Thursday, September 04, 2003

Maximum Rock and Roll, Part 1

Peter S. Scholtes of City pages has put together an amazing oral historyof First Avenue, the best damn rock club in between the coasts. I'm halfway through the article, and loving every minute of it. The place is more or less the spiritual center of everything I love about Minneapolis, and it's awesome hearing about all of the crazy stuff that used to go down there. Apparently there used to be a shooting range in the basement, and it was de rigeur to take a gun down after a show. And there seems to have been a staff contest involving sex in the foundation of Target Center while the arena was under construction. Niiiice.

For myself, I've loved First Ave since the first time I was there… I believe my first show was Bob Mould solo and acoustic during the Sugar years. Going inside, I felt like I was actually participating in culture, something you don't get a lot in rural Nebraska towns. And the fact that I was seeing Bob Mould made it even better. I still get chills imagining what it must have been like to see Husker Du kick into New Day Rising on the mainroom stage.

I've played the Seventh St. Entry twice, once each with Red Hay and Grumpy Alice, and it was magical both times. The stage is tiny, the sound equipment is beat-up, and the room looks sort of like the set of an AC/DC video, but man, you feel like a rock star in there.

By the way, Scholtes' blog is almost always a good read.




Maximum Rock and Roll, Part 2

Grumpy Alice played last night at the 4th St. Station in downtown St. Paul. Weird night. The bar is sort of a dive that seems to be in the process of reinventing itself. Their performance space is awesome… actually, it looks and sounds like a half-sized version of the First Ave mainroom. But the bar itself was a little sketchy. This weird guy cornered me at one point and told me that since I don't play pool, cribbage, or darts and am married, I am officially No Fun. However, the guy had drool all over his chin, so he may have been Too Much Fun. The weird clientele was sort of balanced by the extremely cheap beer, though- two bucks for a Summit is a rare deal.

The show itself went pretty well. Our set was cut short ten minutes because the sound guy wanted to leave early for a recording session with his own band. The word on the street is that he, um, won't be returning to the 4th St. after that.

Since we didn't have a keyboard stand, we had to set our keyboard on the drum riser and play it with our backs to the audience… Grant and I went out of our way to shake our asses during our keyboard shifts in order to get some entertainment value out of it. Sadly, his ass got all of the recognition.

It's a tough world.

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