Teaming up for good

Introducing Connector live! – local music playlist series

Showcasing individual local live music venues and the musicians that play there


Connector LIVE! – as part of Teaming Up For Good – will soon feature live venue and music information along with specially curated streaming playlists for your listening pleasure. Read about the food and libations, the ambiance, the bands you might see, and hear some of the cool stuff that’s available many nights a week in this musical treasure trove we live in.
This column was going to be the first in this series – but when I tried to get it all done in the week since I hatched the idea, I realized... I can’t start it this soon! So this column is instead dedicated to notes about a few recent shows, and accompanying each of these is a “semi-professional” video of a song performed there. Check `em out!
July 8, 2021, Mears Park – The Flamin Ohs! On a gorgeous summer evening just weeks into the first wave of COVID-19 lifting, this band of local heroes, including bassist/composer/vocalist Jenny Case, widely admired (and widely employed) guitarist Terry Isachsen, keyboardist Bob Burns and legendary frontman Robert Wilkinson, rocked the park. It was what live music can be like in Minnesota. Perfect-sized venue, giant dance floor, and a band that kicks your ass harder than they did back in 1977 in Duffy’s Bar. To see a three song clip from this show – Go to YouTube, search for Larry LaVercombe, and there you will see this video along with several others that correspond to each show listed below. (Warning: after watching the first fifteen seconds of this one, you’ll be hooked for the full 12 minutes.)
July 3, 2021, just three nights earlier, The Suburbs killed it at First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry, their first night open in two years. Late-great lead guitarist Bruce Allen died young, but the current guitarists, Jeremy Ylvisaker and Steve Brantseg, are among the very best in town. Chan sings most every song now, and his voice has become wiser and deeper. Hugo hasn’t lost a beat. Max and Rochelle still bring the sax. Go to my YouTube page to have your Bones Rattled by Music for Boys.
Hosted by Hi-Fi Hair and Records impresario Jon Clifford, the Hi-Fi Stage in the back alley behind The Loring is the place for Sunday summer afternoon concerts. Lots of musicians attend these shows, playing one week and supporting each other the next. One day Little Man filled in with an impromptu show when an out-of-town band had to cancel. Another lovely day had both Gini Dodds and Cindy Lawson performing her latest single. Seriously – If someone invites you to go to the Hi-Fi Stage with them, say yes. It’s not every Sunday, but it’s cool every time.
Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023 – David Bowie Acoustic Tribute at the Hook and Ladder. I could rave about the players (including front piano/guitar/vocal John Eller, beloved vocalist and collaborator Leslie Ball, percussionist Joe Petinni, Suburbs bassist Steve Price and Chris ‘Little Man’ Perricelli), but what stood out this night was the level of audience participation – howling after Diamond Dogs, crooning the entire chorus of Starman, and nailing the ending vocal on “Ziggy played guitaaaaarrrr...”
And, finally, if you have never seen the annual John Lennon Tribute at First Avenue, then you have not only missed out on one of the most fun things found in all of Minnesota, you have missed one of our city’s most consequential players. Curtis A leads that incredible show every year, and he also often plays at Schooner Tavern, where I caught him last week on his 72nd birthday. I won’t try to describe the skills and charisma on stage that night, but there’s a version of Yer Blues on the YouTube page that you won’t soon forget. (Note Steve Brantseg on guitar, playing the George Harrison leads as he does each year at the Lennon Tribute. This night also featured a surprise guest appearance by Robert Wilkinson.)
So, enjoy my videos! And write in if you have any suggestions. Tell me your favorite venues for live music, and tell me who to catch there. And again – to watch any of these videos, simply search for my name on YouTube or click here. You’ll see all these and about 10 others.
Enjoy! And get out and support our clubs and players!


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