Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Triumphant Return of Rifle Sport

Ever traveled through time? It’s fun; you should give it a try. I did last night.

I spent Saturday evening with some friends watching the 80’s-defining movie, “War Games.” I can only think of one thing that would be more 80’s-appropriate than a Matthew Broderick movie about the Cold War and funny-looking computers. What is that one thing? You guessed it: seeing Rifle Sport play at the 7th St Entry.

I got pretty excited when I heard about the Rifle Sport reunion. I wasn’t sure if anyone else felt the same way, though. There didn’t seem to be any hype behind the show, and most of my friends have never even heard of Rifle Sport. But as soon as I walked into the Entry, I realized that I wasn’t alone in my excitement. The Entry was overflowing with people! It was quite the challenge to navigate through the 20-, 30-, and 40-year-old scenesters. But I eventually made my way up to the front of the stage so I could get a clear view of the legendary Minneapolis band.

The night belonged to Rifle Sport; even the openers were closely related to Rifle Sport. Kontrol Panel, which is the current project of Rifle Sport guitarist, Gerard Boissey, played first. Unfortunately, I missed them because the show actually started on time. That’s not supposed to happen at the Entry! Oh well, I’m sure I’ll see them eventually – they play a little more frequently than Rifle Sport does these days.

I got there in time for Brick Layer Cake – the band founded by Rifle Sport’s drummer, Todd Trainer (OK, maybe you know him as the drummer from Shellac). Todd and Gerard played guitars while the guitarist from Arcwelder hit the drums. Pretty dark and scary stuff. Actually, I was more scared by the sparkler hanging from the ceiling. After it ran out of spark, the stick caught on fire, and the flame climbed up to the ceiling. Luckily, the guy from Sputnik Sweetheart jumped onto the stage to put the fire out. (I doubt anything would’ve happened, but after that whole Great White incident…you never know.)

Flour played next. Yeah, Flour is the band that Flour plays in (he’s the bassist from Rifle Sport). His set was a lot of fun – especially since he was backed by Arcwelder and a pretty bass player.

You probably already guessed that Arcwelder was the final opener. Unlike the other bands, they’re not directly related to Rifle Sport. But nonetheless, they were a very appropriate opener. They’re another band that has made a slight comeback within the past few years. Good thing too, because they still rock! Arcwelder did a great job of warming up the audience for Rifle Sport (as evidenced by the mosh pit started by some people who were old enough to know better).

Thus far, I had stepped ten years into the past – far enough to witness some great early 90’s Touch & Go bands (Brick Layer Cake, Flour, and Arcwelder were all on Touch & Go). But once Rifle Sport hit the stage, my journey into the 80’s was complete. I truly felt like I was part of history. This was the exact same stage that Rifle Sport frequented when I was a little kid, and many of the people in the audience were people that helped develop our music scene into what it is today. While I was watching Rifle Sport rock the Entry, I couldn’t help but think, “So this is what was going on while I was busy listening to Michael Jackson? Why didn’t anyone tell me?” I obviously can’t compare this show to Rifle Sport’s performances in their heyday (I was still in elementary school the last time they played together). But I was impressed, and it appeared that the rest of the audience was as well. I even overheard Steve McClellan (the owner of First Avenue) ecstatically praising the show.

We’re on a roll with these reunions! Who’s next? The Suicide Commandos? Man Sized Action? Babes in Toyland? Cows? Umm…hehe…Hüsker Dü? Keep ‘em coming! It’s not that I’m living in the past. It’s just that I realize that the present would very different if it wasn’t for these trail-blazing bands. I appreciate Rifle Sport very much.


Blogger Katie said...

Glad you enjoyed the blast to the past that was War Games. Perhaps we'll have to have a 90's night some time. I'm thinking Wayne's World might be a good choice :)

9:35 PM

Blogger zom said...

Hey, thanks for the nice comments regarding our show. We had a great time and were really happy to see that some of you kids liked Rifle Sport.

I don't know if we'll do another show, but it's not out of the question. But thanks for caring..

12:48 PM


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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Radio Wars

Originally, my last post was meant to be a reaction to Chris Dahlen’s Pitchfork feature, “Minnesota Becomes Eclectic.” But I hit a tangent, and ended up writing about something completely different.

If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I love to criticize Pitchfork. But secretly, I’m addicted to it, and I read it every day. I can straight-out admit, though, that Chris Dahlen’s well-researched article did an excellent job of chronicling an issue that is having a dramatic effect on the Minnesota music scene. I recommend that you read it, if you haven’t already.

