Merriam-Webster has named “surreal” the Word of the Year for 2016. I think that pretty accurately describes the past 12 months. Last year was pretty surreal for many of us, trying to find our way through this confusing haze that has settled over our politics, our culture, and our lives. But “surreal” is a little too vague for many people, I think. “Horrific,” “shocking,” or just plain “depressing” might better explain the frightening transition of the Republican candidate into presidency; the death of so many cultural and musical icons; the buzz of “fake news” stories constantly gnawing at our computer screens; the disasters and shootings that took so many away from us.
It’s tough to talk about escape when all of this is going on around us, but sometimes escape is exactly what we need. Sometimes we need to take a step back from our battles, our trials, and our stresses and escape to a different land where, in the words of Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five, “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” Luckily for us geeks, the perfect escape comes from what we love most: music, movies, games, television, comics, family, and friends. We need these things. Well, I do at least. They help keep me balanced in an often uncertain world.
In my opinion, nothing is a better escape than live music. Whether it’s seeing your favorite band in a small, sweaty, intimate setting like 7th Street Entry or Triple Rock Social Club, or watching a band you love from afar at Xcel Energy Center or Roy Wilkins Auditorium, live music offers a powerful, cathartic escape. So let’s say goodbye to 2016 and all it’s surrealness, or whatever you want to call it, and welcome in 2017 and the live shows that it will bring. I’m not sure, yet, if this year will be better or worse than the last, but this list will give us something to look forward to—no matter what happens.
I will be sticking mainly to alternative, punk, and rock shows, as those are the genres of music I’m most familiar with, but I’d be happy to hear about any other shows that are coming up in the comments below.
And with that, let’s get started.
January 21: Red Hot Chili Peppers (Target Center)
Internationally renowned funk rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers are still going strong after 20-plus years. This band doesn’t seem to ever slow down, and seeing them at Target Center should be a treat for longtime fans. It will be tough to score tickets so close to the day, but more information and ticket prices can be found here.
January 29: Dashboard Confessional with Vinyl Theatre (First Avenue)
Remember Dashboard Confessional? If you didn’t listen to “Hands Down” as a teenager during your first heartbreak . . . well, I don’t know what you were doing. Either way, Chris Carrabba is back with his full band, promising to play a mixture of old and new hits. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
February 6: Lemuria with Mikey Erg and Cayetana (7th Street Entry)
Heartfelt punk-rock jams: expect to hear many of at Lemuria’s 7th Street Entry show. This band paved the way for many of the contemporary “emo revival” bands—if you’re unfamiliar, think honest songwriting and throwbacks to bands like American Football and Sunny Day Real Estate—and has a huge underground following, as do openers Mikey Erg and Cayetana. If you are looking to fall in love with something new, definitely be at this show. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
February 14: Japandroids with Craig Finn and the Uptown Controllers (First Avenue)
Following three years of silence, Canada’s noisiest two-piece is back to blow your mind with their insane, loud live shows. Part classic rock, part punk, Japandroids are one of the most exciting bands out there, and fans are ecstatic to see them back and touring. Their newest album will be released on January 27th, just a few weeks before the show. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
February 23: You Blew It! with All Get Out and Free Throw (7th Street Entry)
One of the best bands to come out of the emo revival movement, You Blew It! returns to Minnesota for the group’s second ever headlining tour. I can’t stress enough how excited I am to see these guys in a setting like 7th Street Entry. Expect the crowd to sing along, maybe some stage dives, and definitely some feelings. The opening bands are great, too, so if you need some honest punk on a (presumably) cold Minnesota winter night, definitely be at this show. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
February 25: Step Rockets with Denny and Fort Wilson Riot (Triple Rock Social Club)
Labeling themselves as “trip pop” (which I think is awesome), Step Rockets are an up-and-coming band—if not already “up”—that has been mentioned recently by Local Current and GO 96.3. With so much buzz surrounding the band and the fact that this show is at Triple Rock Social Club, a venue that they are used to playing, this should be an incredibly exciting performance. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
March 4: The Menzingers with Jeff Rosenstock and Rozwell Kid (the Cabooze)
The Menzingers are a punk band that specializes in frantic, sweaty, and loud live shows. Saturated with nostalgia, these guys play the perfect songs to shout along too. This show is sure to be packed; the Menzingers have a large following wherever they go, plus opener Jeff Rosenstock is quite well known around the punk and DIY music scenes. Expect a packed venue, crowd sing-alongs, and lots of movement on the dance floor. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
March 11: Save Ferris with Baby Baby (Fine Line Music Café)
Save Ferris formed over 20 years ago, and the ska-punk band’s music was the soundtrack to many ’90s kids’ lives at the time. Although the group has been off and on since then, they recently ran a successful Pledge Music campaign in order to make their first album in 15 years. I’m not sure what the turnout will be for this show, but expect the band itself to be raucous and spirited. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
March 12: Hippo Campus (First Avenue)
Hippo Campus are the Twin Cities’ newest indie darlings. They played to a huge crowd at this past summer’s Rock the Garden, and the first of their shows at First Avenue is already sold out. Their debut album is coming out on February 24th, and they are sure to play many songs from that album on this tour. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
March 15: Cold War Kids (First Avenue)
Cold War Kids have been putting out solid indie-rock albums for over 10 years now. They are super animated live and always seem to get the crowd moving—they are veterans at what they do and are sure to bring that experience and prowess to First Avenue on the night of their show. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
April 1: Green Day with Against Me! (Xcel Energy Center)
Green Day—what really needs to be said about them? As divisive as ever, the band is back and still pissed off with their newest album, Revolution Radio. Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admit that the band is loud, and sometimes that alone can be a wonderful thing. However, I’m more excited to see Against Me!; Laura Jane Grace, who came out as a transgender woman in 2012, continues to be a pillar in the trans community, and she’s still energetic, loud, and punk as hell. Although seeing Against Me! is best in smaller venues, they are still worth getting out of the house for. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
June 3: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Joe Walsh (Xcel Energy Center)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are coming by the Xcel on their 40th anniversary tour. Their 40th anniversary—I don’t think much more needs to be said. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
July 22: Bon Iver (Walker Art Center)
Grammy Award–winning artist Bon Iver returns to Rock the Garden in 2017 for the first time in eight years. For many, this is going to be the concert of the year in Minneapolis. Justin Vernon has made a huge name for himself with Bon Iver, and this show is sure to be the dreamy, trippy, melodic escape that we need this summer—especially as it will be outside, under that gorgeous Minneapolis sun. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
July 30: Guns N’ Roses (US Bank Stadium)
Another band you’ve probably never heard of, Guns N’ Roses has been making a name for themselves—okay, no, I can’t even type that with a straight face. It’s the Not in This Lifetime Tour. Axl Rose and Slash will be there. Either you are freaking out about hearing of this tour for the first time, you already have your tickets, or you could care less. More information and ticket prices can be found here.
Hopefully some of these shows will help your 2017 be an amazing year, devoid of any words like “surreal” or “depressing.”
I know that I didn’t even get close to covering all the live music that’s happening in the Twin Cities in 2017, so let us know what shows you’re most looking forward to!