It’s Thursday already, so let’s get down to business. While most of this weekend’s festivities are going to be quite familiar to locals (more on that later), if you’re into the whole “live music” thing, Kato’s going to be on fire this Friday.
2nd Annual NYDM 5SRC Toys for Tots Drive (Busters, 9 p.m.; $8 cover, $3 with toy donation)
Scheduled well in advance at Busters after the What’s Up Lounge reopened with a “no hip-hop or extreme metal” policy (which has since been rescinded because money), this benefit is headlined by Mankato death metal heavyweights Face of Oblivion. This will be their second (?) show featuring new vocalist Jesse Watson, who replaced ex-Origin vocalist James Lee earlier this year.
It’s rare for a Midwestern town of Mankato’s size to boast a DM act of this caliber, so it’s cool to see the five-piece ramping up their activity.
Rounding out the bill are local-ish metalcore upstarts HeirAfire, Anoka ReverbNationals Beauty of Decay, and MPLS melodeath manipulators Echoes of the Fallen.
The Last Revel & Charlie Parr (Mankato Brewery, 7 p.m.; $7 advance, $10 door)
Sneakily, Mankato Brewery has become one of our city’s hottest spots for live music. (An ample stage, quality sound, and a steady flow of fresh beer seem to be working in their favor.) Bluegrass / folk shredders The Last Revel have been absolutely buzzing over the course of the last eighteen months, peerlessly triggering shoeless sashaying and mirthful pogo-ing amongst artsy Caucasians.
While The Last Revel have styled themselves as a semi-regular attraction, Charlie Parr’s trips down from Duluth are rare, so this is your best opportunity to catch the crusty folk legend without having to endure the Solstice marathon.
[It’s been awhile since I’ve set foot in the Brewery, but if the Mad Butcher IPA is still on tap, CAPITALIZE. While MB may have stumbled out of the gate, the release of this Haymaker killer, along with last summer’s delightful, surprising Kato Lager, means that our hometown beermongers are officially on a roll. Extra bonus: Lola‘s totally righteous food truck is lumbering in from New Ulm, so y’all are SET.]
Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band (NaKato, 10 p.m.; no cover)
This is almost a last-minute booking at the NaKato, with the event page surfacing on FaceDUMBRACISTYELLINGbook just yesterday. At first glance, it looked like this might’ve been another tough Lower North gig for Nato & Co. (their last NaKato appearance was during Boogie on Belgrade and attendance was lackluster), but hey: That Brewery show starts at 7. Nato throws down at 10. If you’re on the right side of the bridge, a doubleheader is mandatory, because this is the best rock n’ roll band that travels to our southern wasteland on the reg. Those that caught their set opening for Cheap Trick at RibFest this summer already know what’s up.
Let’s do this shit…
Yeah, this entire post looks really familiar, doesn’t it?
It’s not a copy-and-paste job. Our scene is just getting that stagnant.
After a little over a year of writing (sporadically) about Mankato nightlife, this blog has been losing steam. Frankly, it’s not that exciting to write about local and regional music when there hasn’t been anything new or fresh that has blown our doors off in ages.
Mankato’s music scene has been in a transitional period for the past year-plus, but the reaction of bookers and promoters hasn’t been one of injecting newfound adventure and excitement. Instead, they’ve displayed trepidation and restraint. While there have been a couple of highlights in 2015, the last time this town was blessed with truly buzzworthy Minnesota music was the Fury Things / Hardcore Crayons show last winter.
Many were clinging to the hope that the What’s Up would jumpstart the scenery once it reopened under new management, but quality bookings have been sparse. The Kult of the Wizard / Highgraves show was a gem, sure, but we’ve either been subjected to scenester stuff that doesn’t appeal to the 21+ crowd or outdated mallrock for the painfully uncool. Their big “get” to close 2015 is “National Recording Artist” Saliva, whose sole hit, 2001’s “Click Click Boom,” likely only triggers excitement among people that watched Sons of Anarchy for the chase sequences. At this stage, it feels less like a hotspot and more like a reanimated corpse.
Meanwhile, most bars seem to be treating live music as an afterthought. Chopps has been doing well with hip hop, and Moonshiner seems to finally be stretching its wings a bit, but as a city, we’re stuck in a rut. The formulas that are working right now are only going to work for a finite period of time, and if bars and venues don’t take risks, the cautious, cyclical booking they’ve been riding for the past 12 months may wear dangerously thin on an increasingly-jaded populace.
Let’s get out there and light some fires, Mankato.
For many, it’s been a wild week: Black(out) Wednesday, Engorgement Thursday, Black Friday. If this mini-marathon of relentless excess was an integral part of your version of “giving thanks,” you might be a little fried right now.
Plug in and recharge, citizens. You might be running low on vitality, but your city’s still humming this Saturday.
Mankato Brewery opens its doors to the Barefoot Winos at 5 p.m., while Pub 500’s Mustache Bash kicks of at 7:00–featuring a mustache contest, soft jams from The Porch Lights, and a special MB tapping of Black Beard Ale.
Yet folks that rock facial hair throughout the remaining eleven months of the year will be throwing down at…
Let It Breathe / Wicked Inquisition / WarRooster [The What’s Up Lounge, 9 p.m.]
Each of these acts, on their own, build a little bridge from the realm of rock into the depths of doom, but as a combined force, it’s basically a seminar on reclaiming the riff.
WarRooster, playing their first show with a new bassist, ply a driving, post-Kyuss brand of stoner rock known to take thrashback detours and tip the collective cap to Iron Maiden.
Minneapolis’ upstart Wicked Inquisition (not to be confused with plain ol’ Inquisition) have stepped their game up considerably over the past year. Their very existence encapsulates the timelessness of doom metal: In folding Sabbathian weight n’ swagger into Trouble‘s traditionalism and tying it off with a proto-metal cord, these dudes–barely of legal age–are taking classic sounds and injecting it with a rarified vitality. Expect them to make waves in 2015; they wrapped recording of their first LP earlier this month.
And Let It Breathe just dropped a new bomb in the form of the River Wizard EP. This 3-track Bandcamp release was meant to be covert, as the cuts are unmastered and yet to take their final forms, but the Internet had other ideas. Thirst for impossibly-thick stoner / doom metallics is arguably at an all-time high, and fanatics pounced on it posthaste.
And it’s easy to see why. Few bands can combine smoked-out, Electric Wiz-ness with the warlord hammering of early High On Fire, but LIB manages to find that elusive balance between comapulse lullabies and, well, punching you in the face with a truck.
Let’s get doomed, Mankato. See you there.