Best of 2017 - Staff Picks

Screenprint by Kevin Cannon

Dayna Frank, President

St. Vincent / Palace Theatre / November 18
Jackie Venson / Turf Club / September 28
Frank Ocean / FYF Fest / July 22
Atmosphere / Palace Theatre / March 10
Thomas Abban / 7th St Entry / December 13
Bonus: Prince Memorial block party and dance parties

Top album:
DAMN. by Kendrick, anything else is a lie

Regret Missing:
Flip Phone “Queens United” benefit for Puerto Rico
SZA in the Mainroom & Kendrick Lamar at Xcel

Nate Kranz, General Manager

Atmosphere / Palace Theatre / March 10
Dave Rawlings Machine / Pantages / August 23
Dead & Co. / Hollywood Bowl / May 31
Kamasi Washington / First Avenue / November 9
Wilco / Palace Theatre / November 17

SHOW I MISSED is JRAD @ Red Rocks on August 31

My 5 bonus picks for favorite show are:
Vulfpeck / First Avenue / May 1
Gary Clark Jr / Palace / August 3
Seu Jorge / Pantages / June 17
Kevin Morby / Turf Club / August 29
Bob Dylan / Xcel Center / October 25

Sonia Grover, Booking Manager

Top Shows
All of them.

I didn’t miss any shows.

Eli Flasher, Talent Buyer

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives / Fine Line / April 11
Adrian Belew Power Trio / Turf Club / March 12
Dead & Co. / Wrigley Field / June 30
Iron Maiden / Xcel / June 16
Kikagaku Moyo / 7th St Entry / May 14

Album: Aldous Harding - Party
Missed show: Tom Petty 6/03/17

James Taylor, Talent Buyer

Liam Gallagher / First Avenue / November 20
Thundercat / First Avenue / September 17
Gary Clark Jr / Palace Theatre / August 4
Patti Smith / Northrop / March 8
Vince Staples / First Avenue / March 16

Regret Missing: Jason Isbell / Palace Theatre / July 7
Best Album of 2017: Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.

Mike Killeen, Chief Financial Officer

Macklemore / Palace Theatre / November 2
Atmosphere / Palace Theatre / March 10
Jain / 7th St Entry / March 31
Rufus Wainwright / Orchestra Hall / December 2
Marian Hill / First Avenue / June 1

I take no prisoners and I have no regrets.

Damon Barna, Director of Event Operations

5) Atmosphere / First show at the Palace Theatre / March 10
4) Gary Clark Jr / Palace Theatre / August 4
3) A Prairie Home Companion / Palace Theatre / October 7
2) Rodrigo Y Gabriela / First Avenue Mainroom / June 2
1) Kamasi Washington / First Avenue Mainroom / November 9

Album of the Year: Kamasi Washington, Harmony of Difference
#1 Show I regret missing: Dent May / 7th St Entry / November 1

Marc Dickhut, Director of General Operations

Macklemore / Palace Theatre / November 2 (Kids loved it too)
Bob Mould - Solo Electric - Turf Club / April 18
Spoon / Palace Theatre / September 15
Charlie Parr / Turf Club / January Residency
Social Distortion / Palace Theatre / July 26
Bonus: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit / Palace Theatre / July 7

Album: Spoon - Hot Thoughts
Missed: QOTSA / Palace / December 3

Debbie Hager, Operations Manager

1.) Tori Amos / The O'Shaughnessy / October 24
2.) Arcade Fire / Xcel / October 29
3.) Future Islands / First Avenue / October 1
4.) Hurray for the Riff Raff / Fine Line / April 30
5.) Pitbull & Enrique Iglesias / Madison Square Garden / June 30

Top Album: St Vincent - Masseduction

Regret (Tie):
Phantogram / Palace / March 12
Lucius / State Fair / September 2

Lori Simonson, Accounting Assistant & Office Coordinator

Truckfighters / 7th St Entry / January 25
Goatwhore / The Frequency (Madison) / February 27
Sleep / First Avenue / April 19
Boris / Triple Rock / October 21
Chelsea Wolfe / Turf Club / October 25