If you’re not from Minnesota, you might not know that MPR’s acquisition of St. Olaf’s 89.3 signal was huge news around here. Even bigger news was MPR’s decision to give the new station, The Current, a hip/eclectic/indie/alternative format. The op/ed pages in our local newspapers have been very entertaining. There have been many essays enthusiastically lauding MPR’s daring move. And then there are the rebuttal essays by Radio K/independent radio loyalists accusing MPR of being the Clear Channel of public radio – saturating the market, and forcing the demise of their “competitors.”

The Current is constantly referred to as the “new” radio station. However, there’s not a lot that’s actually new about it. It’s “borrowing” a format that Radio K pioneered over ten years ago, and even the DJs seem very familiar. Indeed, the music directors of The Current were former Radio K music directors, and the DJs came directly from Radio K or the legendary radio station, Rev 105.

We won’t know The Current’s true impact on the market until the other hip radio stations, like Radio K and KFAI, hold their pledge drives. But one thing is obvious; The Current is immensely popular. People who have listened to corporate radio their whole lives are switching over to The Current (which I think is a very positive thing) – they’re learning that Modest Mouse existed before 2004. Cars everywhere (even in the suburbs) have bumper stickers for The Current. My parents listen to The Current!

The Current has also had a noticeable effect on our local music scene. I’ve noticed a lot of new faces at shows. There’s been a surge of interest in local music. High-profile shows have become packed. Good luck getting into an Olympic Hopefuls show if you arrive after 9:00!

I remain a Radio K loyalist. No other station has ever been so ingrained in our music scene. Radio K has set trends for the entire nation, and has made superstars out of my next-door neighbors. And they’ll always have the freedom to experiment and give challenging music a chance. But I’m not entirely anti-The Current. I think The Current has opened a lot of people’s eyes, and has the potential to do a lot of good for our scene. In my last post, I wrote about the dilemma I face when Radio K shuts down their AM signal for the night, and KFAI plays stuff that I don’t understand. Well, now my problem has been solved. I just switch over to 89.3 and everything is OK.


Blogger solace said...

one of the best, well thought out and fair critiques of KCMP that i've read yet, great job.

while i've never listened to Radio K TOO often to be honest (i moved here from Montana in 1999), anytime i have, or do, i do enjoy it. if they had a solid FM signal i would have listened much much more i guarantee it though, i'm just not a big fan of the lo-fi of AM sadly. not their fault, but still. but i agree, KCMP, while they definitely share some artists, they will always be a safer version of college radio, which is often the case for public radio. Radio K will always have a purpose, and will always have an audience and supporters. i can understand the Radio K/KFAI hardcore fans concern, but i honestly don't think they have a lot to be worried about personally.

i agree, while KCMP is far from perfect, it adds tremendously to the already great music scene here. and as you pointed out, anything that drives people away from corporate (shit) radio, the better.

for me, and many of my friends KCMP is not drawing any of us away from KFAI or Radio K, rather, away from our iPods, our CD and Vinyl collections, etc.

growing up in Montana i've never known what it was like to have good radio, and i have to say it's pretty damn cool. i discovered KEXP, KCRW, and WOXY online the last 4-5 years, and always wondered what it would be like to have a local equivalent of those, and know that we do, it's pretty awesome.

hope you're enjoying yourself at SXSW, i'm gonna try and go next year. i would have this year, but i'm going to Europe for a month in May/June.

5:05 PM


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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Corporate Radio Kills

Today, I was reminded about the last, and final time I listened to corporate radio. If you don’t mind, I’ll tell you about it.

But first, let me set the scene. The Bush Administration, apparently not satisfied with their messy war in Afghanistan, was intent on starting yet another pointless war. George W. Bush had talked about attacking Iraq even before he was “elected” president (thus, 9/11 was not the reason for the war, although it sure was convenient). Not wanting to expose the big oil interests behind his decisions, Bush offered a handful of phony explanations of why we needed to attack Iraq. Every time one of his justifications for war was proved to be completely unfounded, he had to modify his story (and they called Kerry a flip-flopper).

Now, contrary to popular belief, not all Americans are complete morons. Actually, the majority of Americans were not buying Bush’s bullshit. This was very evident in the Twin Cities. Thousands of people - even people who normally shied away from politics – were doing everything they could to knock some sense into the Bush Administration. Minnesotans were working so hard to exercise their voice in our government. It was actually quite beautiful to see our streets and parks packed with passionate people, from all walks of life, all striving toward a common goal of peace.

