Good times

Grow up, but don't outgrow the music

Brianna Riplinger

I’m going to miss the hell out of this place. I graduate in just a few days, and I wonder if anything will compare to the experiences I’ve had here. This town, this campus – in all its “fly over” glory – is in love with music. The Dinkytowner, the re-emerged Whole, The Loring, the Kitty Cat Klub and the Terminal Bar alone show off what local girls and boys have to offer. Their wonderfully mixed bag of performances is what makes these venues so endearing. Intimately small, dimly lit and welcoming – we have some of the best outlets for local music in the state. Even Dylan could be proud.

At the Terminal’s open mic night, you’d be hard-pressed not to like someone who self-consciously graces the stage. College-aged kids and middle-aged musicians alike test out their bedroom-bred strumming and vocal stylings on an audience for the very first time. It is always either heartbreakingly awful or mind-blowing and wonderful. Same goes for the Dinkytowner, with its pounding, repetitive techno and its showcasing of brilliant local songwriters. It’s been a vital campus staple since its musical resurgence in 2001, thanks in part to local music guru The Dan One, who claimed to bring “all the great things about the Foxfire Lounge to the Dinkytowner.”

I’ll even miss Spring Jam, though I never participated in the event in the four years that I’ve lived here. When you combine the satisfaction of Minnesota’s lust for decent weather with wild celebratory license, it inevitably leads to public displays of musical madness. Standard fare usually includes Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” blaring from frat row as the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” drifts out open car windows at barbeque gatherings, combating anything in its way.

And just about every assembly of young adults I’ve encountered in my time here has involved a musical fanaticism that continues to amuse and surprise me. There are forever heated discussions on the future of music from rooms full of partygoers – where one out of three is either in a band, starting a band or reminiscing about their high school band. And then there are those glorious, impromptu, middle-of-the-kitchen dance parties prompted by the least likely to get down in the room. I’m gonna miss them too.

Walking on campus, I love spotting the Faux Jean hipsters, the Jamie Ness music heads and The Big Wu neo-hippies among the other genres of musically influenced style Ö talk, walk, clothes and hair color. I don’t want to grow up.

In the “real world” (the adult, making money, survival kind – not the MTV fantasy one) does all this have to stop? When we grow up, does it suddenly become pathetic to frequent bars and catch “unknowns” playing their hearts out? How could it be?

My friend Jim once warned me that “music is not real.” He was shaking his head at an older mother he knew who spent most nights at the bar soaking up dance, drink and song every chance she got. Sure, he had a point about the danger of equating drunkenness with enjoying the band, but I couldn’t disagree with him more about the music.

What could be more real than living like a college kid as an adult when it comes to getting pleasure from your musical surroundings? I think it’s the healthiest thing you can possibly do to avoid the devastation of old age and spirit-crushing responsibility. Never stop listening to new music, and continue to frequent the venues that make you gleefully shake a tail feather. At least, that’s what I’m planning to do.

Brianna Riplinger welcomes comments at [email protected]