Top Album: Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
Missed Show: Tom Petty / Xcel Center / June 3

Sawyer Derry, Turf Club Operations Manager

Mogwai / First Avenue / December 1
Phantogram / Palace Theatre / March 12
Mew / Turf Club / August 13
Spoon Micro Show / Turf Club / December 11
Colin Stetson / Turf Club / July 23

Regret Missing: Wolf Parade / First Avenue / October 27
Best Album: Fever Ray - Plunge

Alex Nowak, Operations Manager

Raging Fyah / Turf Club / February 14
J Boog / Turf Club / February 8
Skatalites / Turf Club / September 17
All Them Witches / Turf Club / November 17
Tribal Seeds / Turf Club / February 14

Show I regret missing: Mihali @ Ice House

Emily Hoar, Marketing Assistant

LCD Soundsystem / Pitchfork Music Festival / July 14
The Minneapolis Uranium Club / Seward Café / December 15
Ho99o9 / Triple Rock Social Club / May 26
Palm / Turf Club / July 8
DJ Keezy (opening for Big Freedia) / The Cabooze / June 21

Missed Show: SZA / First Avenue / September 1*
*technically I was there… don’t get too drunk when you meet your heroes.

Erin Rocky, Office Coordinator

The White Buffalo / The Cedar / December 1
Dirtwire / Studio B / December 14
Senses Fail performing Still Searching in its entirety / The Cabooze / March 29
Jim James, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Warren Haynes collaborations, and alternating String Cheese Incident/Umphrey's McGee sets on a spinning stage / Lock'N August 2017 - Best Festival Ever
Warren Haynes and The Ashes & Dust Band / Fitzgerald Theater / February 23

Album: The Lil Smokies - Changing Shades
Regret: SCI at Red Rocks on my birthday :( too perfect and such a bummer it didn't happen

Cheers to another year of killer shows! Nah nah nah nahhhhh

Jon Gilbert, Website Coordinator

Quintron & Miss Pussycat / Turf Club / July 15
Jens Lekman / Fine Line / March 8
John Mulaney / Northrop / September 14
The Mountain Goats / First Avenue / November 18
Jen Kirkman / Woman’s Club / October 5
Special consideration: Fuck 2016. / Turf Club / 12/27/16

Top 2017 album (split decision): Favorite: Slowdive, Slowdive
Most played: The New Pornographers, Whiteout Conditions
#1 missed show regret: Ted Leo +Rx / Triple Rock / November 11

Kent Horgan, Promoter Representative

Marty Stuart / Fine Line / April 11
Kinky Friedman / Turf Club / May 3
Nicolas Jaar / First Avenue / July 14
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile / Palace Theatre / October 25
King Krule / Fine Line / October 31

Aoife Roberts, Booking & Finance Assistant

John K. Samson / Turf Club / October 18
Lemuria / 7th St Entry / February 06
The Wedding Present / Turf Club / April 22
At the Drive-In / Palace Theatre / June 17
Dillinger Four / final Triple Rock / November 21

Regret missing: Julien Baker / The Cedar / October 21
Best record: Play the Songs You Like by Radiator Hospital

Jerrod Woods, Marketing Associate

Vince Staples / Marathon Music Works (Nashville, TN)
Tedeschi Trucks Band / The Ryman (Nashville, TN)
Odesza / Myth Live / November 9
Alabama Shakes / Sloss Fest (Birmingham, AL)
Sturgill Simpson / Sloss Fest (Birmingham, AL)

Top Album: Awaken, My Love! - Childish Gambino
Biggest Regret: Khalid

Stacy Schwartz, Community Manager & Special Events

Lucius / State Capitol Rotunda / February 10
Bon Iver / Rock the Garden (strong wave of nostalgia) / July 22
U2 / US Bank Stadium / September 8
Patti Smith / Northrop / March 8
Father John Misty Microshow / Icehouse / May 16

