Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Last Week In This Snowy Spring Music Season

This week has been trying the patience of even the most stalwart Minnesotans.  On two separate occasions we had substantial snow storms. This last Thursday, April 18th 2013, the Twin Cities Metro received  over 7 inches of snow!  I wrote my last blog post that afternoon before I headed off to see a show at the Whiskey Junction. I bussed to downtown Minneapolis and biked from there to the Kitty Cat Klub, where I had forgotten my Credit Card the night before. 

Snow was spitting cold darts at my face as my bike skidded and slipped around the corners.  Multiple times my bike jolted sideways forcing me to catch the ground with my boots to steady myself and keep from falling.  Unfortunately, as I made my way across the old Washington Avenue pedestrian bridge on the U of M campus, I realized to my utter dismay that somewhere along the way I lost the odometer on my bike!  The crummiest thing about this situation is that I was only 40 miles shy of hitting 3,000 miles!  This is especially significant since I rolled over 2,000 miles January 20th of this year, meaning I've biked 1,000 miles during 3 of the snowiest and coldest months of the year.  I really wanted to get a picture of that accomplishment, but I will have to satiate my ego by writing about it here on my blog.  Including the biking I did during rest of last weekend, I am quite certain I would have hit that mark last Sunday.

But that is enough about my avid winter biking.  When I finally got to the west bank, I found every building along the whole length of Cedar Avenue from the the Red Sea Bar to the Cabooze were all dark and sinister looking because of a power outage.  The world was determined to hamper my efforts further in spite of my recent loss.  The show I planned to see at the Whiskey junction was promoted by Noah Itman, CEO and founder of the new website  The two bands on the bill were Aitas and Space Monster.  Itmusic was planning to film the bands on stage.  Obviously, since the power was out, that was impossible.  Never the less, it was entertaining in the dark and cooling building as the bands gathered their drums on stage and jammed out.  The haunting rhythmic palpitations surged through the dark, elevating the spirits of the dedicated people who traveled through wretchedly slushy and slippery weather to support their friends.  Through conversation in the veil of darkness, I learned the origin of the problem facing the area; apparently, while out having a ciggarette half an hour earlier, a few people heard an explosion and saw a ball of blue flames erupt into the air a block east of the Whiskey Junction.  With that, it became clear the night was likely to end early.  After jamming in the dark for about an hour, the bands finally packed up their gear and prepared to leave, surrendering to the inevitable steady decline of patrons as the air in the bar slowly chilled those brave souls who dared to remain.  Finally, we decided to call it a night.  Then, literally right as I walked into the entry way and opened the door to leave, the power came on.  The few remaining musicians and I grabbed one final drink before heading off to brave the the treacherous roads on our way home.

Although Thursday evening's show was derailed by the weather, this weekend had several other interesting events I attended.  The first of those events was a block party at Hymie's Vintage Records store on Lake Street and 39th Ave in Minneapolis, MN.  Along with discounted records, a live spray-painting artist called Rouge Citizen, a beer garden, and several booths of crafts and artwork, there were a number of bands performing inside the store and on a stage erected outside in the street.  I didn't stay for all the bands, but it was a fun atmosphere and a lively crowd of people ranging from art bloggers, musicians, and hipsters, to suburban families with wide-eyed dancing children.  Everyone enjoyed the block party's festive spectacle. 


Rouge Citizen

After watching a few of the performances, checking out the art, and browsing through some old records, I bumped into a few of my musician friends.  We took off as the outside festivities of the block party started to wrap up in the receding twilight.  

Later that night we would attend an epic punk rock show at the Hexagon Bar.  The frustrated angst of fast and furious punk music accompanied patrons carousing around and looking at local records available from the artists performing that night: The Blind Shake, Spray Paint, The Fuck Yeahs, and Rabbit Holes.  There were also multiple record labels with vinyl records available for purchase: Learning Curve Records, Modern Radio Records, Guilt Ridden Pop, Old Blackberry Way, Double Asterisk, Moon Glyph, and Cat People.  While I didn't get any pictures of the bands, their intensity imbued the bustling crowd with energy, excitement, and anticipation.  One of the most notable songs was a fast and furious repetition of words that went: Michael Jackson Michael Jackson Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson Michael Jackson Michael.  It was an impressive feat of linguistic gymnastics and has stuck with me since that night, yet sadly I'm unsure which band performed the song.  The headlining act was The Blind Shake, an intense local band my friends had specifically come to see.  Overall Record-store day was fun and entertaining.  

