Trip reunion: Mrs. Braintree, no ‘Toolmaster’
Bassist John Munson had been lobbying for a Trip Shakespeare reunion for 20 years. The holdout was drummer Elaine Harris, who’d put away her drum kit long ago (the apartment was too small) and just worked a job in Massachusetts. But a record label has shown interest in reissuing the Minneapolis band’s albums from the late 1980s and early ’90s, so there has been some recent dialogue among bandmates. “It didn’t seem threatening,” Munson told I.W. “There were only positive feelings.” And the performances — two nights of “Susannah” and “Snow Days” by Munson, Harris and brothers Dan and Matt Wilson— last weekend during the annual holiday show by the New Standards, Munson’s current band, at the State Theatre, were triumphant for band and surprised fans alike. “The best part for me was seeing Elaine commanding the drums in the same unique and satisfying way she always did, after not being on a stage for 15 years,” Dan Wilson said in an e-mail. Will there be a full-fledged reunion? “My mind is totally focused on the [solo] album I’m readying for release in the spring,” Wilson said. “Ask me when the dust has settled on that. Or maybe Munson is already booking a tour.” Jon Bream
Actor Danielle Wade, who plays Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” at the Ordway Center, traded her ruby slippers for a ruby-colored hard hat Tuesday as she joined other members of the cast and crew on a Habitat for Humanity build. Actually, the cast split up into two crews, one working on a home in St. Paul, the other in Crystal. The “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign coincides with the 75th anniversary of MGM’s “The Wizard of Oz.” The “Oz” cast and crew did similar volunteer work with Habitat in Los Angeles, where the tour started, and hopes to do similar work in other cities as the tour works its way across the country. “The message of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ resonates with ours,” Habitat communications manager Matt Haugen told I.W. “It takes brain, courage and heart to make all of this happen.”
Hey boss, you’re on
Everything was going perfectly for Michael Brindisi. He sat at home last Friday night, watching a football game on TV with his dad, with the knowledge that his Chanhassen Dinner Theatre was packed again for “Fiddler on the Roof.” Then his life got even more perfect. Brindisi made himself the understudy for Keith Rice as Tevye, figuring that Rice would never yield the stage. But Rice was fading Friday night with vocal stress, and Brindisi got the call at 9:30 p.m. to saddle up for Saturday and Sunday shows. “I told the actors 20 minutes before I went on that this would either be a lot of fun, or turn out to be a very bad idea,” Brindisi explained to I.W. Turns out, it was fun. “The good news is I got through without really missing any lines or lyrics,” Brindisi said. “I was able to keep up with the vocal piece, but I was surprised at how absolutely physically exhausted I was. I slept 10 hours straight on Sunday night.”
Minnesota acts didn’t fare as well as we had hoped on “The Voice” and “The X Factor,” which means all hope now rests on Home Free. The local a cappella group impressed the judges during last Monday’s premiere of NBC’s ‘The Sing-Off” with its rendition of Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise.” Ben Folds was particularly jazzed by Tim Foust’s deep voice, which he said left him feeling like he had “bass in my butt.” Judge Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men predicted that the five-man group could go a long way in the competition, which includes nine other acts. Home Free returns to the show on Monday — but you don’t have to wait that long to hear them again. The group will perform Christmas songs Saturday night at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
In the end, almost nobody performed at last weekend’s CC Club 80th anniversary that you can’t already see in a dive bar any other weekend. But it was fun seeing a dozen bands in that dive bar, which hadn’t hosted live music since 1975. The fabled south Minneapolis watering hole welcomed a reunited Tapes n’ Tapes as the headliner last Friday and the Sex Rays with Curtiss A on Saturday. “All the way from upstairs,” Mr. A said when introducing the Rays (one of whom lives above the bar). Other acts through the weekend included Sean Anonymous, Gay Witch Abortion, Buildings, Red Daughters, BNLX and Pennyroyal, the latter two of whom each played Replacements covers amid rumors the ’Mats might be there (sure, and Prince almost came, too). Mighty Mofos frontman Billy Batson stole the show after accidentally gashing his head with his microphone, performing thereafter with blood oozing down his face. Surely that wasn’t the first time someone didn’t let a little bleeding stop them from having fun at the CC.
Made in Manhattan