You’re at a show by one of your favorite bands. They play an epic version of a song from their latest album, they introduce all the musicians, and they close the number with a flash of pyrotechnics. “Thank you very much!” cries the singer as the band heads offstage and the lights go down. That … [ Read more]
One More Time, With Feeling: Encores are a time-honored ritual—but has the very idea of a concert coda lost meaning?
The Replacements vs. Hüsker Dü: Four decades on, which local band looms larger?
Two of the most influential rock bands in Minnesota history just happened to hit the scene at the same time. Hüsker Dü exploded out of the Macalester College campus, while the Replacements crawled up from South Minneapolis. Formed in 1979, both groups became legends with international cult followings. Lots of people were fans of both, … [ Read more]
Minneapolis’ Demon Of Screamin’: The life and times of enigmatic rock ’n’ roller Curtiss A
Before you even ask a question,” says Curtiss A, leaning forward to address my iPhone, “I’ll just make a statement that I have not prepared.” The singer-songwriter born Curt Almsted thought I had come to his St. Paul home to ask him about aliens, which was a reasonable assumption. He has a UFO story he’s … [ Read more]
Trailblazers 2017: Emma Deaner of Superior Siren
“I’ll always remember escorting Haley from the gardener’s cottage to the pier right before her set,” says Emma Deaner, associate events manager at Glensheen. “We were walking down the path and she’s like, ‘I always dreamed of working here.’ Me too!” Bringing music to Glensheen is just one of the many dreams Deaner is living. … [ Read more]
Where Have All the Award Shows Gone? How we’re honoring Minnesota’s musicians today
Right inside the front door of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame stands a towering replica of the state-shaped award for inductees. “This way when people walk in, you don’t have to tell ‘em where they’re at,” says executive director Dodie Wendinger. “We are in the heart of the town,” she adds. The town in … [ Read more]
Getting Played: Hidden tracks, alter egos, and other games musicians play with fans
It’s all about the music… except when it isn’t. There’s nothing like a good gimmick to lend a little pizzazz to an album release or a tour, and sometimes musical artists just toy with us because they can. Here are some of the most notorious games musical artists have played with their fans over the … [ Read more]
8 Under-the-Radar Minnesota Music Landmarks by Bike
Any tourist can find First Ave, and a quick Google search will take you straight to the house where The Replacements shot their “Let It Be” cover. If you’re a Minnesota music fan ready to take a deeper dive, though, hop on your ride and follow this trail through Minneapolis to just a few of … [ Read more]
Classical Conditioning: Attracting new blood to the world’s oldest performing arts
Should you dress up to go to the opera? Unlike some other companies, Minnesota Opera hasn’t taken a position on the question. They haven’t felt they need to, said Minnesota Opera president and general director Ryan Taylor. Some traditional operagoers, Taylor said, feel they need to clearly state, “This is a substantial piece of art, … [ Read more]
Great (music) outdoors: Making the most of your summer festival season
“Get a lay of the land. Stay hydrated.” “Best way to beat the heat: cold compress laced with an essential oil blend of peppermint and eucalyptus.” “Bring at least one outfit that pushes your limits. A little too sexy. A little too neon. A little too Lycra.” Those are just a few of the responses … [ Read more]
Ballad of the opening band
Today, P.O.S can sell out a show at First Avenue’s Mainroom. In 2004, though, when he’d just signed to Rhymesayers, he toured as an opener for St. Paul hip-hop group Heiruspecs. “We were playing a really poorly attended show in Cleveland on the first night of the tour,” remembers Heiruspecs bassist Sean McPherson. “Stef [P.O.S] … [ Read more]
Dibs on Dylan: Can Minnesota claim credit for the success of Robert Zimmerman?
When Bob Dylan was announced as the winner of 2016’s Nobel Prize in Literature, Minnesotans rejoiced. The first rock star ever to win the Nobel, and he’s one of our own! Born and bred! Or…is he? Throwing cold water on the prairie party, many pointed out that Dylan was nowhere near the Gopher State when … [ Read more]
Trailblazers 2016: Danielle Cusack
Rock ‘n’ roll has always been about youthful energy, but right now the Twin Cities music scene is having an especially youthful moment, with artists like Lexii Alijai blowing up on SoundCloud and an all-ages scene burgeoning at venues like the Garage. At the nexus of what’s next is 20-year-old Danielle Cusack: drummer, bassist, singer-songwriter, … [ Read more]
Trailblazers 2016: First Avenue
When Prince died this past April, fans from around the world flocked to First Avenue to pay their respects. His star, which someone quietly painted gold, became a memorial as flowers piled up on the sidewalk beneath it. For some visitors, this was their first time seeing the club that Prince made world-famous in his … [ Read more]
Oldchella: Have the classic rock gods outlived their relevance?
Star-studded festival lineups are routine these days, but the lineup for this month’s Desert Trip festival in Indio, California, is in a league of its own. The festival is only hosting six acts, and they’re doozies: Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Roger Waters (the golden-era leader of Pink Floyd), and Neil … [ Read more]
Booked: How your favorite bands choose the venues they play
The process by which bands are booked into venues is, for the casual music fan, opaque. It may even be mystifying—especially if you just can’t understand why your favorite band is playing your least favorite venue. Booking, say local pros, is both a science and an art—and like the rest of the music industry, it’s … [ Read more]