Mark Mallman Marathon 3 live blog, day 4

Categories: Local Music
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This is it, people. We're in the home stretch of Mark Mallman's 78-hour song, which he started performing on Thursday afternoon at the Turf and will wrap up tonight at 10 p.m.

For reasons not even we can explain, we've been live-blogging the majority of Marathon 3 here on Gimme Noise, and will continue providing you up-to-the-minute recaps and photos until the bitter end. Check the links below for our recaps of days 1-3, and read on for all the action as it unfolds on the final day of this historic performance.

Previously:


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10

We're kicking things off today with another guest blogging stint by local music photographer Erik Hess who stayed at the Turf to document the overnight experience. Erik is insane, and his dedication to this project is beyond admirable. Go Erik, go!

Later in the day we'll be joined by local writer Cyn Collins. Cyn did a fantastic job live-blogging the show on Friday afternoon, and is returning today to give you a taste of the action as the doors open to the public at the Turf Club.

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Guest blogger Erik Hess

2:00-7:57 a.m. After the set's end last night I stuck around at the Turf and ended up settling in during the darkest hours of the night with new friends, always accompanied by the ambient tunes of the Mark's overnight set. While our discussions wandered, Mark fought against the most trying moments of exhaustion by pacing around the bar, climbing up and down stairs and keeping conversation going with his ever-present friends and support group.

(Read more about this section of the morning, including an interview with Mallman, in yesterday's live blog.)

Around 7:30 the window coverings came down and the beginnings of a University Avenue sunrise streamed in, slowly flooding the room with light.

Wendy, a veteran of several hourly sets and last night's overnight band, steps behind the kit and Dirty, his trainer and long-time friend, plugs in his guitar. Crux's electronic ambiance slowly gives way to rich blues that spills out from the stage and mingles with the coming morning, at first gently but then assertively pushing back the darkness. Mark straps on a bass, gets stomping and - if only for a moment - one can see the demons receding into the distance. I couldn't help but dance a little bit out on the empty dance floor.

Good morning, St. Paul. 64 hours down, 14 to go. Welcome to the final hours of Marathon 3.

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8:12 a.m. Felix wanders by the stage and asks the crew if they need anything.

Wendy: "Coffee!"

Dirty: "Make that two."

8:19 a.m. Wendy hops off the drums to give Dave time to play with Mark for a bit. While the trio brings the blues the overnight cleaning crew wraps up their mop down and wash up of the Turf's crowd-weary surfaces, readying the club for another day.

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8:33 a.m. After a few minutes Mark hops off of the bass and saunters to the corner of the stage. As he stands up straight and looks out over the empty bar, toward the sunlit windows beyond, it almost looks as if he's surveying his domain. With a tug on his jacket it looks like he's working up his resolve. While the band plays on, he takes another lap around the bar, a contemplative stop at the merch table and a lap around the outside of the bar in the sunlight for some rare fresh air. After coming back he still looks weary but invigorated and even takes some time to walk by and offer a fist bump on the way back to the stage.

8:50 a.m. Eventually Dirty and Wendy leave the stage. Nichole continues to keep Mark on track with conversation an anecdotes, spurring him on to continue with the sparse, minor chord melodies that will carry him through this particularly dark hour. Things are tough for him right now.

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9:01 a.m. A passerby on a bicycle riding by the club peeks in and offers a hearty double double thumbs up before continuing his ride eastward on University. It may have actually been another local musician but he moved on too early for any identification. Wendy passes on a shout-out from a mutual friend that's offering support as well. Well wishes are coming from unexpected places. It looks like they're having an impact. 13 hours left.

9:08 a.m. Mallman slowly reaches over, tinkers with a beat box and produces some softly thumping electro melodies with sweeping pads. Dave paces in front of the stage lightly clapping with the beat. Smiles appear on faces, toes are tapping. Nicole provides a shoulder massage and more conversation with Mark to keep him focused.

9:15 a.m. Mark tweets two single words: "Survived it!"

10:21 a.m. After Nicole heads off for the day we await further arrivals. Mallman's in rough shape but his drive is intense - mind over matter in its' purest form. Felix, Wendy and myself are taking turns engaging him in conversation, walking him around the bar, taking him outside for fresh air. I take a seat next to Mark and keep him talking, trying to keep him engaged. He mentions having difficulty staying alert and mentions a swollen ankle. Wendy runs downstairs, finds an ice pack.

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10:39 a.m. We take a brief walk outside with Mark for some fresh air and a stretch in the sunlight. The unseasonably warm fall weather seems to breathe a bit of life into him.  "Want an ace bandage for it?" "Nah, I've got it... Maybe some ibuprofen..."

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10:47 a.m. Chris Strouth arrives and focuses intently on the tasks at hand with Mallman on the stage. Sounds like they're having an extended conference about the rest of the day.

