Here’s the thing about being around as long as Soul Asylum has.
Since the ’80s, when the (for want of a better term) alternative rock band first hit the scene, Soul Asylum has steadily built a body of work that keeps getting refined and deepened.
By now, with the “now” being their June 5 gig at First Avenue, Soul Asylum is operating less like a well-oiled machine than as a group of artists consistently re-cleansing their collective palette.
And, as any touring band will tell you, it’s not as easy as it looks. Still, there’s a sense of renewed vigor in the group, one that takes into account new musicians joining their ranks over the years, allowing them to return to older pieces that maybe weren’t fully realized at the time. Now they seem not only fresh, but relevant.
It’s a large palette.
The band’s iconic discography, which includes albums such as “Let Your Dim Light Shine,” “The Silver Lining,” and “Candy from a Stranger,” isn’t as fertile as maybe other long-standing groups, but it certainly feels as fertile as ever in the hands of current members Dave Pirner, Winston Roye, Justin Sharbono, and Michael Bland.
Minneapolis is a special place for Soul Asylum, with the band officially forming under its current name in the Twin Cities in 1983. And, while they’ve played many gigs there, almost everyone remembers when they held a cancer benefit for former bassist Karl Mueller in 2004. Mueller was himself a Minneapolis native, and died from throat cancer in 2005.
So, it’s always special to have the band return, and this time is no exception. That’s because, at this point in their tour, they’ll officially be joined by the popular (and now re-formed) Meat Puppets. So, if you’re fans of Curt Kirkwood, who also had his own solo career, this is your lucky night.
(Editor’s note: Both bands performed twice at Rochester’s St. John’s Block Party — Soul Asylum in 2006 and 2008, and the Meat Puppets in 2009 and 2013. They meet at last!)
Come on, don’t you think it’s time to go a little insane? If so, this is the asylum in land in.
If you go
What: Soul Asylum with Meat Puppets and American Scarecrows
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 5
Where: First Avenue, 701 First Ave. N, Minneapolis
Tickets: $25 at the door, $22 advance, order online, first-avenue.com/event/2015/06/soulasylum.