Friday, March 29, 2013

My Entrance Onto the Twin Cities Local Music Scene

Well, now that I feel I have sufficiently given my readers a basic understanding of my music experiences prior to entry into the local music scene, I will endeavor to describe my entrance onto the scene. I should begin with how I came to be in close proximity to musicians again.

I finally transferred to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus to begin my upperclassman coursework in Political Science after finishing my general education requirements at a litany of places.  I transferred to the U of M, Twin Cities from Normandale Community College, and before that Minneapolis Community and Technical College.  Of course I also completed some general education courses at the University of Minnesota, Morris directly after graduating high school a little over a decade ago, which is where I brought things up to in my last blog post.

For my first semester at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the spring of 2009, I took the city bus every day from my parent's house in Bloomington, MN to downtown Minneapolis and transferred buses or biked from there to campus on the west bank of the University.  I had moved back in with my parents six months prior because of an unfortunate incident with a former roommate.

That changed in the summer of 2009.  I decided to rent a house with my brother and one of his high school friends, who I had known briefly in high school before he and my brother graduated in the year 2000.  We found a nice house near Dinkytown just off Como Ave and moved in just before the 2009-2010 school year started.  I was incredibly excited to be near campus and involved with the school community again.  I love being around the energy, openness to new opportunities, and wanderlust  that people espouse in their early college years.  Additionally, despite having a rather reclusive and loner lifestyle when at home, I thoroughly enjoy and thrive in large social gatherings.  I am the opposite of an agoraphobe.  So, when I found out that my next door neighbors had a band called Strategem Wyle, I was eager to see them perform. 

Strategem Wyle are no longer together, but their show at the Fine Line Music Cafe that year was one of the first times I started to get involved with the local music scene.  Soon after that show Strategem Wyle broke up.  Nathan Reeder and Jess Skadburg, the members of Strategem Wyle who lived next to me, then got a new lead singer and started a band called The Amnesiatics, who also have broken up since then.  Regardless, I started regularly following my friends to their shows around town to support their music.  One important caveat I should include is that when I attend a show I do not come for only the hour or so my friends' bands are on stage.  I come early to see the opening act and stay the whole night to appreciate all the bands.  Each night I was introduced to new local bands striving to entertain the placid Minnesota crowds in fun and interesting venues around town.  My music world slowly expanded as I became friends with more and more musicians in the local music scene.

If you have never been to a small local music show in the Twin Cities, then I should paint for you a picture to explain why I called the crowds placid.  Minnesotans are not easily enthused and often actively avoid participating in the music via dancing.  This is not to say that they are disinterested.  On the contrary, Minnesotans listen very keenly to the music and tend to appreciate it on a cerebral level.  This certainly isn't unique to Minnesota, but it is none the less a rather pervasive element of our scene.  However, I am the opposite.  I love to be the first one on the dance floor so that I can feed back the energy these starving artist give to their blase audiences.  Additionally, musicians appreciate so thoroughly anyone who is willing to break out of their calloused shell of antipathy toward embarrassment and disengage from the fear of standing out, that they will welcome with open arms and open hearts anyone who goes against the socially stigmatized grain.  Thus, I became acquainted with hundreds of local musicians in Minneapolis and Saint Paul simply due to my unwillingness to let fear control me.

I want this blog to extend that interaction beyond the microcosms of appreciation I give to local musicians at their shows so that I can help my friends transcend the systemic difficulties inherent in the antiquated and draconian main stream music industry.  There is so much under appreciated talent in the Twin Cities that I want to share with the world.  They are often not as polished and shiny as an international act who comes through and sells out a show to thousands of sheeple packed shoulder to shoulder with hardly room to breath let alone dance  in the Target Center or Excel Energy Center, but the gritty realness of the passion these musicians have for their work makes the experience far more intimate and engaging.  Additionally, it doesn't matter what type of music you are into, the plethora of musicians in our cities span the whole spectrum of music.  All it takes is a little investment of time and energy to seek out the artists you appreciate and the key to the gates of the vast Twin Cities music scene will be yours.  It is my goal for this blog to help guide people into the live music scene so that they can appreciate all the different types of musical experience available just outside the gates of our digitally caged lives. 

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