The stubborn administration made all of our hard work seem futile. Bush even said that he wasn’t going to listen to anti-war protesters because that would be like listening to special interest groups. Whoa. First of all, the peace movement was not a special interest – it was the exact opposite. When over half of Americans are advocating for peace, it’s quite obvious that we’re in the realm of public interest. The leader of a representative democracy is supposed to listen to the public interest – that’s the whole point of democracy. And second of all, since when was Bush opposed to listening to special interest groups? We wouldn’t have been in this mess if he didn’t listen to his friends and lobbyists in Big Oil. Needless to say, it was a very frustrating time for anyone who gave a shit. I’m still very frustrated.

Waging unjust wars was not the only sketchy thing going on in our government. At the same time, the FCC was considering further deregulation of the media. The new proposals would negate laws that prevent one company from owning more than one media outlet in a single market (e.g., under the FCC’s proposal, Clear Channel could own radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers in the Twin Cities). This was bad news, especially considering that the control of our media already was in the hands of a very small group of people.

The FCC’s proposal was the result of hard work done by lobbyists from the big five media conglomerates (News Corp., Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, and Clear Channel). But of course, they wouldn’t get their way if they weren’t willing to return any favors. Thus, the major media conglomerates did everything they could to please the FCC and the FCC chairman, Michael Powell. Who’s that? You guessed it – the son of Secretary of State, Colin Powell. And what better way to win the heart of Michael Powell than to support his dad’s war march? (By the way, George W. Bush was already a big advocate for media deregulation.)

This is why Clear Channel staged their infamous pro-war rallies. What a fucking disgrace. The peace demonstrators were lucky if they could afford a megaphone. But you’d walk past the Clear Channel rallies and see the spineless college Republicans with big expensive sound systems. What made it even worse is that Clear Channel would advertise their rallies on their own radio stations. Peace activists would never be able to get an advertisement on a Clear Channel station (or any other station owned by the Big Five), even if they could afford it. In effect, Clear Channel was making a mockery out of a very serious situation, and only added to the tension leading up to the war.

Clear Channel was definitely not the only media conglomerate embracing the war. (Here’s where I finally get to my story.)

So, I was driving my car one night. My thoughts were occupied with Bush’s proposed war in Iraq. The weapons inspectors had come out empty handed, and Bush was damaging our relationship with the UN. I needed to relax. I needed to escape into some music, so I turned on the radio. Since the sun had already set, Radio K was off the air (due to another law set by the FCC that only serves to disadvantage small radio stations). So I turned to my next favorite station, KFAI. I love KFAI, but that night, I was having some difficulty understanding the Hmong talk show. Desperate for some music, I started to flip through the stations. I stopped on the butt-rock station 93X (note: owned by ABC/Disney) because they were playing a song from my childhood (I think it was the Stone Temple Pilots).

When the song finished, 93X ran a promo for a Godsmack concert they were sponsoring. The promo told me that I could win Godsmack tickets by being the tenth caller after I heard a certain sound clip. I think they were calling the whole deal “Godsmack Iraq.” Naturally, I was starting to get pissed off as my thoughts drifted back to the war. But then things got worse. They said, “Call in when you hear the bomb dropping on the Arab.” Then they played an example of the sound clip. I heard a man speaking in an over-the-top Middle-Eastern accent, saying something along the lines of, “What’s that falling from the sky? Could it be a message from Allah?” And then an explosion. It was the single most racist thing I’ve ever heard on non-talk radio (and I used to have to listen the KQRS morning show). That was straight-up Nazi propaganda. Yes, racism is a great way to drum up support for a war. The us-versus-them mentality never fails. And it’s so easy to do with Iraqis – they speak a different language, they have different customs, they have a different skin color, and they practice a different religion (especially when compared to the 93X demographic). By that time, I was already used to major media being unsympathetic to the anti-war movement, but this was ridiculous. There is never an excuse for racism.

I was fuming. But what they did next drove me to the point of actually screaming at my radio. Right when the bomb exploded, the background music of the promo changed to “Calm Like a Bomb” by Rage Against the Machine. That proved to me that corporate radio has absolutely no respect for the music they play. “Calm Like a Bomb” is a very powerful song that directly speaks out against the type of racism and injustice that ABC/Disney was promoting in that ad. How dare they defile Rage Against the Machine! Rage Against the Machine existed for the sole purpose of educating music fans about social injustice, and then calling them to action. And even though they were broken up at the time, all the members of Rage were vary vocal against the Iraq war.

Many bands have had a significant impact on my life (mostly on an emotional level), but Rage Against the Machine truly changed my life and shaped me into who I am today. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they are one of the most important bands to ever come into my life. Sure, there are many bands whose message is similar to Rage’s, but I definitely wasn’t listening to those bands in high school. At the time, I had a relatively limited musical consciousness. Rage Against the Machine was visible enough to jump into my consciousness.

Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn’t go to three concerts per week. The very first show I ever saw was Rage Against the Machine. I left from that show a different person. Rage Against the Machine – in front of thousands of people - was standing up for what they believed was right. And here’s the crazy thing: the people actually cared! Suddenly, I realized that I could do the same thing. It’s OK for me to stand up for what I believe. And furthermore, I realized that if I truly care about something, I have to actually do something about it. I have to take action. And as Rage demonstrated, sometimes people actually listen and take you seriously. Even if you can’t change the entire world, at least you can make a positive difference in someone’s life (Rage made a huge difference in my life). Who knows how long it would have taken me to come to that realization if I didn’t go to that concert. I could still be living in a state of apathy.

Is it now clear why I was extremely offended when I heard ABC/Disney using Rage Against the Machine to serve their racist warmongering agenda? That was enough to turn me off from corporate radio forever. If the media conglomerates are so greedy that that they’re willing to offend their listeners and support unjust wars, they don’t deserve my support. There are plenty of independent and public radio stations out there that do a great service to the community – I will always support them. Nowadays, when Radio K is off the air and the other good stations are in a language I don’t understand, I simply turn off the radio and sing my own happy songs.

Perhaps in my next post, I’ll explain why I was reminded about all this today. This post is long enough. I don’t actually expect anybody to read this far.


Blogger solace said...

yet another great post, def going to have to add your blog to my bloglines and link list :)

and that is pretty sickening, but sadly not surprising.

i'm half way tempted to just buy a one way ticket to Europe when i go in May :(

5:16 PM


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Monday, February 21, 2005

Rogue Wave

I caught up on some well-needed rest by only going to one show this weekend. And lucky for me, I chose the right one to attend.

Last summer, I saw Rogue Wave open for Calexico and The Shins at First Avenue. I didn’t feel like I gave them a fair chance, though. Since I was mainly concerned about seeing The Shins, I arrived at the show fashionably late. Thus, I only caught the last three songs of Rogue Wave’s set. Furthermore, everything I experienced that night (including The Shins) was eclipsed by Calexico’s amazing set.

Rogue Wave’s headlining show at the Triple Rock last night finally enabled me to give them the attention they deserve. And I got to see some other “interesting” bands in the process (I mean “interesting” in a good way).

A week ago, I wrote about Low. One thing that people often note about Low is how the band fits the music so well. The name Low is a spot-on descriptor for their hushed sound. And the fact that they come from Duluth seems to be a perfect explanation for their slow-paced approach. Well, last night I saw a band that could rival Low in terms of band/music congruence. Vietnam, the opening band, sounded exactly how you’d expect a band named Vietnam to sound. Everything about them – their name, their music, their look – was straight out of 1969. Both singers sounded just like Bob Dylan (without being folk). And every band member was properly equipped with a bushy beard, long greasy hair, and ratty clothes. It was so appropriate. Did I mention that they rocked? (I definitely don’t want to give the impression that they were Phish heads – their 1969 knowledge went beyond Woodstock; i.e. The Velvet Underground.)

After their set, I went over to look for them at the merch table. But none of their stuff was on the table. All their merch was on a fancy rug on the floor alongside burning candles, a bowl of fruit, a strange painting, and tarot cards. The bass player was sitting cross-legged on the far side of the rug wearing a fortuneteller’s head wrap. As I began to talk to him, he started lowering plastic grapes into his mouth. Yeah, that’s Vietnam for you.

The Comas played second. They put on a good show. But I probably would have remembered more of it if I wasn’t still thinking about Vietnam (I was having a Nam flashback). Unfortunately, it’s really hard to play after a band with such an unforgettable stage presence.

Luckily, I was fully recovered from Vietnam by the time Rogue Wave took the stage. It’s amazing how differently you perceive a band when they are headlining their own tour. They seemed so much more significant than the Rogue Wave I saw last summer. Granted, I saw their whole set this time, and they weren’t under the same time restrictions. I was really impressed. They even did a three-song encore. I’m glad I stayed for that, because they did an incredible cover of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday.” I know, it sounds like it could be a little cheesy. But I’m telling you, it was one of the best covers I’ve heard in a long time. The entire show was very satisfying, but that last song ensured that I left the venue with a big smile.


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Friday, February 18, 2005

What the Hell Was That All About!?

I decided to emerge out of my room to see why my roommate was making such a ruckus downstairs. Turns out, none of my roommates were home. Nope, no one was home except for me and a fucking bird! What the hell? All our doors and windows were shut - I have no idea how it got in my house.

I left the bird alone for one second so I could find a paper bag (the ideal bird trap), but when I came back, the bird had disappeared. It didn't take very long for me to find him again. I just had to put myself in the bird's shoes. I thought to myself, "If I was a bird in a strange human house, and someone was coming after me with a paper sack, where would I go? Of course! I'd fly into Lee's room and hide under his bed."

