Dakota just said something really inspiring about “putting on her big girl pants,” and I was extremely stoked follow suit. That is until I realized that I haven’t blogged about seeing Justin Vernon last night.
So Justin Vernon has come into my life twice now. The first time he and I crossed paths, I was hardly 18 and didn’t know how to do my hair tastefully or write a film paper very well. I am now on the downhill slide towards year 21, and I can write a damn good film paper, as well as curl my hair a few times a week in under 15 minutes. Therefore I am an academic woman hear me roar or whatever.
I don’t think I have ever seen a show like last night’s. Not only was the music spot on and tight, but the entire 4 hours of standing down front at the Neptune…. was so intimate. Justin Vernon came out bearing modesty on his sleeve as he greeted the crowd. There wasn’t an ounce of “You know who I am,” or “Yeah I’m Mr. Bon Iver” in the air. He just came out smiling, PBR is one hand and a red solo cup in the other. Three chunks of thready hair were combed over his wide forehead. A baggy “Marijuana Deathsquad” shirt hung on his shoulders, his arms peppered with all sorts of tattoos. With a wide grin on his face that could only come from a solid upbringing in the Wisconsinian wilderness and a heart that known real love and pain, he opened, (and commenced to complete,) one of the most personal and genuine concerts I’ve seen in my time.
There was this moment where he was kneeling with his back to the audience, shaking a tambourine. He was bent over behind his podium, so I could only see the back of his beautiful balding head as me synced up to the rhythm of the rest of the band. It made me realize how much I’ve idolized him, and how ridiculous that is. Because Justin Vernon is a real person, just a 31 year old guy who worked hard for his trade. There is not this invisible barrier between him and I. He is not better than me, and I’m not better than him. If I got up on that stage, I could touch him, and his skin would bear startling resemblance to mine. I can’t sing the way he can, but our pain is the same, and his expression has taught me about my expression. And when I watched him on that floor, kneeling and giving himself away to the music, it all became so very clear.
We’re all on this journey together. This life we share with each other is beautiful and limited, and even if some of us are signed with recording labels, or are in beautiful relationships, or have time consuming jobs, or have trouble getting out of bed, or even forgot to feed our fish this morning, we’re all inexplicably bound. Something about last night made that all so clear.
And for that, I say thank you Mr. Vernon. Your modesty and accesability is beautiful, and we could all learn from that.
The melting pop of Minneapolis’ music scene is well represented in Marijuana Deathsquads, Ryan Olsen’s collaborative, experimental electronic rock band. Marijuana Deathsquads are in full-on explorer mode throughout last year’s Oh My Sexy Lord, sacrificing accessibility for weirdness. Their somewhat discomforting tone builds sense of encouragement and playfulness. Marijuana Deathsquads sounds like a playground for some of the most forward-thinking artists in their respective genres (look for P.O.S., members of Gayngs, Bon Iver, Polica and/or more to show up live and on record). It’s more noise rock than electronic pop, but just an intriguing listen no matter what genre I stupidly try to apply to what I’m hearing.
10pm - 4am @ the Love Power Building (1407 Washington Ave S. MPLS, MN)
Marijuana Deathsquads Mystery Palace Slapping Purses STNNNG LO MATTIN DJ Andrew Broder DJ Jonathan Ackerman Plain Ole Bill Solid Gold DJs (feat. Magic Brad) Baby Pizza + King Latifah Spyder Baby Raw Dawg & 2% Muck Ghostband Lush Sports MAKR n FRIENZ +++++++++more that we can’t even talk about.
Fun track off of Marijuana Deathsquads’ free mixtape “Tamper Disable Destroy.” Listened to it for the first time while I was waiting for the bus today and my toe was a'tappin’ to the beat. The experimental twists present in this song and throughout the tape kept me waiting in antici-
-pation. This should be no surprise considering some of the members and style being fused. Good for a laid-back setting, this chill song mixes well with other artists like Lushlife and Nujabes.
What started out as an improvised electro-noise combo in the vein of Holy Fuck, has simmered down a little on the group’s new free mixtape Tamper, Disable, Destroy.It’s still pretty noisy at times and can get pretty strange, but with some hip-hop flavor throughout, it is a little bit more listenable.
The brainchild of Doomtree’s P.O.S., super producer Ryan Olson (of Gayngs fame), video director Isaac Gale and Polica drummer Ben Ivascu, MDS is less a band and more of a huge collaborative effort with all kinds of musical minds all over the Minneapolis area.
The result is a strange hodgepodge of styles and sounds. Opening with a straightforward rap track on “We Do This,” then hittin’ a hazy low-key cruiser with “Top Down” featuring the centerpiece of Channy Leaneagh and rhymes by Astronautalis. This is followed by the screeching instrumental of “MGatP” and the all-out weirdness of “Same Pizza.”
The album closes with two expansive tracks in “Ladders and Shoots” and the title track.
It’s an odd mix of noise, electronica and hip-hop that might be a little out there for some listeners, but it is definitely interesting. Worth a little extra room on your hard drive for sure. Especially if you dig the Minneapolis music scene.
I came across this band by accident; for no other reason than their name jumped out at me from a link to their new video “Ewok Sadness”. The combination of the band name and that song title, well, who wouldn’t take a look? The video itself is for one of their stand-out tracks on this new album and is, quite frankly, brilliant. It manages to be funny, shocking, melancholy and ferocious all at the same time and that’s quite an achievement.