Downtown music

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October 25, 2004 // UPDATED 4:25 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

Happy Camper

The last time legendary folk-punkers Camper Van Beethoven came through town, it was a skin-cracking 15 degrees below zero. But not even that could stop CVB violinist Jonathan Segel from stepping out of his hotel room to stretch his legs.

After a quick jaunt to the violin shop to pick up some strings, Segel, my husband and I jumped into our beat-up Sundance to see some frozen sights.

"I wonder what a Japanese garden looks like in the middle of winter," mused Segel as we sped past Lake Harriet, its glassine surface so cold that not even ice sails were out that day. "I'll bet that looks interesting."

"On your left," my husband pointed out as we passed a few nondescript white humps. "And just past that's the bird preserve," he added wryly.

After about an hour of this, we finally hit local-winter-tourist gold with Minnehaha Falls. "You ever see a frozen waterfall before?" I asked Segel as we braced ourselves to exit the car.

We were not to be disappointed. The falls were in their full frozen glory -- a giant mass of icy-blue stalactites thick from both groundwater seeping through the rocks and the falls themselves slowly freezing over the previous three months of winter.

That night, backstage at the Camper Van Beethoven show, every time there was a lull in the conversation, Segel would say, "I saw a frozen waterfall today!" much to the exasperation of the rest of the band, who had apparently spent their day hiding out from the cold.

While I had hoped that CVB would next come to town during one of our more comfortably spectacular seasons, spring or summer, at least it should be well above 15-below this time.

Also different this time around is the fact that CVB is promoting a new album; after a 13-year break as a band, they were basically having fun playing classic material for live audiences during their previous tour.

CVB's recent release, "New Roman Times," is a tongue-in-cheek rock opera. The 22-song album follows the adventures of a young Texan soldier who joins an elite military unit during a time of national turmoil.

While timely, this album is classic Camper Van Beethoven -- it sounds as if the band had never stopped playing together. All five core members -- David Lowery (who is also the frontman of sibling band, Cracker), violinist Segel, bassist and guitarist Victor Krummenacher, guitarist Greg Lisher and drummer Chris Pederson -- performed on the album and will be on stage as well. (This time, we can't be held responsible for the occasional interjections of the recently married Segel.)

Tuesday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. 332-1775.

'Missing: Code Blue'

Local stars Alicia Wiley, Dan Israel, Joanna James, Jessy Greene and Billy Johnson will take to the Fine Line stage to promote a new compilation CD, "Missing: Code Blue -- Volume I," benefiting Missing Children Minnesota, a nonprofit support group for parents and families affected by child abduction.

The compilation features local rock, alt-country, jazz and pop music, with tracks contributed by The Honeydogs and indie pop-rockers Epic Hero, among others.

Sunday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m. Fine Line Music Caf/, 318 1st Ave. N. $12. 338-8100.

One seriously fun family slideshow

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players not only travel together amicably, but Mom Tina Pina Trachtenberg, Dad Jason Trachtenberg and preteen drummer Rachel Pina Trachtenberg play together nicely as well.

The Trachtenburgs describe themselves as an "indie-vaudeville conceptual art-rock pop band." Basically, they buy random strangers' old slide collections at garage sales, or wherever, and then compose a sort of pop-rock score to accompany the projected images, creating musical tales around these anonymous souls.

This is one family slideshow you don't want to miss.

Saturday, Oct. 30, 9 p.m. Lee's Liquor Lounge, 101 Glenwood Ave. N. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 338-9491.

Holly Day can be reached at