Current Birthday Party Day 1: Minnesota’s 14 Year Love Affair With A Radio Station


I have to be honest about something. I have a bit of a crush on The Current. I mean, come on… hilarious antics and stellar music, what could be better during your commute? It’s hard to believe that the station that has brought so much to this community has only been around for 14 years. But what a glorious 14 years it has been. With hosts such as Brian Oake, Mary Lucia, Sean McPherson or Mark Wheat, The Current has been a staple of the music scene and with that, they deserve a killer birthday bash, and that is exactly what they got this past Friday and Saturday at First Avenue. The place was packed, showing the love and appreciation for our beloved radio broadcast.

Opening the evening on Friday night was Scrunchies, a punk rock and grunge band based in Minneapolis. Their debut album, Stunner, released this past summer and is definitely worthy of checking out. These girls know how to rock and they have serious skill. Be sure to keep an eye out for them as they are sure to do more and more awesome things.

Next up was Rayland Baxter, a Nashville native whose music is simply beautiful.  He reminds me a lot of The Head and the Heart in both his writing and sound.  Everyone in First Ave seemed to be hooked and raised a glass as they took in the sweet harmonies and chord progressions that Baxter and his band had to offer.  His newest release, “Casanova”, was a hit of the evening and set the perfect mood for a birthday bash!

With an introduction from the beloved Brian Oake, Bad Bad Hats took the stage.  Again, nothing but the best for The Current, as these guys are the epitome of what the music scene in Minneapolis is all about.  Not only was the music incredible, but Kerry Alexander, the band’s lead singer, is absolutely hilarious between songs.  Her introductions contain some of the best deadpan humor, which had everyone belly laughing.  One of their most recognizable tunes is “Midway”, which was released on their album, Psychic Reader.  Bad Bad Hats have to be one of my favorite Minneapolis-based bands, partly due to their relatability, but also because the music is so damn good.  Please, please, please check their music out and support them.  It’s bands like this that keep music going in the right direction. 

To end the night of celebration, local legends, The Suburbs, graced First Avenue with their punk-pop-art-dance music.  I have admittedly never seen these guys live but I have to say, it was incredible.  Their songs are full of energy and so are the members.  The lead singer, Chan Poling’s voice actually reminds me a little of Matt Berninger of The National.  Some of my favorite tunes include, “Hey Muse”, “Turn The Radio On” and “When We Were Young”.  These guys are so versatile in their playing, which can be a rare thing these days.  It is clear that they have been around the block as their crowd-interaction was awesome and boy, does Minneapolis love them.

First Avenue was definitely the place to be on Friday night, but if you didn’t get a chance to join the birthday celebration for The Current, don’t fret.  For there are more birthdays to be had.  Meaning more birthdays and even more amazing music from the radio station that has made getting up to go to work a little easier for Minnesota.