11:24 a.m. The first of noon band - Matt Batchelor - rolls in to hop on the drums, family in tow. After seeing him absolutely wreck the drums (in a good way) yesterday I'm really excited to see him up on the kit today. Wow, it's coming up soon...

11:50 a.m. Finally had time to check the email and saw that Steve from Implex.net (the streaming services provider hosting the live feed) sent along some statistics.

- Morning chill has 180 people watching as the email was typed
- Over 10,000 folks have seen the stream since it started. Most coming back several times
- We finally got hawaii but rhode island is still a hold out (49 of 50 states!)
- 39 countries have visited the stream including Qatar, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Romania, and Nepal.
- Biggest fans outside the US are in Canada, UK, and Australia

12:03 p.m. Jay LeFreak (!) has arrived to take over bass duties, Jeremy Ylvisaker is on guitar (!) and Matt Batchelor (!) is holding it down on drums. This. Is. Insanity. Mallman's in the hot seat ready to roll. Chris Strouth is running around making sure everyone's ready. Doors should be opening any minute now.

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12:05 p.m. Just as the noon set starts the doors open and a dozen or so early risers stroll in to check out the show. The slow jams start off gently with electric piano and a loping rhythm. Mark's vocals sound a bit rough - as one would consider appropriate for being on stage for 68 (sixty-eight) hours. Just under ten hours left... He's made it through the darkest hours, the rest of the journey he'll be accompanied by good friends and a rising tide of sentiment.

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12:24 p.m. Correction! Jeremy Ylvisaker (who just flew in from Sydney) is on bass and Chuck Prophet joined up on guitar and LeFreak in reserve. Insanity. Batchelor's keeping strong time and showing off some mad stick twirls and wicked fills. This rock and roll is the cure for the "phantom limb syndrome" caused by two fourteen-hour days of straight rock and roll music.
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12:38 p.m. Mallman told me several things earlier during our extended 'stay-awake' conversation that I can't remember to save my life. He did mention that his lyrics today were very likely to contain "unfinished stories" that will leave the listener wondering. Right now I'm simply unable to transcribe these lyrics. Yet. The "Blood Flow" and "Giant Wave" motifs are making a subtle resurgence, woven through fragments from what can only be the "raw creative nerve" he had hoped to tap into.

12:41 p.m. Already Mallman's voice is sounding better. The hot tea Felix cooked up for him earlier must be working its' magic, and rapidly too. He also seems to be entertained and energized by the pair of avid dancers in front of the stage, who are bouncing around and emphatically flailing their arms in approval.

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12:52 p.m. "Ashley's bringing it down... Ashley's down there bringing it down... The dance of the green ribbon... The mysterious mating ritual of the green ribbon... 6th Avenue bus stop... Green ribbon..." I'm not sure if I'm even making sense of the lyrics... Or if the lyrics are even making sense. This first set's off to a fiery start. The dancing is well deserved. If only we were all as energetic as Ashley (of Freaky Deaky fame) this morning. Word on the street has it that Mallman may call into the live public access show, which airs on MTN 17 tonight at 10 p.m. - coincidentally right after his set ends.

12:58 p.m. While Mallman's off stage for a brief conference with Strouth, Chuck Prophet unleashes one of the most amazing guitar solos I've ever heard. And makes it look easy. Good god.

1:02 p.m. The 1 p.m. change over sees Ylvisaker replaced on the bass by Mike Wisti (of the Rank Strangers) and Batchelor replaced by Andy Hertel on the drums while Prophet holds it down on guitar for a second glorious hour.

1:08 p.m. Strouth comes over with a grin on his face. "Matt did this," he says as he plops a solid metal Gibraltar kick pedal on my table. Matt Batchelor comes over to pose with his Marathon victim.

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1:15 p.m. I don't know if Mallman is reassuring his audience or himself with these lyrics. "I want you to know I'm alright... I want you to know I'm okay...

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1:39 p.m. While his voice is cracking occasionally, Mallman's pushing through the tail end 72nd hour of his set with remarkable gusto for a man that's been awake for nearly three days. Just 6 hours and some change to go. It's only going to get more insane from here.

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​1:51 p.m. "I'm a newspaper man... I get paaaaid to delivuh!" Yep. The newspaperman's back! It's like the return of an old friend... Speaking of which, Cyn Collins is here to take over live blogging duties! I'll still be photoing till the end though!

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Guest blogger Cyn Collins

1:54 p.m. Here I am again, 12 hours later! Happy to see Mallman is doing well, even stronger than I expected. Singing one of my favorite refrains, "the newspaper man" section of the song. His voice is a little wavery, slightly ragged and better by far than I expected at this point. He appears to have more energy than he did at the 52 hour point at the last marathon 4 years ago! Mike Wisti as you may know is ending this set . . . coming up next  .    Goondas drummer, Josh Miller, and on guitar/bass John Snell X/Al Grande  . . . 

