Hudson Wisconsin Nightlife

Calling all nostalgic-movie golfers to ‘see the ball, be the ball,’ go back to ’80s with Rodney and William and the boys

August 20th, 2016

This local throwback golf, ala Dangerfield and Murray, gives you a chance to relive the ’80s if you dare, via a 20th anniversary celebration that takes you back a decade or two before that benchmark. And speaking of course about Caddyshack, it was planned out with much more forethought than what Chevy Chase’s character would have done. Maybe like his Danny Boy, more practical.
The St. Croix National golf club invites you to “grab your balls” and “dress to impress” in full ’80s regalia that would make Rodney Dangerfield proud, at an anniversary event called Gopher’s Revenge slated for Monday, Aug. 22. Think argyle, knickers, caps and handsome golf vests. Also consider “See the ball, be the ball.” Especially since another actor in that realm, Bill Murray, has strong Hudson connections that also go way back, stopping downtown when in the metro doing business with another sports-related venture, the St. Paul Saints. Would you see The Judge his other favorite role, Ted Knight, “forecasting” the game results?
“I had discussed an annual superintendent-revenge tournament until realizing it would slow play down considerably,” said Kristine of St. Croix National, partially tongue-in-cheek. “I then thought of the Gophers vs. Badgers, and add a theme of Caddyshack with the 20-year anniversary.” All of this was designed to promote an alternative type of golf offering that while not fully trendy, is original enough to be interesting, making the choice to have this “revenge” as an annual event.
There will be prizes, ’80s themed contests, a raffle and of course beer. There is an 11 a.m. signup or call the pro shop at (715) 247-4200, and format is two-person scramble, (officials at the golf club considered making it a four-person and may implement that next year because you know, the ’80s never go away). Cost is $20 for golf, $20 for half-cart and $20 for lunch and prizes.

Season’s are officially Good Neighbors, and along with North Hudson Pepper Festival, fork out famously fiery food, fun and funky music

August 16th, 2016

When describing the community relationship between Season’s Tavern and the Pepper Festival, its passing-right-by parade, and broader North Hudson village, it goes by the numbers, not only the sometimes hotter than hot peppers.
Whether the impetus is Italian eats or even as far afield as Trinidad for a signature Season’s sauce, this is how the numbers stack up:
– One, the number of times owner Brad has been named the fest’s Good Neighbor, that being this year, meaning that he will have a presence both at his restaurant/bar for the course of the event and at the nextdoor grounds itself. Brad’s pervasive connection to the local community, which is directly tied to his restaurant, was cited as getting him the annual Good Neighbor honor for the event, to be held Aug. 19-21.
– Zero, the number of staffers who do not live in the immediate North Hudson area, in an industry where border hopping with Minnesota is frequent among workers and where a lot of college kids actually reside in River Falls and work at other venues in the Hudson area.
– Five, the number of minutes and/or miles, depending on traffic, that Brad himself lives away from the tavern where he is a continual presence and for all practical purposes, away from the fest’s site itself.
– Thirty, the approximate number of walking steps Season’s lies from crossing the intersection with Sixth Street North, that leads directly to the fest’s grounds.
– Eleven, the number of days in advance where Season’s put out the call for entries to its Aug. 20 wicked wings eating challenge, posting the invitation on their sign and giving a can-you-handle-it hot stuff contest alternative. It starts at 2:30 p.m.
– Two or three, the number of peppers in the world that Season’s staffers say are hotter than those used in the their contest, sporting a signature homemade sauce based on Trinidad scorpion peppers.
– Five, the number of minutes a potential Season’s eating contest winner has to sit and “digest,” both mentally and physically, the eating ordeal that he or she has just undergone.
– Dozens, the number of people enjoying both the Season’s wings challenge and still, its synergy with the hot pepper and spaghetti eating contests a block or so away.
– More than six, the number of summers that Season’s has been a direct adjunct to Pepper Fest, with Brad at the helm and leading the way at the storied North Hudson business site.
– Also six, the number of years that what is essentially the Season’s house band, Thisty Camel, has performed over Pepper Fest weekend, with Brad on drums (meaning that especially this year, he will have to be everywhere, and still find time to get behind the drum kit). That means that camel will indeed be thirsty, if not bone dry, since the performance immediately follows the eating contest. Brad adds that the timing of scheduling music and contests at Pepperfest, or alternatively at Season’s, is intentionally staggered to let people enjoy as much of both categories as possible, as part of the great arrangement that the two entities have with one another.
– Three, the number of other bands at Pepper Fest directly, that show typical fare (Maiden Dixie on Friday night and The Dweebs on Sunday night), and with the only one steering away from the tried and true being Paisan on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Seasons offers both a musical and eating contest alternative, and while this is an Italian fest, don’t forget the many varieties of the famed Season’s walleye, along with perhaps a beer at one site or another, to wash down all that smokin’ hot food.
It’s all part of being a team. “Without this (joint effort), we would just be a bunch of individuals,” Brad said, adding that by working together they can blaze new trails as far as food and fun.