On Sunday I had a few events planed to continue my musically saturated weekend,. My plans began with attending a Choral / Bluegrass Concert at a Church in Southwest Richfield, MN.  The Choir was the Carpe Diem Vocal Ensemble and they were Accompanied by a chamber orchestra.  The bluegrass band was called Ginstrings.  As I have eluded to in my past posts, I enjoy all forms of music across the whole spectrum of genres.  So, despite a glaring contrast from the chaotically intense punk music of the previous night, I will include the events I attended consecutively because I am not beholden to the record industry or some strict, formulaic, pigeonholed, perspective towards the local music scene.  

My mother sings in the choir for the church my parents attend.  Their Church choir is linked to the Carpe Diem Vocal Ensemble via their mutual choir director Clark Howard Duhrkopf.  My mother invited our immediate family to see the choir perform because last week they announced Carpe Diem has been chosen to sing at Carnage Hall in New York City next January!  So, since my mother's choir is affiliated with the Carpe Diem Vocal Ensemble, it is possible my mother will be performing with the group next January, because the church group was invited to join the Carpe Diem Vocal Ensemble on stage in New York.  I am so happy for my mother and all her choir friends for getting the chance of a lifetime to perform in Carnegie Hall.  The Choir and their orchestral accompaniement were fun and entertaining.  They included a beautiful brand new piece called Breath by Daniel Roeder, which they had sung for it's world release the night before.  Daniel Roeder was also in attendance, and after hearing the song he wrote, he even sang along with the choir as a soloist for the song Music of Heaven by Jason Robert Brown.  
In between two sets of the Choir, the Ginstrings performed their bluegrass songs.  They were impressively skilled performers.  The Slap bassist kept rhythm beautifully as the banjo plucked speedily away, the Slide guitar swept from note to note, and the violin scurried over it all in harmonious knee slapping good times.

 Later in the evening Sunday, I headed back off to the West Bank again.  There were two shows directly next to one another that I wanted to see .  The shows that night were at Palmer's Bar and across the street at The Nomad World Pub.  

The music started earlier at Palmer's that night than at the Nomad so I dropped in to see Charlie Parr playing before The High Crimes.  They played some more excellent bluegrass and blues music filling the crowded little bar.  The acoustic design of Palmer's lends for some of the best sounding shows in the Twin Cities area, but the small quarters makes it a very tight fit when it's crowded, although the enormous iconic patio in back allows the crowds fresh air if it get's overwhelming inside. 

After listening to Charlie Parr perform for a while, and chatting with some people, I headed into the Nomad to see Mississippi Rising play.  I had seen them once before at the website launch party at The Sound Gallery in Minneapolis and this performance impressed me just as much as that one did.  They aren't as polished as some of the more seasoned bands in the cities, but considering they just started gigging last month I think they have the potential to really draw a crowd as they build their network in the scene.  

After dancing hard to their rocking groves I made my way back across the street to catch The High Crimes who are one of my favorite local bands and a great group of people.  

This was the third week of The High Crimes Sunday residency at Palmer's and a tribute to the Black Crowes.  Their rock holds true to the spirit of long hair, wailing tenor lyrics, catchy riffs, soaring solos, and precise easily danceable rhythms. 

Though I would have loved to stay and catch the whole set by The High Crimes, I was determined to see Black Market Brass perform across the street back at the Nomad World Pub at the same time as The High Crimes.  I had met the core percussion player for Black Market Brass at a few shows in the past and I really wanted to see what they had to offer.  I was very pleased when I arrived, because in stark contrast to the cramped and crowded atmosphere of Palmer's, the crowd at the Nomad was thin.  Normally this would be a bad thing for the band.  However, as I have mentioned before, I absolutely love to dance and in situations like this it is ironically the best case scenario for me despite a lack of drink revenue for the bar and band, because I get so much room to dance around.  Their music was wonderfully danceable and flowed from Latin rhythms to reggae infused ska and around to smooth rock.  It's fun to see a full band determined to include a diversity of musical instruments to fill out the sound in different ways, even though the space was rather tight with all of them on stage at once.  That proved their talent as their cramped quarters on stage didn't hinder their ability to keep the patrons dancing, grooving, and moving to their songs.

There is one last event I have to include from this last week in the snowy spring music season.  On Monday night April 22, 2013, after a weekend of wonderful musical entertainment, I biked and bussed through yet another snowstorm to Honey in northeast Minneapolis.  The opening act for the night was a wonderfully mellow and melancholy acoustic singer song writer Joshua Kloyda. That was followed by another great performance from The Jelly Project.  Then the night was finished off by the birthday boy getting on stage with his band The Lone Crows.  The show was a birthday celebration for Tim Barbeau the lead singer and guitar player for The Lone Crows, a band I have written about before and who keep delivering awesome blues rock to the Minneapolis Music scene.  This is a young band of dedicated musicians bound for big things.  Tim just turned 21 and all his bandmates are similarly youthful.

