Extended Weekend: Drag the River, RibFest Replacements, and High on 169

dragtheriver

Now that dewpoints have dropped, things are starting to heat up. It’s shaping up to be a great weekend for music in Kato (and north from here, for that matter), so let’s crack the lid and dive in:

THURSDAY

Drag the River with Pocket Genius [NaKato, 8 p.m., no cover]

While many were mourning the supposed death of Mankato’s music scene during the What’s Up’s hibernation, the NaKato quietly became the spot to see relevant, original music, and it isn’t even a music venue. (And let’s be real: If the What’s Up continues to book plastic/poseur nu-retreads in the vein of 3 Pill Morning, a return to prominence probably isn’t in the cards.) This Thursday, NaKato keeps the streak alive, booking Colorado punks-gone-alt-country-troubadours Drag the River for an off-date before they play First Avenue with Social Distortion on Friday.

Get your shit together and catch a national act at your corner bar.

Oh, hey. Pocket Genius, too. (Seriously. Get your shit together and do this.)

FRIDAY

Cheap Trick with The Suburbs and Nato Coles & the Blue Diamond Band [Vetter Stone Amphitheater, 6 p.m., $5 or $10 depending on whether you have a job]

We outlined the RibFest lineup a few weeks ago, but Cheap Trick hadn’t been formally announced as the headliner, so Minneapolis mini-legends The Suburbs were forced to lay the rails for the hype train. And that’s probably for the better; interested parties were able to to do their homework without being distracted by the looming apocalypse of “I Want You to Want Me,” which is arguably the most obnoxious classic rock zombie this side of “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

But there’s a lot more to Rick Nielsen’s crew than that lowbrow, cash-generating hit, as a cursory listen to …at Budokan‘s “deep” cuts will reveal.

This isn't tough mining people. There are only ten tracks on the damn thing. Turn off your radio and GET THE NET

This isn’t tough mining, people. There are only ten tracks on the album. Turn off your radio and GET THE NET

While the opportunity to see a couple of legends–on decidedly different scales–is appealing, the non-throwback draw of the evening is MPLS’ Nato Coles & the Blue Diamond Band, who have developed a deserved following in the Kato area for their blue-collar, Lynott-and-Springsteen-infused punk.

 

Get there early. Like, quit-your-job early. $5 cans of Schell’s await.

SATURDAY

Live with Fastball [Vetter Stone Ampitheater, who:cares, $ribs]

Earlier this week, Smash Mouth announced that they would be pulling out of their RibFest appearance due to illness. (Hey, maybe Guy Fieri’s bestie contracted a YEAST INFECTION after he was PELTED WITH BREAD.) While this will likely disappoint my friend in the VW convertible that was blasting “All-Star” at the intersection of Victory and Glenwood last weekend, I can’t imagine a situation where Live is a downgrade. Their 1994 sophomore album, Throwing Copper, shot the band into MTV rotation on the strength of Ed Kowalczyk’s vocals…

*checks Wikipedia*

Live’s original lead singer Ed Kowalczyk left the band in November 2009.

Oh. Now it makes sense.

Live without Kowalczyk seems like it’d be similar to Bush touring without Gavin Rossdale. Who would want to witness a band that was shallow and opportunistically-marketed the first time around rendered even sadder and more impotent?

I guess fans of one-record-wonders from the mid-90s have finally found their version of the Sebastian-Bach-less Skid Row.

(And I still don’t know what Fastball sounds like.)


MONDAY

High on Fire with Pallbearer [Mill City Nights, 7 p.m., $20]

Remember when I told you (a few grafs ago) to quit your job to go see Nato Coles? ULTERIOR MOTIVE: You’re better off jobless for the trek up 169 on Monday to see the mightiest power trio in metal at Mill City.

High on Fire just released their seventh album, Luminiferous, which sounds like a High on Fire record. Meaning, it’s AWESOME.

Have they been basically writing two songs (the fast one and the slow one) since Blessed Black Wings? Yep. Does it matter? Nope. They’re basically locked in Slayer / Motorhead mode, yet still at their peak, playing to-eleven rock driven by Des Kensel’s increasingly iconic hitting and Matt Pike’s increasingly increasing waistline. They’re the baddest dudes on the planet, and have been for some time now.

They’re getting direct support from Pallbearer, the most critically-acclaimed doom act since…

…actually, a doom band garnering critical acclaim is relatively new phenomenon. They made waves with a stunning debut that proved to be a robust variation on Warning‘s Watching From a Distance, and they pushed that sound through a Disintegration filter on last year’s Foundations of Burden.

This spot doesn’t often advocate 169-ing, but if you feel like extending your hangover into next week, take the trip up the highway this Monday.

See you out there, Mankato.