Road Blog: Saturday July 16, 2016 - Minneapolis, MN
July 16, 2016
Minneapolis is one of my favorite cities to visit and play. We try to get there at least once a year and it’s always at least a decent show. It helps that I’ve got some really close friends who live there that I rarely get to see, and also that some of the music that has made the biggest impression on me came from those streets and bars. It’s more than just another gig.
We had a short, uneventful drive from Rochester into the city and headed straight to Hi-Fi Hair and Records to meet a couple friends of a friend. Our pal Paulie told us to chat with Steve and Jonny and they were both really cool. Steve was working on the record side and had no shortage of stories about the old days in the Minneapolis scene with The Replacements, Husker Du and Soul Asylum, each of whom he worked with at First Avenue back in the day. Jonny, on the salon side, flipped us a welcoming, joking bird through the door when he realized we were Paulie’s friends, and took a few minutes to shoot the shit before we had to bail. Great dude with a happy demeanor and Ronnie Wood hair.
From there we took the walkway over Hennepin Avenue to the Walker Art Center to see the Landspeed Record exhibit. Long story short, Grant Hart’s (Husker Du drummer) house burned down a couple years ago and he stored the piles of stuff he could save at the warehouse loft of artist Chris Larson – everything from master tapes from his musical past to drum sets and parts, old Studabaker car parts, furniture, etc. Larson (after a couple years) made a film shot from above, scanning over the 85 foot long pile that lasts some 26+ minutes, the exact length of Husker Du’s first record – Landspeed Record. The soundtrack to the film is a recreation of the drum track from that album – 26 minutes of hardcore punk drumming. It was something I was glad to take in while I had the chance, though I’m not sure the public at large would appreciate it as much.
After the Walker we hit Treehouse Records and then had a beer at the CC Club – both stops I try to make every time I’m in town. After a couple hours chill time at the AirBB we headed towards the East Bank neighborhood for load in. This is my third show in this area. SlugBug played the 400 Bar in the 90s, I played Palmer’s bar on a solo-acoustic tour in 2010, and last night we played at the Acadia Pub. It’s a smaller room with a stage in the back corner, a long bar in the middle, and booths and tables off to the side. It’s a nice room, probably more geared towards quieter shows, but nothing that we couldn’t work with. The owner greeted us and served up some fine burgers and beers (after berating me loudly for asking if the taco appetizer were full-size or mini, as if such a ludicrous question had never been asked on the East Bank before that moment) while we waited for the other bands to arrive. The sound engineer Rachel was a sweetheart who did a hell of a job with 4 bands, little room to maneuver, and a room too small for the rock that it was hosting.
Cold Pillow played first – some tight indie rock with great guitar playing. After them were The Blonde Fonzies – a little more on the Americana side but still a rocking set. We played 3rd and struggled a little with the small stage and sound, but we found our groove quickly and had a good time playing. Closing out the night was Warped Tour-type punk band Heart To Gold. The bar wasn’t packed but there were plenty enough people to make it fun, and we got a great response and had a blast playing. It helped to see my friends Burk and Nicole, Eric and Tracy, and Vince. All great people that I don’t get to see often enough. After the show we met another one of Paulie’s friends – Krickie – a really sweet girl who came out to see us and shares a lot of my favorite bands. We had some fantastic conversation and left knowing we’ll see her again down the road somewhere, sometime. Somewhere after 1am it was time to load out, cash out and get back the AirBB. Gabe and I nursed the last couple whiskeys while our designated driver Patty finished loading out. Once again, Minneapolis was a blast and we’re going to try to get back before another year passes!
We’re on the road home, about halfway though a 10 hour drive, just getting to Chicago. We put on Heaven Tonight by Cheap Trick as we hit Rockford, and that got us onto the I90 Tollway where we are now. It’s been a fun weekend of rock and roll, Midwestern hijinks, and good friends – old and new. Another one in the books.