Support Local Music


The social distancing required to combat the spread of COVID-19 is creating incredibly challenging circumstances for so many, with a disproportionate impact on the hospitality and event industry workforce—including local musicians and those already at or near the poverty line. Many in our community are experiencing lost work and wages.

Some silver lining: while we mind our distance from one another, many throughout the community are banding together to offer support to peers who may need it. And there are many ways to support these artists and event industry professionals.

1) Donate to The Twin Cities Music Community Trust

The Entertainment Industry Relief Fund directly supports night staff, door staff, bartenders, security, stage crew, tour managers, merch sellers, and local musicians affected by this unprecedented interruption of everyday life. Please contribute if you’re able.

2) Buy Artist and Venue Merch

One of the best ways to support artists and industry infrastructure like venues is to buy merch. Check out this coloring book Har Mar Superstar and his friends made or shop the Fifth Element online store before this Minneapolis staple closes its doors for good, where you’ll be supporting a local record shop, record label, and artist all at once. Since music sales aren’t what they used to be in the age of streaming, this is one of the best ways to support artists and venues at any time – but especially while live music is on hold.

We'll keep a running list of local bands and artists here, along with their prefered form of support. Are you a local musician? Fill out this form with your info on how your fans can continue to support you during this time.

3) Tune In

Music is still bringing us together and creating a sense of community, even if it is on our small screens from the couch. Stay up to date on nationally acclaimed artists and their live streams by frequently checking guides from outlets like Paste, Relix, and Pitchfork. And be sure to follow local artists on social media to see when they’re going live. Remember to toss them some digital dollars in the form of Venmo or PayPal if you can.

4) Share What You’re Listening To

Put together a playlist. Follow ours. Spread the word about your favorite bands – bonus points if they’re local. Music-sharing and discovery engenders a music community, which helps keep artists engaged and afloat. You might not currently have access to dig through record store crates, but streaming is a music-discovery oyster, and you’ve got nothing but time.

5) Support Artists' Independent Funding

Many artists are turning to Patreon as a way to connect with their fans while live music is paused. Haley’s got one. Doomtree just launched theirs. Cloud Cult is at the Patreon party too. Search for your favorite local bands on social media to find out the best ways to support them – whether it’s Patreon, PayPal, or GoFundMe. You can also support local artists by purchasing their music and merch directly from their websites or their Bandcamp page.

Social distancing means distant. Stay at home, so we can all hang again soon.

Rescheduled Shows: Cowboy Mouth, Brandy Clark, Hunny, The Dip, King Buffalo, Sampa the Great

Cowboy Mouth at the Fine Line | July 23, 2020

New Orleans-natives Cowboy Mouth offer some hometown flavor in their songs, mixing a rowdy rock sound with bits of twang and a dose of brass accompaniment. Proud of their Louisiana roots, the band aims to bring a helping of Mardi Gras to their live shows, turning it from a concert into a party.



Brandy Clark w/ Alex Hall at the Fine Line | August 13, 2020

Brandy Clark’s new album, Your Life is a Record, received an influx of gleaming reviews upon its release at the beginning of March – from The Wall Street Journal to The New Yorker to Pitchfork. For a genre that comes across as decidedly divisive for many music fans, it’s especially uncommon for a country artist to appeal to new fans without isolating their old ones. And yet, Brandy Clark appears to be on that unique trajectory with her folksy country music.



Hunny w/ Heart to Gold in the 7th St Entry | August 29, 2020

HUNNY crafts bright-eyed, danceable pop music perfect for sunny summer days or cool autumn evenings. In the vein of The Neighbourhood or Bad Suns, HUNNY makes refreshing guitar-friendly synth-pop that bounces around with an earnest energy that goes unmatched.



The Dip at the Fine Line | September 23, 2020

Fans of St. Paul & the Broken Bones will surely find plenty to enjoy when spinning The Dip. Whether it’s juicy hooks, blaring horns or soaring vocals, The Dip brings a modern feel to their retro-soul sound, resulting in an inimitable blend of new and old.



King Buffalo in the 7th St Entry | September 24, 2020

King Buffalo take stoner rock to another level with monster guitar riffs and slow-burn ballads driven by their psych-heavy sound. Some songs drift along quietly, while others power ahead with defined purpose. Their two-in-one style makes for a rock concert not to be missed.



