Local music: Motion City's movie within 'Movie'

The Twin Cities rockers revisit their debut album on screen and stage. Also: Scott Laurent returns, and more local music news.

While describing the new pseudo-documentary on his band’s early years, Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Pierre offered a pretty good clue how old the footage really is.

“I stole my parents’ video camera when we started touring, and for a while there I filmed everything,” he recalled. “We had about 70 video cassette tapes to pull from.”

Motion City fans too young to remember video tapes also would have missed the 2002-03 incubatory period of the Twin Cities-reared pop/punk quintet — when it issued its debut album, “I Am the Movie,” on its way to an Epitaph Records deal and a decade’s worth of large club gigs and Warped Tour dates.

That era is revisited in “I Am the Movie: The Movie.” The homemade film — “homemade” in the sense that the band lived in the van in those days — will be released as a DVD and for online viewing Tuesday, when Motion City will also play the first of two acoustic shows at McNally Smith College of Music’s auditorium. The unplugged concerts will be webcast live for a $5 fee via StageIt.com.

The “Movie” movie was put together by a local MCS friend/fan with videomaking experience, Melissa Kraemer, whose only direction was to pull out the footage “that fans would be most interested in seeing.” That includes behind-the-scene clips from gigs and video shoots and lots of random zaniness.

“There’s a scene where we’re all completely out of our minds because we couldn’t afford a hotel and drove straight through the night to the next gig,” Pierre said. “I’m glad those days are over, but I’m able to look back fondly on it now because the struggles we went through paid off.”

Among the hard parts, Pierre remembered, was the making of “I Am the Movie” with Get-Up Kids producer Ed Rose, who apparently liked to call the singer “Princess” and once told guitarist Josh Cain, “You play like you have oven mitts on.” Said Pierre, “At the time, I was really upset by it, but I know now it spurred us on to make a better record.”

MCS planned to more formally revisit “I Am the Movie” last year to mark the 10th anniversary but couldn’t fit it in until now. And they barely fit it in now. They’re off to play a short U.K. tour in two weeks and then will spend most of June recording their next album (details of which are under wraps).

“Our records tend to bounce from one extreme to another,” Pierre offered, “so since the last one was a little softer and milder, I think this one is going to rock a lot harder.”


Eves de Laurent

“I’m dying here in Nashville,” Scott Laurent howls on his new album. Whether or not he means that literally, the Springsteen-esque rocker clearly still considers the Twin Cities home: He’s returning for two album release parties Saturday and Sunday at the Icehouse.

An omnipresent name in the City Pages bar ads for a decade-plus, Laurent left for Nashville in 2008 and has bided his time co-writing with other singers and playing songwriter round robins at the Bluebird Cafe. His album, “Love Don’t Let Me Down,” offers a hint of Music Row’s polished twang but maintains the old BoDeans-style heartland-rock flavor. He will perform the record in its entirety Saturday with Pennyroyal (11 p.m., $10), and then he plays a stripped songwriterly set Sunday with Taj Raj (9:30 p.m., $10).

Random mix

Ramones Mania returns to Lee’s Liquor Lounge on Saturday with mini-sets by Impaler, GST, Red Flags, the 99ers and many more (8 p.m., donation cover). The show benefits the American Cancer Society in Joey Ramone’s honor. … Phantom Tails hosts a “pre-release” party for its new album, “Rides Battalion,” at the Hexagon Bar on Saturday (10 p.m., free). A $10 contribution to the band’s Kickstarter campaign will get you a digital download code at the show. …

While his old band has been lined to play the revived Taste of Minnesota on July 3, former Soul Asylum guitarist Dan Murphy and his wife Sarahjane Blum-Murphy have put together a showing of their vintage pin-up art for an exhibit at Gallery 122 (122 8th St. SE, Mpls.). They're hosting a free opening party Friday, 7-9 p.m., with classic muscle cars and music by all-star sidemen George Scot McKelvey, Tommy Barbarella and Trent Norton. The exhibit runs through July 5. …

Even though director Jim Brunzell just left town for a new film job in pretentious Austin, Texas, his Sound Unseen fest still has its monthly screenings at Trylon Microcinema, continuing Wednesday with the new documentary “Super Duper Alice Cooper” (7 and 8:45 p.m., $8, Take-Up.org). … Molly Maher, Erik Koskinen and the “Real-Phonic Radio Hour” crew welcome Memphis songwriter John Paul Keith to their monthly shindig Thursday at St. Paul’s historic James J. Hill Library with opener Molly Dean (8 p.m., $20). …

  • related content

  • The Big Gigs for May 9-15: Nickel Creek, Cage the Elephant, Tina & the B-Sides

    Monday May 12, 2014

    Concert spotlights for the week, also including the Flaming Groovies, the Both, Jane Monheit, the Blasters and Eric Hutchinson.

  • Motion City Soundtrack outside its St. Paul rehearsal space in 2003, when Epitaph Records was about to re-release the band’s debut album, “I Am the Movie.”

  • Scott Laurent's "Love Don't Let Me Down"


    When: 7 p.m. Tue. & Wed.

    Where: McNally Smith College of Music, St. Paul.

    Tickets: Sold out.

    Webcast: Watch the shows online via StageIt.com, $5.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters