Photo by Eric Dimac

Photo by Eric Dimac

Best Picks: Aug. 9–22

Updated: August 10, 2018 - 2:44 pm

What to do downtown after work

Tomboy band

Kaytee Callahan, Nadirah McGill and Natalie Klemond are up-and-comers in the Minneapolis music scene who cut their teeth on No Doubt covers.

Callahan (vocals, guitar), McGill (drums) and Klemond (bass) started their band Gully Boys together in a snowy spring two years ago. Klemond and Callahan, two La Crosse natives who have been friends since middle school, clicked with McGill, Callahan’s coworker, when they found out they shared a passion for music.

“We all had pretty similar tastes in music. We all like different things, but the things we agreed on, we really like those things,” she said. “We’ve always tried to start bands, but had never actually done anything.”

Gully Boys was born. The band, partially named after 1992 animated feature “FernGully: The Last Rainforest,” plays harmonic rock with punk, garage and pop elements.

“We refer to ourselves as a boy band, just jokingly,” Klemond said.

The trio, who didn’t have much experience playing their instruments in bands previously, started by playing covers of bands like indie-pop duo Lucius and alternative rock band Hole. Much of their playing is self-taught.

Because they didn’t grow learning to play like certain musicians or bands, Klemond said, their collective sound as a band isn’t based off any one genre. Their sound is their own. So, when you ask what kind of music the band plays, it’s a hard question to answer, she added.

“We didn’t set out trying to sound like this (or that) band,” Klemond said. “I feel like we’d be pretty classic indie rock, but the vocals take it to something else.”

Raw.18.18

Gully Boys is set to release its debut album “Not So Brave,” a collection of 11 songs about romancing and “thoughts about thought,” Klemond said, but nothing too cutesy.

“Dizzy Romantics” manages to be gritty and melodic, filled to the brim with Callahan’s huge voice that cuts over the guitars (Klemond said Callahan learned to sing from choir, yes, but also listening to a lot of Mariah Carey). “Neopet Graveyard” is a slower, groovier garage rock tune. “Greasy,” one of the songs to make the album from the band’s 2017 self-titled EP, is about time spent in bed with thoughts even shampoo can’t clean from your head (“Since when do I sweat so (expletive) much? / even in my sleep”).

“Not So Brave” is set to be released Sunday, Aug. 12, the day Gully Boys will play First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry at 7 p.m. Openers of the 18-plus show include local bands Beasthead, Sass and niiice.

Photo by Eric Best
Photo by Eric Best

Agave aspirations

Centro is a one-stop-shop for tasting and trying out agave spirits.

The counter-service restaurant and bar from owner Jami Olson and executive chef Jose Alarcon, both local restaurant industry veterans who’ve worked at Lyn 65, is now open at 15th & Quincy, a corner of Northeast many know for Indeed Brewing Co. and throngs of Art-A-Whirl crowds.

AHP_1696The idea behind Centro is that it serves cuisine you’d find in the markets of Mexico, but there’s plenty of original personality here too. The bar does lots of wonderful things with agave spirits, from tequila to mezcal and more.

The entry-level drink here should be the Guava Goddess Slushy ($10). The frozen cocktail is plenty sweet, but it’s balanced with smoky mezcal for a highly drinkable summer beverage.

If you’re feeling adventurous — and maybe if you have a couple friends with you, depending on your tolerance — the five-spirit agave flight ($22) is going to be the advanced lesson. Not only are there mezcal and tequila included in the flight, but there’s bacanora, a Mexican agave-derived liquor; sotol, known as Mexico’s other indigenous spirit; and Avila, a new agave-based spirit. On top of all that, there’s a side of sangrita — meaning “little blood” — a flavorful blend of juices, sauces, spices and herbs.

If you get hungry, Centro has a long list of tacos ($3–$5), from a vegetarian cured cactus taco with a smoky peanut-based salsa de cacahuate to a braised lamb taco topped with cilantro and onions. I can attest that the guacamole is worth it, even at $8.

Centro opened around the end of June at 1414 Quincy St. NE. You can expect its fine-dining sister restaurant, Popol Vuh, to open soon.

Brew bash

The Northeast Brewers Block Party is as quintessentially Northeast as tattoos shops, churches and artist studios all on the same block. The Aug. 19 event running 2 p.m.–8 p.m. will bring all your favorite breweries to Sociable Cider Werks for one day. The free festivities — $5 if you’re drinking, so a $5 event — will see about one-dozen breweries, several bands such as Viva Knievel and food from local establishments like Anchor Fish & Chips. Jill Riley from The Current’s “Oake & Riley in the Morning” is set to host the party, which will also feature a pop-up shop of vendors like Solid State Vinyl Records and the Minneapolis Craft Market. Be warned: The Northeast Brewers Block is cash only, but ATMs will be on site in case you forget.