The Current’s Birthday Party at First Avenue – Night 2 – 1/23/2016


After a great Friday night, The Current’s birthday party came back for round two at First Avenue the next evening. The crowd was a bit more in flux then last night, First Avenue never quite filled up. Concert goers drifted in and out as the band they came to see played.
A great moment was the David Bowie tribute by Soul Asylum singer Dave Pirner who played “Ziggy Stardust”.
Overall, The Current continues to raise the bar each year and I for one am excited to see what they plan on for next year.

Bruise Violet
The young punk band was playing the Mainroom for the second time in a weeks and still radiated excitement. Whoever was sleepy from last night woke up in a hurry. The trio’s songs hit as fast and hard as machine gun fire. In the months since we covered them first at the Amsterdam, Bruise Violets stage presence has grown dramatically. They are tight and fun to watch.
Their set also provided one of my favorite band quotes: “We are not the type of band that should be on the radio” Well, Bruise Violet should be on any radio station, that I like to listen to!

Gospel Machine
Looking at this band’s web site was the first time I read the description “garage gospel band” and while it made me shake my head at the time, it’s actually pretty accurate. Singer Jayanthi Kyle is very expressive on stage. The band includes a horn section and has a classic soul and R&B sound. If this is a garage band, then that garage has a 57 Chevy in it.

The Cactus Blossoms
Is collaboration between brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum that starting in 2010. Their setup was mostly acoustic instruments with a single electric guitar and of course an upright bass. Having just released their new CD “You’re Dreaming” the day before the show their set became an early release show. The real one will be at the Turf Club on Feb 12 and 13. They opened with their current single “Stoplight Kissing” and let their harmonies and smooth sound dominate their set.

Gramma’s Boyfriend
is what you get if a singer-songwriter and her musician friends let loose. Gramma’s Boyfriend is unsafe, wild, quirky and tons of fun. Their current album “Perm” was celebrated with a show at the Icehouse that still has me smiling. Hitting the stage  Bonar’s stage persona dressed in a silver bodysuit and neon skeleton tutu took over the room. Her band mates are no slouches in the rock department but she clearly is the star of the stage show. And for the first time in hundreds of bands covered, I found myself singing along to “Down in a Bucket”.

Tommy Stinson
Making his first mark as the bassist for The Replacements first in the 80s and then during their reunion Tommy Stinson is as close to a rock god as MN gets. Mary Lucia introduced him has her favorite member of Guns’n Roses, Bash & Pop and The Replacements and “The Soul of Rock’n Roll”. His set was straight Rock’n Roll focused on his music and perfectly suited. He opened with the words: Check this shit out. The Current staff were clearly stoked about Stinson headlining their birthday bash.
The Rock moment of the night came when Stinson ran off stage and played the Bash & Pop song “Nothing” behind First Ave’s main bar.