Saturday, September 27, 2014

9/27/14 - Secret Circus Music Festival - North Branch, Minn.

| Modern Age | Prelude / 7 Eleven | Stan | Please Please Me [The Beatles] | Mystic Princess | Fluffy Little Hands | Veronica | Rush Hour | Heaven's Just a Mystery |

Poster provided by
Secret Circus Festival
We piled into Tony's in-laws' Suburban and headed up North. It's not often that we all head out in one vehicle. It makes sense, obviously, but it rarely happens. This time it did. Band bros on the road. Or something like it.

Outdoor festivals are always a fun gig, so we were looking forward to this one. There were folks camping on the grounds, which meant that we were just part of the soundtrack of their day. Roll out of the tent, grill up some food, pop a cool one. Hey, there's some music happening. Sweet. We were one of the many musics.

When we got there, we pulled up to the fest, got our VIP passes and proceeded to the artist area. Snacks, beers, shade, chairs, like-minded musician-folk. It was glorious. There was even a sweet elderly dog. We were warned that the dog would bite, but I would be surprised if it even had any teeth left to do so. The dog was awesome and really just laid there. Good mascot.

Junebug poses with their spikiest fan.
When we took the stage, we noticed that our biggest fan was right down front center. Yes, that coniferous tree that follows us from show to show was there in its full glory. We even posed for pictures with it afterward. Our entire set was dedicated to the tree, who stayed right down front for the whole performance. Dedication is what we look for in our Junebuggers. The tree's got it.

It's always a good sign, and you know you've made it, when you're playing a show and you can clearly hear someone shout out, "Who are you?" "We're Junebug!" Dustin replied. That's a christmas tree!" he said, pointing to our biggest fan.

We played a good set. The sunshine and the breeze really bring out something good in us. And seeing concertgoers enjoy it all is good too. "A cemetery's a perfect place to... raise your kids," is a line which was uttered today. There was also a hearty belch after the "pudding's in the proof" line. Furthermore, today we unveiled the live debut of "Rush Hour," a newly recorded song off the upcoming album Stan.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

8/29/14 - Honey - Minneapolis

| Modern Age | Prelude / 7 Eleven | Stan | Please Please Me [The Beatles] | Destiny, She Drives a Rolls | Mystic Princess | Fluffy Little Hands |

Poster by Tony Kollman

It was a weird night. It was a fun night.

I always like descending the dark staircase that leads to the Honey dungeon. Although I know that good times, music, and beers await, something in the back of my psyche says, "dungeon, Will Robinson!" It's a nice place. I dig it.

You know how you have one of those nights? Where, like, a lot of stuff just goes wrong? Our pals in the opening band had one of those nights. I felt bad for them.

In addition to arriving right at start time due to circumstances beyond their control, one of their members didn't have his instrument. He quickly left to get it. Spoilers: by the time he got back, their set was pretty well over. There weren't many folks there to start out the night either. Like I said, I felt bad for them. They're good folks. I mean, they have their own comic book, for pete's sake. We don't have a comic book. The good news was, they cut some dude's hair on stage.

(fig 1.1) Night's beginning.
Ours was a short set, but sweet. We started tonight with "Modern Age". We've never really seen that as a set opener before. Change is good, though, and it worked out well. It ends with a great energy which was a good way to get the ball rolling.

We continued the trend of playing some of the new stuff ("7 Eleven" right into "Stan") as well as what are becoming some old Junebug standards ("Destiny," "Mystic," and "Fluffy"). We almost, almost played a brand new one from the upcoming album called "Rush Hour," which we've been working on for an upcoming recording session. Anthony nixed it for time. Don'choo worry. It's coming.

As the set began and as it went on, more and more folks filtered in. It was a decent-sized house by the end. The applause got louder as the night proceeded. We were pleased and surprised with how it filled up as opposed to how sparse the population was just before the night began (see fig 1.1). 

This was our last in-city show for awhile. We have one more show left, out of town. We'll be buckling down and focusing on the recording of the next album.

Until next time, Junebuggers...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

8/7/14 - Amsterdam Bar & Hall - Saint Paul

| Prelude / 7 Eleven | Stan | Please Please Me [The Beatles] | Destiny, She Drives a Rolls | Mystic Princess | Law & Order Theme [Mike Post] | Fluffy Little Hands | Chosen Ones | Beards | Veronica |

Poster by Tony Kollman.
We descended upon the Amsterdam in St. Paul for the first time tonight. Great atmosphere, great stage, great beer, great staff. We've become pretty good band-friends with What Tyrants and Moving Parts. It's always good to get together with those guys and make the music happen. We did so on the brightly colored stage of the wonderful Amsterdam Bar & Hall. I did so with Heineken in hand. The bar is called Amsterdam, after all. 

We hit 'em with the new stuff right off the bat. The first two we played tonight are the first two on the upcoming album we're working on. It's a decent flow. Give 'em a taste and leave 'em wanting more. I don't know how many times I've typed those words in this archive. But there it is again.

All the pretty lights, as seen from
behind the drum kit.
We didn't have a lot of time to fill tonight, so we made sure to hit some of the favorites: the typical Destiny, Mystic, Fluffy, you know. We tried out our new arrangement of "Chosen Ones" again. It's okay. It's definitely fun to play. I hope it translates well to the listener. 

We closed 'er out with "Veronica," which is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I heard Anthony's acoustic demo for this song years ago and I couldn't wait to get it into our repertoire. Now that it's here, I consistently advocate for its inclusion in our setlists. Tonight it served as a great closer. 

Random notes: What Tyrants was kind enough to offer the use of their drum kit tonight. The Amsterdam frites are delicious. There was a woman in the crowd that looked eerily like the girl I dated my freshman year in college. It wasn't her, but Dustin and Anthony knew exactly who I was talking about when I mentioned it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

7/19/14 - Christensen's Big V's - Saint Paul

Set One:
| Beards | Destiny, She Drives a Rolls | M'Lady | Moon Over the Water | Modern Age | Hell-Bent Woman | I'm a Bad Mamma Jamma (Who Works at Wendy's) | Refrigerator | Soul Shaker | Prelude / 7 Eleven | Veronica [w/ extended jam] | Chosen Ones |

Set Two:
| Mystic Princess | Fluffy Little Hands | Last Night | Stan | Give Yourself | Handlebar Mustache | Poet (Who Didn't Know It) | Crossroads |

| Post-Show Jam |

Poster designed by Tony Kollman
It's not often in the Twin Cities that we'll play a show just us, no other bands. But that's what tonight was. Just the 'bug. Only the June'. This did mean that we got to pull out some tunes we don't always play, and it allowed us to freely jam a bit and experiment.

The crowd wasn't very big tonight, but we made the most of it and had fun. We have to give it to our die-hard fans. I'm gonna call these ones out by name. Becca, Monica, and Robb are almost always there. They were definitely there tonight, cheering us on as always. We kind of threw caution to the wind and gave those who were there our all. And they got to hear some stuff night that no other crowd has or will.

Shoulda been there #lastnight
 I've gotta say, even though the crowd wasn't big, we still put on a good show. At one point, the sound guy even came out from behind the board and started dancing. Dustin (an occasional sound guy himself) noted that "it's hard to get a sound guy out on the floor."

During a lull, when someone was tuning or something, Dustin mentioned that one of his favorite businesses on Snelling just closed: Affordable Coffins. "Now I don't have a coffin guy," he lamented. "Who's your coffin guy?"

As I mentioned above, there were some experiments and new things tonight. Firstly, we approached "Soul Shaker" in a different way. It was a little laid back and a little more groovy. "Chosen Ones" was different tonight. We've been working out a new, more upbeat and driving arrangement and we debuted that tonight. Then there were some things that only tonight's audience will hear. For example, at the end of "Veronica," we just kind of kept on going with a unique jam. Furthermore, at the end of the second set, Dustin, Dillon, and I all remained onstage and finished out the night with about fifteen minutes of an ambient jam. It felt fantastic. 

At the end of the night tonight, our buddy (and superfan) Robb really came through for me. When I was breaking down my hardware, I dropped a nut that goes on my hi-hat. I could feel it roll on the wooden stage, but I didn't see it. I feared that it may have rolled off the stage, into the narrow crack between the stage and the wall and onto the floor, where I feared it would be lost. I was trying to peer through the crack to no avail. Dillon asked what I was doing and approached from a different angle. He  got on the floor and lifted up the skirt of the stage and was using his iPhone light to try to help me. He thought he saw it under there. I wasn't so sure. What I was sure of was that underneath that stage, where there is about a foot and a half of clearance, there was a lot of stuff. Setlists, broken (and whole) drumsticks, guitar picks, beer bottles, plastic cups, dirt, spider webs. I knew I was going to have to crawl under there and get filthy. But I had to in order to have a complete hi-hat for the next time I play. As I was contemplating my impending journey into the abyss, Robb comes up and says, "I can do it if you want. I'm smaller than both you guys." And while I would have been perfectly capable of doing it, I was also damp and sweaty from having just played two sets. Filth would cling. I took Robb up on his offer. He borrowed Dillon's phone as a flashlight and became my own personal tunnel rat. When he emerged from his journey, he presented me with not one, but TWO nuts like the one I lost. He said, "I didn't know which one was yours, so I grabbed both." Not only did he rescue my own hardware, but he came up with a spare. What a guy. Thanks, Robb.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

6/28/14 - Minnesota Saloon - Saint Paul, Minn.

| Beards | Destiny, She Drives a Rolls | Please Please Me [The Beatles] | I'm a Bad Mamma Jamma (Who Works at Wendy's) | Stan | Mystic Princess | Fluffy Little Hands / Time [Pink Floyd] | Hell-Bent Woman | Heaven's Just a Mystery |

Poster designed by
Tony Kollman
Today was one of those few-and-far-between occasions in which we've played two shows in one day. We've done it before, but not often. Earlier today, we were at the Twin Cities Pride Festival in Minneapolis, and this evening we were at the Minnesota Saloon in downtown Saint Paul.

We shared the night with That's My Uncle, The Doohickeys, and Precursor. It was a bit of an eclectic and diverse lineup. In addition to having never played this venue, we also had never played with any of these bands. They were a lot of fun. There were a lot of dirty jokes told and filthy innuendos made. My kind of night. 

The set we played tonight was pretty similar to what we played this afternoon. Why mess with what works, right? And those guys that were country dancing like they were riding bucking broncos through our whole set didn't seem to complain. 

Before "Mystic Princess" tonight, Anthony did warn people that they should be touching appropriately during that song. He said, "We're stopping the song if it's inappropriate." Evidently everyone complied. We did not end up turning the bar around and going home. But then some guy yelled out "Freebird!" I almost turned it around myself.

We closed the night with "Heaven's" and ended up rocking and jamming the end in our normal way. While it was happening, I noticed that one of the buckin' bronco guys was seemingly in a trance. Afterward, he approached the stage as we were tearing down and said, "That was a f***in' journey."

All in a day's work. But be advised: we don't play "Freebird."

6/28/14 - Twin Cities Pride - Loring Park - Minneapolis

| Please Please Me [The Beatles] | I'm a Bad Mamma Jamma (Who Works at Wendy's) | Beards | Destiny, She Drives a Rolls | Mystic Princess | Fluffy Little Hands | Prelude / 7 Eleven | Modern Age | Stan |

We were asked back to Twin Cities Pride again this year. This is the fifth time in six years that we've played this festival and we love it every time. There's always such a positive air of love and inclusion hanging over Loring Park during this festival. And that's what we've always been all about: unity and good times. We're always happy to be a part of that atmosphere. 

