Life At The Bottom – Day 4

Minneapolis is on the horizon. With the cool northern weather following us east we crashed out for the night at a truck stop for the second night in a row. Surprisingly this van doesn’t smell too bad… yet. We forgot our North Dakota dates got pushed forward by a day, so we ended up getting to Minneapolis early, and had a full day to kill  (a rare occurrence in our world). That was fine by us, as there were a number of stops we intended to make. We decided to go to Mall of America, not because we wanted to shop, but to view first hand the triumph of capitalism in it’s purest form — yeah, that’s definitely why. Tyler had never been there either. Parking an oversized Sprinter van proved to be a bit more of a challenge than we had expected, and we may (or may not) have taken out a “low clearance” sign in the process of squeezing into a parking lot. We filed into the mall, not entirely sure what the objective was. After an hour or two of wandering around, a stop at Tim Horton’s for some iced coffee, and a couple rounds of bag toss we opted to head over to Electric Fetus Records for something a little more familiar. We failed in this endeavor, however, as it was Memorial Day and the store was kind enough to give their employees a day off. It was kind of a bummer, but at least we had enough sense to call a head. A quick detour to a guitar shop did the trick and we hung out there until dinner time.

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After the guitar shop we met up with our friend Jimmy from Virgin Whores. He and his wife Kat met us at the Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub for dinner, which has been featured on the Food Network a bunch of times. It was a super cool spot; they grow their own hops and use solar power to run the restaurant and brewery. They even source most of their food from local farmers. The beers were delicious, and the food was impressive. I ordered a Brisket burrito that would have intimidated most normal people. I might’ve over eaten, but holy shit that thing was good. We headed back to Jimmy and Kat’s place after stopping for some yard beers. We lit a fire pit and sat around chatting for the rest of the night.

These are the moments I love on tour. Sure playing shows and seeing awesome bands is a treat almost every night, but occasionally you meet some of the most interesting, passionate people, and you connect on a deeper level than most. We spent the duration of the night talking about everything from music to growing up poor to dinosaurs. We even got to party with their dogs! It is always appreciated when people are willing to open their doors to us, and welcome us in like family. We crashed out for the night, with plans for Juicy Lucys and a little more city adventure in the afternoon.

The next morning we found ourselves at the Mayday Cafe, just a few blocks down from where we were staying. Its a cool little spot that puts a big focus locally sourced foods, sustainability, and equal trade coffee. We caught up on a bit of work for a couple hours, and around lunch time met up with Jimmy again to head over to Matt’s Bar, the home of the Juicy Lucy. I’m starting to think this town knows how to eat because that burger was fire. Though be warned — you gotta let it cool down before biting in, or the lava hot cheese core will burn the piss out of you.

If you haven’t already heard of it, The Triple Rock Social Club is one of those venues that’s held in such high esteem around the country, its almost become somewhat of a legend; like CBGBs or the Knitting Factory. As a longtime fan of the Dillinger Four I was really excited to be included on a bill there. After a little loitering around in the neighborhood, we decided to head over and get ourselves checked in to the venue. I took some time to wander around the building and soak in all the history in that place. There’s a couple walls that are covered with show posters that have been wheat pasted up. I even spotted a few of my friend’s bands on the walls there.

We shared the stage with The Slow Death, Arms Aloft, Mikey Erg and locals the Chinchees. All the bands were cool, and the sound was great. Unfortunately we were tasked with kicking the show off, so the crowd was still filing in while we played. Sometimes that’s just how things go. Someone even reviewed the show, but missed our set. At least they had nice things to say about our merch table. After our set we decided to grab some food at the club. In addition to it’s legendary status as a venue, their food is pretty excellent. Tyler and Karl both ordered the “po boy.” These were absolutely NOT a traditional po boy sandwich. The Triple Rocks’ offering is literally a mountain of everything bad for you on a piece of toast. I’m totally underselling it, but its essentially three meals on one plate. With our bellies full and the last band’s set complete, we loaded the van up and headed back to get some sleep. I think we finally hit the pillow around 4am.

I’ve personally always had a blast in Minneapolis. Its a super cool city (save for the winters). We hung out with some of the best people around, played a great show with some awesome bands, even got to do a little sightseeing. I’d call that a win. Sheboygan Wisconsin is on deck, and we’re all pretty excited about going somewhere new.