The first Twin Cities music venue to regularly host livestreaming concerts after the pandemic took over last year, the Hook & Ladder is now the first to announce a steady stream of outdoor gigs in 2021.
On Tuesday, the Hook's team announced an ambitious new music series dubbed Under the Canopy. Each show will take place outside the venue under a big, open-air tent with reserved tables and both local and out-of-town performers.
The series is set to begin May 1 with Hook regular Cornbread Harris' 94th birthday party and will continue through at least July. Other performers so far on the calendar include Dale Watson, Jeremy Messersmith, Davina & the Vagabonds, the Big Wu, the New Orleans Suspects, Keller Williams, Paul Cebar, Monica LaPlante, Turn Turn Turn and the International Reggae All-Stars.
For music fans impatiently awaiting signs of when and how live music will bounce back in 2021, the Under the Canopy series signals two likely developments: an end to the reliance on livestreaming, but not an end to safety concerns over indoor concerts.
"We still don't plan to do anything indoors until at least the fall," said the Hook & Ladder's talent buyer and marketing director Jesse Brodd. Thus, he added of the Under the Canopy series, "This is what we need to do to stay alive."
Each outdoor show will be rain-or-shine and can accommodate up to nearly 200 people broken up into two-, four- or six-person pods. The "canopy" will be a 75-by-30-foot, A-frame tent set up in in the nonprofit venue's spacious parking lot facing Minnehaha Avenue in the Longfellow neighborhood of south Minneapolis. Patrons will be able to order drinks and food-truck service on their phones and will be allowed indoors to use the Hook's single-stall unisex restrooms.
"We're doing everything by the book safety-wise and working closely with the city to serve our community," Brodd said. He also acknowledged that tickets "will be a little bit pricier" than what the Hook usually charges to offset the extra costs for the safety measures.
Tickets will first be available to members of the Hook's new MPLS Club 21 Patreon subscription series and go on sale every Wednesday starting this week. Individual tickets to each concert will be available starting Friday at 10 a.m. via thehookmpls.com or EventBrite.com.
The Hook is following the lead of Crooners and Icehouse, both of which hosted popular outdoor concert series last summer and fall with proper distancing and are planning to do so again in 2021. Each of those supper clubs are hosting indoor performances in a more limited capacity in the meantime.
The Hook still has one more gig left in its popular HookStream hi-fi livestream series, a special post-St. Patty's Day installment on Saturday with the Belfast Cowboys covering Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks" album. That could be it, though.
"Livestreaming thing did its thing for us keeping us and our favorite artists in business, but it's starting to feel like it's run its course," Brodd said. "We're ready to take the next step to safely bring back live music."
Here's the schedule so far for Under the Canopy:
- May 1: Cornbread's 94th Birthday Party
- May 7: The Belfast Cowboys (live album release)
- May 8: Kiss The Tiger and Ready Freddie: A Queen Experience
- May 14: Community Driven Country Cavalcade with Cole Diamond, Pleasure Horse, Jake Duda Band, Tyler Haag, DJ Truckstache, Jeff Larson
- May 15: Davina and The Vagabonds (two shows)
- May 20: Low Rats album release with Melk Boys, Black Widows, Whiskey Rock N Roll Club
- May 21: Jeremy Messersmith with Mayyadda
- May 22: Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound
- May 27: Dylan & the Dead Tribute with the Jones Gang
- May 28: Monica LaPlante, Muun Bato and Warcake
- May 29: Yacht Rock Party with the Lonesome Losers
- June 4: Morel Feast
- June 5: Keller Williams (two shows)
- June 11: Erik Koskinen
- June 18: International Reggae All-Stars
- June 19: Lady Lark, Sophia Eris and Lewiee Blaze
- June 25: ELnO with DJ Time Machine
- June 26: The Big Wu (two shows)
- June 27: Dale Watson (two shows)
- July 9: Turn Turn Turn and Martin Devaney
- July 10: Plant Based Poets with Carnage the Executioner, Saltee, ill chemistry, the Orange Goodness and Jodi Seiger's Rhythm And Shoes Dance Studio
- July 15-18: 10th annual Roots Rock & Deep Blues Fest (lineup to be announced March 30)
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658