2:00 p.m. We're in a fun(ky) post-punk groove now. Mallman is doing an awesome piano piece, awesome like the past nearly 70 hours. He's saying goodbye temporarily to Chuck Prophet, great special guest who is playing in a few days here I think. The musicians are changing over now, while the drummer holds down a beat and John Snell X is beginning a deep bass funk, dressed in his signature sienna pants and yellow shirt. 

Drummer Josh Miller (The Goondas) has taken the stage [insert crowd roar here].


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2:05 p.m. Mark Mallman rattles off, "I feelit, Ifeelit, Ifeelit, I'm feelin' good!" He's now kickin' into high gear on the keys/organ, matching the driving rhythms of Miller's primal drumming, and Snell's Bootsie Collins-esque bass! Its beginning to sound like we're covered by a Doors-like blanket of sound. 

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Mallman is asking John Snell the Tenth, who is John Snell the 9th, the 8th. And he is conjecturing there could be a John the 11th because John Snell the 10th "doesn't know." Mallman: "That's mysterious." And now he sings, an acid-laced song, in keeping with John Snell X psychedelic grooviness.

2:11 p.m. Oh, this band is sweet (I love psychedelic music) - its different than what the Goondas perform of course, and Josh Miller, versatile drummer that he is, is doing fine!  More people are wandering in. Chris Hill (Mercurial Rage) is talking with me about how it felt on stage (Mallman was talking to him, but it was difficult to hear, so he responded with answers that made as much sense as possible). He goes on at 3 p.m. today. Mike Wisti stopped by to say "hi" to me - today, he played the bass right-handed. It was a challenge but he did great. 

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2:19 p.m. Mallman asks Al Grande how its going. Grande: "Its not metal enough!"

2:25 p.m. Took a few photos. They won't be nearly as good as Erik Hess, but I'm capturing a lot of this for my personal archives. Such an historic, memorable event!

John Snell X is wearing "10" stickers all over his clothes. 10/10/10 This is his day! On the big final day of Mallman Marathon 3! 7.5 hours to gooo . . . 

2:30 p.m. Mallman: "I don't want to say who, but someone is not holding up their end. He tells Snell "Its not heavy enough, don't you think?" Snell shrugs. Mallman looks at Miller. "Oh, oops! There you are. We've been talking about you. Its been 20 years . . . I know you are a metal drummer. You are the best drummer we could find. You're the best drummer who could deal with us. We want you to finish this set. You know how to do that." Enter: A tremendously heavy, heavy-metal drum solo by Josh, crashing over our heads, to wild applause, and hollers! 

Mallman: "See that's what I'm talking about man, you only broke one stick! Remember the time you set the drums on fire?" Mallman "Now you sound so metal, you sound prog! I want metal!" Miller pulls out a gong. Mallman: "Black Sabbath!!!" Miller grins as he bangs the gong. Snell and Grande meet this by going into jazz territories . . .

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Mallman: "now we're going reverse-process! Anti-metal!"

2:36 p.m. Now we're prog(ressing)-rocking out! With some cute electronic notes from Mallman (yes, cute). Kinda sing-songy. Moving back into some sweet psychedelic territories. Josh Miller is the wildest, one of the best drummers, to my mind. 

Mallman is having Josh sing lyrics, now! He's singing/screaming the song, metal-style. Mallman: you didn't change what I wrote much. But you sang [word] twice. I didn't write that twice. Josh is flinging it right back, as he can do well.

2:42 p.m. Mallman is playing a child-ish song on the keys, while the Snell/Grande/Miller trio drone prog-style in the background. Now Josh's drumming is wildly coming to the fore with (again) that Bootsie-style bass of Snell I love.

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We have 18 minutes left of this band before they break up and Mallman breaks in his 71st band. And I mean, break-in, literally from what past events are illustrating (hee).

2:49 p.m  We are currently listening to a beautiful downpour of psychedelic funkiness that I could listen to all day. This is turning out to be a favorite set of mine (of many). It reminds me of last night's rave-like dance set (replete with green laser lights and smoke). Those would fit well with this set. Josh Miller is drumming Black Sabbath-style. Killer drum set. Yet again, I want these guys to form a new band. If Miller ever wanted to take on an additional project . . .

2:52 p.m.  The room is slowly filling with people - there are about 60. The room will be filled with about 300 Mallman musicians, their friends and Mallman enthusiasts galore by 6 p.m. I predict!

2:56 p.m. The band is taking it down several notches as the transition is about to occur. Mallman, "Alright everybody. That's beautiful." Indeed it is. The crowd applauds in agreement.

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"In about 3 hours, we're going to have a freak-out to celebrate 10/10/10 today." 

