Sunday, July 6, 2008

Music Fans Unite at the Turf

A week ago I went to St. Paul's favorite alt-country hipster hangout the Turf Club with the intention of seeing indie/roots duo The Pines and acoustic quartet Spaghetti Western String Co.. Even though I had it on good authority that Spaghetti Western would take the stage at 9:30 and The Pines at 10:30, I was once again duped into getting there early to see a band I had no interest in. But since I had gone to great effort to get my self there that night (when I had really wanted to just crack open some beers and watch Law & Order reruns), I thought I'd settle in at the bar, get myself a Maker's Mark and see how long I'd last.

Shortly after the first band took the stage, I ran into David Huckfelt (one half of The Pines), who said that they were the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, a band who I had not heard despite the fact that we share many Minnesota MySpace friends in common. Although many of their songs weren't memorable, I enjoyed their up-tempo roots/Americana sound. The Hobo Newphews consisted of 2 guitar-playing singers (sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric) and a pretty rockin' drummer, who in my opinion, was the best thing about the band. The standout songs they did seemed to be from their album Sing!--a nice trucker ballad (one of the only slower songs they did) and the anthemic "Go On Back Home," which got their fans and a good number of drunks singing.

I did get to catch up with Spaghetti Western's banjo player Mike Rosetto and catch a few tunes before I took off. As always, their signature blend of progressive bluegrass, classical and soundtrack music was haunting and beautiful.

As I was taking a few notes about the music that night, the couple sitting next to me at the bar struck up a conversation with me, and we discovered that in addition to them being KFAI listeners and Red House fans, they also were at the same concerts I was the week previous--the Walker Art Center's Rock the Garden concert and the outdoor show by gypsy-punk band Gogol Bordello. It also turns out that another young guy at the bar (wearing a GB shirt) was as well. We all agreed on how great the Gogol Bordello show was, although we seemed to have mixed reactions to the Rock the Garden show, which I thought was disorganized and too focused on pretty indie rock. After some nice conversation with them, I decided to call it a night. On the way out I said hi to Benson Ramsey (the other half of The Pines) and headed out to my car, thinking what a great night it was. I may not have seen the band I came to see, but I heard some great music, reconnected with old friends and met new ones.

So glad I didn't stay home to watch Law & Order...

No comments: