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The Nomad World Pub fe: Ol’ Yeller, Martin Devaney and Little Man (Friday, March 18th, 2005)
Ol' Yeller rocked the Nomad on Friday - Photo by David de Young


By Cyn Collins

On a Friday night of cold and snow in Minneapolis, the new Nomad World Pub (formerly the 5 Corners Saloon) filled up with people who wanted to check out the West Bank’s newly re-named and re-modeled music venue.

Little Man was the first act on tonight’s great bill. I go to as many Little Man shows as I can, and I feel that they deserve more attention. Chris Pericelli’s voice is unique, and his groovy, gutsy guitar skills are primo. It’s been observed by at least a few local music fans that this may be the best band that Heath Henjum plays bass for.

Up next was Martin Devaney. He and his band played warm, enchanting pop and were an outstanding live experience. Until tonight, I hadn’t heard Devaney with his full band (which now includes fine backup vocals by Jake Hyer of the Get Up Johns). Devaney’s full-on show was an absolute pleasure.

By the time headliners Ol’ Yeller got up to play, a large crowd was happily indulging in the Nomad’s great vibe and beer selection. The tide of the audience’s good continued to wash upon the stage elevating each band to new heights of energetic and skilled playing, providing some of their best shows I’ve seen.

Because the entire crowd appeared to be enjoying the music so much, I decided to do a pub-wide survey so this piece would not just be me waxing poetic about some of my favorite bands and the Nomad. I queried the public and I present you with their comments.

Brigid Kelly noted that Ol’ Yeller’s first song “Firefly” sounded like a great road song. I agreed, having already giving their CD Sounder the open road test and confirming that it’s great driving music for the vast empty plains of South Dakota. Chris Pericelli, lead vocalist/guitar of Little Man, said how much he liked the song as well, especially the chorus.

Martin Devaney and his band had a lot of fun

Ol’ Yeller’s second song was a favorite of Little Man’s drummer, Ken Davoe, who added, “Whatever Ol’ Yeller is playing is my favorite song.” He added, “I love the bar – the people who run it are great, and are really nice!”

Andy Everett, a local music fan and booker, told me he was really enjoying his first time at the Nomad. He said, “Ol’ Yeller is one of the best bands in town, and I love them!”

One couple agreed upon one word describing their experience – “TRANSIPOLOUS!” An enthusiastic audience member said, “Rich [Mattson] is great!” About the Nomad, he added that the bar feels more open, “Obviously, they’ve cleaned it up and spent a lot of money on the windows!’

Heath Henjum, bassist of Little Man, Olympic Hopefuls, and Vicious Vicious commented that the Nomad “has a good vibe! There are some sound difficulties. But these guys [Ol’ Yeller] sound good!”

David de Young felt assuaged by the new bar and the music. “This show is the SXSW consolation prize for those of us stuck here in town,” he said. And referring to the make up of the crowd: “It feels like the Turf Club in here.” He appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed the entire show and added, “This is one of the best Ol’ Yeller shows I’ve ever seen!”

Michael Lord, a volunteer for the Cedar Cultural Center for many years, has spent a lot of time listening to music on the West Bank (and other places such as First Avenue). He was very positive about the new club and the music. “I love Ol’ Yeller.” He and several friends had come across from the Cedar after the show to support the new bar. “They have a great beer selection! I’m drinking a great beer, Hoegaarden (http://www.hoegaarden.be/), a Belgian white ale.”

Another customer affirmed that the beer selection is “awesome!” I should note the beer is also reasonably priced as well, with the average beer being about $4 – including tap Stella Artois, Guinness, Beamish, and numerous bottled selections including Bell’s Two Hearted, Negra Modele, Taj Mahal, and Singha. Steve Hance, one of the club’s two owners, is proud of the electronically lit beer tap handles which create an appealing glow, and look cool. There’s also an instant glass chiller in the center of each station.

Music fans really enjoyed the music and the camaraderie.

One new fan of the Nomad said eloquently, “I love the music. Ol’ Yeller has an Uncle Tupelo or even Jayhawks groove on the country chords. This bar is non-pompous. It is not a club – I don’t like music clubs – it’s a music bar, but clean, and yet has character. I hope it becomes a little grungier but still clean. Look at the clientele – they’re working people who have an edge.”

The staff was warm, attentive, and friendly; icing on the cake, making me want to be a regular supporter. One satisfied customer said, “It’s great to see bands like these here. And the staff is friendly, too!”

Chris Mozena, general manager and booker of the Nomad said of Ol’ Yeller: “I love these guys – they have a good sense of timing, a good sense of humor. . . and they can hold their liquor like meatpackers on payday.” Nomad’s other owner, Todd Smith added, “We’re blessed and fortunate to have bands like “Ol’ Yeller play here.”

Ol’ Yeller finished their set by playing Brigid Kelly’s request she’d placed at their feet in a beer bottle, a nice twist on the message in a bottle motif. The request was for “Burn,” an intense song filled with Ol’ Yeller’s signature raw honesty and poignancy.

There was still time once the band had finished for everyone to hang out and visit and talk to the musicians which doesn’t happen everywhere. I feel fortunate to have a new destination right in my backyard. The Nomad would be worth driving to even if I lived far away.

For more info on the history of the 5 Corners Saloon and the owners and music booker’s detailed future plans see my in depth article: http://profile.tripark.org/articles/articles.php?id=188

For the Nomad schedule, go to: http://nomadworldpub.com/msp/index.htm