We played the Loring Stage again and this year it was emceed by the fabulous Foxy Tann, the self-proclaimed Boss of Burlesque. She started by welcoming the crowd and she said, "I'm so glad to see the youngsters here blowing out their ears so they're ready for their teenage years!" Touche, Ms. Tann. She later went on to talk about how she would be shepherding us through our debauched weekend. Love it. 

We kicked off the set with "Please Please Me": that old chestnut written by some youngsters in Liverpool. Afterward, Anthony welcomed the crowd to the show and said he hoped there was somebody pleasing somebody behind some bushes somewhere. Keepin' it classy as always!

We kept rockin' it - another solid high-energy set filled with rockers. It was mostly tried and true Beards material, but there were some offerings from Stan. In a rare occurrence, we underprepared our set and were told we had more time that we had originally allotted. We happily added on. People were loving it. There were people dancing, individuals both of grown-up and child variety. Our crowd seemed to grow as the set went on, which of course is a good thing. It seemed the crowd energy maybe lulled a bit during "7 Eleven" but we brought them back with "Modern Age," I think. We closed out with "Stan," the title track from the new album we're working on. I'd call it a success.

The weather was beautiful -- at least for our set. Later on, there was a huge downpour of rain and some of the musical performances ended up cancelled, but the weather for our set was perfect.

If I had one criticism it would be this: I wish that, as in years past, they had asked us for lyrics to provide to the American Sign Language interpreters onstage. Each year, they have ASL interpreters onstage and I love watching them to see what our songs look like. This year, just moments before our start time, I spoke briefly with one of the interpreters and she asked if we happened to have any lyrics printed out. Sadly, the answer was no, so she asked if she could at least have a setlist with song titles, which I happily provided. However, I did notice there were a number of times in which it seemed she couldn't necessarily make out the lyrics well enough to sign them. So that was a bummer. On the bright side, she did seem to catch most of it and it was fun to watch as always.

The crew on this stage is fantastic. It's been pretty much the same crew every year if I remember correctly. I recognized all their faces and they are always so kind, helpful, professional, accommodating, etc. Any words you would use to describe an excellent stage crew works on this team. The mixes in both the monitors and the mains were fantastic. I thanked them after the show and being the consummate professionals, they turned it around on me and said I was the one who was good. I know the truth, though. Working with professionals feels good.

Happy Pride, Twin Cities! We hope to see you again next year!

Friday, June 6, 2014

6/6/14 - Nomad World Pub - Minneapolis

| Modern Age | Beards | Destiny, She Drives a Rolls | Prelude / 7 Eleven | Please Please Me [The Beatles] | Mystic Princess | Fluffy Little Hands | Veronica |

Poster provided by
Tonight's show was put on by the music site In some corners of the inter-webs it was promoted as "June for Junebug," because, well, our band name has the word June in it. We have taken advantage of this coincidence in the past ourselves (e.g., Junestravaganza and Junetacular). 

We have often had this idea, when we've played the Nomad in the past, to play a short, sweet, energetic set. We had that idea going in tonight, too. It would have worked if we hadn't been plagued by minor technical issues. There were a few breaks for tuning, and most notably, at one point Dustin had to go to the mic and announce, "Our drummer fell over."
The troll under the banner
Yes, boys and girls, sometimes drum thrones fall apart. And sometimes drummers fall down. The first clue was when Anthony counted off a song in which the drums come in first and nothing happened, because, well, I was literally on the floor. But being the consummate professional I am, I repaired my equipment on the spot and everything was all good. Anthony told the crowd that we'd send an apology card in the mail at a later time. He then backtracked and stated that this was just the extended intro to the song. But then, we nailed it. We rocked it good.

Rockin' the Nomad.
Aside from those issues, it was a pretty solid little set. I do like playing the Nomad. The space seems very conducive to rock and roll as long as there are people there, like there were tonight.

Tonight was a special night because we all got to meet Dillon's mom who was in attendance. Mary was a welcome guest.

Also appearing were Aitas, The Dang Ol' Tri'Ole, and Little Star - a really fantastic guitar and cello duo.

'Til next time, Nomad, Thanks and good night.