I Was There
KVSC's Concert Diary
Welcome to one of the newest features here at kvsc.org, "I Was There" is a way for our staff and listeners to share their experiences from shows and festivals they have recently attended. Listeners can share their feedback here by filling out this submission form and posting their stories.
Eric Wheeler was there...
The Flaming Lips @ First Avenue - July 16, 2014
The Flaming Lips is the greatest live act on the planet. My experience seeing them up close at First Avenue was like none other. This was my third time seeing them, but my first time getting up to the front row. Hands down the best show I've seen in my life--including 30+ shows at First Avenue. I can't even explain the incredible energy put out by The Flaming Lips and the energy from the sold out crowd at one of Rock and Roll's greatest venues.
I went by myself and by the time The Flaming Lips played "The W.A.N.D." I was hugging and high-fiving everyone around me. Confetti, glitter, fog, strobes, Wayne Coyne in his signature giant bubble... The only way to understand what goes on at a Lips show is to go experience it for yourself. Wayne announced during the show that they plan on doing at least two more shows at First Avenue before the year is over. I suggest buying your tickets as soon as they go on sale and experience this for yourself--I'm sure you'll find me on the front row giving out sweaty hugs with a huge smile and confetti plastered to my face.
Jesse Wheeler was there...
The Replacements with The Hold Steady and Lucero at Midway Stadi @ Saint Paul, MN - September 13, 2014
On September 13th, 2014, Lucero kicked things off with Ben Nichols of the band greeted the crowd, saying, “The Hold Steady and the Replacements? We’re just glad they let us join the party.” Lucero’s sublime brand of southern roots rock strongly resembles The Band in their heyday. Handling their set with songs about heartbreak and redemption, the Memphis horn section whetted the appetite of things to come in their 30 minute set. Upon leaving the stage, they expressed their thanks and you could tell they were just as excited to see things unfold as the crowd was.
The Hold Steady came out as the fire read sky turned to a cinder gray. The band did many songs that punctuated the local flavor that Craig Finn had experienced as a youth in his song “Southtown Girls” as well as other favorites including “Changing Stations”. After six albums The Hold Steady, despite being formed in Brooklyn, NY, still have many songs placing homage to the Twin Towns and their haunts in a wink and nod fashion. This hit the mostly local crowd fondly. Upon finishing their 35 minute set, Finn expressed his thanks and even kind of geeked out saying; “I’ll spare you the hysterics but for a guy who grew up here this is literally a dream come true, The Replacements are up next.”
The stadium lights faded as 60’s Minneapolis garage rockers The Trashmen song “Surfing Bird” blasted from the PA as yet another local flavor was added to an already proud night for Minnesotans. The stage lights blinded the crowd as The ‘Mats launched into “Favorite Thing” from Let It Be. Rocketing through 27 songs in an hour’s time, Westerberg and company spared no expense of themselves to put out a wonderful cross-section of the bands seminal songs, as well as B-sides, rarities, and yes, covers ranging from Chuck Berry to the Jackson 5. Upon the one hour mark, they left the stage thanking the crowd, only for Westerberg to return a few minutes later easing into “Skyway”, a ballad that was him with an acoustic guitar bathed in a single spotlight making the crowd swoon, including myself. After which, he shook off the calm with “Left of the Dial, a nod to the college stations who kept the home fires burning, and the rapid fire “Alex Chilton” of which they performed on the Tonight Show just a couple of days prior.
The visibly exhausted band walked off yet again and for a few more minutes left people wondering if the stadium lights were about to come back to life, signaling the end of the show. Westerberg had one more in him though as he was barely able to croak “Unsatisfied”. Once he was finished, they waved to the crowd and Stinson and Westerberg embraced out of both fatigue and gratitude for a fond homecoming that was over 20 years in the making. As the mass of people left the stadium, there were smiles all around and yet an inclination of sadness. Midway Stadium was going to fall after many sports memories as well as musical memories. The ragtag scamps out of Minneapolis that Rolling Stone described as “The greatest band that never was” had made the last memory at Midway unforgettable.
Joseph Ohotto was there...
Peter Yarrow @ Hopkins Center for the Arts - April 27, 2013
Seeing Peter Yarrow from Peter Paul and Mary was a very surreal event. He is truly a national treasure, a story teller and a heartfelt and compassionate man. From getting the kids (the patrons under the age of 40) up on stage to sing Puff the Magic Dragon, to singing a song about his colon, to joining him in an encore of blowing in the wind, he transcended that barrier of just being at a concert to making us really feel we were part of the show. Thank you KVSC for getting me there!
