This weekend, local non-profit Midwest Art Catalyst is throwing their 8th Post Holiday Extravaganza, a two-day celebration of music and art that benefits, well, local music and art.
Supporting Greater Mankato’s independent art is a noble undertaking, but it’s probably going to take more than goodwill to lure people out of their climate-controlled caves. Thus: LOUD GUITARS.
If the names on the above flyer seem foreign, don’t fret. (Most of ’em are just from Minneapolis, you filthy xenophobes.) We’re here to school you on some of Minnesota’s best music before it lands on your doorstep.
The festivities kick off at 9 p.m. at the Mankato Event Center–the space formerly known as the Aboveground, located across the hall from the former Buffalo Wild Wings in the formerly (?) thriving Mankato Place indoor mall.
Mankato vets Old Towne Ghosts will be the first to take the stage, rocking a brand of straight-up punk rock that draws from mid-80’s hardcore (you know, before hardcore became hardcore) and 90’s melodicism. It’s pretty timeless stuff, and currently, these guys are the closest thing the Mankato scene has to an institution.
Strap yourself to those sinewy basslines and HOWL.
Next up are Minneapolis’ Buildings, the weekend’s most abrasive act. But those with an aversion to noisy riffs and jagged edges shouldn’t flee, as the trio’s compact, bass-driven bursts rain down like a storm of tiny hammers. (That’s a good thing, if you’re keeping score.)
Their frenetic kinetics are comparable to a band like Coliseum, yet gravel-mixed with noise-rock dredged from the chasm between Big Black and Unsane.
Finally, the evening is headlined by BNLX‘s first appearance in Mankato. A calming wash to counter Buildings’ racket, BNLX weaves robust post-punk (think The Church‘s Starfish, only with Red Bull in lieu of NyQuil) into towering shoegazey soundscapes.
Sensing a pattern here? Three bands culling all the right influences from three decades of punk rock to create something fresh, vital, and wholly of-the-moment.
Three bands. Six bucks. Nine o’ clock.
While Friday evening is strictly a 21+ affair, Saturday’s daytime events are open to enthusiasts of all ages, free of charge.
The Mankato Event Center will once again open its doors, this time from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. On tap? A bake sale, art raffle, silent auction, and other superfun shenanigans. (If you’re clamoring for a sneak peek at some of the initial art submissions, a handful of the offerings have been posted on MWAC’s freshly-brewed Instagram.)
Those craving literal taps can retire to the NaKato Bar & Grill after the daytime festivities, where the raffle winners will be revealed and Liquor Beats Winter will storm the stage / billiards room floor at 9 p.m.
Here’s the deal with NaKato’s musical guests: Most fall within the wide-ish spectrum of folk and roots-rock, from the likes of Teague and Ian Alexy to AARP favorites Ross Kleiner and the Thrill. But the best nights are had when bluesy filth is dealt in spades, from bands that sound like they fell off a train and rolled their ragged asses into the venue leaving a trail of too-warm whiskey in their wake.
(Basically, the nights when The Hooten Hallers swing through town.)
But Liquor Beats Winter wreaks a similar recklessness; a little more ragged, a little more sparse, a little more garage-rock…if they torched the garage and generator-jammed amongst the ashes.
If liquor does, in fact, beat winter, lets band together, take up arms, and bludgeon the thing to death.
See you this weekend, Mankato.
Let’s be real: February sucks.
Even the hardiest Minnesotans grow weary of winter. After three-ish months of steely resolve, defenses break down, and a -37 degree wind chill crosses the threshold from “well, this is kinda bullshit” into “I’d rather dine on hot garbage with Dinesh D’Souza than step outside for thirteen goddamn seconds because I feel like my skin is going to die.”
You’re sick. You’re tired. You’re cold.
Fear not. This weekend, Mankato is burning.
Friday will generate its fair share of late-winter warmth, as the 410 Project hosts its Annual Juried Exhibition at 7 p.m, featuring music from Des Moines’ Noremac McCarthy.
Meanwhile, less-cerebral legions will be partying across the river, where an earlybird 21+ show is going down at Benderz, AKA The Only Bar on the Planet That Still Thinks Hosting A “Ladies Night” With The Tagline “ALL YOU CAN HANDLE!” Isn’t Totally Sexist And/Or Predatory.
Thankfully, the bands have gifted the venue with the Futurama-themed flyer we’ve all been screaming for:
These might seem like conflicting events at first blush, but it’s wholly possible to hit both, even if you might miss out on Bring The Sun‘s shimmering nu-isms and the acoustic-driven, post-grunge dirge of Angry Waters. The most magnetic draw at Benderzzzz is the headlining act, WarRooster.
Recently, the band pushed fresh wares upon the greater public, releasing a new LP, Bilderberg Workshop, on the 45th anniversary of Black Sabbath‘s genre-spawning debut.
Anyway, once you shake off your hangover (and the sideways glances from the Benderz regulars), gear up for Saturday night, where Buster’s takes a break from REO Speedwagon cover bands and amateur “boxing” to host the STACKED-est lineup we’ve had in months:
But Fury Things, people. Fury Things is the business. Especially if you throw down on fuzzy, dreamy garage rock that swings hooks like hammers:
They recently opened for freaking Bob Mould at First Avenue, so when you’re presented with the opportunity to see them in a strip-mall sports bar, the best course of action is to capitalize.
See, it works like this: Cool bands come to Mankato. We go see the cool bands. And the cool bands come back. That’s how you build something…and have fun doing it.
See you this weekend, Mankato.