After a strategic repositioning of my bed, I was able to coax the bird out of his hiding place. As he tried to escape out of my closed window, I nabbed him with the paper sack. It worked! I released him outside, and he flew to freedom.

Dammit, now I have to go and pick up all the cups he knocked off the shelf in the kitchen.


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9:00 PM

Blogger job said...


7:11 AM

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5:34 AM


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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Champions of Victory

It is evident from the six-hour nap I just took (and my empty wallet) that my average of two shows per night is starting to catch up with me. Nevertheless, last night’s West Bank extravaganza was totally worth it.

I had the privilege of seeing my roommate, Chad, open up for Books on Tape at the 400 Bar. Chad was awesome; I was very impressed. I had never actually seen him play live before last night. It’s always good to see when the sensitive singer/songwriter-types aren’t afraid to display their sense of humor.

Chad felt a little out of place since he was wedged between a rock band and the electronic sounds of The Demix and Books on Tape. I usually love that kind of diversity. However, I wish I didn’t have to sit through that first rock band (I’m not even going to mention their name). I hate being so negative towards a band (especially when they’re probably extremely passionate about what they’re doing). But I can’t really think of anything positive to say, except that they knew how to play their instruments fairly well.

I remember, when I was in high school, I went to see The Offspring at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. There was a little punk band that opened up for them; I can’t even remember what they were called. The kids in the audience, who were bred on MTV and corporate radio, were not having them. People were throwing coins and other hard objects at the band while chanting for Offspring, and yelling, “You suck!” After being welted with a coin one too many times, the band cut their set short and stormed off the stage. But before they left, the singer belittled the audience by saying, “Yeah, at least we didn’t learn our punk rock from a Sprite commercial.” Ouch. But he was absolutely right.

Unfortunately, the Sprite-commercial punks have now started bands. That’s what was running through my head while I was watching the band that played before Chad, and while I was applauding after every one of their songs. I hope they’re grateful that I didn’t throw any coins. I hope they feel guilty about throwing coins at the band that opened for The Offspring.

Now that I’m through complaining, I have to say that I really do enjoy The Demix and Books on Tapes. Alas, I wasn’t able to see either of them – I was running late for the much-anticipated Tin Horns CD release show.

After apologizing to Books on Tape for my departure, I skipped down the block to the Triple Rock Social Club. Things were hoppin’ at the Triple Rock. I was so happy to see so many of my friends there. (Did I mention that I was going solo to shows on Valentine’s Day?)

The first band I saw was Vox Vermillion. They were so very good. It’s kind of sad that any redheaded pianist is doomed to an eternity of Tori Amos comparisons, no matter how dissimilar their music is (not that I have anything against Tori; I actually like her a lot). Vox Vermillion’s music should be respected for exactly what it is – unique and beautiful. Their set was dominated by brand new songs. Pretty exciting!

And then the emo band that everyone can agree on – The Swiss Army. Their entire set (with one exception) was also dedicated to new songs. It all sounded great and very energetic. The new songs appeared to be a bit more diverse than the stuff on their debut album, which is a good thing.

Finally, the Tin Horns. What fun! It was good to see people dancing and singing along (even though their album wasn’t even available until last night). I had seen the Tin Horns several times before, but last night marked a new high, and the lively crowd made it even more enjoyable. I’m currently on my fourth time through their new album, “The Champions of Victory.” Very nice.

I now have to give a few words on why cars are no good. I thought it might be convenient to drive my car to the West Bank for the shows last night. The Cedar-Riverside area isn’t too far from my house, but I didn’t really feel like biking home in the slush at 2:00 a.m. (on a borrowed, sub-par bike – the wheels and seat of my good bike were stolen). Well, I discovered that cars do not have the edge. First of all, my roommates, who did ride their bikes, arrived at the 400 Bar immediately before me, even though we left our house at the exact same time. And second of all, I got back to my car at the end of the night to find a $33 parking ticket on my windshield. That hurts me. But I guess that’s what I get. Luckily, thanks to Tin Horns & co., my night wasn’t completely spoiled by the incident.


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Sunday, February 13, 2005


As I previously mentioned, there are certain events that help me realize how thankful I am for my surroundings. The Low show at First Avenue last night was one of those events. I can’t express how grateful I am to have the opportunity to see an incredible show by a band I love in a sold-out venue that I love. Anyway, here’s my synopsis.

