Land Of 10,000 Lakes Overlooked As Midwest Music Destination

March 5, 2013

When I first listened to Rhye’s single “The Fall,” I fell in love.

The song is a powerful, dreamy mix of electropop elements with the jazz and R&B qualities of Sade. I couldn’t wait for the album to be released and the group to visit the frozen tundra for a show. Little did I know that four months later I would be scheming a San Francisco trip around Rhye’s concert date, just so I could see them perform onstage.

Photo via Star Tribune

Photo via Star Tribune

It’s not that Rhye’s bookers have bypassed the Midwest — the duo is playing in Chicago at Schuba’s — they just bypassed us. So, why not play a show at First Avenue? Why not Minneapolis?

About a year ago, Livability.com named Minneapolis the second best music city in the country. Granted the music scene survey omitted New York, Los Angeles and Nashville, but it was still a nice warm-and-fuzzy for the Twin Cities.

The Minneapolis entry featured local institutions onstage and off (via City Pages):

Artists love playing the venue First Avenue, located in the vibrant Warehouse District downtown. Most remember it from the Prince movie “Purple Rain,” and if you want to know who has graced its stage, look no further than the building’s star-spangled exterior. Each star bears a name such as U2, B.B. King, Death Cab for Cutie, Wilco and many more. Another popular Warehouse District venue, the Fine Line Music Cafe, has presented shows by artists such as John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, The Black Keys, Lady Gaga, Ben Harper and Buddy Guy over the past two decades.

In fact, there is a lot missing from the above list, including amazing and historic venues that book great music every night of the week: 7th Street entry, Turf Club, Triple Rock and more. Where’s the Minneapolis hip hop scene on that list? What about electropop groups like Polica and LaLiberte? What about those who put out ambitious and extraordinary projects like Rogue Valley?

Honestly, there’s no way to capture everything in a paragraph but, between bands and iconic music venues, we’ve got a pretty great music scene in Minneapolis. So why is the Twin Cities often overlooked and shut out of limited-city tours?

jay-z-justin-timberlake-announce-tour

This summer, JT and Jay-Z will rock the Midwest in Detroit and Chicago, not Minneapolis.

Take Justin Timberlake’s recently announced Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour for example. JT snubbed Minneapolis and it’s likely because Target Field is perceived as an unestablished concert venue — incapable of selling out stadium-sized crowds. The three-season-old stadium has boasted one (Kenny Chesney) stadium concert and started carving out Minneapolis as a go-to for outdoor country music attractions by lining up another Kenny Chesney concert this summer. I’d love to see other musicians and genres added to the short list. Was Justin Timberlake ever an option? What about other big-name musicians? Target Field could put Minneapolis on the map as a Midwest music destination for stadium tours but I have my doubts about whether Kenny Chesney can carry that weight on his shoulders.