Pokemon craze hits streets a-running, just don’t stumble with eyes turned downward

August 9th, 2016

Go, go, go Gadget. Play Pokemon Go. Just be careful where.
There was a late-night glowing electrical sign sponsored by state transportation officials and erected on Interstate 94, that implored drivers to be cautious of things that go beyond even texting. It read: “You can watch Pokemon later.” And even the maker of the game has issued a similar caution, which carries over to those who need to gaze ahead of them, rather then just down, while strolling down the street with a device: “Be careful out there.”
That first night, when there were Pokemon players out and about just before bar time, some patrons took note of it but weren’t too fond of the concept. Then bartender Matt said he’d just seen a vehicle stopped in the middle of Second Street, with the driver looking down at her game piece, not the road.
The walk-the-street craze may just be a passing-by fancy. However, it has helped produce various references on signs for local venues, such as one saying a main character visits here and drinks Fireball, and even found a patron quoting one of them in conversation as she sipped her drink.
There was a duo at one of those venues who attracted attention as possible game-players, but who it turned out actually were watching and commenting on who was winning the polka dot jersey given to those with cycle racing success. They responded to the questions that were immediately raised by saying, “I don’t play Pokemon.” A woman who was one barstool away while they all were at Emma’s in River Falls noted that they had hand-held units only inches from their faces, and she then mimicked them. She and the person one more barstool over said that they were from more of the Mario Bros. generation.
Another sign, outside of Kozy Korner in North Hudson, joked that there was a Pokemon destination to be found inside their dishwasher, and that by the way, you might want to (get a job there) and take a turn with the dishes, since there would be great fringe benefits of the Pokemon style, such as collecting. One also wonders if this new craze is why so many more colored chalk renderings are being seen on area sidewalks. One was actually inside Dick’s Bar and Grill, but even though school is out, there were messages on the floor by the dart boards that had a series of edgy messages representing, in part, the Battle of the Sexes, not of the borders.
All of this also makes me recall my days with the Hudson Star-Observer, when there were reports of some teens out well past curfew who were playing a light-saber-wielding game in a local park that dead-set in the middle of town. After a few of my late-night typing binges were completed, I tried to find them for a photo, but had no success.
– With the local elections here, there have been signs all over touting a candidate named “Burger” for district attorney. I personally would like to invoke a different Burger that just got the elected, that being the annual best hamburger contest winner from a series of Hudson bar and grills, this time around Stone Tap, who tapped into a partially depleted lineup — some regular contest participants elected not to vie for the crown. The first-referenced Burger started out years back by working at Dick’s Bar and Grill, one would presume sometimes aiding them with their Tuesday night burger special, which is on tap again right before the polls close.

Many new bands play the Washington County Fair, from The Fairlanes on down the line

August 2nd, 2016

About half of the bands playing at the Washington County Fair this year are new, continuing a trend for area festivals, as the 145th annual event begins its five-day run on Wednesday, Aug. 3, in Lake Elmo.
These are the bands at the fair, which has enough music going to delineate having a main stage. This is what you’ll find there:
– One of those new to the fair is a 7:30 p.m. Wednesday performance by Shermin Linton, a true veteran of the biz who has played country music since the days when it was first getting going. Linton’s music has spanned several states and various demographic groups. Known as a mid-America champion when it comes to country, he transcends audience members from the traditional to the hipster.
– At 8:30 p.m. Thursday is a dance and entertainment show, complete with games, that is geared largely to teens.
– Friday afternoon brings a 3 p.m. Elvis tribute show, bringing Graceland to the St. Croix Valley.
– Then at 8 p.m. Friday is Coyote Wild, a band of five men and two women. They played a recent local show as a recurring gig, and had some different takes on the country format. The dreadlocked lead guitarist really rocked through Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith, doing the vocals as well, as part of their format where these duties are exchanged. To wrap up the night, there was the combination of introductory plinky guitar and power chords to a Journey song.
– Saturday kicks off with some jigs, provided by the O’Shea Irish Dancers at 3 and 5 p.m.
– At 3:30 p.m. Saturday is another “big band,” the nine-member Dirty Shorts Brass Band. They are a New Orleans style brass group, and according to their online bio, play everything from jazz to Dixie to funk to blues to rock n’ roll to gospel to swing. That’s a mouthful and the band even has sousaphone and mellophone players, to boot.
– The Rockin’ Hollywoods, who have rolled on for decades, bring their classic Old School pop and light rock sounds to the stage at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The guys still look cool in their deep purple vests and not-really-graying hair.
– Cottage Grove’s own Darlene & the Boys, also new to the fair, will put on their country and variety music show at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. They look the part of traditional country, with their manner of dress, with the exception of the occasional stocking cap, and the lovely Darlene is shown all over the web page with her Old School attire.
– The last act new to the fair are The Fairlanes, on Friday at 2 and 4 p.m. at the Park Pavillion, who specialize in doo-wop music from the ’50s to the present. The repertoire includes gospel, pop and jazz standards, plus original songs written by quartet members.
– Closing out the set, (or should I say the fair music lineup), is the South Washington Community Band at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Park Pavillion.