The music now moves into slow-heavy beauty as Chris Hill (bass, Mercurial Rage), Terry Eason (guitar) and Erik Matheson (drums) now take to the stage. Mallman to audience,  joking, "I don't know, those drums were kind of weak." Turns around to Miller, "Oh! You're still there! You want those Wallflowers tickets?" He gets Josh's humor - it was a terrific matchup. I get the feeling this isn't the last time Mallman and Miller will team up.

3:03 p.m. Here we go again . . .Mallman to Mill: "Imagine. Your bass is a cheetah, a cheetah with long legs." 

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3:37 p.m. There are about 20 - 30 more people at this point. Come down and join the fun! Be part of the community spirit here for Mallman as he performs these final hours. Its amazingly fun. What will I do for a Mallman music fix after this? I've been here for only about 18 hours of this. Its not enough. Many are expressing similar sentiments. And you have to see, live, what LaFreak is wearing today as he performs next 4 - 5 p.m. Its stunning.

3:42 p.m. Chris Pericelli (Little Man) is in the house. He'll be performing with LaFreak, and drummer Sean Hoffman. Why do I suddenly get the feeling we're going to get the most amazing glam-rock session of the weekend? 

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4:01 p.m. Transition #73 has just occurred. Chris Pericelli on guitar, J. Evan LaFreak on bass gettin' his freak on in the freakness of this cool event of the year, and Sean Hoffman in his ?? drum set (I have lost count). This will be a very intense, cool session. Already, Pericelli is playing chunky, rapid-fire riffs and wails - he tears it up like nobody's business. Little Man. Big guitar!

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4:23 p.m. This set is scorching hot, pulsing with intense wails ripping from Pericelli's guitar. The drumming is straightforward, hardcore beat setting the rhythm for Pericelli's guitar to dance around and through while La Freak, all silver and shimmery dances on his freak bass, his silver shirt reflecting the red and orange lights of the Turf Club. 

This event could only happen here, to my mind. Its the right place for all these musicians to congregate, in one of our most highly esteemed rock clubs, legendary. Its been fun seeing the musicians going through, meeting each other and experiencing each other's playing. Who knows what musical alliances may form out of these new combos? That's another thing I love about the Marathon. Mallman brings musicians together, and often they perform in each other's bands down the road . . .

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4:32 p.m. I suddenly realize LaFreak's shirt mirrors the mirror ball. Sweet!

I was just informed Mark Mallman's mom is here! She's near the front, watching, enrapt. Her son is such a great performer, with stunning, unheard of stamina.

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4:47 p.m. The band, says Sean Smuda, sounds like "a jam on Transmission, with a little bit of 20th Century Boy (T. Rex)." They're holding it down with a heavy, swirling pulse. They're tirelessly tearing the house down. Pericelli's guitar is stunning. I may have said this before, I'll say it again. Now they sound like they're performing "L.A. Mallman" quipped Smuda the guest of this guest blogger.

4:54 The band is slowing down to a sweet jam, as the changeover time is nigh and we wait for Mallman to return to the stage.

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The report from Mallman is that he's feeling good. He's just getting a routine check-up from the house doctor. This is good news and we applaud. There are about 100 people here now, watching and enjoying the music enraptly. There's not much conversation (its loud!) and we are all (if they're like me) loving this set.

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5:01 p.m. Changeover! Mallman is back and standing on his piano, and talking to us. He thanks the band, who is now Jeff Kearns (The Hangups) on bass, Nick Ryan on guitar, Michael Ries on drums! They're performing a slow, beautiful jangledy (ala '70s Cali-rock) jam. Mallman's keys are soft on the ears.

5:07 p.m. Mallman's foot (earlier reported as sore) is taped up with gaff tape. He said his blood pressure is low, and he shouldn't be doing this. But he forges on through the fields of notes and lyrics . . .

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5:11 p.m. There are easily as many people here now as were here at 11 p.m. last night.

Smuda tells me one musician, Paul Dickinson was given a cassette tape of the song they were going to perform. It was a tape of Joy Division songs. While that is quite funny, he is actually performing a Joy Division inspired set right now.

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5:17 p.m. There are a core group of 3 - 4 dancers who have been here whenever I've been here, and so I expect beyond my 18-plus hours. They are dancing joyously in unabashed appreciation and solidarity with Mallman.

5:18 p.m. Mallman is talking about how his foot is hurting and he doesn't know why. "But I believe I can still dance."

5:24 p.m. Four hours and 36 minutes till Mallman hits the final note of this 78-hour song!

5:32 p.m. John Snell X told me: "I think I'll remember this event all my life. I've never been part of such an obvious history-in-the-making event." Mallman is now talking with his mom.



5:35 p.m. I'm going to join the rest of Mallman Marathon 3 revelers now in the build-up of these final hours. Now, back to your host, Andrea Swensson. . .

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Back to Andrea -- Thanks Erik and Cyn!