Sampa the Great at the Turf Club | September 29, 2020

From Africa to Australia, Sampa the Great’s journey has taken her all over the world in her young rap career – and you can hear it in her music. Sampa puts a unique twist on the ‘90s hip-hop feel with strokes of jazz and African music laced into her production.


Rescheduled Shows: Johnny A., Kevin Krauter, Anna Burch, The Ballroom Thieves

Amid the uncertain circumstances facing the Twin Cities and beyond, First Avenue has been working diligently to reschedule shows. Take a minute to look ahead at some of the upcoming shows we have officially rescheduled for late summer and fall. Tickets purchased for all original dates will be honored at rescheduled shows.



Johnny A. at the Turf Club | June 8, 2020

For decades Johnny A. has bounced around renowned music circles as support for artists like Bobby Whitlock and Peter Wolf while also building a name for himself as a skilled and technical guitarist. From CCR to the Yardbirds, Johnny A.’s credentials as a distinguished guitar-place run the gamut.



Kevin Krauter in the 7th St Entry | August 1, 2020

Kevin Krauter will be a familiar name for anyone familiar with the band Hoops, the lo-fi tape-rock band he helped form back in 2015. Krauter’s solo work, including his new album, Full Hand, has a delicate yet pointed feel to it, mixing quiet synths with gentle guitar that makes for an ethereal sound.



Anna Burch w/ Long Beard at the Turf Club | August 27, 2020

At a time when women are absolutely dominating the singer-songwriter category, Anna Burch deserves a spot near the top with the likes of Lucy Dacus, Snail Mail, Phoebe Bridgers, and the like. Her sophomore album, If You’re Dreaming, is out on April 3.



The Ballroom Thieves in the 7th St Entry | September 2, 2020

The Ballroom Thieves’ minimalistic folk music has garnered a swift and strong following thanks to songs like “Only Lonely” and “Bees.” The trio splits vocals among the three of them – accompanied by cello, acoustic guitar, and gentle percussion – that makes for folksy music with a sleek commercial appeal.

Upcoming Rescheduled Shows

Amid the uncertain circumstances facing the Twin Cities and beyond, First Avenue has been working diligently to reschedule shows. Take a minute to look ahead at some of the upcoming shows we have officially rescheduled for late summer and fall. Tickets purchased for all original dates will be honored at rescheduled shows.

Mattiel at the Turf Club | July 25, 2020

Very few rock bands are capable of striking the elusive sweet spot between jagged and commercially accessible. In just two albums, Mattiel has demonstrated her knack for analog-driven rock ‘n’ roll accompanied by radio-friendly melodies and hooks. Her 2019 album, Satis Factory, affirmed her skillset as a songwriter while merging a honky-tonk feel with garage rock sensibilities.

Crash Test Dummies at The Fitzgerald Theater | September 27, 2020

Built on the foundation of lead singer Brad Robert’s bass-baritone vocals, Crash Test Dummies have made a brooding brand of soft rock for roughly 20 years. Much like fellow contemporaries Collective Soul and Better Than Ezra, Crash Test Dummies rose to acclaim in the ‘90s adjacent to the grunge music that also stemmed from some of the prolific rock bands of the ‘80s.

Waxahatchee w/ Ohmme at The Cedar Cultural Center | October 15, 2020

One week ahead of the release of her fifth studio album, Saint Cloud, we’ve confirmed a rescheduled date with Waxahatchee—the folksy project powered by singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield. Initial glimpses of Waxahatchee’s forthcoming release promise more of the refined Americana sound that Crutchfield has mastered over the course of the past decade.

Openers Ohmme are veteran players with several projects and collaborations under their belt. Their voices are on both Coloring Book and Surf by Chance the Rapper, they played with Vic Mensa in high school, they’ve worked with producer Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, they provided string arrangements for Whitney, and they sang back-up vocals for Twin Peaks. This show is now all ages.

Killer Queen at The Fitzgerald Theater | October 18, 2020

Killer Queen is as close as it gets to the real deal. However inimitable Freddie Mercury may seem, Killer Queen is somehow able to capture the magic of Queen’s legendary sound and bring it to today’s stage—flashy and fantastic in the best way.

Amyl and the Sniffers at the Fine Line | October 24, 2020

In the short time Amyl and The Sniffers have been around, their riotous live shows have risen in the ranks of notoriety among venues across the globe. Bringing an Aussie flair to a ‘70s punk sound, Amyl and The Sniffers bring an energy to the stage that is simply unmatched.