Since I was moving a little slow, I arrived about halfway through Pedro the Lion’s set. I still got to see a good chunk, though. As much as I hate to admit it, I actually really enjoyed what I saw. Luckily, since Pedro wasn’t headlining, David Bazan didn’t have time to do his question/answer session. As one audience member yelled, “Less talk, more rock!” (Bazan’s response: “Less talk, more rock? I know a better one than that: ‘fuck off!’”) The highlight of Pedro’s set was definitely their rockin’ cover of Neil Young’s “Revolution Blues” (featuring Alan Sparhawk on guitar).

After Pedro the Lion, the audience was treated to the debut of Low’s new video for “Monkey.” It was a good video. I won’t give it away, though. The excitement in the crowd was evident by the fact that people were applauding the video as if Low had actually just played. I took some time to scan the crowd because I knew a bunch of people who were supposed to be there. But my efforts were futile. First Avenue was packed! It was very difficult to move anywhere. As uncomfortable as it might have been, it was very reassuring to know that so many people would show up to see such beautiful music in a venue that was forced to close its doors just a few months earlier.

There’s been some apprehension about Low’s new stuff since it slightly strays from their formula that we’ve all grown to love over the past ten years. Would they be able to pull it off live? I mean, how do you integrate rock music into a set with songs like “Laser Beam?” Well, they must’ve been doing something right because I’ve never been more satisfied by any Low or Low-related show. They were on last night. Perfect. Any apprehension that the audience might have had was immediately quelled. The new stuff worked so well with the classics. I was amazed at how perfectly the slow, brooding song “Murderer” melded into the rocker “Everybody’s Song.” I couldn’t ask for a better show.

Both Pedro the Lion and Low stated several times how fortunate we are to have First Avenue. Alan Sparhawk mentioned that he had seen life-changing shows at First Avenue, and it would be tragic if we lost it forever. I know exactly how he feels. He urged us to keep coming back.

Let me mention another reason why I love First Avenue: the 7th Street Entry! After the Low show, I crossed over to the Entry to see some killer local music. I got there just in time to hear Passions yelling “TURN OFF THE RADIOHHH!!!” from their song, “Radio” (which, ironically, was their big college radio hit). What a great show, though. They were so much fun. I’d say Passions was the second highlight of the night (behind Low, of course).

Next, I got to see Ela with their all-star lineup. They were very satisfying as well. I’m really glad I bought their album. I’ve listened to it several times today. Impressive.

The Cardinal Sin played last since it was their CD release show. They were entertaining. I’m not yet at a point where I can give an accurate opinion of them. I ran out of money for the night, so I couldn’t get their new album. Plus any money that I do have, I have to save for the Tin Horns’ CD release party tomorrow at the Triple Rock!

Yeah, last night was great. Thank you First Avenue! This town wouldn’t be the same without you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could have been there. We could have had a lovely time and I would have poked you when my favourite songs were played.

10:08 PM

Blogger Lee said...

Awww, thank you, my secret Valentine.

3:05 PM

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8:59 PM

Blogger job said...


7:10 AM

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5:32 AM


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Long Live First Avenue!

Remember November 2nd, 2004? Optimism suffered some very heavy blows. On the national level, we realized that we must endure another four years of a very dangerous administration. November 2nd was a grim day for Minnesota as well. First Avenue, which has been the cultural epicenter of the Twin Cities for the past couple decades, was forced to close its doors.

Somewhere along the line, it became acceptable for giant international corporations (read, Clear Channel) - who have nothing invested in our artistic community, and who care nothing about the history, present, or future of our local culture – to invade our music scene and attempt to set up a monopoly on our venues (not to mention media). For people who still cherished our culture, and for people who still believed that true culture can only come from the local, grassroots level (created by the people who celebrate it, not by distant businessmen who want to package it up and sell it), it was very reassuring to still have an independent powerhouse such as First Avenue. Unfortunately, people and culture are always the underdogs when pitted against money and corporations. Yes, the pressure was even too much for First Avenue to handle.

I have so many fond memories of First Avenue. I’ve been going there ever since I was old enough to go downtown without my parents. I’ve seen some of the most incredible shows of my life there. It’s very likely that, without First Avenue, bands such as Prince, The Replacements, and Hüsker Dü would have never existed (Clear Channel would have never felt the need to nurture those bands). Just try to imagine what American music would be like without the influence of those musicians.

After November 2nd, it was evident that nobody took First Avenue for granted. There was a huge outcry from the community. Nobody wanted to believe that it was over. Twin Citizens, in their state of mourning, were very eager to offer solutions - whether or not they could actually help. Even RT Rybak, the mayor of Minneapolis, promised to do a stage dive if First Avenue reopened.