5:50 p.m. First of all, can I just say how much I appreciate the madness of Erik Hess? Dude's been here since noon yesterday, documenting non-stop. I am trying to force him to take a break, but I don't think he's listening to me.



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I've yet to hear Mallman sing anything since arriving back at the Turf, but he was just calling out chord changes for the band -- something he hasn't done in a while. Earlier today Mallman proclaimed that he was waiting until the final three-hour stretch to "go crazy," and that point is only an hour out from where we are now. The energy is pretty chill right now, but the crowd is building and there is anticipation in the air.

When I got here Mallman was taking a moment to talk to his mom, and it seems to have raised his spirits.

5:56 p.m. A woman is coming on stage to help Mallman. "May I take this off?" Mallman asks, motioning to his bandaged foot. "How long was I asleep? Just for like, two seconds?"

The woman is unwrapping his foot and has brought a foot brace for him to wear. Meanwhile, fans come up to the edge of the stage and present Mallman with a handful of daisies.

Mallman explains what happened to his ankle: "It's all swollen, man, I whacked it last night. It was wild last night. You were there, you saw. I was dancing like a madman. I was fucking shit up. It was worth it... I think. It was a good show, you know?"

He looks down at his foot. "It looks like bondage equipment... sex."

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6:07 p.m. "This is not how I wanted it to go down. Last night I was a god of sex and thunder. God bless podiatrists.... There's no rock history that's going to be broken with this on. Syd Vicious wouldn't wear this. Maybe I should have broken my skull." Did I mention that he's standing on his keyboard as he says this? He's unbreakable.

He holds his foot in the air and puts his little skeleton head on over his brace. "Tell me, is this rock and roll?" The crowd goes wild.

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6:09 p.m. Speaking of the crowd -- seriously, where is everyone? It seemed like the place was filling up but there can't be more than 100 people here, including the folks smoking outside. It seemed like most people were waiting until today to come...

6:10 p.m. To prove his rock 'n' roll-ness is alive and well, Mallman picks up one of the daisies, bites a few of the petals off, and spits them out at the crowd. "If you put flowers on stage, I will eat them!"

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6:14 p.m. Now he's putting the flowers down his pants! Rock and roll!

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6:17 p.m. "If Prince comes tonight, he's going to walk right back out. Which is exactly what I want. This guy Prince..." He looks down at the flowers in his pants, then out at his mother. "Is this ok, mom?"

6:21 p.m. Mallman is calling his doctor back up to the stage. "What if we wrapped foil around it? That could look cooler. I can't do this. I just can't do it. Let's just cut it off!" And just like that he's back into the hook of his neverending song, riffing on the giant wave while the band (John Snell X, Matt Johnson, Mike Geronsin on drums this time) chugs away behind him.


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6:30 p.m. After more protesting about his foot, Mallman's ankle is wrapped again and nestled into a black boot-like brace. To celebrate, he climbs atop his keyboard and launches into his "I'm a newspaper man" riff.

6:35 p.m. He's really fixating on his foot now. "I thought, if I could complete this marathon, if I could finish, people would think, who is this? He's not a man, he's just a half-human, half-beast, kind of sentient kind of thing. And now, I have this flaw, because I possibly broke my entire foot, shattered this foot during a performance, and I'm flawed... You should have seen it this morning. If you would have put this foot in gravel, and crushed it in a sack, and put some toenails on it, that's what it looked like."

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6:40 p.m. "I'm sorry, I'm stressed out. I haven't slept in maybe 75 hours, you know? Except for maybe like two seconds... I'm not going to let it get in my way, people! I've got 3 hours and 21 minutes, and I'm gonna turn it around... It's gonna be rock and roll and primal. I mean, shit, Ghandi probably hasn't slept in that long, and look at all he does in that time."

"So anyways. Ask me why, and I will tell you 'because.'"

6:42 p.m. "I know you guys are all like, let's get there early, let's cheer him up. But you know what? It's fucking lonely on this stage right now, man."

6:47 p.m. Hastings 3000, clad in a creepy antelope/gas mask, jumps up on stage and immediately starts coaxing some pure, moaning melodies out of his electric guitar. Mallman is joining in, pounding out chords on the keyboard, and the energy is finally starting to rise again after a significant lull.

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6:49 p.m. "I've already failed Marathon 3, man. No, I'm gonna quit. I'm just gonna quit. I gotta quit it. I gotta stop. I can't take it, it's too much stress! These bullies!" Hastings 3000 edges to the staircase next to the stage like he's going to leave, but Mallman calls him back up. Not 30 seconds later, he changes his tune. "All right, I will not quit. It's just 3 hours, that's easy. That's like driving to the Dells. It's three hours, it's simple."

I think he's just toying with us now.

6:55 p.m. Improv jam about where to get dinner afterwards. Maybe Indian food, maybe Dairy Queen, maybe the Chili's on 394... It's anyone's guess.

