A very long time ago, City Pages ran something called “tour announcements.”
These collections of text, usually presented in the form of blog posts, let you know when a band that wasn’t from here would be here, where they’d put on a live musical production in front of a crowd of people at one of our many esteemed local venues.
Sometimes these announcements were for shows scheduled weeks or even months in the future. (We were so certain there would be a future!)
It’s been a minute since we’ve gotten an email about fresh tour dates (unless of course that email is saying “Sorry, the show we initially pushed back to fall 2020 has been rescheduled for spring 2034”). So imagine our surprise, delight, and confusion when we got word that the noisy Canadian boys in the Dirty Nil were touring the U.S. of A., making a stop at Minneapolis’s own 7th St Entry.
Is live music back on?
Haha, no! We live in hell. But the Dirty Nil are going on a “tour” of sorts: The Dancing 2 Thrash tour will “bring” them “to” 14 cities around the United States and Canada starting next week, including a stop at the Entry on October 15.
“We’re partnering up with a lot of our favorite United States venues that we’ve played a bunch, where we’ve had a lot of great memories and we know the staff,” says guitarist/vocalist Luke Bentham. The Entry was one of the first places they asked—they’re good friends with everyone there, it’s always been a favorite tour stop, aaand Bentham has what he calls a “fanantical devotion to the Replacements.” He talks about the Mats—particularly their 1981 set at the Entry—with the kind of reverence typically reserved for deities.
“The first time I ever got to play at First Avenue I was 22 years old, and it was like going to Mecca,” he says. “It was an emotional and profound experience getting to play on that stage.”
The Ontarians selected their sets, city-by-city, to fulfill song requests they’ve had in different places, and performed in a green-screened performance space engineered to sound as good as possible. This is not a Macbook-mic, sweatpants-couch performance; they wanted to add as much production value to a livestream as they possibly could.
But these guys are goofs (have you seen Tour Tips?), so it’s not like they took all the fun out of it. “It’s an absolute circus of a livestream, with proper sound and lots of cameras and good editing—a mixture of that and the Tim and Eric show, I would say,” Bentham says. “I think the purpose of this is to confuse and amuse.”
And the show spaces they’ve partnered with, from Minneapolis to Memphis to Montreal, will get a portion of the proceeds. “Because we know that this”—by which he means the COVID shutdown, the months without revenue, the absolute lack of an end in sight, the living in a country where the president just went from saying COVID is fake to having COVID and also IDK fascism is on the rise—“is just an absolutely catastrophic situation for all the venues.”
(Apropos of nothing, you can still show your support for the #SaveOurStages campaign here!)
“Being a band from Canada and going to play rock and roll in America, it’s always been the beginning and end of our goals,” Bentham goes on. “Getting to stand on those stages is nothing short of life fulfillment. We’re motivated, humbly, to try and give those places a fighting shot at weathering this storm.”
Eventually, obviously, they want to return to the Entry corporeally. This “tour” will be fun—in the way we’ve all convinced ourselves that our little pandemic concessions are fun—but it leaves an awful lot to be desired: the noise, the camaraderie, the mythology, and the actual joys of going on tour.
Like, for example: “The plain egg omelet from Mickey's Diner. It’s the greatest culinary item that I’ve had in my entire life.”
The Dirty Nil
With: The Anti-Queens
Where: 7th St Entry
When: 7 p.m. Thurs. Oct. 15
Tickets: $10; more info here