Bands, brews and bowling at Memory Lanes

Memory Lanes’ second annual block party unites local stalwarts and up-and-coming Twin Cities talent.

Bethany Larson and The Bees Knees is an A&E band to watch at Memory Lanes block party. PHOTO COURTESY BETHANY LARSON

Bethany Larson and The Bee’s Knees is an A&E band to watch at Memory Lanes block party. PHOTO COURTESY BETHANY LARSON

by Raghav Mehta

Considering the vast array of clubs and bars spread across Minneapolis , a bowling alley may seem like a peculiar place for a music venue. But that didnâÄôt stop Keith Hinrichs, general manager of Memory Lanes , from organizing a summer block party stacked with local stalwarts. âÄúWe started it for two reasons: one, to give back to our music-lovers,âÄù Hinrichs said. âÄúSecond is to promote ourselves as a live music venue.âÄù Now in its second year, Memory LanesâÄô two-day musical rumpus includes Twin CitiesâÄô favorites like Halloween Alaska , Red Pens and No Bird Sing . Oh, and itâÄôs free and outdoors. Need more convincing? While the block party might draw plenty of attention for its high-profile artists, Memory LanesâÄô lineup also delivers in its undercard. A&E caught up with up-and-coming Minneapolis songwriters Clara Salyer of Total Babe and Bethany Larson of Bethany Larson and the Bees Knees. Clara Salyer, Lead singer of Total Babe. How did Total Babe meet? Our violinist Lizzie Carolan. We went to elementary school for eight years together and I didnâÄôt really know her then, but thatâÄôs how I knew of her. We met there and I went to high school with our drummer for a brief amount of time and our guitarist Jordan was in a different band with our violinist. No one really knew each other that well. It just came together randomly. WeâÄôve been together since September of 2008. Considering how young you are (Salyer is 17), was it hard getting people to take you seriously as a band at first? I think Minneapolis is probably one of the most accepting and encouraging music communities. The only thing frustrating about it really was that certain venues wouldnâÄôt let us play or stay after we played our set. We would work really hard to put together a bill and then we would get kicked out of the venue after we played. As far as people taking us seriously, I feel really lucky that we just havenâÄôt had that problem. You got into music at an early age. Who were your biggest influences then? I started taking music lessons when I was 12. As cliché as it sounds, I was just a classic rock child. My teacher was pretty immersed in the music scene here. He kind of introduced me to every kind of music I listen to now. I listen to The Who every day now, Lou Barlow, Pavement, Sleater Kinney âĦ stuff like that. Favorite thing about the Minneapolis scene? There are world-renowned musicians in every music genre you can think of. I think itâÄôs pretty cool to have people from all sides of the spectrum right here and theyâÄôre all exceptional. If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be? Lou Barlow . Bethany Larson of Bethany Larson and the Bees Knees: How long have you been writing and performing? IâÄôve been singing my whole life. Started doing solo shows a while ago, then I stopped for a while. Then a couple friends of mine encouraged me to start it up again because they thought that I was okay. So I was like, âÄúI guess IâÄôll try it out again,âÄù so I put a band together and we had our CD release show last September. So weâÄôve only been a band for, like, five months. How long have you been performing in Minneapolis? Just a few years. Maybe two, three years. Did you move here for the music scene? No, I moved here for school. I went to Northwestern College in Roseville . ItâÄôs a small, private Christian school. WhatâÄôs your songwriting process? Is it just you or more of a collaborative effort? I have this structure, like a verse/chorus, stuff like that. Then we just add different instrumentation and stuff. The core songwriting is me and then my band elaborates with the instruments. The Onion A.V. Club compared you to local stalwart Haley Bonar. How do you feel about that comparison? I am flattered. I think she is incredibly talented. And I like her music. I like her voice and sheâÄôs a nice lady, so IâÄôll take it [laughs]. Biggest influences? I guess like Patsy Kline stuff and then I listen to newer stuff like Lucinda Williams , Neko Case , Jenny Lewis âĦ oh, I shouldâÄôve thought about this. Least favorite songwriter? [After much contemplation] Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam .