A lot of love was shared between the Afghan Whigs and Har Mar Superstar last night at First Avenue, but the best moment came when they showed their mutual love for Grant Hart just a week after the local Hüsker Dü legend passed away.
Currently serving as the Whigs’ opening act on tour, Sean “Har Mar" Tillmann dedicated his heart-kicking ballad “How Did I Get Through the Day?” to Hart during his set on Thursday. Then the hometown opener came back out during the Whigs' encore to join the (reformed and revitalized) Cincinnati band’s frontman Greg Dulli in a predictably intense version of Hart’s underrated 1985 Hüskers classic “Keep Hanging On.” Local musichead Kyle Matteson thankfully caught the tribute on video, posted below and on YouTube.
“When I found out that Grant Hart had passed away I was very sad,” said Dulli, who has many Minneapolis ties, “but I was also very happy because his songs and his band’s songs changed not only my life but so many other people’s. To stand here on the stage where so many people including Hüsker Dü stood is an honor.”
As their tribute came to a close, Tillman urged the crowd, “Do the chorus with us, just to send it up to Grant. Wherever he is, he’s just a beautiful person.”
Dulli & Co. also paid a little homage to Prince by sliding in a snippet of “Sometimes It Snows in April” as the lead-in to their own dramatic gem “Faded.” Let's hope no other local heroes die between now and the next Whigs gig in town. You can read a full review of Thursday's show in City Pages.