King Krule w/ Lucy at First Avenue | December 1, 2020

King Krule’s Mainroom debut has been confirmed for the latter end of 2020. Driven by a grimey blues-rock foundation and Archy Marshall’s thick English accent that oozes with emotion, King Krule sounds unlike any other. His new album, Man Alive!, builds on the character Marshall has been cultivating since his first release as a precocious 16-year-old nearly 10 years ago.


Ahead of Mae Simpson’s performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2019 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Saturday, January 25, we got to ask her a few questions. Read what she had to say below:

Julia Dunnwald: You’re originally from South Carolina—what brought you to the Twin Cities and/or what attracted you enough to build a life here?
Mae Simpson: I moved to Minneapolis on a weekend whim with my best friend. From that weekend on, I haven’t left. I think it had a lot to do with the opportunity here. To grow not only as an artist, but also as a person. I’m proud to call Minneapolis my home. For the art, culture, and thriving music scene.

JD: When do you find yourself feeling most creative and ready to write? When do you find yourself the opposite, and how do you overcome that?
Mae: I find myself feeling most creative when I’m not thinking about it. It just hits me. A hook, a melody, being overcome with emotion whether it’s due to happiness, heartbreak, or any emotion for that matter. I always know when a song is going the most authentic, because it comes to me with little to no effort. Comparatively, I tend to feel less creative when I am overworking an idea. You can’t force art or genuine emotion. If I stay in one place too long, sometimes it can become difficult to write. I overcome those moments with setting the song to the side for a bit and coming back to it later. If that doesn’t work then it goes in the vault until it FEELS ready to resurface organically.

JD: The Mae Simpson Band is a collective of 7 musicians. That’s quite a large group to have, especially when decisions need to be made. Can you talk about each member’s role, and how the number of contributors influence songs being written/produced?
Mae: Everyone has a role in the band. That being said there are so many things the band members do to make sure we are heading in the same direction. For instance: 
(Me/ Mae) - Band Leader. I have a hand in all things and constantly have something to work on.
Ricardo (percussion) - Website building.
Jorgen (guitar) - Our cool, calm, collective guy. Networks bands and leads our practice schedule.
David (bass) - Sound Engineer.
Paul (bookkeeper). 
Keaton (Saxophone) - Transcribes the music.
Aaron (Website/poster/design).
Bri (friend turned manager) takes the cake for making sure we are all set. She handles a plethora of things that we no longer have to worry about and makes sure we are set up in every way.
With the help of Dani (our booking assistant) and myself, there are so many more things that are being done behind the scenes that take a lot of time and commitment. I am really happy I have a team that really cares about the vision I have. There is a lot of comfort in knowing that. As far as writing goes, I do believe it is a collective endeavor. I encourage the guys to be creative. I often come to them with an idea, an acoustic song, a melody, or lyrics. Sometimes they come to me with a guitar part, or we just decide we are going to make it up on the spot. They write their own parts and add some serious heart and soul. We have this natural instinct of knowing where to take the song. They complement what I am trying to do lyrically and vocally very well.

JD: You are the only woman in said large group. What are some of the challenges you face with this?
Mae: My band mates respect me as a leader, friend, and artist. Momma Mae; you might hear them saying that. I always speak my mind and stand firm for my vision and beliefs, but I also have the same respect and make sure everyone is heard, respected, and treated fairly. That is important to me and I am so thankful to have them with me as supporters, friends, and bandmates. As far as being a woman in the music industry as a whole, I think things are starting to change in the right direction. We—women in the industry, not limited to performers—are taking our music and making it exactly what we want. We are strong and resilient and refuse to back down. It’s really exciting to see as we rise up as artists.

JD: Your band formed around two years ago—where do you hope to see yourselves two years into the future?
Mae: Two years in the future. I don’t think any hope is too big. The Ellen Show?  Bonnaroo? Touring our new EP. Opening up for national artists, being national artists. Waking up each day and my office is the studio, creating what I believe in. I guess my point is in two years I hope we progress more than the year before, and before that. That we stay humble and never stop. And if we do, it’s only to tie our shoes from coming loose, from running head on with our dreams.

Blog by Julia Dunnwald (Marketing Intern)


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