What's On Tap: 11/16/2007

What’s On Tap?

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

This weekend has so many options for live music and fun that the only way you could complain is if you were a hermit.

There is always the Christmas City Of The North Parade on Friday night to kick off the weekend, and with more dance studios, Santa Clauses, and reindeer than anywhere else in the Northland even the Grinch could bust a smile.

The highlight of Friday night musically would have to be Wookiefoot playing at the Tap Room. This band goes back to a gentler time when jam bands and having a great time were the main ingredients of many a night. When Wookie would play inMinneapolis for example, they often had a gigantic brass band and costumes that would trip out even the soberest club goers.

Wookiefoot is very personable too, and has this StringPhishWu following that is rabid in their association. The music is always fun, but the brass band is more of a world-beat sound today.

This is a band that through a friend of mine I have had the pleasure of partying with on a few occasions back in “the day”.

When I was living in Saint Cloud my roommate was Kurt Vatland, lead singer of the now disbanded band Velveteen. There were a few nights that some of the members of Wookie came back to our place and stayed up all night long talking about music and a million other topics. There was always something special about them, and it is no wonder that they are still around.

Wookiefoot is not the only show in town though, Azure Du Jour is playing Bev’s Jook Joint in Superior on Friday night as well.

The band’s song “Problem Tune,” still plays on my MP3 player from time to time. When the song gets going there is a blues overtone with jazzy brushes underneath from the drums. It’s cool, but with a Randy Newman like folk quality to it. The Newman style is Jim Hall’s voice on the song, but on most other tunes he usually sings in a lower register.

“Problem” really had some lyrics that made you stop and think too. He sings, “The answer to the problem is always a bigger problem.” That is a great statement, because Hall was referring to the escalation in the war on terror in the previous verse.

When I asked him about the song he said, “It’s about industrial society making life easier, but coming at someone else’s expense. Like the third world, Native Americans, animals…"

Those are thoughts that we all know, but often forget. The way he presents the theme both musically and with insightful statements makes it stand out.

Many young bands just toss lyrics onto a piece of music, but could care less if the words dance with the music hand and hand. Azure are beyond dancing, they have the flow of artisan ballerinas gliding with a blues tap dancer in some magic speakeasy in the sky.

That is not all that is happening around town either, how about a Rock Off between brothers?

Teague Alexy is playing at Beaner’s Central and his brother Ian Alexy is playing at Fitger’s on the same night (Friday). They are both members of the band The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, but it is interesting that to see Teague will cost you $10 while Ian is playing for free.

Ok, before you write in hate mail, I have to say that it has less to do with talent and more to do with Teague playing with Chris Tapper.. And that Beaner’s Central usually charges when bands play. For Hobo fans there is probably a way to fit both in, and with no new Hobos shows in Duluth on the calendar, this might be your only fix.

But wait, there’s more…

Really, the show to see on Friday if you are on a tour of great music will be Boku Frequency playing at the Reef Bar. They also play on Saturday night if you are planning ahead and can handle two nights in a row.

Boku Frequency are the best rock and funk band in Minnesota hands down. Red-Eye Dread is a marquee guitar player and a solid individual. He lives the life of an artist and is the last of the classical guitarists who still possess his mojo in full swing. This band works hard when they play and could make even someone from that town in Footloose dance.

If all this isn’t enough to make some people go out and see some great live music, then just sit indoors and be a hermit. People complain all the time that times are tough and there is nothing fun left to do. They even got rid of smoking to get more people out…

So go out this weekend and see some great bands. Because it doesn’t matter if you think you are getting too old, or if you think that you are richer or better than “that whole crowd”; go out and experience some life before it is too late.

Next week will be filled with relatives and family jargon, but this Friday you could show the people trying to entertain that people still know how to have fun. Imagine if people of all ages went out and thousands of folks were around town? Imagine turning the television off and forgetting your small click of life. Or get them all to go out, have fun, fill the cold streets on Friday evening for the parade, and then see what the city has to offer for the adults at night.

Everyone thinks they were cool once, time to prove it.