Woodrow Pickett was there...
FLAVOR CRYSTALS!!! @ Keller Bar - February 27, 2013
Best show I've seen in St Cloud in years! Flavor Crystals played the middle set at The Keller Bar on 2-23-13, but stole the show!! Great stuff! I gazed at my shoes in total awe! Stay low. Woodrow
Shane Cotter was there...
Bassgasm @ First Avenue - July 13, 2013
I went to Bassgasm at First Avenue and it was AWESOME. There were 5 DJ acts playing simultaneously in different areas of the club. The music styles ranged from Jungle to drum and bass to dub and house, techno and trance. Everyone was decked out in neon club clothes and rave light jewelry. There were interesting odors all over the place. You could totally feel the bass in your entire body! It was a blast to be back on my college stomping ground.
Shane Cotter was there...
Psychedelic Furs @ First Avenue - September 12, 2013
The Psychedelic Furs take Minneapolis! When I bought my first CD in 1989 I became disillusioned with live performances. Pressing repeat on a CD player got me to know the music so well I was disappointed at concerts if the bands didn't sound like the studio produced album. On September 12 I saw the Psychedelic Furs at First Avenue. It sounded SO GOOD that I fell in love with live performances again. The cherry on top of the sundae was that the tickets were free. Thanks KVSC! I love you guys.
Dan DeBaun was there...
Winstock 2013 @ Winstead MN - June 11, 2013
I'm not a huge country music fan but was offered free tickets with my internship if I came along and helped out. The camping/music festival scene was awesome and I met a ton of great people. I got to meet and take a picture with .38 Special (My favorite group there, classic rock rules!) Also saw Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Neal McCoy, Kip Moore, and Luke Bryan.
Shane Cotter was there...
Devendra Banhart @ Mill City Nights - June 11, 2013
Devendra's Band opened the show and they were wonderful. Mill City Nights was very warm! Devendra waited an hour after the opening band but he was of course worth the wait. My date remarked that he thought of David Byrne when Devendra gesticulated. Only a person immersed in their craft can transport you from the noisy smelly teenage throng to another world. Thanks dude.
Brent Steward was there...
Frankenstein Brothers @ First Avenue - April 17, 2012
When I got to the concert I caught the last song by That 1 Guy, which is literally his name. Then Buckethead come out 10 to 15 mins later to do what he does best, shred the guitar!!! This is the second time I have seen Buckethead and he is amazing. You have to appreciate how fast he does play the guitar and flawlessly. He never talks but speaks with his guitar. Then That 1 guy took the stage with Buckethead and which they call themselves Frankenstein Brothers. The combination of the crazy sounds of That 1 Guy and Buckethead were overwhelming in a great way. I was blown away by their sound and their performance. They are both phenomenal artists and to see them both on stage together is a beautiful thing. One bad thing about the concert was that about halfway through Buckethead, a mash pit forced my friends and I to the back. All this was thanks to KVSC!!!!
Brian Fergen was there...
Asteroids Galaxy Tour @ 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis - February 9, 2012
Excellent show in a packed small venue. The opener was the Vacationers from Philly. Definitely going to be popular. Eclectic grooves with tight drumming and an electro-pop feel. The danish Asteroids played back to back hits that I recognized from the radio, and one especially (Around the Bend) that was picked up by a US television show, a movie, and for beer commercials. The band was all energy, and was grooving to the Minnesota audience (just about everyone was dancing). They played a double encore. The band had horns in the back and the drummer was up stage right and had plenty of cowbell. Vocalist Mette Lindberg was phenomenal. Unusual and voice coupled with a lot of personal contact with the audience melded with the grooves and created a rhythmic momentum that did not stop for an hour plus. This was a real rock show where the performers really played for the crowd. I love it when first rate bands play small venues like this. Thank you KVSC for the guest passes.
Eric Hapka was there...
Wye Oak & Explosions In The Sky @ First Avenue - October 10, 2011
After getting down there late because the Wells Fargo ATM ate my debit card, I saw Explosions In The Sky play an amazing 90 minute show. At some points I thought the venue was going to collapse from the overwhelming guitar pounding, and at some points you could almost hear a pin drop over the very gentle, soft melodies. During one of the quiet parts, I yelled "I LOVE THIS BAND!" I am pretty sure the entire venue heard me, because everybody started cheering.
Ashli Gerdes was there...