Be a part of The Memories, and the Wild dancing, as bands come to county fair

July 19th, 2016

(All the Seasons are Fair game for HudsonWiNightlife, and read about some of the other local action in this web site’s Notes From the Beat Department).

Twenty-nine years of memories again come to Glenwood City this weekend, and it promises to be a wild and fun party. The St. Croix County Fair will again be held July 20-24.
As far as music headliners, country rock band Coyote Wild plays at 7 p.m. Friday in the Croix Court, The Memories, a musical variety show, at 8:15 p.m. Saturday and their offshoot, Ole and Elmer, musical comedy, at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Some of the men who make up the party known as Coyote Wild are known to sport three different kinds of hats and another has dreadlocks, a bit different for a country rock band, and their music also has variety. A pair of women round out the seven-member group’s lineup. Coyote Wild played a recent local show as a recurring gig, and had some different takes on the country format. They definitely are not heavy metal, but the bass player was wearing an Exodus T-shirt. And that dreadlocked lead guitarist rocked through Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith, doing the vocals as well, as part of their format where these duties are exchanged. To wrap up the night, there was a combination of introductory plinky guitar and power chords to a Journey song. Those same type of guitar stylings were present on my drive home, to Gimme Shelter by the Stones.

Country music has had a massive influence in the history of rock music, and rock music has changed the direction of country. You can enjoy both with Coyote Wild, whether you are a devotee of classic rock or a true country fan at heart. This band brings you the best of both worlds, performing an eclectic mix of both classic and current rock and country. With their blend of talent and creativity, this band has a professional sound without losing the energy that audiences would expect from a performing rock band, they say. Built around strong vocals and great harmonies, their set list is a diverse mix, meaning there is something for everyone.

Their show is high energy and fast-paced, great fun and sure to inspire dancing and singing along. With the raw and gritty edge you would expect from a seasoned band, and a female front line that rocks the room with their intoxicating harmonies and electrifying performance, this is the “go-to” country rock band in the Midwest, they say.
As far as The Memories, they were inducted to the Wisconsin Association of Fairs’ Hall of Fame in 1995.
As many groups do, The Memories got their start singing and playing music while in high school choir and band in Boyceville. In summer 1972, they were asked to perform for a friend’s wedding dance and 44 years later Warren Petryk and Tim Stevens are still making music together. They now have performed at the county fair for 29 straight years.
In what started out as a very part-time adventure, Warren and Tim, along with classmate and fellow founding member, John Lynch, performed anywhere and everywhere they could: village halls, golf courses, high schools, community festivals, wedding dances, night clubs, bowling alleys, street dances, ballrooms, barn dances, supper clubs and ski resorts included.
There have been many highlights through the years. Among them are:
– In March 1975, the group won first place at a regional talent contest held at the Black Steer Supper Club in Eau Claire, the first of many such contests captured.
– In 1979, they performed the entire six-day run of the Northern Wisconsin State Fair, serving as its Goodwill Ambassadors.
– Appeared as the opening acts for several nationally known artists, such as Merle Haggard, Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Nelson, Ray Price and a special show with Barbara Mandrell at the 1979 Barron Farm and Feather Fest.
– In 1983, they took first in the country band contest of the Rhinelander Hodag Country Music Fest, and the same year were winners in the Wisconsin Country Music Band Contest sponsored by Wrangler Jeans and Dodge Trucks.
– Produced over 30 different recordings, which include 45s, albums, eight-track tapes, cassette tapes and compact discs.
– Performed annual Christmas concerts at the Mabel Tainter Theater in Menomonie for 30 years, and counting.
And, the seed that planted the whole entertainment bug: Being runnerup in the Boyceville Cucumber Festival talent contest in 1971 for a cash prize of $10.
At their peak, “The Boys from Boyceville” were full-time entertainers and traveled from coast to coast for 200 days a year. In 1995, they scaled back to a part-time schedule, and in September 2000, Tim and Warren began a new phase when they started performing as a duo — as they will on Sunday. Today, they continue the tradition of their trademark, “Music, Laughter and Wonderful Times,” by appearing at a select number of events each year, obviously including the county fair.

