Thursday, May 28th marks the beginning of concert season at the Vetter Stone Amphitheater, that sometimes-used bandshell alongside the sometimes-utilized Minnesota River. The first show of the summer wisely capitalizes on the Mankatoan affinity for all things folky, bluegrassy, and lack-of-percussionist-y, featuring twangsters The Devil Makes Three in support of Grammy-winners Old Crow Medicine Show.
Same-day tickets for this Thursday show are a mere…forty dollars.
Okay, look. When a serious national act rolls through this town, it should be our civic duty to attend, especially when the band isn’t confined to a damn hockey arena. We need to show that bands can draw here, even when it’s an act you’re only tangentially interested in. (For instance, I gladly paid to see Jason Isbell last year on the strength of enjoying the six-odd songs he wrote for Drive-By Truckers, and it was a great experience.) That’s the only way this town is going to get out of the rut of booking seventh-rate has-been bullshit like Loverboy, Rick Springfield, and the Charlie Daniels Band.
However, capitalist ventures that depend on charity are kinda gross. (This is basically why I stopped going to Tune Town; after hearing enough um, we can order that for you refrains upon coming up empty in the metal section, I came to the realization that hey, I can order albums, too…direct from the artists and labels from this thing called THE INTERNET.) It’s one thing to want something to succeed, but should the burden really be on the consumer?
To date, the Vetter Stone has done an abysmal job promoting their acts–I only found out about last year’s Low and Cloud Cult show by randomly driving under a banner by Pizza Hut–and they aren’t making this seem like much of a must-see event. And, let’s be real: Forty bucks for a marginally-popular act is a lot to ask in this town, especially on a weekday…and to make matters worse, IT MIGHT RAIN.
Rain = DEATH. For all of our hardiness, Minnesotans are total wussbags when it comes to water that falls from the sky.
Sure, we can shovel our cars out of snowstorm’d parking spots, brave 3-degree weather to drink mediocre beer on the lawn of Schell’s Brewery, and drop a fishing line into a hole in the middle of a frozen lake and call it a “hobby.”
But where many will drop hundreds of dollars on a remote car starter for the winter months, many more can’t be bothered to purchase half-decent raingear so that they might enjoy an actual outdoor activity during the five-odd months when it’s actually tolerable. It’s freakin’ bizarre.
Anyway, for those of you that can handle a few sprinkles and prefer your music with all rhythm removed (for maximum whiteness), the Vetter Stone’s gonna be crackin’ on Thursday night.
Maybe I’ll see you there, Mankato.
Doin’ that civic duty and all.