The 4onthefloor: totally winning
After more than 200 bands, thousands of votes and one genre-defying concert, foot-stomping rockers the 4onthefloor were crowned the victors of Vita.mn's Are You Local? best-new-band search after their showstopping set Friday at the Varsity Theater. The bluesy/twangy rockers earned a spot at Vita.mn's MN Music Showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on March 19 alongside Jeremy Messersmith, Doomtree, Pink Mink, Haley Bonar and more.
4onthefloor drummer Mark Larson embraced the honor with humble enthusiasm after the show. "It's fuckin' rad, man," Larson said, hoisting his beer above his stocking cap-covered head. "It's a party times two."
Despite rolling in after a 13-hour drive from Indiana, the 4onthefloor boys showed no sign of fatigue, rumbling through a half-hour of barroom bangers and knocking the crowd on its metaphorical backside. While their thick, raucous sound is more befitting of a dirty dive bar than the plush Varsity, filling a large room seemed like old hat for the quartet, led by bushy-bearded frontman Gabriel Douglas. Douglas even ditched the stage late in the show to rock out in the audience, beer stein in hand. How can you not love a frontman who informs the crowd that the next five songs will all be about drinking?
After the banjo-strumming Ben Weaver opened the show, rapper Longshot -- the first of three Are You Local? finalists -- grabbed attention with his sociopolitical raps and commanding delivery. Longshot peppered spoken-word pieces into his set, sharing his views on the justice system and other topics while coming off as thought-provoking rather than preachy. Next up, finalists Pictures of Then's straightforward, danceable tunes were also a hit. While their extended jams could have been trimmed a hair, their more playfully bouncy tunes were infectious. These radio-friendly rockers wear their '70s rock influences on their sleeves -- like a non-douchey Jet.
The contrast between third finalist the 4onthefloor's thumping rock and Phantom Tails' synthy, smoke-filled set was huge. But the Tails seemed to feed off the crowd's adrenaline. Headliner Messersmith started off with a few songs from last year's "The Reluctant Graveyard" at a slightly quicker tempo than the album versions. It was almost unfair to have the chilled-out songwriter follow the 4onthefloor's unruly antics and Phantom Tails' frenzy, even though he was the biggest name on the bill. Still, Messersmith's set was the perfect nightcap to a diverse evening of Twin Cities music.
- Michael Rietmulder
First Ave drops Ticketmaster
First Avenue is ending its relationship with Ticketmaster as of April 1. That's not an April Fool's joke. With its longstanding Ticketmaster deal expiring, the vaunted Twin Cities club is switching to eTix. First Ave general manager Nate Kranz promises more efficiency and smaller fees. He predicts that handling fees will drop by 20 to 40 percent, depending on the show. Other Twin Cities venues have eschewed Ticketmaster, the dominant ticketing agency since the early 1990s. The Varsity and Triple Rock use TicketFly, Cedar Cultural Center and the 400 Bar work with TicketWeb, and the Cabooze with TicketFusion.
- Chris Riemenschneider
Gayngs, Doomtree release 'Affiliyated' EP
Going into their incestuous showcase Sunday at First Avenue, Gayngs and Doomtree issued a free new EP that permanently ties them at the hip and raises each other's hipster status all the more heading into South by Southwest. Titled "Affiliyated," the seven-song collection features Doomtree-helmed remixes -- really, they're all-out reinventions -- of some of the tracks off last year's Gayngs album "Relayted." You'll recognize the source material but you'll also hear new rhymes by P.O.S., Sims and Mike Mictlan alongside crazy new mash-ups by Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, Cecil Otter, Plain Ole Bill, MK Larada and (once again) P.O.S., who's also known as "LeRon" in Gayngs circles. The EP premiered on the indie music blog Stereogum, where it can be downloaded for free.
- Chris Riemenschneider
'Runway' contestants to reunite
Designer finalists for the Sol Inspirations Eco-Fashion Gala & Fundraiser on April 23 at the Depot Minneapolis have been announced, and there is one major surprise: Former "Project Runway" contestants Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman and Christopher Straub are both on the list. While Straub has been a fixture in the Twin Cities since before he was on the reality show in 2009, Coleman took a job with Kohl's in Milwaukee after the show and then moved to New York, showing spring 2010 and fall 2010 collections of his namesake line in the meantime. It will be exciting to see the two reunite in their first official capacity since "Runway." Other designers include Niki English, Jenn Bratvold, Allison Helliwell, Atom Pechman and Tara LaTour. Each will create three eco-friendly looks using nontraditional fabrics, recycled materials and sustainable fabrics, and the winner will receive $5,000. For more info visit www.sol-inspirations.org.
- Jahna Peloquin
Lady Gaga dumps Target
Lady Gaga has ended her exclusive deal with Target to carry the deluxe edition of her next album, "Born This Way," over the retail giant's support of the MN Forward political action committee and gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer last year. Those political donations did not mesh with Gaga's staunch support of gay rights, a cause that Emmer and MN Forward were known to be against. The Advocate quoted "a source close to Lady Gaga" who said "she and Target didn't see eye to eye on Target's policy of political donations and how they affect the LGBT community." The move will add to Gaga's Madonna-wannabe reputation as an artist who doesn't compromise. Although, in a way this deal was a compromise from the start.
- Chris Riemenschneider
Ahhhh, block parties
The first block party announcement of 2011 has arrived courtesy of Memory Lanes, which puts on a rowdy, all-ages, two-day bash in its parking lot over Memorial Day weekend. Mark Mallman, Pink Mink, the Goondas, E.L.nO., Seated Heat (a mash-up of Birthday Suits and Mute Era) and more will perform on Saturday, May 28, while the Sunday lineup includes butt-kicking, gas-tank-slapping Kansas punkabilly band Split Lip Rayfield, Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles, the 4onthefloor, the Sex Rays and Al's Rockabilly Trio. If all this isn't enough good news to warm you up, the party will roll over into Monday this year with an extra-punky lineup of the God Damn Doo Wop Band, the Fuck Knights, Useless Wooden Toys, In Defence and others.
- Chris Riemenscheider
Quads' reality show debuts
A reality TV show about the Durst quadruplets from Buffalo, Minn., has been rescheduled to premiere on Tuesday and moved to a post-prime-time slot. "Four of a Kind" is Lifetime's series about Calli, Kendra, Megan and Sarah Durst. The eight-episode show will air at 10 p.m. Tuesdays. The show follows the quads during their senior year at Buffalo High School and will document "each quadruplet's experience juggling adolescence, including boys, school, homework, sports, gossip and what lies ahead for them, their older brother, Travis, and their single mother, Naomi." Naomi Durst beat the odds of one in 700,000 by having quadruplets without using fertility drugs.
- Paul Walsh
End of the centuries
Saturday is the final day for 20.21 at the Walker Art Center. The museum's lobby grab-and-go, the Garden Cafe, is bidding farewell Sunday. An opening date for 20.21's replacement, Gather, hasn't been announced, but D'Amico & Partners, which is taking over all of the Walker's food service operations, will have a temporary replacement for the Garden Cafe operational Tuesday.
- Rick Nelson
Hit the slopes
As often happens come March (when the ski slopes are still packed with snow but not people), Papa Charlie's at Lutsen Ski Resort along the North Shore has some interesting concerts this month: The Suburbs will be there Saturday, while the Gear Daddies play March 19, both cheaper than when they're in town ($14-$18). Tickets at www.lutsen.com.
- Chris Riemenschneider