“I think there a few things that make us ‘different.’ We try our best to make sure our shows feature great
songs, performed well from a musical standpoint. But also, that our shows are entertaining, interesting and fun
for our audiences,” Tim said, adding that the band members were fortunate that they were best friends before
they started performing together. “We have been told many times through the years that our friendship really
comes across to our audiences when we are on stage.”
Growing up together in western Wisconsin, they not only know each other extremely well, but also their
audiences and the people and history of the area. “We bring that to the stage with us,” Tim said.
“As far as what is different with our show as a duo, it may sound basic, but I think we have continued to
develop a tighter performance ….and that comes from being on stage with the same guy for thousands of
performances for nearly 44 years,” Tim said, adding that for the last 16 of those years, there was actually the
involvement of “two friends – Warren and myself.”

Other fair highlights that have an entertainment aspect are: Thursday — a horse pull and the Fairest of the Fair Coronation, both at 7 p.m.; Friday — tractor pull at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday — Divas Through the Decades, a female trio, at 1, 3 and 6 p.m.; Looney Lutherans act, at noon and 2 and 5 p.m.; Jared Sherlock, magician and illusionist, 4 p.m.; four-by-four truck pull, 6:30 p.m.; and comedy hypnosis, 10 p.m.; Sunday — mud volleyball, 11 a.m.; talent show, 1 p.m.; and ATV and four-by-four mud races, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

For more information, visit www.stcroixcofair.com.

The Fourth found a flurry of funky fun, from fireworks to featuring other festive fanfare

July 14th, 2016

Get a leg up on The Captain, who you can bet watched more scenery than the fireworks as The Fourth unfolded:

– It would only happen at Booster Days that occurred that weekend. A bunch of young adults at a packed Dick’s Bar and Grill were messing harmlessly with the three-foot-high statue of Captain Morgan, propped up next to the ATM machine, so it was moved across the room to an area by the dartboards. Guess they had some captain in them. Once the holiday was over, the rum-renowned statue was shuffled back to its original place. And while we’re ruminating on rum reporting, the local people who run Demon Rum, who are captains of their own ship, had just hours earlier been present giving away samples of their own new brand, which is getting more and more popular.
– Some of that same Dick’s crowd debated whether to enter based on the $1 cover charge. Dudes, it’s just a buck. It could only get you a few more ounces of beer. Others kitty-corner on Second Street wondered aloud just where you could get food after midnight. In the spirit of It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, maybe they’d consider a late liquid lunch. And over in the Pier 500 parking lot, an older man with a grey mane and patriotic colors was dancing a jig to yet another rendition of Prince’s Purple Rain, this time done by Chris Lawrence over nextdoor in the Booster Days bandshell.
– Judging from female attire over the Fourth of July, it appears to be a (partial) re-trend that the bare midriff look is (partially) back, even if the actual skin shown is (partially) limited in height to the area around the belly-button.
– Walking to watch the fireworks on the Fourth, on County E next to the old Guv’s Place, a dad educated his kids on the three-additional-street-route that it takes to get to the Stillwater lift bridge below. Above them, there were not one but two sky-kiters competing for attention normally given the fireworks. On signs at a nearby intersection, if you get a little lost in Houlton, is literally the meeting of the streets Church and State.
– This seen even prior to the Fourth, a bar patron all duded up in stars and stripes clothing — and also a whole bunch of tattoos, some with skulls. Odd bedfellows? Trying to be patriotic, what would Trump say? As far as the level of being interesting as a jerk, it would probably Trump anything coming from Hillary.
– Over the Fourth, drink coasters sprouted up around town that said “I am thankful for my libeerty.” And no, that’s not a typo, and underscoring that is the beer that’s sponsoring the coaster campaign, it being Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Can’t get much more patriotic than that, with the historic namesake.
– Right around the holiday, when fireworks went off over the St. Croix River and slews of boaters watched from a perch on the water, a tow truck late at night hauled a vehicle away from the boat launch near the freeway. It was a stalled car, not a swamped boat! Just thought that was ironic.

