The Current's 7th birthday party at First Avenue, 1/28/12

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Erik Hess
The Current's 7th Birthday Party, Day 2

With Polica, Suicide Commandos, Sims, and Haley Bonar
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Saturday, January 28, 2012

View a slideshow from the concert here and coverage of night one here.

Was it arrogant of the Current to think that a two-night birthday was appropriate? Was it indulgent? Overkill? These questions were raised in the days and weeks leading up to this past weekend. By Saturday night, at the beyond sold-out First Avenue mainroom, the answer to all of those questions was abundantly clear. No, it was not any of those things and, in fact, it may not have been enough. While it was the radio station's birthday, what it really did was function as a showcase for the music that has been produced in Minneapolis over the past three decades.

Saturday night started out slowly with Haley Bonar delivering a solid set of her brand of Aimee Mann-ish folk rock. She began her set by playing a handful of songs including "Killer" on a Rhodes organ. Then, she stood up, said "Well, that's enough of that," and picked up her acoustic guitar to close out her set with a few more, many of them culled from her Leo EP. Toward the end she brought out Linnea Mohn from Coach Said Not To and the Dale Hush Hush to help out on "Moon Die" and threw in the stellar "Raggedy Man" ("Oh, here's 'the hit,' I guess." she remarked.) to much applause, as well. It was a spare, reserved beginning to a night that got increasingly louder as it progressed.
Photo by Erik Hess

The set for Sims, who took a quick break from touring with Doomtree and flew in from Oregon just for the show, was also sparsely populated. It was just him, a mic and Plain Ole Bill on the decks, but his turned out to be the most eventful. Between songs, which included a hefty chunk of his Bad Time Zoo and a quick tribute/singalong to Doomtree's "Bangarang," Sims stressed the importance of working toward goals and being okay with who you are. "Here's how to rap in 2012," he offered at one point, "be your goddamn self everywhere, all the time."

Photo by Erik Hess

At one point, a woman from the crowd rushed the stage and was quickly ushered off by stage manager Conrad Sverkerson.  A few minutes later came the coup: During "Burn it Down" as his set was waning, Sims jumped off the stage to the front of the crowd barrier, delivered a few lines then hurtled himself over it and fully into the crowd, igniting a pogo-fest for the last part of the song.

Photo by Erik Hess

Old school punks -- they were, in truth, punk before punk had a name -- the Suicide Commandos opened with their own "Burn it Down." It included the intro to the 1977 video playing on the big screen, and then that ultra-simple, fantastic bassline kicked in courtesy of Steve Almaas. Their set was the most scorching of the night, with the songs all running together with no banter or stopping between them for the most part -- and when the did stop it was for mere seconds.

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