Motion City Soundtrack @ First Avenue - October 28, 2010
This concert was amazing. Valencia took the stage at 5:30, followed by Saves the Day, and Say Anything. All of the opening acts were great live! Motion City Soundtrack took the stage at about 8:30. The lead singer was probably one of the nicest people I've ever met. He stayed after the show to meet everyone that came out to see them! I had a great time ... Thank you KVSC!
Rachael G. was there...
Popsickle @ First Avenue - December 18, 2010
So many great bands! Foxy Shazam is my new favorite live act, everyone needs to see these guys, they seriously put on a great show! And Motion City Soundtrack was amazing as always! Thanks for the guest passes!
XAkk G. Asphodel was there...
Social Distortion @ First Avenue Main Room - October 12, 2010
Frank Turner, an English folky punk kid (mid-20's to me is still a kid, and he confirmed this) brought a fun, not too long, opening set. I'd listen to his stuff again, but something holds me back from really being excited. Lucero... well, I wish they were good, so that's all I'll say. The front man had smoked a little too much of himself, I think. Social Distortion, as always, was solid. Mike Ness, now an elder statesman, came out looking like a sort of 1880s lawyer/undertaker, but quickly removed his overcoat and rocked the rest of the show in his now-signature A-shirt over white oxford and high-waisted pants with suspenders.
The classics ruled the set list, starting with "The Creeps" and a good mix of all eras. They only played two off the new album, due out in January (Feb?), and I was disappointed (only mildly - it IS Mike Ness, after all) that they replaced their usual closer of "Story of my Life" with their cover of June Carter Cash's "Ring of Fire" (don't let anyone fool you - Johnny made it famous, but June wrote that brilliance!).
A great way to spend a sweaty, loud evening out in the middle of a crowd of fairly diverse strangers and friends - since the band is 31 years old and still rockin', I'll take my inspiration and keep runnin' it punk rock style!
Aaron Kieffer was there...
Rebelution @ Fine Line Music Café - November 11, 2010
On Nov. 11, 2010 a reggae concert took place at the Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis. The show began at 8:30 p.m. and continued for the next five hours. All three of these bands are from California and are succeeding in the Cali-style reggae scene. Cali-style is a genre of reggae that mixes rock-steady, punk, roots, reggae and dub. Dub is a style where electronic effects are added, mainly reverb and echo to drums, keyboards or guitar. Traditional dub has minimal vocals and is driven by the bass line. Rock-steady dub has a more aggressive/heavy guitar sound and incorporates more vocals.
Tribal Seeds played a set for only half an hour, but the audience was gripped by their sound. More on the rock-steady dub style of reggae the sound was very captivating. Passafire was on next and played for about an hour and a half. The style that this band played could be placed under rock-steady roots with slight influence from California punk and just a taste of dub. Distortion on the guitar was heavier to give the audience an ‘in-your-face’ feel but let the crowd know they meant no harm by making nice transitions into the groovy riffs of reggae.
At last the headliners took the stage around 10:30 p.m. Rebelution is a very well known band and the audience was ecstatic before the band started to play. Roots reggae and rock-steady is the style this band mainly expels. The audience knew most of the words to most of their songs which made it easy to tell how much the crowd was into the performance. It was a great show!
Jason Henderson was there...
Ra Ra Riot at Varsity Theater @ Varisity Theater - October 7, 2010
This was my first time at Varsity Theater and wow was it awesome. The entrance is like an old movie theater but the rest of the place was so cool. Wrap around seating and the bathrooms upstairs were kind of confusing but really awesome decor. The Ra Ra Riot show was so amazing. They are a band of six and two of the band members are women who just rock the stage with one who plays the violin and the other on cello. My gosh, if any kid ever says they wanna be a rocker but think they cant because they play a cello or violin then they must see this band. I hate to be obsessed with the females in this band but their artistic presence makes this band. So refreshing to see a band that is more than a singer, bass and a drummer. My favorite songs would have to be "Boy" and "You and I Know." The track "You and I Know" is sung by the cellist and omg if I wasn't glamored while hearing this live. Such an amazing preformance. Oh and by the way, I won the tickets to this show. So glad I did not miss it. Next awesome band at Varsity Theater, I am there!
Derek Ehlert was there...
