Soul Asylum, Guided by Voices and The Suicide Commandos make the burbs cool


The Hilde Performance Center in Plymouth has been on my list of venues to check out for the past couple of year. TCM had other teams cover events there, but somehow my schedule never matched up. With a Saturday night open, 3 great bands playing, and great weather in the forecast the stars finally aligned and I headed out to the suburbs. 

I goofed on parking and was a bit late so by the time I got into the venue, The Suicide Commandos were past the point where we were allowed to take photos :(. But my lack of planning did not impact their performance one bit. After all we were in the presence of Minnesota Punk Rock Royalty! Their set was straight, no BS punk with 40+ years of history as a band behind them (with a 17 year break, but still). It was fun to see a suburban soccer moms in the VIP section getting swept up in their music – there may be a few SUVs blasting punk music on the loose in Plymouth today. Their set also featured what might be the most hardcore Hello Kitty guitar on the planet. Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner joined them for the encore.

Guided by Voices was up next and the band I was probably least familiar with. Of course I knew their popular songs but I had no idea how deep their history goes. Singer Robert Pollard released his 100th album in early 2017 – holy crap! GBV is indie rock with some punk thrown in and that reflects in the length of the songs – most are just over 2 minutes. Numbers were introduced with a short comments from Pollard, who also commented that it would have been great to see another MN legend, The Suburbs on the bill – well maybe next year.

I liked their music, but I think GBV is one of those bands that requires a bit of homework for their live shows to fully appreciate. Fans familiar with their music responded with loud cheers to songs. The 75 minute set, as Pollard pointed out, was a half show for them. The song I was most familiar with “Glad Girls” closed out their set.

When I moved to the Twin Cities in late 1991 Soul Asylum was my gateway drug into the Twin Cities music scene when “Grave Dancers Union” was released in 92, but I did not get a chance to see them live until 2014 when at one of their small shows at the Entry. Dave Pirner may the the only original member left, but new(er) additions Michael Bland, Winston Roye and Ryan Smith feel perfectly at home.

Opening with 99% Soul Asylum’s energy got most of the people near the stage up from their blankets and chairs and on their feet right away. The set was a good mix of their hits with newer material from 2016’s “Change of Fortune”. This is not a band trying to relive a gloried past, they had great stage chemistry and it was clear that they love being on stage together and were having as much fun as the audience. There were quite a few families in the audience. This was also a great chance to show their offspring that they did listen to great music in their youth and still know a thing or two about being cool.