Sounds of St. Paul

Patio Nights give you a reason to go to the Capital City

Justin Flower

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Patio Nights

Where: 50 W. Kellogg Blvd.
When: Thursdays, 8 p.m.
Cost: $7; MMAA, KFAI, Radio K members $5

the Minnesota Museum of American Art hosted its first “Patio Nights,” the annual St. Paul summer music series, last Thursday. Unfortunately the patio had a small pond on it from the rain, and the festivities had to be moved inside to a cafeteria that looked exactly like every high school lunch room, cleared out and decorated for a dance.

Patio Nights feautres a wide variety of Twin Cities musical acts, squeezing 30 different bands into only 13 nights.

Considering the rain, the turnout was impressive; around 50 people showed up to see the Awesome Snakes, playing catchy, fast-paced riffs on dirty-sounding guitars. Fun and full of energy, their drummer at one point got up and walked around the room during a breakdown in a song. He kept time by knocking his sticks together and blowing three counts through a red police whistle.

The Talkers and The Vignettes opened while nearby Great Waters Brewing Company catered, providing food and beverages with a full-service bar. John Kass of local record label Go Johnny Go was also on hand offering several crates of vintage vinyl for the concert-goers to dig through.

The MMAA is located in a drab government building in downtown St. Paul. The best thing about the venue is the fact that the patio is seven stories up and has a great view of the high bridge and the Mississippi riverfront.

Several popular local acts are scheduled for the summer series, including Best Friends Forever and Dance Band, who played together for a sold out show last Saturday at the Varsity Theater. Also performing are Gospel Gossip, named City Pages’ Best Band of 2007, as well as local buzz bands Vampire Hands and STNNNG.

The patio is small, and once the band is out there it gets packed. Expect zaniness from Dance Band’s performance, and maybe a little crowd surfing during Vampire Hands; their shows at the Turf Club typically sell out. Mark Mallman will also be there serenading the patio nights crowd with his Bowie-esque ballads.

Patio Nights has historically been a hit, proving its staying power over many summers in St Paul. Finally, a reason for those hobbits just east to come out of their holes.