Why do Twin Cities bands come to Rochester these days instead of the other way around?
Scott Schneider, general manager at Wicked Moose Bar and Grill, notes if a Twin Cities band has any Rochester connections, crowds will show. The Rochester in-migration is both natural and pre-planned.
Rochester band Second Story made a business plan to get at least one local, one regional and one Twin Cities band at each of its shows at Kathy’s Pub.
That effort evolved into a regular thing for Second Story, which makes forays to Minneapolis, scours The Current and YouTube and then picks the most energetic bands for Rochester gigs.
That has raised some Twin Cities eyebrows. So far, Second Story has brought Minneapolis bands Fury Things, Good Morning Bedlam and Busey and the Blinds to play Kathy’s.
Case Shannon, guitarist and lead singer for the Blinds, said one email was enough to pique his interest in Rochester. “There’s got to be an arts and music culture here that wants to hear original music,” he said, “and it’s just a question of, ‘Where is that need going to get fulfilled’?”
When the Blinds played at Kathy’s Pub, Second Story’s lead singer Sterling Haukom told the crowd, “They’re doing all these crazy-awesome things up in the Cities and I’m, like, ‘You want to come here?’ and they’re, like, ‘Sure!’.”
Because when one band helps others make inroads, word spreads.
“Second Story always has the best lineup,” said Rochester mom Michelle Arends. “You know — if they’re playing — it’s going to be a good show.”
Now, Twin Cities bands look to the state’s third-largest city for inspiration.
Just like Rochester bands, “we need a place we can get gas money,” said Isaak Elker, Good Morning Bedlam instrumentalist and lead singer. “Three or four years ago, there wasn’t this thriving music scene in Rochester. But, little by little, it’s grown.”
Mike Terrill, Second Story vocalist and bass guitarist, said, so far, their shows have broken even or made a small profit — a rousing success for a new effort. Terrill, like Shannon, said Rochester is now ready for a venue similar to First Avenue in Minneapolis, without TVs distracting listeners from the music.
“The stage is the center of attention and that’s something that isn’t in Rochester. There’s no entry-level venue dedicated to music,” he said.
“I will totally invest,” said Rochester’s DJ InztraMENTAL (also known as Mikey Dougherty). “I will invest my time, my money, any resources, any creativity I can bring to it.”
Sounds like there might be a Rochester business opportunity awaiting the right developer.