Hastings 3000 is pulling Mallman through this set.

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7:00 p.m. Chuck Prophet has returned, along with John Munson (fresh from rocking it at the Semisonic/Trip Shakespeare reunion Friday night) and Mallman's touring drummer Aaron LeMay. Mallman is not impressed by Munson's bass. "Look at you, your bass is, like, scratched. You'd think you'd borrow a new one or something! It's not even shiny anymore."

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7:02 p.m. "John, you've played all over the world," Mallman says.

"And there's nowhere I'd rather be than right here," Munson replies.

"Do you mean that?"

"Yeah."

"YES!"

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7:18 p.m. The band just wrapped up a 20-minute instrumental jam that was heavy on Prophet's clean, bluesy guitar work. Unlike so many of the guitarists who have joined Mallman on stage, Prophet doesn't need any effects pedals or distortion to keep the listeners focused on his guitar as it sings, hums, and leads the band through crashes and waves.

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7:24 p.m. Now Mallman is teaching the band how to play his "knock, knock, knock" song. "Then we go to 'It's the grays, it's the grays.' Ok?" he coaches the crowd. "This is about alien abduction."

When the time comes for the crowd to yell about the grays, there is only silence, and Mallman throws a mock tantrum.

"Screw it, man. Screw the Marathon 3," Mallman says. "Fuck it, I'm done."

"Nooooooo!" the crowd pleads. We all know Mallman will go back to his piano and keep playing, and he does.

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7:31 p.m. Mallman picks up his phone and pretends to answer a call. "Oh hai. No, nothing, not anything really. No that's cool. No, I understand. No, it's fine, it's just part of the trip. Do you want me to take care of your cat for a while? Ok, I'll run over."

Turning to the crowd, he says "Ok guys, look. I'm totally dating this new girl, we're really into each other, we both like the same bands, so it's like, I gotta stop the marathon because I'm going to go help her cat. Sorry, she's really cute."

"Nooooooo!" the crowd cries.

"You made a commitment," Prophet says. "You made a commitment."

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"Yeah, but I do like her," Mallman says. "We both are totally into the True Blood. You're familiar with True Blood, aren't you? She's got the first season on DVD, we're totally going to go watch it, drink tallboys and stuff. Is that cool?"

"Noooooooo!"

"I'm sorry guys. [Walks to the edge of the stage, then hobbles back.] No you're right. You're right."

And he's back.

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7:46 p.m. The crowd has grown considerably, and there's a huge TV camera set up halfway back. Mallman is getting revved up now, standing on his chair, shaking his booty, and spreading his arms out like a surfer. "Seriously, I don't know how I broke my foot last night!" he jokes. Prophet responds with a decidedly surf rock-like, rippling guitar riff. The fog machine is on... I hope the lasers come on next.

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7:56 p.m. Mallman turns to Prophet. "I gotta tell you man, I'm afraid I might die. What if my heart fails? Dude, I weigh 643 pounds, and that's not healthy."

"When's the last time you stepped on a scale?" Prophet retorts.

"1982, I was 10 years old."

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7:57 p.m. Now he's getting morbid: "If I die tonight, how would you feel? If you didn't stop me now, when you still had a chance? As I lie on the ground right next to John's foot, what would feel about yourself then?"

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The feeling of revelry is mounting. We're going to invite one last guest blogger, Pat O'Brien, to give you his take on the beginning of the end. I'll be back in an hour to bring it all home!

=================

Guest blogger Pat O'Brien

8:00 p.m. "Let's just fuckin'....I know what you guys are thinking: 'If I get Mallman out of the way....'" he trails off. The band just finished playing a wholly bizarre version of Phil Collins' "In The Air At Night".

Mallman exclaims "Don't haze me, bro!" apropros of exactly nothing.

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8:03 p.m. "How do you ever get strippers with stuff that's not shiny? We need shiny things to lure in the strippers."

8:04 p.m. Jake Hanson of Halloween, Alaska takes the stage on guitar, International Espionage's Aaron Lemay gets behind the drum kit. Chuck Prophet is still here, absolutely slaying.

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8:10 p.m. Mallman tells Prophet, "I think you're dressed very appropriately for a rock concert, it's button up, you know? Your hair's a little messy, though."

A laser light show has begun, they are flashing haphazardly into the crowd, reminiscent of that scene in Aliens when the Nostromo is discovered by the deep salvage team. This must have been what every concert by an up and coming heavy metal band at the Starwood or Whiskey-A-Go-Go looked like, but the music doesn't match; it's jarring and amazing.

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8:18 p.m. The song slows way down, a deep groove has begun, an as-yet-unidentified guest is playing harmonica in sad tones.8:22 p.m. The groove picks up, Mallman seems more with it right now than he has in the last three hours, the finish line is in sight, he must see it. 