After two long weeks of grief and concentrated pessimism, a beam of optimism appeared. It was learned that the former managers of First Avenue had acquired the business from the bankruptcy court. First Avenue was going to reopen, and it was in good hands! The Twin Cities breathed a long-awaited sigh of relief. (Rybak went back on his promise to do a stage dive on opening night when he learned that GWAR was playing. However, he did do a stage dive at a later show while The Frogs were playing. Yeah, I’m confused too. The only band that could be more damaging to a respectable reputation than GWAR would surely be The Frogs.)

Why am I writing about this? Because last night, I was reminded once again just how important First Avenue is to me. I’ll write about that experience in my next post. And please, never take your culture and the community that supports it for granted.


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Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Top 3 Lists of 2004


LSSU’s 2004 List of Banished Words
(Click Here to view their explanations.)

  • Metrosexual
  • X
  • Punked
  • Place Stamp Here
  • Companion Animals
  • Bling or Bling-Bling
  • LOL
  • Embedded Journalist
  • Smoking Gun
  • Shock and Awe
  • Captured Alive
  • Shots Rang Out
  • Ripped From the Headlines
  • Sweat Like a Pig
  • In Harm’s Way
  • Hand-Crafted Latte
  • Sanitary Landfill


Top Ten Ways To Mispronounce Barack Obama
(From Late Show with David Letterman)

10. Dalai Lama.
9. Rocky Balboa.
8. Baked Alaska.
7. Lions and Tigers and Barack, Obama!
6. Conan O'Bama
5. Affleck Box Office Bomb-A
4. Jerry Orbach
3. Bahama Mama
2. Jacko's Llama
1. Bandaloop


The Skills That Girls Go For, According to Napoleon Dynamite
(“Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.”)

  • Nunchuck skills
  • Bow hunting skills
  • Computer hacking skills

For a much more complete listing of lists from 2004, check out http://www.fimoculous.com/year-review-2004.cfm

Anyone else know of any lists that can contend with these three? Let me know!


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Friday, February 11, 2005


Reaction #1:

C’mon Pitchfork – the #2 album of the last five years is Jay-Z’s The Blueprint? Really? Why not Justin Timberlake? Why not Nickelback?

So you don’t want to be dismissed as pretentious indie snobs? You want to build your journalism credibility by showing that you can expand into other genres, and that you can review mainstream music with an unbiased eye? Well, that’s very noble of you, but you’re obviously trying too hard.

There already are plenty of music journals out there that people don’t take seriously. Leave the praise of uninspired mainstream artists to them. Pitchfork, the reason why you have such a dedicated readership is because you stay ahead of the game. You keep up with the ever-shifting trends in underground music (and sometimes you create the trends). People come to you to read about innovative and underexposed music – music that is something more than bulk fodder for rampant American consumerism.

So why would you choose to ignore the thousands of underground hip-hop acts that have really pushed the boundaries of the genre – the artists who have made incredible advances by approaching hip-hop from previously unexplored angles? These artists are the reason why hip-hop continues to evolve creatively at an exponential rate. We already read about Jay-Z and Missy Elliott in RollingStone and saw them on MTV. Why would you jump on that bandwagon when, instead, you could be chronicling a very exciting and pivotal era in underground hip-hop?

Your list of the Top 100 Albums of 2000-04 is a bunch of BS. Pull your head out of your ass.

Reaction #2:

Hey look at the albums that made Pitchfork’s list:
The UnicornsWho Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?
Godspeed You Black Emperor!Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
FugaziThe Argument
Broken Social SceneYou Forgot It in People

Haven’t I been telling all you people how amazing these albums are? Some of you doubted me. But now it’s obvious that your skepticism is completely unfounded. After all, Pitchfork agrees with me. This only confirms that I have excellent judgment when it comes to music. You can’t even argue against that fact now.

Thank goodness for Pitchfork’s list of the Top 100 Albums of 2000-04!


My friend Ellie writes, “It is very entertaining to make fun of [Pitchfork’s] pretensions for three minutes and then spend the next five agreeing that one of their choices was really quite spot-on.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I absolutely love lists. When you disagree with an item on a list, it’s so gratifying to criticize the list makers and to show off your superior knowledge and taste. But when you happen to agree with an item on a list, suddenly the list becomes a confirmation and a justification for whatever you believe. You can then use the list to show off your superior knowledge and taste. What fun.

Come to think of it, what this blog needs are some good lists. I think my next post will be a list of some sort. I wonder what it should be. Let me dwell on it for a bit. I’ll get back to you.


Blogger ÍO said...

hey Lee, thnx for visiting my blog. Don't worry, I know my blog is(almost) entirely in spanish, so you don't have to comment on it. I'll just look around once in a while over here and drop a comment if you don't mind. Take care...

5:54 PM

Blogger Thadius said...


