Love Sequence will play First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry on Thursday, Feb. 8. Submitted photo

Best Picks: Jan. 25–Feb. 7

Updated: January 25, 2018 - 3:06 pm

What to do downtown after work

Sequencing attitude and ambience

Love Sequence is a concept band — or at least it will be — with one idea in mind: throw as many curveballs as possible.

The group is made up of members Bobby Rethwish (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Grant Gabriel (drums), Marcus Findley (bass) and Nolan Sawyer Watts (guitar, backing vocals), four roughly college-aged musicians scattered around the Twin Cities.

For the past couple years, the band has regularly been playing shows, including a good showing in the University of Minnesota’s Battle of the Bands at the school’s annual Spring Jam. Despite being around for a while, Love Sequence has only released an EP, but with several songs and a lot of creative energy in the bank, Rethwish said they’re preparing to unveil a new direction as a funk-infused pop band.

The singer says they try to make music with “attitude and ambience,” two traits that he said have been exemplified by acts like LCD Soundsystem and his main inspiration, Prince.

“But you don’t hear those two converging very much. Whenever it has that’s always been my favorite thing,” he said.

Once a harder-edged prog rock band and now a pop band, Rethwish said their new genre gives them permission to be anything they want. They’re taking that spirit and running with it. Love Sequence plans to reinvent themselves with each release. Their next, a six-song EP due later this year, is based off the band’s song “Sexual Enlightenment” and will dig into how sexuality and spirituality interact.

“I think everybody is reluctant to write sexual lyrics because it is really vulnerable and it’s embarrassing when you don’t get it right, but once we realized the door is open, there [was] a lot there,” he said.

Though it’s unlikely to sound anything like their 2016 EP “Look at Me,” those songs are impressive. The intro tune, “I Want You with Me,” is fueled by bright electric guitars that sound like butterflies fluttering in your stomach. “Cigarette” is reminiscent of local success story Hippo Campus with a danceable beat and an infectious boy band charm. “Mouth2Mouth,” which for me captures an unrequited love over a January break, is a love song ripe for those balmy winter days (“I’ve got a feeling I won’t make it through the winter / bury in me snowflakes / see me when the spring breaks”).

But the band is ready to scrap that for a new sound.

“We want to be throwing curveballs as much as we possibly can, because that’s what’s fun for us,” he said.

Love Sequence may opt for a publishing model outside tradition with several EP’s under their belt before even coming out with a debut full-length album.

“The next EP is going to sound nothing like the first EP. The EP after that is going to sound nothing like the next one. And the album is going to sound nothing like everything that came before it,” he said.

Love Sequence will play First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry on Thursday, Feb. 8. The 18-plus show will feature openers Hardcastle and THE WLDLFE.

Photo by Eric Best
Photo by Eric Best

Not your granddad’s Nye’s

IMG_0746Nye’s is back — or is it? The sleeker, trimmed down version of one of the city’s oldest and most famous bars is now open right in the same spot as before. It trades out the carpet, the weird fixtures — well, some of them anyway — and the food menu for a slim neighborhood bar with classic and newly crafted cocktails, tile floors and even a big-screen TV. On a Wednesday night, I saw at least three generations of Minneapolitans at the bar, likely all curious to see for themselves what, if any, part of Nye’s had been revived. This new concept, piano bar and all, has some staying power in a very different food and beverage landscape.

Pop open the thick-paged drink menu and you’ll see a one for classic cocktails — martinis, cosmopolitans, etc. — and another for new signature beverages. I opted for the Hennepin ($12) — many include locally inspired names — with locally produced gin from Du Nord Craft Spirits, St. Germain, lemon and cucumber. It was refreshing amid a bunch of heavy winter meals, though I was left picking several seeds out of my teeth. The Mighty Miss ($12) is similar to a Gold Rush and is garnished with honeycomb, though they must’ve forgot to add it to mine.

What the bar gets right is the décor, a mixture of the old Nye’s red flair with a long mural of founder Al Nye, piano player “Sweet Lou” Snider and World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band leader Ruth Adams. All the neon, both inside and out, takes me back to the old bar.

Whether this new concept capitalizes on the Nye’s fan base is left to be seen, but it seems like a good step toward the future.

The team behind the Minneapolis Bouldering Project has also opened a similar facility in Austin, Texas. Submitted photos
The team behind the Minneapolis Bouldering Project has also opened a similar facility in Austin, Texas. Submitted photos

Your roommate back in Boulder

It’s been a while since working out made me feel energized like a kid. It turns out climbing up colorful rock walls and rolling around on foam floors will do that to you.

Recently I had the opportunity to try out bouldering, a type of climbing without ropes, at the Minneapolis Bouldering Project, a new gym located in the same nondescript warehouse building as Pryes Brewing. The place is a meant to be a launch pad for the sport, which is taking off with kids and, as you’ll see if you ever pop in, young adults.

I was admittedly nervous about trying out bouldering in a big room full of dedicated climbers, but after a free introduction course I was tackling yellow, red and green challenges, the easier climbing routes to take. For $16 a day, it can be spendy for repeat visitors, but if you need an excuse to get out of the house, I think it’s worth it to feel like you’re a kid in gym class (you know, when you actually enjoyed it). Punch cards and memberships are also available.