“Music, in all of its variations and venues, is the world’s oldest social network” – Richard J. Alley
On February 4th 2019, Music In Minnesota launched our first article in a series designed to spotlight music venues across Minnesota. The concept was to provide readers a quick guide to those venues, including a bit of history, some statistics, an interview with someone from the venue, some geeky audio details, and photos of the space with all the lights on. Most are of these are details of which the casual Minnesotan would have little knowledge. Intended to give back to the venues that have supported so many bands throughout the years, the series helped to promote upcoming shows, discuss what makes the venues unique, and discover the heart behind the business. Venues often take the largest risk and are direct champions for our music community.
Consider this article a B-Sides to the 10 part season. Below you’ll find some behind the scenes photos and tidbits that couldn’t be squeezed into the original articles.
As a recent winner of City Page’s Best Neighborhood Bar in Minneapolis, the 331 Club is truly a community fixture. In my discussion with Jason Woolery and Jarret Oulman, it was easy to recognize the impact and local favor this venue has fostered over the years. In choosing photos for the article, we left out the people and constant flow of patrons that just gather to connect, drink, and relax.This is the vibe and identifying factor that pulls fans in to catch shows any night of the week, all without a cover. The photos also show that Prince is still missed.
Our photographer had a tall duty when shooting Caydence Records & Coffee. There are so many nooks filled with local art, handmade crafts, and examples of how Caydence supports their neighborhood. Between the donuts, records, and crafts, there is always something pulling for your attention. Mat Graske was a huge resource for us that day in sharing the journey of the venue. Businesses stand apart from others because of the people that run them. Mat and his team are always discussing music, offering new suggestions, and just making Caydence one of the warmest venues in the Twin Cities.
In interviewing Joe Holland and Paul Hatlelid, I was approached by numerous patrons who wanted to share their history with the venue. It was inspiring to see veterans so passionate about their home-away-from-home and so openly willing to discuss their connection. The walls are filled with memorabilia and relics that keep tradition and service center stage. It’s a strong testament to the importance and value of having a VFW post in Uptown. Huge congrats with the City Pages Best Karaoke win as well!
Walking into The Baroque Room, you are immediately presented with a slew of instruments. They are rare, beautiful, and one of the most important features of the space. These instruments are designed to be heard without microphones, in rooms just like this listening room. Catching a show there, you’ll understand the worth of having these musical paint brushes. We couldn’t showcase the full spectrum in the original article but below are a few extras.
I spent a good deal of time discussing some odd looking microphones in the back of The Cedar with Chris Frymire. It didn’t make the article, but understanding how an engineer balances the sound, and identifying frequencies that intrude on our listening experience, was fascinating. Essentially the single pencil is highly specialized to visually show you the level of sound, beyond what we can actively hear. From the low hum of the HVAC on the roof to the shimmery cymbals on stage, the engineer can equalize accordingly.
Seeing a neighborhood theater rejuvenated with attention paid to its history was a special interview. There’s a strong sense of personal pride from Loren Wiklander and all the staff there. Standing in the projection room and imaging the sights that view has seen was very unique. Walking out back and seeing the Airstream ‘green room’ was a rock star moment. The vibe is everything an artist would want to experience when playing a show there.
The Warming House may have the coziest lounge area in the Twin Cities. With couches and classic bikes, and even a shop dog wandering around, waiting for the doors to open has never been cuter. Farmstead Bike Shop also partners up with The Warming House on a Bikes & Songs series, letting you ride as a pack to a show.
Catching a show at Moon Palace should entail much more than just music. With a City Pages “Best Salad” win in the attached Geek Love Cafe, an exquisite selection of books, and a lively stable of guest speakers, the venue is a welcoming social hub for all types of people. The outside patio will be a huge reason to soak up the sun and indulge in a new book this summer.
One of the most photogenic venues of the series, the ICEHOUSE delivered in almost every nook we found. The bathrooms remain one of the prettiest in Uptown. The bottles chandelier dangles above and the long basin make a quick timeout enjoyable. The green room features a single red lightbulb, left up from a special request made by Dave Chappelle. It’s hard to find a prettier venue and higher quality hangout than the ICEHOUSE.
We made mention of the expansive upstairs area in the article but weren’t able to squeeze in photos. Once used as the firemen’s living area, it is now office space and a cozy oasis for artists. Artists have access to a living room area, full-sized kitchen, shower, makeup mirrors, and a private room. All nestled above the roaring venue, it’s just another perk that The Hook and Ladder Theater provides for its artists.
Thank you to all the readers that have followed this series and supported these venues.
Special thanks to the Music in Minnesota team of writers and photographers that voluntarily contributed their time and energy into this series. As supporters of our music scene, everyone was proud to showcase these venues and bring a new perspective to our community. I can’t wait for season two and the added exposure to our wonderful state of music.