Show I regret missing:
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers / Xcel Center / June 3

Isaac Burton, Graphic Designer

Downtown Boys / Triple Rock / September 15
Jay Som / 7th St Entry / March 22
Angel Olsen / First Avenue Mainroom / October 2
Girlpool / 7th St Entry / May 31
Palm & Lvl Up / 7th St Entry / February 27

Regret Missing: Pile / 7th St Entry / May 9

Adrianna Korich, Box Office Coordinator

Kendrick Lamar / Xcel / August 19
Mayday Parade A Lesson in Romatics 10 Yr Anniversary Tour / First Avenue / April 20
2 Chainz / Palace Theatre / August 25
Sylvan Esso / First Avenue / August 7
Girlpool / 7th St Entry / October 23

Show I regret missing: Lil Peep / Amsterdam Bar & Hall / October 17
Album: Pretty Girls Like Trap Music - 2 Chainz

Rodney Smith, Depot Kitchen Manager

1) Gary Clark Jr / Palace Theatre / August 4
2) Marian Hill / First Avenue / June 1
3) Sublime / First Avenue / July 19
4) Brother Ali / First Avenue / November 16
5) Flogging Molly / Palace Theatre / May 16

David Sundquist, Purchasing Manager

St. Vincent / Palace Theatre / November 18
Queens of the Stone Age / Palace Theatre / December 3
GWAR / First Avenue / November 7
Har Mar Superstar / Turf Club / November 22
Violent Femmes / First Avenue / October 18

Regret Missing: Beck / Palace Theatre / August 17
Best Album: St Vincent - Masseduction

Ashley Ryan, Director of Marketing

Patti Smith / Northrop / March 8
Jason Isbell / Palace Theatre / July 7
Sylvan Esso / Eaux Claires / June 16
SZA / First Avenue / September 1
The xx / Palace Theatre / April 28

Regret Missing: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers / Xcel Center / June 3
Album: DAMN., Kendrick Lamar

Get To Know: Early Eyes

Ahead of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2017, we got to ask Early Eyes a few questions. Read what they had to say below, and don’t miss them at First Avenue on Friday, January 5.

Liz Legatt: What was your initial reaction when you found out you were named one of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2017? 

Early Eyes: When we first heard news that we were playing Best New Bands, we were not only super excited as any local band would be, but we were overwhelmed with pride at what we have done as a band in the last year. 

LL: You have already accomplished so much in your first year as a group! What has been the most memorable part of 2017 (musically or not)? 

EE: We’ve had a lot of amazing times as a band in the last year. Our most memorable experience of 2017 was probably going on a self-booked tour leading all the way out to Athens, OH. We had such a blast and hope to get back on the road again soon.

LL: Is there a mission that Early Eyes stands behind? If so, tell us a little bit about it.

EE: As a band, we hope to be the soundtrack that plays in the background of our listeners favorite memories. We had all grown up with nostalgic songs that lead back to amazing times in our lives, and we hope to manifest the same feeling to the people who listen to our music. 

LL: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently? 

EE: We just shot a music video and its full of funny moments surrounding the house we live together in. Wyatt just got a puppy named Norman who has some featured shots in it, as well. All around, it was a great time and we’re happy we’ll be able to look back at it and share laughs for many times to come.

Blog by Liz Legatt (Marketing Intern)

Get To Know: Sass

Ahead of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2017, we got to ask Sass a few questions. Read what they had to say below, and don’t miss them at First Avenue on Friday, January 5.

Liz Legatt: What five words would you use to describe your music to those who have yet to hear it? 

Sass:  Loud guitars and honest emotions.

LL: You’ve graced the stage of the 7th St Entry numerous times in the past year—including alongside fellow BNB Early Eyes this past May—but what excites you the most about performing in the Mainroom for First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2017? 

