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Maiden Minnesota: Thursday's listening parties presage long-awaited tour date

Fifteen years since they last played in Minnesota, the demand for Iron Maiden in the Twin Cities seems to be growing like an inflatable version of their undead mascot Eddie.

Two different listening parties are taking place around town Thursday night on the eve of the British metal vets’ latest album release, “The Book of Souls.” Not only is it their first record in five years, it’s a double-LP, and it’s accompanied by news of an ambitious worldwide tour that should finally end the long wait for their return to Minnesota next summer – possibly even with a stadium concert. Insert your two-handed metal horns here.

Catching on to the buzz, Grumpy’s Northeast in northeast Minneapolis and the Amsterdam Bar in St. Paul are each hosting special shindigs Thursday night. Grumpy’s mainstay and musician Tony Zaccardi said the event was actually the idea of the beer reps from Trooper, Maiden’s own, popular brand of brew -- tallboy cans of which will be on sale for (what else?) $6.66. The Grumpy’s party will also feature a giveaway of the band’s entire discography on vinyl.

Trooper will also be available at the Amsterdam in St. Paul, where local tribute band Maiden Minneapolis will perform before the first spin of “The Book of Souls.”

Here’s info on each of Thursday’s party:

GRUMPY’S NE: Metal DJ at 6 p.m., “The Book of Souls” listening at 8:30, free, 2200 4th St. NE, Mpls.

AMSTERDAM BAR & HALL: Maiden Minneapolis performs at 7:30 p.m., listening at 8:30, 6th St. & Wabasha, downtown St. Paul.

As for that long-awaited concert date, the band put off touring until next year while frontman Bruce Dickinson recuperates from having tumors removed from his tongue. An initial itinerary of dates that leaked a few months ago listed an Aug. 11 show at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, but it's unclear if that was accurate then or now. There are also murmurings of a local arena date this winter, which matches up with recent buzz of the tour starting with U.S. dates in February. Either way, it sounds like the Twin Cities is a lock to get a show.

The last time Maiden performed in town was way back in the year 2000 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, soon after Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith rejoined the band. They have enjoyed quite a resurgence in the 15 years since, but the nearest they have come to us was a headlining slot at Rock Fest in Cadott in 2012.

Here's the first video/single from the new record.

Duluth's Sacred Heart Music Center damaged by runaway truck

A photo by Duluth musician Mary Bue of Thursday's crash at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth.

A photo by Duluth musician Mary Bue of Thursday's crash at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth.

Hallowed ground to musicians around Minnesota, Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth was struck by an out-of-control pick-up truck on Thursday, which caused an entire brick corner of the former church to crumble.

The recording studio, music education facility and wedding and concert space -- which has hosted album sessions by Low, Trampled by Turtles, Charlie Parr and Dark Dark Dark, to name a few – was struck in a two-story northeast wing where music lessons are given. Damage was not done to the recording space or the main church/concert area. However, repairs costs were estimated at $50,000, a large sum for a nonprofit arts center even with insurance. Some musical instruments were also irreparably damaged.

According to the Duluth Tribune, the driver’s brakes went out, and he swerved into the building to avoid oncoming traffic. Sacred Heart sits up the hill from downtown Duluth at 201 W. 4th St. Side note: Duluth is one city where you really want to make sure your brakes are in good working order.

Fortunately, the driver only suffered minor injuries and no one was hurt. The brunt of the crash mostly went to the historic building, which dates to 1896.

“Our hope is to have it put back together in about six to eight weeks,” said Arno Kahn, vice-president of Sacred Heart Music Center Board, who also happens to be a construction contractor. Some of the stained-glass windows smashed in the accident will take longer to replace, though, and could prove difficult to replicate, Kahn added.

“It’s a lot for a nonprofit like ours to deal with, but we’re going to proceed with the repairs assuming we’ll get the money for it one way or another.”

Thursday’s crash wasn’t the only bad news to befall Sacred Heart this year: The studio’s longtime director and all-around guru, producer/engineer Eric Swanson, suffered a stroke in May. Through an uncanny coincidence, Thursday was Swanson’s first day back work at the facility.

Click here for info on supporting Sacred Heart’s programs and preservation.

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