Matt Forney
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Notes from the Road: Indie Rockers, Crazy Cultists and Black Supremacists, Oh My!

Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

I’m starting to think I chose the wrong part of the country to relocate to. First it was Madison that I fell in love with, and now Minneapolis has left a better impression on me then a city in the Midwest not named “Chicago” has any right to. Enough of an impression that as soon as my situation at the moment is squared away and I get some time off, I’m splitting back east for a vacation (a vacation from a vacation? Wut?). That, and the Twin Cities are the closest major urban area where I am aside from Calgary, and fuck Canada.

Whittier, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The museum at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Whittier, near where I was staying. Think of Minneapolis like a bigger, fancier version of Madison; it has the same kinds of public transit programs (bike-share stations, bike lanes, clean buses and light rail), chic coffeeshops and cafes, and progressive-minded citizenry. Whittier is the city’s bohemian neighborhood, akin to Logan Square in that it’s divided between unassuming SWPLs and minorities.

Whittier, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Downtown Minneapolis as viewed from a pedestrian bridge over I-35A. If you come to Minneapolis, get used to the fucking bridges, because highways criss-cross the city like lash marks on Bill Bennett’s asscheeks. This particular one might be a blessing though, as it separates Whittier from Phillips, a slumland filled with surly Somalis. I won’t claim it’s a total hell, but as a white guy walking alone through Somaliville, I felt decidedly unwelcome.

Downtown West, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Inside the Pourhouse, an indie rock venue that Solo introduced me to.

Whittier, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nicollet Avenue in Whittier, known as “Eat Street” for its massive variety of restaurants and eateries.

Downtown West, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nicollet just south of downtown.

Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Nicollet Mall, the heart of downtown Minneapolis. It’s a State Street-esque pedestrian mall where you’ll find all sorts of nice restaurants and shops, and many of the buildings are actually connected via skyways. Just mind the po-po. No joke: there are pigs stationed on every single street corner, watching and waiting to ruin someone’s day.

Downtown West, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Downtown West, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Downtown West, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Downtown West, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Downtown West, Minneapolis, Minnesota

More shots of downtown along Hennepin Avenue, where you can find historic theatres, sleazy strip joints, gay bars and ethnic eateries all within two-three blocks of each other.

Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Yes, that is a statue of Mary Tyler Moore. Yes, I know why it’s there.

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The U of Minnesota campus, which is being torn apart and put back together to install a new light rail line.

Northwestern Precinct, St. Paul, Minnesota

Northwestern Precinct, St. Paul, Minnesota

Northwestern Precinct, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Some shots of downtown St. Paul. I didn’t spend as much time there because Minneapolis is both bigger and more eclectic, and because spending a half-hour on the bus there and back during rush hour is not my idea of fun.

Northwestern Precinct, St. Paul, Minnesota

Northwestern Precinct, St. Paul, Minnesota

Northwestern Precinct, St. Paul, Minnesota

The Fitzgerald Theatre, which the more SWPL of us will recognize as the home of A Prairie Home Companion. And take a guess as to what is across the street. Go ahead, guess. I guarantee you that you won’t get it right.

Northwestern Precinct, St. Paul, Minnesota

Oh yes, once you’re finished listening to Garrison Keillor’s dull, unfunny monologuing, you can sell your soul to the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard! Those signs out front are advertising free cult recruiting personality testing. The Scientologists even had a cafe inside that looked pretty nice.

Northwestern Precinct, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Northwestern Precinct, St. Paul, Minnesota

The Peace Officers Memorial, dedicated to pigs police officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

Northwestern Precinct, St. Paul, Minnesota

The Minnesota State Capitol. The tour of this one left me decidedly unimpressed.

Northwestern Precinct, St. Paul, Minnesota

The actual Cathedral of St. Paul, viewed from the top of the Capitol.

State Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Half-Moon Run, the warm-up act for Metric, who played the State two Tuesdays ago. These guys sucked. Hard. They sucked so much, I split during their final song to finish off a diarrhea dump. While I strained my bowels in the bathroom, I actually heard a bunch of guys asking each other what the band’s name was. That’s how bad Half-Moon Run is: nobody could remember what they’re called even after watching them perform for half-an-hour.

State Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Metric taking the stage for “Artificial Nocturne.” They’re a band I’m conflicted about; while I love (most of) their songs, and I respect that they’re one of the few indie rock bands that actually “rocks,” Emily Haines’ neo-hippie oeuvre grates on my nerves. Most musicians are liberals, but Metric just comes off as coldly cynical and insincere as opposed to merely being wrong. Still, I had a fucking blast at the show.

State Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota

James Shaw and Emily Haines, guitarist and vocalist/keyboardist of Metric, respectively.

State Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Bathed in the light of rock ‘n roll, we are baptized and reborn.

State Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Close-up of Emily Haines, who danced around on stage with a mic and tambourine when she wasn’t working the keys.

State Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Another shot of Haines. My pics of Metric turned out pretty well considering that the stage was being drenched in colored strobe lights. I credit the fact that I managed to score a front-row seat.

State Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The finale, and the only part where the show went wrong; Haines insisted on doing an acoustic rendition of “Gimme Sympathy.” Terrible.

Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

A bunch of Black Panther/Nation of Islam types gathered at the Nicollet Mall for a Hate Whitey, Hate Gays protest. I would have taken more pictures, but this happened on Saturday night, when David Byrne and St. Vincent were performing. And yes, those are their wives/baby mommas and kids sitting around the Mary Tyler Moore statue.

Nicollet Island, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Father Louis Hennepin Bridge, which traverses the Mississippi connecting downtown Minneapolis with the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.

I have more pictures (and stories) from my barnstorming through northern Minnesota and North Dakota, but this post is long enough, so that’ll have to wait.

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