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8:24 p.m. Harmonica solo. That is all. He is finally identified by Mallman as "Dirty Ray." Martin Devaney has taken the stage with a saxophone in hand.

"Martin Devaney, I have a question for you: have you ever been afraid in your own house?" Mallman asks.

"Yes." Devaney replies.

"Of what?" queries Mallman.

"Alien abductions" Devaney answers.

8:29 p.m "Knock knock knock, who is it?" This has been a familiar refrain for anyone who has spent any time at this massive undertaking by Mallman.

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8:32 p.m. Devaney takes de facto center stage with a sax solo, Mallman calling out the chord changes ("G. F. G. F.") every few seconds. The song moves from ambling to full bore then suddenly puts on the brakes. Mallman's voice is incredibly hoarse. "That's a great shirt," he compliments Devaney.

8:35 p.m. A staccato, rambling guitar line suddenly bursts from Hanson. The rest of the band quickly follows suit -- they're picking up a full head of steam this time.

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8:36 p.m. "I can't finish, I'm too tired. I can't, I might die. Really, I should stop." Mallman says. The crowd protests. We know he's (presumably) kidding.

8:38 p.m. "What if I just quit now at 76 1/2 hours? That's good enough, right?" Mallman asks. The crowd begs to differ.

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8:40 p.m. It is now absolutely packed in the Turf Club. The band suddenly explodes into another fast-paced jam. Mallman is sort of looking around, confused. He begins to reminisce with Prophet, telling a story about stealing horses, drinking wine and chasing each other on the freeway in Spain. This probably didn't actually happen, but is amusing. In Mallman's world right now, the line between truth and fiction is probably as liquid as it ever has been or ever will be.

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8:47 p.m. Spacey jam-out, then, "Bring up the lights!" from Mallman. Odd sound effects emanate from somewhere onstage. "Did I fall asleep there? Oh shit, I feel asleep." Hanson comes through with an angular, new wave-ish riff that reminds of Gang Of Four. The fact that this can still stay interesting is amazing to nearly everyone in attendance, it is the topic of almost every conversation within earshot.

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8:52 p.m. "Whoa, whoa, hold on, hold on." Mallman says. The band stops playing briefly. "I just a text message, my friend has tickets to see Scream 4 at 9:30! We saw the first two, and he is deployed tomorrow, I can't do Marathon III, we'll do it next year. I love you guys," Mallman proclaims. "Wait, is Scream 4, like, in production? Who, what's that chick's name? Is it the same girl?" He is again "persuaded" to continue by the crowd. The song continues.

8:59 p.m. "You're going to look like Frankenstein in a sweatsock!" he says referring to himself and his foot, which he now says is broken. Previous reports were that it was sprained. It's unclear which is correct. "It's now hour 77! I feel great," he says, and sings "The body can't be sealed, if the mind can't heal" over and over. He dons a new coat. White 3/4 length. It says MR. SERIOUS across the back, just like his previous one. It looks like it was made at the State Fair. The banner in front of the stage has changed from "LIQUID MOTH" to "INVINCIBLE."

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====================

Back to Andrea -- Thanks Pat!

9:05 p.m. I'd be lying if I tried to cop like I've got any objectivity about this situation anymore. I have a giant lump in my throat right now. It feels like we're counting down to New Year's Eve and a space shuttle launch, all at once. I spent the last hour pressed up against the front of the stage, feeding off the neverending fuel pouring off the stage in buckets, watching in awe as Prophet's guitar keeps pushing us on, and on, and on. And Mallman just keeps pushing, too. No one believes him when he pretends he's going to stop, and he looks like he couldn't stop if he tried. He's firing on all cylinders, god knows how.

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At one point he removed his tinted glasses and squinted out at the audience, assessing the situation. The skin around his eyes is swollen and bruised, and his cheeks are pale. And yet, here he is, strapping a keyboard to his shoulders and playing it behind his back one minute, then picking up the tiny skeleton head that has been a staple of his stage set-up and tearing it to shreds.

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There are lasers, there is smoke, and there is a packed bar full of people her to cheer him on. Finally, after 77 hours, we're nearing the moment we've all been waiting for. Damn. It's hard not to feel awestruck.

9:12 p.m. The giant rats have arrived! A longtime staple of Mallman's live shows, I've been wondering when they would show up. "There's a man in there!" Mallman says, dismayed. "It's just a costume!"

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9:16 p.m. "I need a sandwich!" Mallman declares. It's been a while since he's had anything to eat; he hasn't stopped moving for the last couple of hours.


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9:19 p.m. There's been a word thrown around a lot lately by people watching the marathon, both at the Turf and at home online: People find this marathon inspirational. And here's where I cast my objectivity aside for a moment and reflect on the pride pumping through my veins right now. Whether he realizes it or not, this project has had a ripple effect on the community at large; everyone wants to know what will happen, and everyone wants to push him to succeed. 

