What’s making me happy this week (April 17)

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Music, Minnesota, and weather.

Soul Asylum. I wasn’t paying attention during Soul Asylum’s formative years in the 1980s (I was a little too young and also too exposed to the Top 40), but who could ignore them when “Runaway Train” shot to the top of the charts? Soul Asylum’s music has been a big part of my household for the past 20 years. I’ve seen them several times, mostly at their (somewhat) annual shows at First Avenue. The great thing about sticking with a band through the years is that eventually, they will play a small venue in Mankato where you’re so close Dave Pirner is spitting and sweating on you. It ended up being a weird night, as Pirner let us sit with him in the green room after the show. I’ve never quite thought I’d be chit-chatting with the man himself. And I got a personal spoken word performance of my favorite Soul Asylum song, “String of Pearls.” I will say it a million times over: Dave Pirner is the best rock lyricist out there. And this is coming from Morrissey’s number-one fan. Sorry, Moz, Pirner edges you out by a nose.

Front row at the Mankato Event Center on April 16. Photo by author.

Front row at the Mankato Event Center on April 16. Photo by author.

I'm enraptured during Pirner's spoken-word performance of "String of Pearls." Just for me!

I’m enraptured during Pirner’s spoken-word performance of “String of Pearls.” Just for me!

Minneapolis music. As I was down front during the Soul Asylum show, I thought again of what amazing musical talent has come out of Minneapolis: Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, Trip Shakespeare, Soul Asylum. The Minneapolis music scene in the 1980s was really something incredible and in my opinion, hard to beat. I’m glad those musicians are still rocking and I’m glad that good music keeps coming out of this place. American Scarecrows opened for Soul Asylum — they are new to me, but I already like their sound. Then there’s Faux Jean from back in the day and today, Jeremy Messersmith. I’m not into hip-hop, but I know people highly regard Atmosphere, P.O.S. and Dessa.

Minnesota's Trip Shakespeare. Songs from "Lulu" are on my running playlist. Dan Wilson (right) achieved fame in the band Semisonic and writes for stars such as Adele.

Minnesota’s Trip Shakespeare. Songs from “Lulu” are on my running playlist. Dan Wilson (right) achieved fame in the band Semisonic and writes for stars such as Adele.

It’s spring! The temps today are around 72 degrees F. The grass is green. Leaves are budding on trees. Farmers drive tractors in the fields. Cabin fever has now led to spring fever. It’s beautiful and wonderful — the air is dry, no humidity yet. That will come, and make things oppressive, but until then we have this:

IMG_4045

And this:IMG_4044

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