November 17, 2022: This One Band You Never Heard Of

Okay, let's keep going with the concert theme. What's a band you caught ahead of their moment? What band did you see in a tiny little place before they went on to play arenas?

28 thoughts on “November 17, 2022: This One Band You Never Heard Of”

  1. I saw Black Keys at Fine Line, but none of us are going to be able to compete with Bootsy and Free on this one. The old men went to First Ave in the golden era.

      1. That's from 1984 and there were probably about 500 people there. Definitely saw Replacements with less than 200 at some places. I am sure Bootsy has that beat however.

        Me and friend were talking about seeing U2 at 7th Street Entry in 1981, but we got lazy and didn't go. Oops!

  2. In Mankato, I saw a Green Day/Offspring show about a year before they both blew up. Small venue (Marti’s). They were supposed to play there again the next year (one or the other? Both? Can’t remember) but they were too big at that point.

    1. Marti’s pizza. I wasn’t at the mat show, but I was outside the club the next time the offspring were scheduled to play. They refused to take the stage because they weren’t going to get paid enough. Near riot ensued.

  3. The best I can do is that Smalltown Poets, a Christian band in the vein of Newsboys or DC Talk, played our youth group kick-off event about a week after their first album dropped, and they went on to some middling success in the Christian music scene of the late 90's.

  4. Actually, I might be able to do better:

    Not a concert, per se, but... back in October of 2005, before anyone in the world had any idea who he was, John Hodgman released his first book, Areas of My Expertise, and did a self-organized book tour, with his buddy Jonathan Coulton and some cartoonist. Anyway, we found out about it and went to the show, which ended up just being in a room above a bar in D.C. The room wasn't big enough for the number of people who showed up (it probably held 30 people, max), so they decided to add a late show, which we then attended. Hodgman did a bunch of hilarious readings, Coulton played some funny songs while the cartoonist drew on an old-school overhead projector, and they literally passed around a bottle of whiskey and we all took a swig or two.

      1. Somewhere I have a signed copy of his 2nd book, which he signed after Philosofette and I attended a reading. I had actually attended that first reading with my sister-in-law, who was living with us at the time, since Philosofette had to work that night. At the second reading we asked him to sign a second book, as a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law, and we explained that she and I had been one of the 30 people at his previous event. He became fixated on the fact that I attended his readings twice with two different sisters, and wrote something like "To Philosofer, you dog. John Hodgman". I'll have to see if I can dig that out.

  5. I feel like I haven't had that amazing "before they were big" experience, but a few "on the way up" experiences. Perhaps they'd be called "before they were huge" experiences?

    I saw Tenacious D at First Avenue around 2000. I feel like the D wasn't a huge name, even though they had their work on HBO. Jack Black would become well known within a year, and a superstar within three. Still, it was First Avenue, so not exactly a quiet little show.

    I saw Nelly Furtado at some venue that I don't think exists any more. It was probably First-Avenue sized. It was one of those "book a ticket, then she blew up, now the venue is way too small" situations. There were lines around the block to get in. I believe she was sick for the performance, but she still performed pretty well.

    Same as Nelly Furtado, I picked up a pair of Mumford & Sons tickets for First Avenue before they exploded. By the time we saw them they could have sold out Target Center, I think. My wife was seven months pregnant with our third. She generally hates going to standing club shows as she's short and claustrophobic. Luckily we found a place in the balcony where she could somewhat see, we weren't crowded, and she got a back rub from me for the whole show. Other memorable things included the couple next to us dressed up for Halloween/their wedding that night and the PA system going out midshow with the band handling it amazingly well, singing several a cappella songs with the crowd supporting.

  6. I don’t know if he’s playing arenas, but I caught Mason Jennings at a coffee shop in Morris about 25 years ago. He was supporting his debut album at the time.

    Also saw Hoobastank at Freebird Cafe in Jacksonville in ‘03. They’d had some singles airplay from their first album, but the venue was maybe half the size of First Ave.

  7. Coming to you live from the Denver airport, for the second time today. Our flight to MPLS made it about 20 minutes, then turned around. Cracked cockpit windshield.

    Looks like they have another plane for us. Hopefully boarding soonish.

    SW is lucky the plane was full of Minnesotans. The maddest passengers are in "coulda been worse, dontcha know" territory.

  8. I didn't actually go myself, but shortly after REO Speedwagon released their first album they played at our local armory (I was 13). I seem to recall my big brother went and liked it so much he bought the album the next day. On the subject of concerts, we're going to see Steve Vai at the Fitz tomorrow and when my wife asked, so that should be fun.

  9. Saw Macklemore in the Entry when he was opening for Blueprint.

    One year in high school, I was a "TA" for the band teacher which basically meant it was a study hall except I could hang out in the band room rather than the lunchroom (and could leave the school to run errands). One day, the teacher told me I actually had to go to the auditorium to help with setup for a event the following day. I asked what event, and she said some band was coming through and was just going to play a show for the students. It ended up being Vertical Horizon about 3 months before they had their moment in the sun. Why on earth they were playing Richfield High School on a weekday morning is still beyond me, but I guess a gig is a gig.

    I went to the REM/Modest Mouse show at Xcel back around 2006. There was an opener I had never heard of, but I wandered over several hours early because I had nothing better to do. Turns out The National put on a WAY WAY better than either Modest Mouse and REM.

  10. I saw The Black Crowes in September of 1990 at the Del Win ballroom in St. Joseph (near St. Cloud). Buddy knew about them, but I had never heard of them. Completely blew me (and the rest of the crowd) away. I believe it wasn't until October that Hard to Handle blew up on MTV. The Del Win, at one time, hosted a lot of bigger acts. I saw Joan Jett there about the same time. I believe it was torn down a while back.

    I did also see Trip Shakespeare several times in the late 80's. Dan Wilson was in that band and they were awesome. A few years later he founded Semisonic, which obviously became much bigger than Trip ever was. He has become quite the prolific song writer.

    Lastly, my joint had Michael Shynes play every Wednesday night for about 6 months. He has also played some other special events for me over the years. He is out of St. Cloud and he is becoming more and more popular every year. He has done some shows with Chris Hawkey of KFAN fame. I am going to project that he will become a household name at some point because the guy is a great crooner.

    1. Black Crowes opened for Aerosmith in KC June of 1990. Jealous Again was getting some MTV play. I bought the CD to listen to my Discman run through the car tape deck on the drive down.

        1. They were great. One of my favorite concerts. Partially because we brought my exchange student friend down to see Aerosmith before he had to go back home a few days later. They were his favorite band.

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