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While the rebirth of one mainstay rock club is on hold for a while, there’s good news about the reopening of another: The Turf Club just announced it will host a grand re-opening party Aug. 28 with local country-rock favorites Dead Man Winter (led by Dave Simonett of Trampled by Turtles), Frankie Lee and Erik Koskinen.
Another big Turf show was just announced for Sept. 4 with the Jayhawks, who are already set to play First Avenue the following two nights and reportedly have something playful in mind for the warm-up gig (on sale Friday at noon).
With an eye for a mid-size room across town that will add to its booking options, First Ave bought the Turf Club last winter and promised to spruce the place up without ruining its good vibe. The doors were shut June 1 for renovations, which began in earnest almost immediately.
Among the heaviest work was adding a kitchen (to serve pub grub a la First Ave’s successful in-house eatery the Depot), a new roof, a new sound system and, yep, new bathrooms. While they were closed for summer, the Green Line opened its light-rail station right outside the Turf's front doors – which, by the way, were also replaced with new doors.
“We’re just now getting to the part where everything is getting put together and it’s really starting to look great,” said First Ave general manager Nate Kranz, talking between interviews for the club’s new staff positions Wednesday. He said the Aug. 28 should be an easy target to make.
“We gave it a 10-day buffer, so barring any major glitch, we should be fine.”
While there were some not-so-pleasant surprises in the reconstruction process, there was at least one good one: The crew discovered a large mural of horses that had been hidden behind a curtain. It probably dates back to the 1940s and will now serve as the backdrop to the new stage.
The first week or two will be seen as a “soft opening” to test the staff and kitchen, but things won’t be soft for long. Among the acts already down to play the new Turf are JD McPherson (Sept. 9-10), Shonen Knife (Sept. 16), Nick Waterhouse (Sept. 20), Ty Segall (Sept. 24), Mike Watt’s new band Il Sogno del Marinaio (Sept. 28), Christopher Owens of Girls (Oct. 4), Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook (Oct. 14) and Sondre Lerche (Oct. 17). There’s also a great classic Turf lineup with the Birthday Suits and the Blind Shake scheduled Sept. 13 -- the day the Replacements are also booked to play St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.
Previously advertised to open next week, the 400 Bar at the Mall of America is still a long ways off.
Next week’s concert with former Wings/Moody Blues member Denny Laine is now listed to take place at something called the 400 Gallery, which is a room inside the neighboring Midwest Music Museum. Same thing with the bar’s would-be first show by Nashville band Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden, also originally announced for the bar but now taking place in the gallery on Monday night.
Joe O’Brien, who partnered with co-owners Tom and Bill Sullivan at the old 400 Bar before its closing in December, downplayed the distinction between the two rooms on the MOA’s nightlife-oriented fourth floor.
“It's all one complex under the 400 Bar umbrella -- museum, venue, restaurant,” he said. “This is a listening room, offering fans a unique opportunity to experience great music close up and uninterrupted.”
Clearly, though, fans thinking they're going to see "the new 400 Bar" next week will be disappointed. The white-walled gallery space only boasts a 100-person capacity. Alcohol will not be served there, but O’Brien said fans can get a drink “steps away at the other great bars on the fourth floor.” Those include Hooters and Corona Cantina #1.
A peek through the windows at 400 Inc.’s bar and restaurant space Tuesday confirmed a lot of work still needs to be done there. In fact, it looked as if little to no work had been done in the long-vacated former sports bar space. Tables and chairs sit in dusty piles, and the old football mural is still up behind the bar. O’Brien would not provide more details on renovation plans or a projected opening date for the bar.
Thankfully, the 400 team's Midwest Music Museum opened as projected last month with the Grammy Museum-curated show "Ladies and Gentleman... The Beatles!" The $7 exhibit will be on display through Sept. 7 and was updated locally to include many photos from the Fab Four's 1964 concert at Metropolitan Stadium, where the MOA now stands. Admission to the exhibit is included with the price of next week's concert tickets (and how could it not be included?).
In related news, the 400 Bar's Bill Sullivan is dusting off some of his own old photos and stories of a different kind of legandery rock 'n' roll band and hoping to make a book out of it. The former tour manager for the Replacements just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund "Lemon Jail: 'Mats Tour Diary 1983-1986." That, too, might make a great museum exhibit, though maybe not a family-friendly one like the Beatles show.
Two revered singer-songwriters – country giant Merle Haggard and alt-country hero Ryan Adams – are booked for October concerts in the Twin Cities.
The mercurial Adams will appear Oct. 13 at Northrop Auditorium, promoting his new album “Ryan Adams,” due on Sept. 9 on Blue Note Records. It will be his first Twin Cities appearance since 2011 at the State Theatre.
Tickets, priced at $49.50 and $38, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at Northrop.umn.edu and 612-624-2345.
Haggard will return to Mystic Lake Casino on Oct. 5. Tickets, priced at $39 and $49, will go on sale Saturday at ticketmaster.com.
Three "underplay" concerts -- shows in smaller-than-needed venues that will probably sell out right away -- were announced this morning:
*Smiley arena-level pop/rocker Jason Mraz will promote his new album of semi-acoustic, strings-accompanied tunes in the intimate State Theatre on Oct. 18. Tickets go on sale Saturday at noon for $25-$75 through Ticketmaster. The L.A. folk-pop quartet Raining Jane will back him at shows this fall.
*Gloom-rock greats Interpol will return to First Avenue on Nov. 14 following the Sept. 9 release of their first album in four years, “El Pintor.” The band’s site says tickets will go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m. at prices TBA.
*Fresh off Saturday’s All-Star Game concert at TCF Bank Stadium, Atmosphere added an Aug. 22 gig at First Avenue with another hometown act who can easily sell the place out, Prof, as well as Rhymesayers newbie Dem Atlas and DJ Fundo. They’re all on tour together this summer. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon through eTix.com and First Ave outlets for $25. That will kick off quite a weekend of local hip-hop at the club, as Sims and Astronautalis are already down to play there together the following night.
Taste of Minnesota is making a comeback – far away from its home site of Harriet Island in St. Paul.
Because of flooding at Harriet Island, Taste is being moved to the Carver County Fairgrounds in Waconia, it was announced Wednesday afternoon. The event is set for July 3-6 with two-dozen food vendors and about 30 musical acts, including Soul Asylum, Halestorm, Cowboy Mouth, Starship and Joe Nichols.
A longtime fixture on Harriet Island, Taste of Minnesota is returning after a three-year hiatus.
Admission to Taste is free until 3 p.m. daily. After 3 p.m., it cost $10, which includes $5 worth of food-and-beverage tickets.
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