The Como Avenue Jug Band (Saturday, July 23rd, The Midtown Market on Lake
By Taylor Carik
Like everything else here in the Twin Cities, the music scene is constantly
changing. A new generation of young people are stepping into performances at
locales both well-known and not, and regardless of genre, there's a feeling
of some sort or creative resurgence in the Cities.
Here's just one example: The Como Avenue Jug Band at
the Lake Street
Midtown Market. Despite the downpour this past Saturday morning,
the jug scene newcomers played two sets at the market, which is still
somewhat developing in its second year. Many folks fled for cover when
the rain started to fall, but the several stragglers who stuck around
in the water-logged parking lot to see the Art
Car Parade entries before they left were treated to a fantastic
One wouldn't consider an empty market in the rain an ideal musical situation
for any performance. But the setting didn't stop the the Como Avenue Jug Band
from putting on one hell of a hootenanny. The large, motley ensemble featured
a range of instruments, from a guitar and bass to spoons, banjo and a tap dancer,
each enthusiastically contributing their instrument and backing vocals, and
each member playing and singing their hearts out.
And that's exactly the kind of the thing that the Midtown Market (and
all of Minneapolis and St. Paul, really) needs. Let's be honest: nearly
all of the weekly performances have been aging hippies with guitars singing
the gentle brands of music so accurately captured in "A Mighty Wind."
In many ways, that's perfectly appropriate---it's doubtful that the market's
sellers and patrons would enjoy a midmorning performance from All
the Pretty Horses.
Which of course means that there's not a lot of leeway in the venue's musical
stylings. But the Market does present a musical niche, and the several young
members of Como Avenue Jug Band are a strong, new addition to that niche. They
may not have sung songs about fresh local produce (their witty and inventive
lyrics instead opted for standard jug topics like catfishin' and wild women,
and not-so-standard topics like Mall of America), but they certainly entertained
the market-goers with their energy and genuine appreciation for down home jug
music. A young couple in the small audience couldn't help but start dancing.
The market's coordinator, so impressed by the performance and the audience reaction,
even hinted at the possible return of the Como Avenue Jug Band to the Market
stage. Who knows where this may lead? There's a lot of farmer's markets in this
town, and it might just be a short time until "jug life" sweeps through
the Cities, and that would be great.
Taylor Carik is tcarik[at]gmail.com