I am so happy that he will finally be able to attend all of the other local Minneapolis bands' shows he previously wouldn't be able to attend unless he was performing.  I feel that is one of the great constraints on live local music's accessibility; people under age are excluded from attending most local music shows simply because most of the establishments where musicians can get booked are 21 plus.  Although some people, like myself, are constantly seeking out new experiences and exploring where the world will take them by seeking out new music, I know that once people turn 21 many of them have already gotten into their life groove.  Thus, unless people have friends in bands, most people ignore the burgeoning music scene because by the time they turn 21 they have already found what they value for entertainment in their life, whether it be going to movies, watching TV, playing video games, going to quite dinners, or anything else in the world.  I think it would be good to include more youth in the local music scene in some way to integrate all the local music that goes under appreciated by the millions of people who live here.  On that, I must wrap this up and get prepared to head off to a show tonight at the Driftwood Char Bar for a fun free night of music by Peregrine Perspective and Mississippi Rising (One of the Bands I saw last Sunday night)

Happy Birthday Tim

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Late April Snow Storms and Oh Such Cold Showers

I have been to two shows since the last time I wrote a post.  Again, let me clarify that my blog is not pretending to be a comprehensive look at the whole of the local music scene, because there is so much great music to be appreciated that goes unnoticed for so many varieties of reasons.  What I am trying to do is write about the musicians I run into, hear about, seek out, or by any other means come in contact with myself.  This is a catalog of my experiences in the local music scene.  From that, I would like to bring attention to the people I meet who I know are deserving of more acknowledgment than they receive from the media on the national scene.  

This last weekend I attended the 21st Art Exhibit Opening for Cause Spirit and Sound Bar in the Lynn-Lake Neighborhood just east of Uptown Minneapolis on Saturday April 13th, 2013.  The artists featured in the exhibit are Damon Rowley, Andy Lefton, Dan Wieken, Nathan Graves, Erin Sayer, and Tony Rydell.  From Dark Surrealistic abstract paintings, to intricately enveloping pen drawings, and a few colorful pop culture references, the art hung above the crowds as people surged and ebbed through the night's festivities.  The heavy rock vibes of the bands lined up to play brought the house a torrential harmony of musical rhythm.  

Not pictured: Torch the Spires

Droids Attack Photo taken by Matthew Sudduth
Droids Attack Photo taken by Matthew Sudduth
Droids Attack Photo taken by Matthew Sudduth

Tonnage - photo taken by Matthew Sudduth
Red Desert - photo taken by Matthew Sudduth

The second show I attended this week was a birthday celebration for a young musician friend of mine who turned 24 this year.  Tyler Coenen is an integral part of the artistic core of the bands Space Cats and Nice Beaches.  His sometimes soaring, sometimes haunting, and always expressive rythmic permutations keep the sounds changing and evolving along with their style.  Their debut album in the works is familiar to me from many of their shows and jam sessions with the artists.  A friend after this last show put it best by saying that, where their sound once had obviously interesting creative elements yet was not as polished, it now sounds like a band who's sound is coming together into it's full potential.  With the recent addition of bassist Ben Zeise, the sound has filled out into a robust and hearty new iteration of this band's colorful energy and enthusiasm.  As a side note, the current background picture from this blog I took at his studio during a jam this winter.  
 Along with some awesome covers and interesting original music from the first band of the night The Cheap Thrills, the night was finished off by a performance from 3/4 of the lone crows.  Thanks again guys for an awesome show. 
Not pictured: Cheap Thrills

As this month progresses more shows come into view on the horizon.  We are slowly waiting to finally thaw out of this prolonged winter.  We thought things were starting to wind up for the spring over the last couple of weeks, but that was just nature taunting us a little.  This week we have substantial snowfall coming again.  It is now the second half of April!  Although we have had some April showers, I am not sure if they truly count when the air temperature seems strangled at the 40 degree mark and unable to squeeze out a consistently warm breath of air.  So despite having had people eagerly walking the streets and soaking up the warm sun in the balmy 40 degree weather of the last couple of weeks, Minnesotans have retreated once again into their shells to await the return of seasonably reasonable weather.  To cater to this reclusiveness, I suggest people check out the dance videos I posted to Youtube over the winter.  A naturally good place to start is my M83 - Midnight City dance video, so here it is for your viewing pleasure. 


