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Soul Asylum and Meat Puppets @ Underground Arts with The World Takes.

June 26, 2015

19june_undergroundarts_soulasylum_01aText and images by Chip Frenette.

It was a throwback night at Underground Arts last weekend as classic ’90s bands Soul Asylum (above) and Meat Puppets jammed like it was 1993 all over again.

When the Meat Puppets took to the stage, the energy was quickly turned up by the crowd. Brothers Cris (bass and vocals) and Curt (guitar and lead vocals) Kirkwood got down to business right away without much talk but with their unique blend of what can only be described as psychedelic cowpunk. Heavy hanging bass rifts with churning guitars along with Shandon Sahm’s maniac drumming filled the next hour and a half along with Cris Kirkwood’s odd but entertaining facial expressions that serve as a wealth of stage antics on their own.

Soul Asylum then followed, starting their set off with “Somebody to Shove.” They played all of their ’90s guitar pop hits. The band peaked with their smash 3-times platinum album Grave Dancers Union in 1992. The album featured “Runaway Train,” which lead singer Dave Pirner and Soul Asylum to take home the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.

They also played tracks from their follow up album, Let Your Dim Light Shine, which also went platinum. They did not hesitate to capitalize on the tracks from that era, such as “Black Gold” and “Misery,” to keep the crowd’s attention between a smattering of tracks from their other albums that have been produced over the years, up to their most recent 2012 offering titled Delayed Reaction.

Despite the many changes, Dave Pirner, the only remaining original member, still keeps the band sounding the same as it did over twenty five years ago when they were at their peak. With Pirner is drummer Michael Bland, who has played with Prince and Paul Westerberg. Closing the rhythm section on bass is long time studio musician Winston Roye, who has worked with Ace of Bass and Shakira. Alongside of Pirner on guitar since 2012 is Justin Sharbono, filling in the spot once held by Soul Asylum co-founder Dan Murphy. Sharbono is also from Minnesota – along with Bland and Pirner – thus keeping Soul Asylum grounded in its Minneapolis roots.

The World Takes opened the night. Singer/guitarist Stephen Maglio offers unbridled enthusiasm while on stage, clearly having a lot of fun playing music in front of a crowd. Along with Jim Stager on bass guitar and DJ Bonebrake on drums, the short but energy-filled set served more than its purpose to open up the night as fans of the Meat Puppets and Soul Asylum filled up Undergrounds Arts.

After the set Maglio was seen mingling with the crowd and stepping outside frequently to enjoy conversation with the doormen and just about anyone who would talk to him, all the while graciously thanking everyone who was at the show.

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