Sass: Practically, it would be the amazing sound system and technicians that make every artist that plays there sound amazing. Spiritually, playing the stage so many amazing people we look up to have played on is a powerful thing! And it’s just an honor to be asked.

LL: If you could tour with any band right now, who would it be and why?

Sass: Speedy Ortiz! Because they’re a big influence on my songwriting and play a lot of the kinds of venues that we like to.  

LL: Who is the sassiest member of Sass?

Sass: Willem certainly always has something sassy to say.

Blog by Liz Legatt (Marketing Intern)

Get to Know: The Bad Man

Ahead of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2017, we got to ask The Bad Man a few questions. Read what they had to say below, and don’t miss them at First Avenue on Friday, January 5.

Charlie Bach: How did you get your start as a band?

The Bad Man: Patrick was living in Seth and Peter’s closet. The natural next step was to form a band.

CB: What was the inspiration/writing process behind your debut record Ain’t Clean?

TBM: Adrenaline, The Twilight Zone, and 4th Street NE.

CB: Who are your biggest musical influences? How do you incorporate them into your music?

TBM: All five of us listen to drastically different things, from Bruce Springsteen and At The Drive-In to Primus and Anderson .Paak. Tom Waits is a common thread. Warren (Bass) used to play guitar in black metal bands and Patrick (Guitar) used to play folk. We baffle ourselves by working together, but maybe we’re just maladjusted enough to collectively make something listenable out of all these influences.

CB: What excites you most about being a part of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2017?

TBM: Always wanted to see what the green room was like at the Mainroom. It’s also a huge honor to play that stage so early in our career as The Bad Man—definitely feels like we’re going to the moon.

Blog by Charlie Bach (Marketing Intern)

Get to Know: Blaha

Ahead of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2017, we got to ask Mike Blaha from the band BLAHA a few questions. Read what he had to say below, and don’t miss them at First Avenue on Friday, January 5.

Charlie Bach: After establishing a name for yourself with The Blind Shake, what is it like to be doing the same with BLAHA?  

Mike Blaha: It is much easier to walk into this situation having known all of the tour contacts, labels, and people in bands to help get us going. In the early days of The Blind Shake, we had to kick down every single door we wanted open. Even getting a show in Minneapolis was almost impossible.

CB: Who do you look to for an honest review of your work?

MB: Scene Point Blank writes thoughtful reviews. But I am definitely not looking to add critics. I have enough self-hate issues without putting my self esteem in the hands of other people. So I prefer to just do the work, followed by some more work.

CB: What has been the biggest difference between playing with The Blind Shake and BLAHA?

MB: Not playing with my brother, Jim, is the biggest difference. When we write songs together or play live, things click super quickly because we can pretty much read each other‘s minds by now. Musically speaking, we sort of merged into one person. However, when we knowingly work apart, I think both of our projects attempt things that push us and help us grow more. For example, the last place I would have wanted to be in my life is singing by myself into a microphone in front of people. But it’s something I have to attempt in order to get through whatever it is about that I am resisting. If I only do what is comfortable for me, I just sort of become a cartoon of myself and I’m not breaking any new ground artistically or as a person. But yeah, you definitely can’t explain your ideas with the same intensity to a non-brother and have it still work out. Ultimately, being a little more open-minded and not having to achieve certain aesthetic has been a lot of fun. My bandmates are all great musicians who take the song idea and expand on it without losing sight of the original concept. With that being said though, there definitely is some magic in being extremely intense and unhealthy for 15 straight years.

CB: You released a ton of music this year. What can we expect for 2018?

MB: Hopefully a Blaha band full length and an acoustic duet album as Blaha & Costello, a project I’ve been working on with Christy Costello from Pink Mink, Von Bondies, and Oujia Radio. I think both albums are ready to go, we just have to line up some time and record them.

Blog by Charlie Bach (Marketing Intern)


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