Saturday, February 27, 2016

Live Rewind: 02/20/16 Doug Collins and the Receptionists "Complicated Compliments" CD Release @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis, MN

Doug Collins & the Receptionists "Complicated Compliments" (2016)

In our opinion (not that you asked), the Harriet Brewing Tap Room in South Minneapolis was the place to be last Saturday night as Doug Collins and the Receptionists returned to the stage and played through a spirited live set for a few hundred fans and friends that came out to support the band and to check out their latest CD offering titled "Complicated Compliments." It had been some months since we last saw the band perform so we were quite looking forward to seeing the guys again and hearing their new music.

02/20/16 Doug Collins & The Receptionists @ Harriet Brewing Co. Tap Room, Minneapolis, MN
(Photos and video: NYCDreamin Archives)

Quickly, big props to Harriet Brewing as they are very big supporters of the local music scene here in the Twin Cities, offering singer/songwriter/musicians a place to perform live music most nights of any given week all throughout the year.

02/20/16 Doug Collins & The Receptionists @ Harriet Brewing Co. Tap Room, Minneapolis, MN

We arrived shortly before 8:00pm as Sarah Morris was just getting ready to begin her set. Within about 30 seconds the conversation we were having with a few friends stopped dead in its tracks. All eyes and ears were directed to the stage as Morris quickly took command of the room with her amazing voice and spunky stage presence. It is quickly very obvious to anyone with a functional set of ears that Sarah Morris is of undeniable talent from the minute she begins her set. Unfortunately for you, the reader, I did not manage to get any video. So you'll just have to take me at my word - she was great and we're hoping to get the chance to see her again at some point.

02/20/16 Doug Collins & The Receptionists @ Harriet Brewing Co. Tap Room, Minneapolis, MN

The crowded room (that the above photo does not really covey properly) was full of good vibes and laughter and people really seemed to be having an enjoyable evening as Doug and the Receptionists quickly set up their gear and got ready to unleash.

For those who may be unfamiliar - Doug Collins and the Receptionists are:

Doug Collins - guitar, vocals
Kevin Kluever - guitar
Charlie Varley - bass, vocals
Billy Dankert - drums, vocals

02/20/16 Doug Collins & The Receptionists @ Harriet Brewing Co. Tap Room, Minneapolis, MN

And with a brief introduction and a wave of the hand from the frontman, the band were off and running with a rollicking little stomper called "Breath of Your Reflection"

Easing back on the pace just a bit without really stopping they went right into the second song of their set, "Meanwhile In Memphis." This is also the second song on the new CD. That must mean something, right? What - I have no idea. But it's just too big of a numerological coincidence to ignore.

After stopping to take a quick selfie with the crowd (and just listen to the explanation behind that move for a glimpse into the humor of Mr. Collins), Doug told a quick back story of how and why he was inspired to write a song about a train. At this point he also introduced a special guest sitting in with the band for a few songs. Drummer Billy Dankert's Gear Daddies bandmate Randy Broughton was in the house to add some additional flavor. His lap-steel playing added an element to this country-punkabilly "Song About A Train" that would have been sorely lacking had he not been there to play along.

02/20/16 Doug Collins & The Receptionists @ Harriet Brewing Co. Tap Room, Minneapolis, MN

The entire band seemed in high spirits and were smiling and joking between (and during) songs with each other. Doug was rather animated in his song introductions and at this point took a bit of a good-natured ribbing about this from a local guitarist friend who shall go unnamed to protect his identity. The next number, the introspective "Lucky" comes from The Receptionists previous EPCD "Davenport Iowa."

After a brief shoutout to the producer of the new CD who was also in attendance to celebrate the release, the band once more slowed the pace for another new number, "Been There Before."

The title track to the EPCD "Davenport Iowa" was next. It's a tale so many of us can relate to I guess: wanting and waiting  for years to get out of the place you come from - only to realize after you leave and explore the larger world a bit that the place you came from really does hold some special place in your heart after all.