River Falls Days: Wide-ranging bands come to play from New Richmond, southeast MN and metro and provide a whole ‘Chunk’ of quality music, so also Car Cruze on in

July 6th, 2016

River Falls Days is all about the music, among other attractions, and it is kicked off by the technically solid sounds of Uncle Chunk, which cross all popular genres, then goes more country, first with a band hailing from just up the highway, Rural Route 5, then finally, a group with another hit-the-road-type name that got its start in the winding byways of southeast Minnesota, Lost Highway.
Now, with summer in full gear and these three bands congregating in River Falls, it might be time to rock the Kinni. The theme for this year’s River Falls Days — which runs the weekend of July 7-10 — is Adventures on the Kinni, referring to the noted local trout stream. An addition draw for the festival, this year, is Sunday’s smokin’ Car Cruze-In, where everything from classic cars to your hot rod or cycle can take center stage.
The fest is in its 42nd year and is seen as something that people from a wide area make it a point to see and hear, and is viewed by many as a Homecoming of sorts, especially by former students of UW-River Falls.
Each year, the community celebration is held in spacious Heritage Park, darn near the banks of the scenic Kinnickinnic River.
The live music in the park includes the pop, rock and country sounds of Uncle Chunk on Friday, July 8 from 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. (with no cover charge), and then it steers more to country in particular with Rural Route 5 on Saturday from 7-9:30 p.m., and then Lost Highway from 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m. There is also other live music to be found around town, at various bar and grill venues, during River Falls Days, so you can make a night of it.
These are bios of the headlining musical acts:
– Uncle Chunk is a popular and regular headliner of many local and area fests, and a fan favorite. The band lists covers of more then 80 different bands on their 115-song play list, which is heavy on Green Day and also includes a trio of songs each by Nickelback, Creed and Good Charlotte — both their tried and true favorites and some from deep in the vault — and even seven originals. Other groups that appear on the set list multiple times are Maroon 5, 3 Doors Down, Zac Brown Band, INXS, Seether, Weezer, Matchbox 20, All American Rejects, Finger 11, Kid Rock, Jet, Bowling for Soup and Blink 182. For more than 20 years now, they also cover the best from all genres such as rock, pop and country, they say, and back it up by virtue of the gigs they get.
– A self-described rockin’ county band out of neighboring New Richmond, Rural Route 5 plays everything from Merle to Miranda, from Cash to Aldean. There are more than two dozen artists on the premium selections part of their play list, and they include their own country twists on old favorites such as Fishin’ In The Dark and Sweet Home Alabama.
Rural Route 5 debuted to a packed crowd in May of 2013 at The SPACE in New Richmond. Since that gig, the band has been, again, rockin’ out to packed crowds all over from saloons to shed parties, and from private parties to summer festivals like River Falls Days, where it has played before. You will hear everything from country classics to modern country hits, and even a few songs that weren’t country before, but they are now, they say. The up-tempo set lists will get crowds off their feet and on the dance floor, they add as hey, they bring the party despite being a whole range of ages.
– Since their inception in 2009, Lost Highway has proven to be one of the Upper Midwest’s top country bands. From opening shows for national acts such as Hank Williams Jr., Clay Walker and Josh Thompson, to playing many outdoor festivals such as this weekend in River Falls, or entertaining capacity crowds in the hottest venues in the area, Lost Highway’s commitment to country music and electrifying the audience is evident, they say.
Lead vocalist Jesse Steberg has learned not to take things for granted, as is reflected in their songs, as seven years ago he broke his neck while snowmobiling. The accident left him stunned and silenced, and it took him two years to get his singing-voice back. But get it back, he did.
As if on cue, at one point Steberg crossed paths with high school classmate Matt Schwake, who was refining his guitar playing, and they literally started a garage band. Within a week, a freshly formed group of comrades began to play and soon uploaded videos of their acoustic performances recorded in — you guessed it — a garage for YouTube.
The band was officially formed seven years ago and named after Hank Williams’ 1948 croon “Lost Highway,” written by Leon Payne. Performing eight or more times a month, Steberg says the six-piece band is busier now than ever. From sharing the stage with a group of national acts, to playing outdoor festivals We Fest and Country Fest, the group has continued to grow its group of fans from the Midwest. We suggest becoming one of them this weekend in River Falls.
– Also gaining attention in conjunction with River Falls Day is the Car Cruze-In 2016 on July 10 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. All cars and cycles are welcome, and if you’ve seen peoples’ rides on the local highways and byways, you know there are a lot of creative design twists to by taken on anywhere from two to four wheels. It’s recommended that you take the afternoon and enjoy a summer ride as you “cruze the loop” in downtown River Falls. The Cruze-In is hoped to draw some of the many fans who go from such car show to such car show and exhibit or spectate all through the summer — and some might even be from Lost Highway country — as well as some new lovers of classic cars. They can then also go from event to event and take in the duration of the fest.
River Falls Days is a free, family-friendly event that has a carnival-like atmosphere (a few roadies included) with tons of food and entertainment. Festivities include a 6:30 p.m. Friday parade from Main to Second streets with floats having the river-based theme in mind, Saturday morning 10-K and two-mile races and Kid’s Fun Run, live music acts and outdoor dancing, food vendors and Miller Beer Garden, Sunday fireworks at dusk at Hoffman Park, carnival rides and more. The tradition is seen as a great event to celebrate the city of River Falls.
For more information on the various activities, visit this website: http://www.rfchamber.com.

Blues, rock, indie, funk, hip-hop, jazz, alternative, its all Booster Days country

June 29th, 2016

(For more Booster Days-related activities, in addition to music, see this web site’s Picks of the Week department).

Although its heavy on blues and classic rock, the soul of Hudson Booster Days music may be its diverse line-up, which also swings toward indie-rock, funk, hip-hop, jazz, alternative, and of course country.
The music acts at the annual celebration have been largely changed up from many previous years, giving listeners a wider range of entertainment to revel in. There is no cover charge for any of the live music during the festival at Lakefront Park, which runs June 30-July 3 and has lots of music acts — count ‘em, a total of eight — in the band shell. There also are other featured activities, some old and some new, such as the bean bag tournament, magic show at two different times, and kid’s pedal tractor pull.
The bands that will play, on order of appearance throughout three days of music, are the Alex Rossi Trio, Chris Lawrence, Kingsview, Cadillac Kolstad & The Flats, Paisan, The Sixes, Ross William Perry and of course, Uncle Chunk. Two of those bands are on Friday, and three each on Saturday and Sunday.
These are the bios of the bands:
– The Alex Rossi Trio is made up of blues, soul and funk music, with a twist.
Rossi has been performing professionally for over 15 years. With strong roots in the styles mentioned, Rossi has created what’s called a unique and recognizable sound from his diverse musical background, filling the dance floor. The band has been a mainstay of the Minneapolis music scene for a over a decade, for years holding down a popular gig at Gluek’s. Rossi’s talents were recognized when he was picked a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. He has shared the stage with notable artists including Chicago, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Lang, Eric Hutchinson, Jimmie Vaughan, Blues Traveler, Morris Day & The Time, The Funk Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, Los Lonely Boys and others. Rossi has recorded five albums.
– Chris Lawrence is one of a number of singers with Hudson connections to go deep into the American Idol contest — twice, with his sultry R&B, soul, funk and a hint of hip-hop.
Lawrence, age 25, has been signed by Pitbull’s label imprint Mr. 305 Ent., and he’s already generated a buzz with his tender heartbreak single “Withdrawal,” as the song was on the nationally syndicated radio show “The Weekend Top 30,” which airs on KDWB. MTVhits, MTVu and VH1 have also aired the video, which includes a nod to Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones.” The single was produced by Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature, and Lawrence recently finished off his full-length album with the help of Gee.
– Kingsview boasts alternative and indie-rock with catchy lead melodies and infectious harmonies, they say. The group is active in the local music scene and brings a new style to live songs, mixing original music with unique covers and a blend of today’s popular music. The set list played is often referred to as “a breath of fresh air” by staff and patrons during shows. The group prides themselves on energetic concerts tailored to the venue and the audience — like the band shell. The band has been writing and practicing material for their second record, due out mid-year.
– Cadillac Kolstad & The Flats features throwback rock and blues with a bit of boogie-woogie, especially on the piano. Kolstad says the name was “awarded” to him because he owns three 1964 Cadillacs, and he considers himself a history fan, which fits with his traditional roots style and the older and historic venues he often plays. Kolstad has released three albums — one with the band to be seen this weekend, one a solo album and one with Cornbread Harris. He performs his versions of roots and jazz standards, along with his own songs, and includes some subtle political commentary or views on current events — at times playing both impromptu and planned concerts in pubs around Ireland and in hotels in China.
– Paisan plays high-energy, hard-charging rock and roll, and although you may have heard that before, they’ve been doing it since 2006, starting as an impromptu get-together for a local festival much like Booster Days to fill an open spot on the main stage. Since then, they’ve performed classic rock, country new and old, and of course oldies. They are best known for showcasing well-known artists’ less-known songs. However, the young group still plays the greats that everyone can recognize.
– The Sixes and Ross William Perry start off the next day, with first-off acoustic blues, followed by gritty blues and guitar. The Sixes play that acoustic music with an edge, bringing a very intimate atmosphere that is also engaging to songs about life, love, and everything in between. No particular genre defines them, as there are soft melodies and “moments of intense in-your-face bluesy rock.” The duo from both ends of Wisconsin is led by Dwayne Thomas and yes, they play the cajon, too.
Ross William Perry has been doing his homework since age four and it shows. Focused on a lifetime of playing his music, Ross has been a rising star on the Midwest blues scene since graduating high school in 1998. Blending blues, rock and jazz influences, Ross has created a sound that is distinctively his own.
– Uncle Chunk is a popular headliner of local fests and a fan favorite. They perform covers of more then 80 different bands on their 115-song play list, which is heavy on Green Day, among others, and also includes seven originals. For more than 20 years now, they also cover the best from all genres, they say, and back it up by virtue of the gigs they get.
Sponsors of the acts are, Demon Rum (two bands on Saturday) and Mallory’s Restaurant and Rooftop Bar (two Sunday bands). The Village Inn in North Hudson is sponsor of the bean bag tourney, The Giggle Factory Inc. is sponsor of the magician, and Frontier Ag and Turf is lead sponsor of the kid’s pedal tractor pull.
Two other featured events will find you in luck if you are in any of the first three places.
The new bean bag tourney, with players trying to slide their tosses to just the right spot, has registration from 11:15-11:45 a.m., ($20 per person, double elimination). There are cash prizes awarded to first, second and third place winners, with the other half of the money raised going to youth sports. Competitors are given two drink tickets each with entry.
The kid’s pedal tractor pull is an officially sanctioned event, which is demonstrated by the long-stretching girth of the competitors, taking place just south of the band shell. There are five divisions, boys and girls mixed: four years and under, five and six, seven and eight, nine and ten, and 11 and 12 years of age.
Registration is at 1:30 p.m. and pulling starts at approximately 2 p.m. There are trophies for first, second and third places, and a free treat for all participants. Places 1-3 in each division are eligible to move on to the State Pull. The event is run by Roger and Laurie Neumann of New Richmond.
These are the bands and other selected entertainment activities among the dozens available for people to enjoy at Booster Days:
Friday, July 1 — 5-8:15 p.m., Alex Rossi Trio; 9-12:30 p.m., Chris Lawrence Band.
Saturday, July 2 — 1:30-4:30 p.m., Kingsview; 1:30-3:30 p.m., kids’ tractor pedal pull; 5:15-8:15 p.m., Cadillac Kolstad & The Flats; 9-12:30 p.m., Paisan.
Sunday, July 3 — noon, bean bag toss tourney; 1:30–4:30 p.m., The Sixes; 3-7 p.m., Booster Days car show; 4:30-5 p.m., Acme Magic Factory magician, (new this year); 5:15-8:15 p.m., Ross William Perry; 8:15-8:45 p.m., Acme Magic Factory magician; 9-12:30 p.m., Uncle Chunk; at dusk, fireworks over the St. Croix River, sponsored by the city of Hudson.