Nas & Damian @ First Avenue - September 6, 2010
As many Labor Day picnics were rained out, we were smart enough to hydro-plane through the blinding downpour on 94. But, the show chased our clouds away. The show opened with the Evil Genius himself, DJ Green Lantern scratching cuts of some of their most memorable solo work. This prompted the respected duo to step out on stage to "Tribal Wars" backed by a live band, back-up singers (who were breaking it like they were in the back of a dance-hall), the Jamaican Flag waver and DJ Green Lantern to further symbolize the fusion of the two genres. Its raucous energy only intensified as they continued to play songs off their album such as "Dispear," "Nah Mean," and "Leaders" to name a few. Then, each headliner had their own solo set, which only showed how magnificent each of their careers are such as Nas performing "Made You Look" and transitioning to Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock." And of course, they left the stage after performing "Africa Must Wake Up" complete with a killer guitar solo, only to return for an encore with "As We Enter." After two hours of performing to a impassioned sea of fans, they closed the show with "Could You Be Loved," which would have made Bob proud. All I can say is when they come to a town near you, you better buy tickets, stay tuned to KVSC for guest passes, sneak in the back, do whatever it takes because it will be utterly unforgettable. Thanks again KVSC.
Scooter Wheeler was there...
Spring Skaward Tour @ The Cabooze, Mpls - March 4, 2010
This was a show that featured a couple of legends in Ska music. Fishbone has every bit of action and energy they have had for years. Angelo Moore was feeding off the crowd so well and projecting it back--it was magic. Dave Wakeling, the legend from the 80's Ska/New Wave movement was a wonder to see. He performed many singles from the old beat albums as well as his single from his stint with General Public, "Tenderness." The Cabooze served for a great venue for such a show. It was awesome and I thank KVSC for the rad guest passes!
Dave Rausch was there...
Regina Spektor @ State Theatre - September 11, 2009
Thanks to the lovely KVCS I was able to go to this event! The opening act (I didn't even realize there was going to be one) was "Little Joy." They were absolutely fabulous. The mix of modern indie and 50's style of harmony just sucked me right in. After they played I needed to smoke, yeah, it was that good. Then the beautiful Regina Spektor took stage and she just blew me away. She sang every one of her songs so perfectly; it was amazing. I don't remember her exact lineup of songs, but there was one where she played the guitar. She was a bit rusty with that instrument, but was backed by a cello and violin to fill up the rest of the theater with love. "Apres Moi," and her other darker song "Hooked into Machine" were my personal favorites of the night. Sung with complete passion, which is the way it should be done! I will never understand how she can rock out a wooden chair with a drumstick while playing piano and singing, but she totally did. It was an amazing show and I'd recommend seeing her next time she’s in town!
James T was there...
First Communion Afterparty, Sleepy Sun & Daughters of the Sun @ The 7th Street Entry - April 2, 2009
While most of the hipsters were dancing to Ladytron in the 1st Ave Mainroom, a mind-melting psychedelic journey was taking place in the smaller 7th St Entry. The show started with the relatively new local psych-rockers Daughters of the Sun. The four-piece group's set was driven by solid percussion, ambient backing vocals, and lush, beautiful guitar. The band's song "Whale's Blood" was a personal favorite of mine. They played absolutely wonderfully and did a great job of setting the mood for this tripped-out evening. San Francisco's Sleepy Sun hit the stage next with an amazing set of sweltering blues driven psychedelia. Lead vocalist, Ben, and the group's backing vocalist, Rachael, had matching war paint on their faces, and they spent most of the set dancing around the stage, propelling the instrumental madness surrounding them. Lying somewhere between Black Mountain and Dead Meadow with a sprinkle of Neil Young, the band truly blew me away, playing most of the tracks on their debut full length, Embrace. First Communion Afterparty erupted onto the stage, happy to be back home in Minnesota. Since they were the only band without sun in their name, it came as no surprise to hear them belting out vocals about the fiery ball in the sky. About halfway through their set, the band did a phenomenal version of "Green Turns to Gold." However, the highpoint was definitely the final number. The band played a mind numbingly awesome jam ranging somewhere around 20 minutes. All in all, it was very sunny night at the 7th Steet Entry, and one of the most solid shows I've seen in the past couple of years.
James T was there...
Mercury Rev @ Fine Line Music Cafe - December 12, 2008
I arrived at the show just in time to catch the end of the Duke Spirit's set, and they seemed pretty good. I was not prepared for the mind-blowingly awesome show that was to come. Mercury Rev were truly brilliant. Never before have I seen a show that was this great. An incredible light show and crazy visuals projected behind the band added to their performance. At one point a giant dove appeared on the screen, and from where I was standing only the wings were visible. Jonathan Donahue appeared to have a set of giant wings growing out of him. This may be the closest I have ever come to a religous experience, and I am relatively certain that if anyone was under the influence of any mind-altering substances they probably could have seen God at this concert. The band played an extrordinary two song encore ending with "The Dark is Rising." This show was enough to convert me. Rock as religion. Enough said.
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