02/20/16 Doug Collins & The Receptionists @ Harriet Brewing Co. Tap Room, Minneapolis, MN

Next up, also from the "Davenport Iowa" EP, a song that is (I think) about a heterosexual couple meeting and falling in love at a "Lesbian Wedding." This is a song that has received some regional radio airplay and garnered good reviews from some of the local music press.

Here, the band tossed in a plucky cover (the first of two they would pull out on this particular evening) of the 1970 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Motown classic "Tears Of A Clown." I'm sure the purists out there would call this sacrilege but, in my opinion, The Receptionists version, with a just-right guitar solo from Kevin Kluever, buries the original. Nice job guys!

As Dankert laid down a smooth between-songs jazz beat, Randy Broughton once again plugged in and sat down to join the band on the next number, the swinging "Don't Change the Sheets." If I ever take the time to properly interview Doug I think I'll steer clear of asking him about the topical inspiration for this one. It's pretty self-explanatory.

"A Little Bit Of Hurt" showcases perfectly Doug's ability to seamlessly meld rock and roll and country styles together into the same song. It is a pleasing effect.

02/20/16 Doug Collins & The Receptionists @ Harriet Brewing Co. Tap Room, Minneapolis, MN

Here, we'd be remiss if we didn't send out some congratulations and love to "Grandpa Dad" Charlie Varley and his wife on news that they are "expecting" a new family member to be joining them later in the year. We're happy for you guys!

For "My Friends," another track from the new CD, Collins, Varley and Dankert join together on a sweet sounding harmonized vocal as Kluever once more places just the right amount of textured feeling into his guitar lines. I'm always impressed with his playing style each time we've seen the band because of his ability to put across a lot of emotion within just the right amount of notes and not overplaying the hell out of everything.

As the first notes of the next song began to come from the stage I knew immediately that the show was about to come to a close. "Slip Away," a song we've enjoyed since the first time we heard it seems to always come right near or at the very end of their set. There's just something about his one that makes it one of my favorites in the Doug Collins catalog of songs.

But they weren't done just quite yet. Charlie announced that the next song was to be done in the spirit of "The Who - because we don't know what the hell we're doing." Never really being a big Who fan myself, this elicited a hearty chuckle from me. I don't know if you know this but there are one or two lifelong old-school Kiss fans in the Twin Cities music scene. OK, maybe it's all of us. Sure seems like it sometimes. Pulling out the second of the two cover songs in the set, they finished off with a raucous and somewhat disjointed and slightly mangled version of what Paul Stanley likes to call the Rock and Roll National Anthem - the 1975 classic "Rock and Roll All Nite."  They may not have played a note-for-not version and the lyrics...uh, yeah. Nice try Doug. But the spirit was certainly there and it was a great way to close out the show, many in the still very crowded room singing along can you not?

The audience erupted into well deserved cheers and applause for the band as they finished up and cleared the stage for the last act of the evening, a duo calling themselves Lakewood Cemetery.

As I glanced across the room I spotted Sarah Morris who appeared to be getting ready to leave, so I hustled over her way to tell her how much we had enjoyed her set. I was hoping she had a copy of a CD or something and of course she did so I was glad to be able to pick up a copy from her in person. If you're interested you can visit her website here for information on how to obtain a copy for yourself.

We also picked up a copy of The Receptionists new release, once again that one is titled "Complicated Compliments." You can and should obtain a copy of that one as well as the "Davenport Iowa" EP and the earlier 2013 release "Those Are The Breaks." All three titles are available for preview and digital download over at as well as over at iTunes. And I do believe that Hi-Fi Hair and Records in Minneapolis may have some physical copies available for sale also should you prefer to go that route instead.

02/20/16 Doug Collins & The Receptionists @ Harriet Brewing Co. Tap Room, Minneapolis, MN

Up next? Doug Collins hits the road - solo - for a few dates out-of-state coming up next week. We wish him safe travels and would highly encourage anyone reading in the areas listed below to get out and check him out when he rolls through. Tell him TATSOL sent ya!

