From Aqua to Ripple Effect, it got wild

  • Updated: September 2, 2008 - 10:32 PM

Smash Mouth got the conservatives drunk on tequila. Rage got the liberals drunk on, well, rage.

Coming soon to a back-alley video store or Ivy League dorm room near you: "Ultra-Conservative Girls Gone Wild."

OK, so the rowdy scene at Aqua nightclub in Minneapolis Monday night never turned sordid enough to attract a "Girls Gone Wild" video crew. But it sure seemed headed that way. Don't let those women in the Coalition for a Conservative Majority fool you: They're party animals.

The CCM co-hosted a party with Smash Mouth, they of the tell-tale lyric: "Hey now/ You're an all-star/ Get paid." Things were pretty tame until the band started up its cover of "I'm a Believer." Oh, boy. Remember Springsteen's video for "Dancing in the Dark," the one where a then-unknown Courteney Cox jumps on stage and clumsily sways and bops like a walleye out of water? The CCM gals apparently know it well.

As he invited the Ladies of the Right on stage, Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell called for a bottle of Jägermeister. Then a bottle of tequila. He poured shots into the mouths of waiting babes. Because the stage at Aqua was so freakishly high -- that's what happens when you choose a swank bar instead of a full-time music venue for a party -- some of them showed off a little more thigh than they planned. Oh, boy.

Even as they cut loose, these conservatives otherwise lived up to their name. In the world where I live (the one where tips put many people through school), an open bar means a double tip. What's an extra buck when you're getting it for free?

The conservatives outsmarted the liberals on at least one front this week: They booked their concerts in real venues, and at night -- you know, after 6 p.m., when people with jobs go out and have fun.

A day after 9,000 of the 10,000 or so attendees had trouble finding their way down to the Take Back Labor Day festival on Harriet Island -- hmm, maybe a location not cordoned off by thousands of police and security forces would have been better -- about 5,000 politically charged rock and hip-hop fans found an easier route to the State Capitol grounds Tuesday afternoon for the Ripple Effect concert.

Despite such radical claims as "George Bush is way worse than Bin Laden" (a lyric by hip-hop group Dead Prez) and local rapper I Self Devine's chants of "[Expletive] the police" with a fully geared-up riot squad 100 yards away, Ripple Effect was more of a peaceful trickle.

Probably the funniest thing that happened was this announcement: "There's going to be a seminar on fungus in the Sustainable Living tent." Mostly, though, it was unfunny stuff, like rock/reggae singer Michael Franti recounting a story a family in Iraq told him about getting bombed. ("They wrapped themselves in blankets because their windows shattered on impact.") Yeah, so not a party.

Ripple Effect finally turned into quite the wild scene around 6:40 p.m., though. That's when Rage Against the Machine showed up. Yep, 6:40. To a concert on state property that clearly had a 7 p.m. curfew -- and without a permit to perform in a week that requires a permit to even hold a peaceful march, much less a riotous concert.

The Republican bigwigs aren't the only ones in town who know how to pull off a good publicity stunt.

chrisr@startribune.com • 612-673-4658

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