Sports bar TV headlines take a header when it comes to unintended humor

June 23rd, 2016

For Dad’s Day, he was given a whole bunch of things to be a curmudgeon about, including some absurdities about bad sports headlines as done by those great big networks. (You know dad is always right).
– In honor of the just celebrated Father’s Day, comes this ironic tidbit from the world of sports bar TV: Shown were the faces (mug shots?) of three young male athletes with also famous fathers who were sport stars, with survey results of who was the most prominent given by percentage, although that was buried deep on the wording on the screen. More prominent was the headline that blared “Who’s Your Daddy?” Ouch … is this Maury?

– Heading a short list of other sports bar TV snafus, is a reference to the Madison stadium that hosts Badger games. It was called the Cohl Center. Might want to change that C to a K. The prominent Wisconsin family that funded it might be annoyed.
– More humorous than annoying was the announcement on the Big Ten Network that Rutgers had named its new sports video coordinator. Must have been a slow news day. Except for the fact that the item was headed with the tag line “Big News.”
– This could be bigger news. A whole raft of NHL awards were announced the other day, and one even was for sportsmanship. Pro hockey and being a good sport? They must have looked the other way (like the refs) during that one-time punching flurry.
– Also, a Minnesota rock radio station had a commercial for Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse that said it was located in “North Hudson.” Might want to move that geographical reference even a bit farther north, closer to Houlton-Stillwater.
– The rock station also had a promo for its July 1 very popular Booze Cruise on the St. Croix River, saying that might even be topless women. Some guys I know say they recall the also popular good old days when boaters were allowed into Dick’s Bar and Grill not topless per se, but wearing only bikini tops.
– With the Fourth of July that’s coming being all about hot fun, it was interesting to see the goings-on a week or so ago when the weather finally got sultry and summer-like. It was super busy at some venues, and dead at others, about half and half. There were, get this, a whole bunch of guys in tuxes for a bachelor party, one of many such limo-lounging groups that night. Really … Not dressed in anything more radical?
Also, at the Village Inn in North Hudson: “Fresh fruit drink specials.” Now that’s more like it for the summer trove of party buses. One of those buses was noteworthy for doing a U-turn … In of all places, not the north sector, but the parking lot by the boat landing at the far south end of Lakefront Park. Also, electric car was seen doing a U-turn on Locust Street, with cars parked on both sides. It only could pull that off because it is so tiny.
– For the Fourth especially, a street-corner near Dick’s, in a private business along First Street, again has its huge, trademark Old Glory flying. It is positioned pointing down and that means the stripes of this Stars and Stripes take in a full Baker’s Dozen of 13 feet from top to bottom.
– Is The House in the house? Minnesota yet again considered, then failed to enact, a law to allow liquor store sales on Sundays, after the House of Representatives took up the debate. Maybe they should all go out for a beer and kick the idea around somemore in what might end up being a more productive legislative session.
– The Dweebs also are in the house, that venue being the WESTconsin Credit Union, where the iconic band stumped for their account monitoring program to prevent fraud. The ad ran on a regional TV channel. As far as other prominent local engagements, they had played the Smilin’ Moose earlier in May and in what could be seen as a coup for a smaller venue, also had done a gig at Not Justa Bar in Bayport, one of two such places in the Minnesota village that are expanding their operations outward to a second area location.

They knew causes about Prince pronto: medical examiner’s findings predicted

June 10th, 2016

(For other local brushes with fame, the death of squared circle stalwarts Ali and Dusty Rhodes — and a Hudson man at a Cemetery Walk where actors went back well over 100 years — are revived for posterity in this web site’s Notes From The Beat department).

How did Prince die? An overview of that cause was well-known by certain musicians with local ties only days after his death — well before the local Medical Examiner recently made his reports.
Between sets at a concert within a week after Prince was found dead at his Paisley Park home, a musician source who plays locally and who requested to remain anonymous, said that Prince had been taking large amounts of painkillers to deal with the toll that years of spinning stage moves had taken on his 57-year-old body. The one that was mentioned as being the crux was Percocet — far more benign then the accidental overdose by self-injection of Fentanyl that was later listed as the cause of death.
The same source said he’d been in touch with a third musician, who knew Prince, by phone about two weeks before the death, and who said that he and the superstar musician had recently experienced a falling out. The reason for the disagreement was not broached.
It also was said at that time that Prince had been checking out several metro area chain-store pharmacies shortly before his death. His reason for doing so was not certain.
It should not be surprising that Prince was found in an elevator after he died, as sources said that his home was sprawling and consisted of more than one studio used for recording, making it a chore to get around, especially for someone who is ailing. One source who is a contractor said similarly, that almost 20 different shower heads were specially installed in its bathrooms to meet specifications of the sometimes quirky musician. The contractor said that Prince, true to his reputation, didn’t speak as much as he sings, and upon meeting someone would only be addressed by name if he was the one introducing the greeting. You didn’t call him by name (Symbol?) or talk directly to him.
All this is not to throw Prince under the bus after his untimely and unfortunate death. Indeed, this view is based on my own medical history, specifically Tourette Syndrome and its accompanying symptomology. I understand both the need to take medication for chronic pain — to the point where you occasionally say to yourself that you need to DO SOMETHING within a few seconds to get relief or you will have no choice but to kill yourself, as many with my medical circumstances eventually do — and the way it feels to be a bit different, misunderstood and thusly analyzed by people where if they knew the back story would not be nearly so suspicious.

However, Prince’s demise underscores the wisdom of holding off as long as feasible before resorting to taking pain medication, gutting it out for a while first.

I suspect that the reason Prince overdosed was that he’d been in too much pain, with too little medication, for too long and when he finally found a way to remedy it, erred on the side of relief and took too much. So it may be our society and government’s partial paranoia concerning drug usage — and inability to distinguish between use and abuse — that eventually killed Prince, or at least contributed to his death.
– First there were the round of tribute shows and memorials to Prince, and then came the special magazine editions. One of them, from an Indie publication in Minneapolis, talked and memorialized about one of Prince’s first bands, interestingly enough called 94 East. How far east on the freeway one might add? Hudson, perhaps? It was during that era, as was mentioned earlier on this site, that a friend Jean saw Prince play at a rally at her high school. “He looked like any other teenager,” she said. However, the aformentioned publication, Insight News, said that especially at that point early in his career, he stood out because of his flamboyant style of dress and hair.
– This is a new take on “Raspberry” Beret. Indeed, it involves a horse of a different color. A longtime local bartender — you’ll know her from various venues — is in the latter stages of beating breast cancer through undergoing chemo. She looks just great in her new beret. You go girl!