo Animal, and DJs Jimmy2Times and Mike 2600 will keep the party going between sets. Hosted by City Pages’ Andrea Swensson and Jen Boyles.

All proceeds from the show will be split evenly between two organizations that are proving especially helpful during these trying times: the Red Cross Haiti Relief & Development Fund and Architecture for Humanity.

We're also inviting some of the city's coolest local artists to occupy the merch area of the club and come sell their pieces for affordable prices. All proceeds benefit the charities. Chuck U and Anthem Heart are two we can confirm now.

Tickets go on sale Saturday, Jan. 23 and will be available at all First Ave ticket outlets, First Avenue, and Ticketmaster:

Flyer design donated by Burlesque of North America.

Questions? Please contact us at

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Twilight Hours listening party at Kings Wine Bar

Kings Wine Bar (4555 Grand Avenue South) and local music go together like macaroni and cheese. Recently, Kings began hosting CD listening parties for Minnesota musicians. The events are curated by HowWasTheShow's David de Young (full disclosure, that would be me), who also maintains the all local playlist at the South Minneapolis restaurant. To date Kings has played host to Mayda and Romantica. (Patches & Gretchen and music writer - and Kings' employee - Jim Walsh's The Mad Ripple are on tap for February.)

This Tuesday, January 19th at 9PM, Kings welcomes The Twilight Hours and will spin Stereo Night, the band's 2009 debut, a record that is a favorite among Kings staff and ranked at number 4 in the Star Trib's annual critics' poll.

Personally, the ballot I cast in that poll placed the album at the number 1 spot. The songs have a blend of strength and fragility that stuck with me from my first listen. When I heard the record on beautiful cherry red vinyl for the first time, it was the tipping point; it's been a while since my choice for album of the year was so easy. (BTW, if you're trying to think of the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your sweetheart, I'm betting a copy of Stereo Night on red vinyl would score you more points than a box of chocolates or flowers.)

The Twilight Hours' Matt Wilson and John Munson will be on hand for the event at Kings on Tuesday. Join us then, and visit their website for details on upcoming live dates.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Varsity Theater announces postponement of Low concert on 1/15

MINNEAPOLIS – The Varsity Theater announces that its scheduled performance by the Duluth-based band Low on Fri., Jan. 15 has been postponed due to illness. The Varsity and Low are working to reschedule the concert and hope to have a new date announced shortly. Tickets that had been purchased for the postponed concert will be honored at the rescheduled date and, if desired, refunds will be available at the point of purchase.

Celebrating its fifth year, The Varsity Theater has garnered a nationally-renown reputation for its innovative and eclectic programming. Housed within its art-deco confines in the heart of Minneapolisʼs thriving Dinkytown district, The Varsity presents the best in music (on the local, national, and international levels), live theatre, film, and dance, as well as being one of the most sought-after venues for weddings, private parties, corporate events, and more. For more information about The Varsity, log on to

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Voltage Fashion Amplified 2010 Open Model Call

Voltage Fashion Amplified invites Twin Cities area models for an open call. We are looking for female models with runway experience who are at least 18 years of age and 5’7” or taller. Models that are selected to be a part of the show will be in 2010's Voltage Fashion Amplified runway and rock show at First Avenue on Friday, April 16th.

Other time commitments will include fittings with a local designer (scheduled by the designer), and a dress rehearsal on Sunday, April 11th. Models who fit these requirements and are available should email to RSVP for the open call.

Open Call:

When: Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Time: 12pm to 3pm

Where: MNfashion Studio

79 13th Ave NE #212

Minneapolis, MN 55413

To attend the open call, please arrive in a fitted shirt, skinny jeans and heels. We will be taking measurements over your clothes as well as a snap shot. Please bring a current photo (body shot, or head shot) that we may keep.

Because this show benefits non-profit organization MNfashion (, your participation would be considered a donation of your time and talent. Please visit the website at for information about the show.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Two videos of The Brutes

Ever since I got a copy of The Brutes debut self-titled EP a couple months ago from their frontman Gregg Garvey, combined with a tip from the Beatifics Chris Dorn that they were a band to watch, I'd been looking forward to a chance to see them live. I got my chance Saturday night at the Nomad Pub. Here are two videos, "Money Ghost" and "Take You Out" that give you an idea of the energy of their live shows.

Check out a few more of their songs here.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Local Musicians Maria Isa and Harley Wood to appear in Twin Cities Production of Rent

(Maria Isa as Mim and Harley Wood as Roger)

(January 4th, 2010) - Casting was announced today for the upcoming production of Rent, which opens at The Lab (700 North First Street in the Warehouse District) on February 3rd. The short run will close February 21st.

According to a press release, the production features several local musicians as cast members, most notably independent hip hop musician Maria Isa and Harley Wood of Minneapolis rock band Far From Falling.

Having seen Power Balladz at the Lab, I can attest this is a great venue in which to experience a live music theater in a concert-like atmosphere.

Tickets for Rent are $46.50 and can be purchased at

More info:

Cardinal Theatricals Announces Local Casting For RENT, Broadway’s Revolutionary Rock Musical

For a limited run - February 3 through 21 at The Lab in the Warehouse District.

Minneapolis, Minn. – Cardinal Theatricals announces today complete casting for the first locally produced professional staging of RENT which opens at The Lab in Minneapolis beginning February 3.

The new production features several cast members from the Twin Cities independent music scene, as well as a cast of young, hip veterans of professional stages around town. Harley Wood, lead vocalist of the Minneapolis rock band Far From Falling will appear as Roger alongside Independent Hip Hop musical artist, Maria Isa, as Mimi. Reid Harmsen who has appeared on local stages with Theatre Latte Da, The Guthrie and CTC will appear as the budding filmmaker, Mark. Guthrie, Ordway and Penumbra alum and original member of the Grammy award-winning Sounds of Blackness, Jamecia Bennett, will join the cast as Joanne.

The company boasts an impressive lineup of additional musical artists including American Idol top 5 finalist Paris Bennett, along with Ordway and Guthrie alum Colleen Somerville as Maureen. The cast rounds out with newcomers Lorin Yenor (Collins), Kinaundrae Lee (Angel), Kortland Jackson (Benny), Margeaux Davis, AJ Eskridge, Katie Hawkinson, Andy Lamp, and Brian McCormick.

RENT at The Lab is directed by 29 year-old independent producer Andrew Rasmussen (Minnesota native and Director of THE WILD PARTY), with musical direction by Dennis Curley (POWER BALLADZ) and George Maurer. This production is staged in an open theatrical setting at the 6,000 square foot warehouse space, providing a unique "rock concert" atmosphere and a fresh directorial take on the hit rock musical.

TICKET INFORMATION - Tickets are $46.50 for bohemian “rock concert style” seating and on sale now at

The Lab is located at 700 North First Street in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis.

For more information and full biographies, visit the press page at