Daytrotter's Barnstormer 4 kicks off in Wrenshall, MN

Categories: Last Night
Photos by Erik Hess
​Daytrotter's Barnstormer 4
April 26th, 2011
Free Range Film Fest Barn, Wrenshall, MN

When I heard that the Daytrotter crew were planing to put on a barn show just over two hours away from Minneapolis, my attention was piqued. Daytrotter has created over five years of live recordings from a diverse range of artists ranging from Bob Mould to Blitzentrapper, Wire to William Elliot Whitmore, A Place to Bury Strangers to Zee Avi and hundreds of bands in between. Founder Sean Moeller's thoughtful words combined with Johnnie Cluney's quirky portraits and skillful engineering by dozens of friends and collaborators like Mike Gentry and Patrick Stolley create a vivid document of these bands while they wearily traverse the heart of the country mid-tour.

With the Barnstomer tour, now in its fourth incarnation, they bring their curatorial skills together to create something unique. The first Barnstormer in July 2009 strove to "take great Daytrotter bands to the small dots on the map where they'll be appreciated for their raw emotion and talent, turning a barn and a room into magical spots for an evening" and last night's show definitely did just that despite the cold, rainy weather.

The relatively chilly spring day didn't deter attendees, however, and by the time the music started at around 6:30 PM a small crowd of a few dozen had assembled. The crowd was deliberately small - tickets were "extremely limited" - to keep the show as intimate as possible. The folks that braved the cold were avid music lovers that either had trekked from cities like Minneapolis or Duluth or from small towns in northern Minnesota, not casual fans and barflies that often fill up the big-city venues that I'm used to. Conversations abounded, friends were made and the atmosphere was jovial.

The barn itself was a beautiful space with space downstairs for snacks and a merch table while the upstairs loft offered great sound and plenty of space for a floor-level stage and elbow room for the crowd. While it wasn't heated - you could see the performers' breath hanging in the air at times - it did provide shelter from a gusty, biting wind and steady drizzle of rain that continued throughout the evening.

The other pages of this post will contain images of each performance with some commentary. Hop to pages 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 for detail on sets by Keegan DeWitt, Guards, the Romany Rye, Hellogoodbye and Sondre Lerche, respectively.
Bands loading in for the Daytrotter Barnstormer show at The Free Range Film barn in Wrenshall, MN.
The Free Range Film Fest barn in Wrenshall, MN.
Band gear waits to go upstairs to the barn's loft after being hauled across the lawn.
Show goers arriving at the barn.
Show goers looking over merch and conversing in the impromptu lobby before the show.
$1 Snacks, coffee and tea to keep the barnstormers warm.
A small theater tucked into a side room downstairs in the barn.
A view of the rainy day through an old window in the barn.
A pair of show goers take in the view from the front barn's hay loft.
Lights serve as aisle markers on the hay-strewn floor of the barn's loft.
The spacious loft made for an excellent-sounding, if a bit chilly, venue for the show.

Continue on to page 2 for Keegan DeWitt...

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