Dinkytown’s oldest venue to end live music

by Dan Haugen

Live music is leaving Dinkytown’s oldest music venue, Bon Appetit.

The Minnesota Daily reported Thursday that a potential buyer plans to end live music and alcohol sales at the restaurant. The deal could be done as soon as Friday, but regardless, current owner Samir Elkhoury has told booking agent Joe Holland not to schedule any shows past the 31st.

“I’ve been expecting it for a long time,” said Holland, who has been the club’s primary booker for the past two years, “so it wasn’t a huge shock. I knew it was going to happen.”

In the half-decade the restaurant hosted live music, it served not only as an invaluable outlet for obscure local bands, but also a stage for scores of touring musicians.

“I’m very sad to see it go,” said Nathan Hall, who helped book around a hundred shows there through his Their Old Stuff is Better Booking agency. “There’s been some awful, terrible bands that have played the Bone. I ran sound for some of them. But there’s also been some amazing shows there, too. It was a totally bizarre, underground freak show.”

The other night, Holland handed me a list of some of the more memorable Bone concerts over the past few years. Far too long to publish in its entirety, the list included big-name locals like 12 Rods, DJ Andrew and Katastrophy Wife. There were lesser-known, but equally respected, experimental-leaning acts like Church of Gravitron, A:POD and Fresh Squeeze. Even Wesley Willis was on the list.

“I think people have always felt pretty free to do whatever they want on our stage,” Holland said. “It was probably the most casual music venue in town.”

Tonight, Bon Appetit regulars Mutt play a free concert at 8 p.m. Tomorrow night, metal-punks Puppy Kicker play with Pissed Robots on Crack, Climb to Zalem and Cognition. And Thursday, the Bone’s last night of live music, has Pleasure Pause, Buss and Racquetball.

Buss is slowly making progress on their first full-length, recording at Integral Studios with 12 Rods’ Ev Olcott. Buss bassist-and Bon Appetit employee-Jason Kokal said they’re shooting for a summer release date. For now you can download songs from their 2000 EP, plus two otherwise unreleased ones, at www.inwave.com/~buss/.

Another band with a Bon Appetit connection, Grickle-Grass, headlines a benefit for Ad Hominin magazine on Saturday at sursumcorda. Holland plays bass in Grickle-Grass and Hall is publisher and editor-in-chief of Ad Hominin. The 3-year-old music, politics and humor ‘zine prides itself in being “probably the only magazine ever to print naked pictures of Abraham Lincoln,” said Hall. It’s also given plenty of… er… exposure to local bands like Grickle-Grass, Good Morning and The Amish Armada.

Also playing Saturday’s benefit, which will help cover costs of releasing the next issue, are The May Theory, Gone Out Gone, Pissed Robots on Crack and Hall’s own band, Spew.

Dan Haugen is the Lens music editor. Please send comments and correspondence to [email protected].