Downtown Music

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July 12, 2004 // UPDATED 2:26 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

Too crazy for the First Ave. Main Room

Califone's first record was about Catholicism and growing up Catholic (at least according to lead singer Tim Rutili). While the band has touched on many other subjects in their subsequent releases, a hint of spirituality and mysticism runs through the body of Califone's work. Their newest release, "Heron King Blues," is no exception, with stories that seem to be about either birds or God or some kind of bird-god filling the album.

"I haven't really figured out what this album is about," says Rutili of Califone's latest endeavor. "We really just sat down and improvised this whole album, went into the studio with nothing written down so as to keep our brains out of the picture. A lot of the imagery that kept popping out of me had to do with birds and this heron dream I was having," he added mysteriously.

According to Rutili, during the making of "Heron King Blues," he had a reoccurring dream about a giant heron-creature. The cover of "Heron King Blues" apparently mirrors what he saw in that dream -- a man on giant stilts dressed up in an elaborate heron costume, surrounded by a glowing light.

"The dream started out scary, then ended up funny, like most things in life," explained Rutili, refusing to elaborate further on the dream itself.

Perhaps Rutili & Co.'s almost nonstop touring schedule of late is causing the intense dreams. This tour will mark Califone's third trip through the Twin Cities in the past year alone -- and even stranger, they've played a different venue each time they're been here (the Triple Rock and the Quest were host to their last two shows).

"We like to party quite a bit," explains Rutili of the quiet-sounding, nearly acoustic band. "We like to just get a little nutty sometimes. So they don't like to have us back. We rip it up, rock 'n' roll style, way too hard, you know?"

He adds, "This is probably the last time we'll be playing at the Entry. We'll probably rip up that place, too."

Friday, July 16, 8 p.m., First Avenue's 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave. N. $8 in advance, $10 at the door. 338-8388.

Sweet, sweet music

Since their inception in 1990, Chicago's Sonia Dada has been breaking the rules of rock 'n' roll left and right. They combine gorgeous, multiple harmonies with roots rock, rhythm and blues, funk and soul to make for some really lovely ear candy. Songs like "Deliver Me" and "We Treat Each Other Cruel" are soul-gospel-rock celebrations that feature creative arranging and messages that appeal to the audience for adult rock radio, while tracks like "Screaming John" showcase memorable melodies, good harmonies and crafty lyrics.

Wednesday, July 14, 7 p.m. Fine Line Music Cafe, 318 1st Ave. N. $18 in advance, $20 at the door. 338-8100.

Feelin' Minnesota

Big Ditch Road is destined to be the next big thing from the Twin Cities, at least for people who are into that whole county-rock scene. Lead singer Darin Wald has a beautiful, deep and husky voice that is the perfect accompaniment to his wonderfully bleak view of the world. And his remarkable, beautiful, well-crafted songs all sound like they were written by people about to freeze to death in the middle of a Minnesota winter.

Here's your chance to catch them for free before they bust out of this tiny fish pond of a music scene and swim free into that great big world out there.

Thursday, July 15, 6 p.m. Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St. Free. 341-7555.

Holly Day can be reached at lalena@bitstream.net.