Replacements tribute at First Ave

The band, broken up since 1991, still possesses a cultish Twin Cities following.

PHOTO COURTESY VOYAGEUR PRESS

PHOTO COURTESY VOYAGEUR PRESS

Jay Boller

WHAT: A Tribute to The Replacements: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of âÄúLet It BeâÄù and the paperback release of “The Replacements: All Over But The Shouting.” FEATURING: Covers by The Idle Hands, Gospel Gossip, Lookbook , Jeremy Messersmith, Story of the Sea and many others. WHEN: Friday, Nov. 27, 7 p.m. WHERE: First Avenue and 7th Street Entry, 701 First Ave. N. TICKETS: $6 advance, $8 door. There are functions, expos and conventions for things that are, well, pretty dumb, like model railroads and lawn gnomes. Rarer, however, are grand gatherings of like-minded people who champion long dissolved rock groups âÄì like MinnesotaâÄôs own, The Replacements. But tonight the nostalgic masses can revel at the sounds of a band deeply branded into the souls of so many local music fans. ItâÄôs going to be a âÄòMats celebration for âÄòMats people. FridayâÄôs event is two-fold. ItâÄôs both a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of The ReplacementâÄôs opus, âÄúLet it BeâÄù and a release party for the paperback edition of local author Jim WalshâÄôs oral history of the band, âÄúAll Over But The Shouting.âÄù There will be scores of local bands doing âÄòMats covers, a crowd so large that the shindig bleeds into the Entry and plenty of booze to boot. âÄúWe all have this sort of sequestered experience with The Replacements because theyâÄôre not around;âÄù explains Walsh. âÄúYou listen to âÄòem by yourself, or maybe with friends, read about âÄòem or whatever. But this is a night where you can be in a room full of people, hearing those songs.âÄù Walsh, a former Minnesota Daily reporter who covered The Replacements in their 1980s heyday, is not a harkening fogy. A remarkable aspect of the band and its accompanying lore is their trans-generational appeal. Contemporary bands, as exemplified by the slew of local acts doing covers Friday, are equally emotionally impacted by a group that was disintegrating when they were entering kindergarten in the early 1990s. Ciaran Daly, frontman for Minneapolis rockers The Idle Hands , is cynical about most songwriters. âÄúYeah thatâÄôs great, you went to grad school; IâÄôm glad youâÄôre trying to tell everybody that. Your lyrics suck,âÄù he says of hyper-literate bands ala The Decemberists. But with The Replacements, heâÄôs unabashedly fawning, calling âÄúHere Comes a RegularâÄù one of the best songs ever written. âÄúItâÄôs really bleak,âÄù he explains. âÄúIf youâÄôve been that guy whoâÄôs seen a few too many last calls, and most of us have been there, itâÄôs an unsparing look at your own life.âÄù Daly considers the task of covering âÄúHere Comes a RegularâÄù terrifying, but The Idle Hands are honoring the âÄúTimâÄù- era classic along with âÄúIâÄôll Be YouâÄù and âÄúNever Mind.âÄù Ollie Moltaji, drummer for Northfield-based mope-rockers Gospel Gossip , is another Y-generation faithful. âÄúWe definitely idolize them,âÄù he said, going on to credit The Replacements and peers Hüsker Dü and The Suburbs as MinnesotaâÄôs truest musical legends (Sorry, Prince). Gospel Gossip, coincidentally, had been working on Replacements covers when they were asked to join tonightâÄôs festivities. The group is set to cover a âÄòMats âÄúStinkâÄù- era rarity, âÄúYouâÄôre Getting Married,âÄù along with standouts âÄúCanâÄôt Hardly Wait,âÄù âÄúLeft of the DialâÄù and âÄúSwinginâÄô Party.âÄù There are a lot of reasons why The Replacements transfix fans in an almost ghastly way. They embodied Midwestern earnestness in a decade rife with callous new-wave. The songs evoke a universal, simple appeal and hold up stunningly well to time. But on both a shallow and profound level, The Replacements were a soap opera in the best sense of the term. The infamous in-fighting and drinking makes for good conversation; but the most entrancing, and almost mythical, aspect is what they could have been. TheyâÄôre a book slammed shut with a story that feels unfinished. âÄúThose guys were truly a time of the âÄô80s before everything was so ubiquitous,âÄù Walsh said. âÄúTheyâÄôre sort of preserved in a time warp.âÄù The Replacements will continue to haunt Minneapolis and Friday is their boozy, jovial séance.