The Twin Cities music scene is a vital one. Minneapolis is ranked eighth among “America’s Best Music Cities”. We have rich diversity, varied venues, local talent, and outdoor festivals. On any given night there is a venue with amazing music just waiting for you. You will find live music anywhere from small coffeehouses and bars to big-name venues and auditoriums.
So, where to go? Jazz fans: head over to The Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis. You can have dinner and watch some great shows. No dance floor for us dancers though.
Minneapolis North Loop, formally known as The Minneapolis Warehouse District, is home to Bunkers: since 1976. Prince would have regular drop-in jam sessions. Prince Fans……do not miss the Chase & Ovation A Salute to the Music of Prince show. Prince himself approved this show years before his passing. Chase plays at Bunkers once a month. The $20 cover for this show is so worth it. Get there early or find me at “my” table for a seat. Say hi to Kelly at the door and she will show you where I am. Dr. Mambo’s Combo plays every Sunday/Monday night.
Payne Avenue & 7th Street in St. Paul is home to what is billed as Minnesota Music Memorabilia Café (MMC). Banners are hanging in the large area and pay tribute to MN artists both nationally and locally renowned. Every wall has memorabilia cases that are filled with mementos related to local musicians. “Where the food is great and the music is cooking”. You will find the owner, Karen, behind the bar every night. There is live music seven nights a week. JellyBean Johnson (Morris Day & the Time) plays with Wee Willie Walker & band every Tuesday night. Watching Jelly play one of his 100 or so hand-painted guitars is something to watch. Wee Willie is a Blues Hall of Fame Member and tours in Europe quite frequently.
It’s amazing the number of great people in my life that I wouldn’t have ever met if it wasn’t for music.
Many years ago, I went often (5 nights a week), to The Burnsville Bowl to hear Westside. My friend, Junior Trejo, started that band in the late ’70s. They won America’s StarSearch in 1986. Junior is debuting a new band September 28th (the day after my birthday..Happy Birthday to me!) at MMC and will play there once a month for five months. The new band is called Disco Kings. I have been sworn to secrecy but you do not want to miss this show. He has a vision and it is going to be amazing. The band members that make up this new group are the cities best. Horns and all!
The MUDD Room located in Historical Mendota is a hidden jewel. When you need an escape from the hustle of “this crazy thing we call life” (RIP Prince) this is the place to go! Handcrafted cocktails and fantastic food along with an outstanding wine list. They are open Tues-Saturday with live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Romantic atmosphere, Nate and Tyler best bartenders in the city, classy and innovative are just a few things that come to mind when thinking about The MUDD Room. Heather, the manager, is the main cog of the wheel. Sweet and has very interesting stories regarding all aspects of The MUDD Room. Ask her!
I will end with a list of some of my favorite bands you should check out. All of them have websites if you want to check their schedules.
- Good Bad & Funky (GBF) – Alan is one of the best singers in the cities. Will #1 and Will #2 on bass and guitar have so much energy! It is contagious and the whole club comes to life….GBF will change a not so good mood and bad day into one of the best nights of your life. Guaranteed! Look for them at Bunkers, MMC & even Stillwater.
- Johnnie Brown – This is R & B at its finest. You can find him all over the city. He is just a really nice guy too. He walks around and talks to everyone and will be at the door thanking you for coming out. Who else does that?
- Ray Covington – He is a big teddy bear with a voice like velvet. As I write this piece, I am going to see him tonight at The MUDD Room! So excited.
- International Reggae Allstars – If you like Reggae mixed with new music, this is your band. They play at Bunkers every week.
- RFactor – Who remembers the nightclub Rupperts on 394? Ruppert’s Orchestra was the house band and this is that band on a smaller scale. Art the bass player is known as one of the best in Minneapolis. You can see him in several bands around town.
- JayBee & the Routine – I saved one of the best for last. This is one of my favorites. Bill Brown on the keyboard is so animated and really has a good time. Jimmy on guitar is so talented. JayBee is very smooth and can really sing…..just about anything…..a very special individual and known around the city. They play every other Thursday at Bunkers.
- Scottie Miller
- Alex Rossi
- GB Leighton
I hope to see you out and about the city sometime; I guarantee you a great time!