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I've written in the past about the complicated relationship the music community seems to have with people who are successful. We don't know whether to embrace them or push them away. Mallman, however, is the perpetual underdog, and he is fighting his own kind of battle. Chances are, Mallman will keep making music forever. Mallman will play songs to nobody in a bar at 4 a.m. on a week night, because that's what he set out to do. And THAT is where the inspiration comes from. Because if Mallman can play for 78 hours straight just "because," what excuse do we have for slacking off on our own goals, whether they are self-imposed or not? What's a little lost sleep in the pursuit of something greater than ourselves?

Which is a long way of saying, I suppose, that Mallman's marathon is bringing "Yes we can" back to the forefront of our minds, at least for this weekend. And yeah, you think I'm cheesy, but anyone who is at the Turf can attest that tonight is one of the most odd and unbelievable nights in local music that we've seen in a long time. 

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9:30 p.m. Mallman is getting reflective, too. "I was told we have had 15,000 people watching online. And I was told that a good portion of those people are living in Thailand. If you are watching at home on your computer -- what was it that you heard me say that implored you so deeply to leave the fucking thing on? Tell me, what did I say that implored you so deeply to spend your Sunday night here with us? What did I say?"

"Chicken salad!" shouted one audience member.

"Fist bumps!" offered another.

"Well you see, it takes a long time to write a long song, but it takes even less time to write a long, nerdy, awkwardly weird song. Did I say anything else that struck you, touched you deeply? What did I say? Well, whatever it was, I'm glad I said it, I meant it... I hope it touched you deeply, maybe like a double rainbow, or possibly even a triple rainbow."

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9:42 p.m. This is getting so intense, and it's hard to see everything from my booth in the back. I'm going to take my friend's advice and head to the front of the room for the finale -- more updates soon!

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Wearing a medal forged from the medals of his marathon runner father, Mallman refuses to make a speech - "Anyone can do things for fun!" - before throwing down the mic and shambling off stage to be whisked away by his support crew for much needed sleep.

10:04 p.m. Wow. Wow. Wow.

I've never heard cheers so loud in a rock and roll bar. You'd think we'd just won the World Series, as chants of "Mallman, Mallman, Mallman!" sprang up instantaneously the minute the last note was played.

Let's back up 20 minutes...

As the clock neared 10, Mallman tried to argue against finishing the marathon one last time, crumpling over his keyboard and feebly holding his microphone up to his mouth. "I'm shaking, my legs are shaking! I see Nana! I see Nana!" And with that he slumped down to play dead, his rat assistants motioning for the crowd to cheer him on. This entire 78-hour song has centered around the idea of transformation, and it was time for Mallman to be reborn.

The room exploded as he stood up, picked up his massive 400-page book of lyrics, and started tearing out handfuls of pages and throwing him out into the crowd. He has no use for those lyrics anymore; this particular song will never be performed again. Once all the pages were scattered into the room, he tore out the metal brackets from his three-ring binder and clamped it around his wrist, then picked up the microphone to sing one last time.

"It's all been a dream!" he cried, hoarsely. Again, a lump planted itself in my throat. "It's all been a dream! A dream! A dream!"

Meanwhile, the band was whirring away, Chuck Prophet leading the pack as they descended into total madness. (Side note: I think Prophet should do his own marathon someday, as even his three-hour stint on the guitar tonight left me wanting more.) The lights flashed, the band clashed, and everyone in the room pressed forward and screamed at the top of their lungs.

When he could sing no more, Mallman picked up a handful of the flowers fans had brought to the stage and tore off the petals in his mouth, showering the crowd with spit and daisy shards. He picked up two more daisies and clenched their stems between his teeth, then climbed atop his piano one last time, baring his teeth in an unholy snarl and holding up his index and pinky fingers in the international sign of rock. Mallman was the victor, and the room roared -- it was all we could do to show our gratitude for his unimaginable sacrifice to his art, and the entire front part of the room was left wiping tears off our cheeks.

As if that wasn't enough of an emotional climax, Mallman's dad, John, climbed up on stage as Mark tumbled to the ground, helped his son to his feet, and spoke.

"I'm a marathoner myself, and I know what kind of dedication and support it takes to make it to the end. And Mark, you deserve an award."

He presented Mark with a medallion, which had been recast from three of his own marathon medals, and hung it around his son's neck.

As the band cleared the stage, Mallman stumbled off stage and was quickly whisked away by his support staff, heading out into the night to confront silence for the first time in days and begin his rebirth and recovery.

10:23 p.m. There's a crowd still here, stunned. No one seems to know what to do. We've all been invested in this performance since Thursday afternoon, and now it's our turn to head out into the night, confront the silence, and start out on our own marathons, whatever they might be.



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