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.
Sometimes, the best Friday nights are the ones you spend slamming IPAs while housecleaning, blasting a new Napalm Death record, and circle-pitting with your cat. But come Saturday, you’ll want to get out and experience life a little more, and thankfully, Mankato has some vitality on tap for the evening.
(Let’s talk about Apex Predator – Easy Meat real quick. It’s awesome. You should listen to it. Like, right now.)
If you find yourself marooned in our downtown ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT, Pub 500 is playing host to something called The Whiskies, which they describe as “2 guys, 2 guitars and 200 songs.”
But that’s not all! Hear it from The Whiskies themselves:
A high energy acoustic rock band. Amazing vocals and amazing guitar make an amazing performance whenever The Whiskies take the stage!
The Whiskies play everything from rock and blues to pop and current country. Along with this pure sound, they bring two, three and four part harmonies and unbelievable acoustic leads you will not hear in any other acoustic driven show. The show is geared to keep people energized, play what they want to hear and keep them on their feet.
Basically, if you’re boring, white, and drunk, this is your gig.
If your tastes skew toward bands that weren’t created for the sole purpose of generating literally HUNDREDS of dollars in bar tab revenue, skip across the bridge to Benderz in Lower North, where Cherry Pit Promotions has booked a diverse lineup of local punk rock acts, both stalwart and upstart.
Despite living a mere three blocks from Benderz, I have yet to set foot in the establishment, at least in its current incarnation. Some might say this is bad Mankatoing–I gave freaking Eatery Tap a fair shake, for chrissakes–but I tend to steer clear of bars that promote “Tuesday Steak Nights” and subject the letter “z” to unnecessary abuse. That’s going to change tonight.
Cherry Pit Promotions has a slate of all-ages shows booked at Benderz in the coming weeks. It’s premature / foolhardy to call it a “replacement” for the What’s Up; by most accounts, they simply aren’t equipped to be a legit venue, and they’ve already run into significant legal trouble in their brief tenure. But it could serve as a blueprint for scene sustainability moving forward.
In its last days, The What’s Up was hampered by its 21+ limitation. Unless you’re an uppity 25-year-old bitching about the capacity of an all-ages Amon Amarth show (and if you’re going to an Amon Amarth show, you don’t really have a reason to be uppity in first place), all ages + available bar = the ideal setup.
Younger people–you know, the ones that are unironically jazzed and totally un-jaded–will show up in droves, gleefully paying a $5 cover charge so they can do something other than get high in somebody’s basement. And old, crabby assholes like myself can cross the barrier and grab a beer or seven at our convenience, and still get home by, like, 11 p.m. This is awesome, because we’re old. And crabby.
See you at 7, Mankato.