Some salty local hip hop and a spot of rock from across the pond.

Ant and SeanWe’ve been on a bit of a music tear lately, although all these late night trips to First Ave make us seem a lot cooler than we are. Doctor Dash and I have devised a bit of a system for the old/infirm/lazy. We call First Ave during the day to find out what time the main act is coming on (tip: they know exactly what time by around 4 o’clock) and swoop in about ten minutes prior to grab drinks and shimmy as close to the stage as possible, avoiding wild looking boys with flailing arms whenever possible. I like to dance as much as the next person, but I know how to do so without cracking any noses, which I’m not sure can be said for everyone.

A couple weeks ago we went to see Atmosphere and although Doctor Dash had predicted a testosterone filled environment (a warning to me upon seeing me emerge resplendent in lipstick and bling), I was a bit taken aback by the energy in that place before they came on. For the first time, as a bevy of young bucks bounced in place and loosened their taught neck muscles like boxers spoiling for a fight, I thought to myself, Jesus, this might get rough. Maybe I really am too old for this business. It didn’t help that the start time was super late, giving everyone plenty of time to get drunk and rowdy – pumped, if you will. Not a huge fan of pumped.

Nevertheless, if you don’t know Atmosphere and like hip hop, they are totally worth checking out. They are  local (went to Washburn High School) and they can and do turn it out for their fans. Big time. They put on an amazing show and as Slug tore through song after song, rapping a white hot streak (his lung capacity is truly astonishing), I started to understand the crowd. They knew all the words, shouting them out with fists in the air, veins bulging at their necks. They were there to pay homage to one bad ass Minnesota boy with some serious street cred. Slug’s partner in crime, Ant, spun beats of gold from his tables clad in a silky white shirt, slicked back hair, fu manchu stache and impenetrable expression, looking a bit like Steven Segal. I will say that the free flowing marijuana eventually took the edge off the jumpy crowd, as did Slug’s near constant banter and appreciation. Maybe it makes me a high maintenance audience member, but I love to be loved up. I think we have a really smart, rich, complex music scene here in Minneapolis and it’s nice to get some props. You could tell he was fired up to be there, playing in his hometown in one of the best places to hear music on earth. Slug raps about everything from hockey hair to a girl who is like a drug to Lyndale Avenue to killing his boss. It is quite raw and quite beautiful. The next day I felt drained, sort of battered and buffeted by the whole experience. It has taken all these many days to digest that concert and I think it was one of those shows where the performers put out so much emotion and energy, that you can’t help but do the same – absorbing and then sending back the love, the angst, and the anger. They were gooooood, so good that next time I go, I just might find myself feeling, um, pumped.

arctic monkeysTwo nights ago, one of my Babe-O-Matics, Shady, flew in from Chicago to join us for Arctic Monkeys. A departure from our recent hip hoppyness, Arctic Monkeys was Dash’s idea, but I LOVED it. In contrast to Atmosphere, who are around our age, Arctic Monkeys are YOUNG. They look so young, in fact, with their floppy ringlets of hair, that it’s almost impossible to believe that they’re as talented as they are, that they rock the way they do. The three front men look like they could be in a hair styling textbook illustrating the different ways hair can part. But no matter – they’re completely adorable. The lead singer, Alex Turner, is an unbelievable vocalist. His voice is so facile, so slippery – he runs it with no effort, no straining, no sweat. Unbelievable. And he’s super sexy, like a young Mick Jagger but not as peacocky. As it turns out, however, I do have an age threshold for unseemly chops licking and I located it on Saturday night. Just a wittle baby. And the drummer, Matt Helders, well, what can I say? Dash, Shady and I were all in love with the drummer. He and his lovable little fro just powered every song like a mad charging bull, pulling the rest of the band behind him. Screaming. Breakneck. Breathless. Uh mazing. Thoroughly satisfying, totally impressive, those boys have got some serious rock chops.

And now, at the risk of neglecting our children and our friends, I think we’re going to take a little break from our nocturnal musical adventures. Although I am loving Solid Gold, and I hear they’re coming soon . . .

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