6:21 PM

Blogger merkin said...

hey i wasn't even aware pitchfork still had cultural relevance...no really....but then again, did it ever?
i says...
pitchfork is to indie as some punk rock kid attending the diesel afterparty last night.. i mean whatever

im drunk

6:28 PM

Blogger Chase said...

broken social scene rocks.

pitchfork is so pretentious that it sometimes makes me sick to read their crap.

they need to get over themselves.

6:40 PM

Blogger Lee said...

Yes! This is awesome! Rip Pitchfork apart! But I'm telling you, once Pitchfork says something that you agree with, you'll be willing to ignore their pretentiousness and bask in a feeling of vindication.

7:26 PM

Blogger Sofi said...

Thanks for checking out my blog.

I agree with you on Pitchfork. I fucking hate them, but I still read the site every other day.

I think your list should be: Best Lists of 2004.

10:44 AM

Blogger Lee said...

Great idea! I'll get on that right away.

2:43 PM


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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Pictures From the Game

Kate Barnett (#9) - 2 minutes for roughing
Andrea Smith (#1) mocks the ref behind his back

Kate's cheering section from left to right:
Eric, Jared Lutz, and me (and that's my mom in the lower right-hand corner)

[Click on the pictures to make them larger.]

Anyone who's interested can check out more St. Olaf hockey pictures on my dad's website:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww... that's so adorable! What a good brother you are.

11:35 AM


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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Couple of Shows

As spring approaches, the music scene is finally starting to wake up around here. Went to a couple of shows last night.

The first show was at The Whole in Coffman Union. Monarques and The Owls opened up for The New Amsterdams. It was great to see Monarques back in action. I hadn’t seen them since they opened for The Postal Service in 2003 (that might have been their first show). They seem to have a wealth of new material. New to me, at least. Sounded promising.

The Owls - no, not the Tim Kinsella project, and not Melodious Owl (although, I once saw The Owls and Melodious Owl play a show together) – were just fine. A relative of Brian Tighe was having his 13th birthday party. So there were a bunch of little kids sitting campfire style around the stage. Seemed very appropriate for an Owls show.

And then The New Amsterdams. I don’t know what to think about them. I sorta like the idea of countrified emo (Bright Eyes have their moments), but I still need some more convincing about The New Amsterdams. To be honest, I never really followed The Get Up Kids, so I wouldn’t even be able to make an educated comparison. I had to leave a little early because I was very hungry, and I wanted to get over to the Turf Club.

After a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I made my way over to the Turf. The sign outside the door said the show was sold out. That would have been the second time in two weeks that I’ve been turned away from the Turf Club. These high-profile local shows have been getting harder and harder to get into. I wonder if it has anything to do with the new alternative MPR station, 89.3 The Current. That reminds me, I should get Low tickets before it’s too late. Luckily, since I got there kind of late, they were letting people in again.

As I walked in the door, Friends Like These were playing “Karen.” Crazy, I always walk in on them while they’re playing that song. I was a little tired when I got there, but Friends Like These immediately woke me up. Gosh, those guys rock! The rockin’ was cut a little short due to a blown-out amp. Fortunately, they made it through most of their set before it happened (last week, I saw Chariots make it through about three songs before they had to quit due to a broken amp).

Kid Dakota headlined. Wow. I’ve seen Kid Dakota many times, but never with Christopher McGuire behind the drums. And that’s all it was – just Darren Jackson and Christopher McGuire – no Erik Appelwick and no Zak Sally. Granted, Kid Dakota has always had amazing drummers, but Chris is in a league of his own – if not for technique, then for sheer entertainment value. I couldn’t keep my eyes off him the entire show. For anyone who hasn’t seen him, he is the “human” version of the Muppet, Animal. Maybe Kid Dakota realized that they needed to compete against the energetic live shows of the Olympic Hopefuls. Indeed, I have never seen such depressing music played with such unbridled energy.


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Friday, February 04, 2005

St. Olaf - 4 / Augsburg - 1

Just saw the St. Olaf women's hockey team trounce Augsburg. What a great game! Of course, they couldn't have done it without their star player (#9 - Kate Barnett).

In other news, I was able to go jogging today in my shorts. Umm...it's February. Something is totally wrong. This is not the Minnesota that I knew growing up. Yeah, the spring-like weather is nice. But I don't know if global warming is something that should be rejoiced. Kinda scary.


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Thursday, February 03, 2005


I'm sorry, I'm new at this blog thing - I totally forgot to introduce myself. Luckily, the folks at quizilla.com provide well-researched personality tests that are both reliable and informative. I'll let the following quiz result do the talking.

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?
Kip Dynamite

"That's what I'm talking about." I couldn't agree more.


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