With that I will bid you all adieu for the moment.  I have another show to prepare for tonight and then several more events this weekend.  Check back soon for more about the Minneapolis local music scene.  In the spirit of writing about an art exhibit I will leave you with a self portrait I made recently.  Thanks again for your interest in the local music scene.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Last Weekend's Events and Those to Come Soon

Today is Tuesday April 9, 2013.  Tonight I plan to go to a Kareoke contest at Tailgate Sports Cafe right by my apartment in south Minneapolis next to the intersection of highway 62 and 35 W.  Though spring is still silently stalking us somewhere in the future, the music season here is really starting to ramp up as band after band announce new CD's and shows.  I'm really excited to enjoy this year.

Last night I went to a show at Honey in Northeast Minneapolis, MN.  I missed the opening act, but the bands I saw were Moving Parts and Air Taiwan.  I came with a couple friends who I had run into earlier and whom suggested to me the show at Honey for the dancy music that would ensue. 

Moving Parts were an incredible new local band just fresh out of college at The Institute of Production and Recording (IPR).  Their music was fantastic dancy groves to keep me moving.  The bartender even doubed me fantastic dancing Matt, I was very fond of his compliment.  Although I was the only person dancing most of the night, I enjoyed it thoroughly.  I'm not like most people who feel awkward to be alone, or close to it, on the dance floor.  So ironically though it's kinda unfortunate for the bands who would love people to move with them, I actually thrive and like when that happens even though it would be fun if other people joined in.  None the less it was incredibly fun and entertaining music.  Additionally, their new album just came in.  Though the show was not billed as their official release party, which will happen soon I imagine, I got myself a copy of their new album and I must say it is thoroughly as lively and dancy as the show!  These guys will be a fun band to follow and see in the future.  I'm sure to be making it out to more of their shows in the future.

After The Moving parts came Air Taiwan.  They kept the mood just as lively and energetic again in spite of most everyone not dancing.  I used all the space that wasn't being used and had a ball dancing around to their awesome groves.  Along with some excellently chosen covers from several decades of popular music, they had excellent new music of their own to bring their energy into the world.  I know my fellow Minnesotans, while mostly not dancing, save a couple here and there, were none the less soaking up the music in their own ways and enjoying the vibes as they washed over them.

This last Sunday I had a fun game of Munchkin Fu, a table top card game, with my family.  Wondering why this is relevant?  It's not to music.  But it was fun none the less =P  It also shows a little of my inner nerdyness.  I LOVE music.  But I appreciate a lot of things other people feel awkward acknowledging, like watching the TV shows Glee, Smash, and Nashville.  I like all forms of musical entertainment, wheither it be an A Capella group, a ska band, musical theater, the opera, some local funk metal, a garage band with aspirations of being something more than what anyone expects of them, and everyone in between.  The world is full of people searching for meaning, but so few realize that everyone's searching in their own way and sometimes get bogged down in the silly little things in life that tie us up from day to day instead of fully enjoying the moment like we feel compelled somewhere deep inside to.  That's why I dance, I'm not afraid of people judging me.  I'm not doing it for the people who are going to be negative to me, I'm doing it for myself, the band, and the people who are feeling the vibes like I am.  It's so much fun.

I should also mention I had a great night at The Sound Gallery again this last Saturday night April 6th 2013.  I got to see Sean Anonymous Spit some sick lyrics.  I enjoy his high speed and interestingly rhythmic rapping poetic stories.  He is certainly one of my favorite local rappers in the cities who goes somewhat under-appreciated but performs impressively.  It also helps that hes a really nice dude too.

Saturday was the center peak for the weekend's awesomeness with a great group of people gathering to listen to music and socialize into the early hours of the morning.  The DJ for the music in the bar was an awesome guy I recent met who happens to be founder and CEO for a new music website built on a philosophy of meritocracy and interactivity based influence rather than pay for play influence.  It's an interesting concept and I think it's worth reiterating from my earlier post, since the site is currently in development so it's invite only.  However, if you want to get in on the ground level you can go to the website and request an invitation by entering your e-mail at

So what's to come in the near future?  This Saturday April 13th I am planning to go to the 21st art exhibit opening show at Cause Spirit and Sound Bar at Lyn-Lake in Minneapolis.  I bumped into Tony Rydell, the Curator of the exhibit for Cause, while I was at The Sound Gallery this last Saturday.  They always have an impressive array of local art they display, it's something equally to be appreciated in my eyes just as music, or dance, or any other form of entertainment.