03/01/16 @ Buccaneer Lounge - Memphis, TN
03/22/16 @ Tapping for Happy Hour - Nashville, TN
03/04/16 @ Evangelines - St. Louis, MO

Tonight! 02/27/16 Tom Donohue Sr. Memorial Show @ The Dog House Bar & Grill, Maplewood, MN

02/27/16 Tom Donohue Sr. Memorial Show @ The Doug House, Maplewood, MN

If you are reading this from in or around the Twin Cities metro area, come on out to the Dog House Bar & Grill in Maplewood tonight and enjoy great live music beginning at 8:00pm from five of the hardest rocking bands in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area as they throw down in celebration and memorial for Tom Donohue Sr. and his family.

Complete details: Tom Donohue Sr. Memorial Show Facebook event page.

One From The Archives: 02/27/91 Bad Company/ Damn Yankees @ Duluth Arena, Duluth, MN

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Two Years After Returning From The Dead, A Taste Of Minnesota Calls It A Day

07/03 - 06/14 A Taste of Minnesota 2014 @ Carver County Fairgrounds, Waconia, MN

After defying the odds, coming back from the dead and relocating to rural Waconia Minnesota for the 2014 and 2015 editions, some disappointing news for live music lovers here in the state of Minnesota coming in this afternoon from A Taste of Minnesota. General Manager Linda Maddox has issued the following statement on the Taste of Minnesota Facebook page:

"With a mixture of sadness and excitement, I’m announcing today my retirement and the closure of A Taste of Minnesota. This festival was the pride and joy of my late husband Ron, who created it in 1983. I grew to love the event as we managed it together from 1996-2008. When the festival was sold and later closed, I missed the fun and exhilaration, and I often thought about making a comeback with the original team – minus Ron, who passed away in 2010. This dream became a reality in 2014, and our last two festivals have brought joy to a whole new generation in a new host community, Waconia. The 2014 and 2015 festivals fulfilled our goal of providing a fun, family-centered event for Minnesotans over the Fourth of July weekend – the same goal that Taste was founded upon decades ago. I’m confident that now is the best time for me to begin the next chapter of life as a retiree.

Thank you to the fans, vendors and visitors who supported A Taste of Minnesota throughout the years. I’m also deeply grateful to our gracious hosts in Waconia and Carver County, and to the team in Saint Paul who supported us in our first 26 years

Sincerely - Linda Maddox, General Manager"

TATSOL would like to wish Ms. Maddox all the best in her retirement. We also wish to extend our sincere thanks to her and her entire staff for trying to bring back the Taste for the last two years. All I have to offer in the way of further opinion is that this is a big loss to the entertainment schedule for so many people here who have made the Taste a part of their annual July 4th celebrations for so many years (excluding 2011 - 2013 when it wasn't held).  

Losing it - just sucks. There's just really no other way to say it. Lots of good 4th of July weekend music memories throughout the years we've been going though: Foghat, Blue Coupe, Starship, The Oddfathers, Blue Oyster Cult, Rick Derringer, George Thorogood, Deep Purple, Georgia Satellites, Judas Priest, Chevelle, Whitesnake, Halestorm, ELO II, Dennis DeYoung, John Mayall, Rick Springfield. And many others as well. We're really gonna miss it.

View much more TATSOL coverage of Taste of Minnesota throughout the years.
Click HERE.

And here, some of the very first concert video we ever shot ourselves: Judas Priest at the Taste of MN, July 3rd, 2009. Not amazing quality or anything - but this was where we started.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Reminder: Get Your Weekly Rock and Metal News Recap from Seth's Rock

You've breezed through another weekend and now that its already Monday morning, we would like to remind you once again that you can (and should) start your week - each week - by taking a few minutes to catch yourself up with the best recap of all of the latest news from the hard rock and heavy metal world that has gone down in the past seven days.

Tour announcements, new releases, special events, music videos, new bands on the rise and old favorites and of course the Rockucation Question of the Week - it's all there waiting for you over Seth' Also! Check out and "like" the Seth's Rock Facebook page as well for additional updates and fun, thought provoking topical conversations with cool people from all over the place throughout the week. Don't forget to tell him TATSOL sent ya!