Beyond that, on April 22 my friend who is the great musician that is the lead singer and one of the two guitar players for the band The Lone Crows will be turning 21 years old.  He also plays in a band called Hot Damn!, who will also be playing that night.  Oh, and the exclamation point is part of the band name, so yes that was intentionally awkward looking grammar.  To top off the nights festivities The Jelly Project will also be playing.  So essentially, two of the bands from the last show I posted a blog about and the additional band from the birthday man will be rocking the house with their awesome blues, rocking bass riffs, shredding guitar licks, killer drum beats, and clear ringing vocal energies.

Later still on Saturday April 27th The Jelly Project will be playing with Fuzzy Machete, Up Jumped the Devil, and I Am Fuzz.  Fuzzy Machete are another epic rock and roll band of girls who kick that rock up a notch and make me dance.

May 4th 2013 will be Sabastian Love' Birthday party. He is the force behind Bad Medicine Productions.  There will be 13 bands playing on two stages at The Sound Gallery.  This will certainly be an epic fun night of music to remember.  The list of bands from Voodoo, The Japhies, The Wives, and Francecamp for certain I know already.  I am excited to hear and see all the bands at this epic music gathering.  21+


★ Voodoo — ≈ 10:00pm

★ PENNYROYAL — ≈ 11:00pm

✤ Hᴏᴛ Dᴀᴍɴ! — ≈ 12:00am

★ The Japhies — ≈ 1:30am

★ Dem Atlas — ≈ 2:30am

★ The Set — ≈ 3:30am

★ Danger Ron & The Spins — ≈ 4:30am

BAR STAGE featuring DJ Naughty Wood all night! (

★ Patrick Callan — ≈ 10:30pm

★ The Wives — ≈ 11:30pm

★ Big Dylan, Chantz, Taylor and Unfuh Qwittable of Audio Perm — ≈ 1:00am

★ KiDs LiKe Us — ≈ 2:00am

★ France Camp [solo] — ≈ 3:00am

★ Chants & Seas — ≈ 4:00am

♆ Photo Booth by Patrick McCutchan (
♆ Visual Projections by VJ Mach FoX (
♆ Live Art! (details to come)

☆☆☆For A Complete List Of Shows☆☆☆

Of course those are simply the ones I have invites for this early on.  I will likely be going to many more shows, and blogging about those experiences as well.  So look forward to more musical musings from me Dancing Matt Sudduth in the future.

There is one last thing I would like to add, although it is not related to music.  A former coworker and friend of mine Celine Kitzenberg is preparing for a half marathon run on Sunday June 2, 2013 and she is looking for support to help raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  She has been blogging about her progress as she prepares to take on the task of running 13.1 miles for a race.  Please donate to a worthy cause, it is always a good thing to be charitable.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Night Full of Musical Energy at the Triple Rock Social Club In Minneapolis, MN

Last night was the show I have been waiting for weeks to see.  It was a fantastic lineup of high energy local bands.

The opening band for the night was La Madness a local band who've found a decent following in California and have plans to dive from the springboard of our strong supportive local music community into the tank of sharks and big fish that is the west coast music scene.  They currently modestly hold the #2 spot on the website in Minneapolis, MN for the Indie / Rock / Blues category.  Their clear and clean riffs, vocals, and drums set the bar for the night's musical standard, and that bar was held high by both the bands who followed. 

The second act was a local band who are about to release their remastered debut album in Europe this next week thanks to the German record label that picked up this rising star and is intent to place it on the old growth tree of European musical competition.  The crowd also showed that Europe is not the only place these young talented musicians are gaining ground.

The night was finally crowned by the high energy rocking power of The Jelly Project, who were fresh and bursting with energy after having several weeks off since performing in Austin, TX last month at the South By South West music festival.

Although this wasn't the only show going on yesterday in Minneapolis even on the west bank alone, none the less I spent my whole night at the Triple Rock Social Club intermittently dancing, taking pictures, socializing, and enjoying the music.  A common theme of discussion in between sets was how saturated our scene is with incredible local music.  Almost every night of every week at multiple venues throughout town there are talented bands playing different types of music.  We are actually quite spoiled here in Minneapolis because there are so many great musicians, yet the scene is mostly intimate and filled with other musicians who enjoy the vibrancy and diversity of music we have in the Twin Cities.  Also, the vast majority of musicians in the scene are so appreciative and supportive toward one another that the camaraderie is palpable in the air.  As I walked through the crowd I saw dozens of local musicians who came out to support their friends' success, which is truly the most dynamic and enthusiastic support starving artists could hope for.  Thanks for an awesome show guys.