Nur-D opened the season at the Grand Oak Opry last night (Aug 14) by getting the joint jumping. He brought out his Friendly Neighborhood Spider Band; there were 11 on stage. That’s a lot of real estate for a venue hosted in a backyard, even if that backyard is the Grand Oak Opry but every inch of space was well used. I saw Nur-D performing with DJ Hayes two nights earlier; I really enjoyed the show but the full sound made it really feel like a Saturday night!
Nur-D is always aiming to be your seventh favorite hip hop star but he’s number one with me. His music is super positive, super nerdy and super danceable. There are songs about video games and 90s TV stars, an epilogue to Charlie Daniel’s Fire on the Mountain, songs on pride and self-love and a song to send to your person who sucks.
There was an element of play throughout the night. Banter on stage and music with so many inside jokes that Nur-D takes time to explain to the audience, never assuming everyone knows the ins and outs of Dragon Ball Z. No one is left out and it elevates (and builds!) the folks in the know. It’s the magic of Nur-D and his amazing ability to build community.
The music is part hip hop, part rocking, the horns remind me of ska. By the end of the night, he had people up and dancing, which is hard because everyone starts sitting on the ground or in lawn chairs and there’s that Minnesota Nice that keeps us from wanting to obstruct anyone’s view but in the end the music won. Glorious will always be my favorite song at the show. It is infectious – the tune and the tone. His iteration of Fire on the Mountain is the song I am thinking about today. The story of the man who wins the golden fiddle and suffers the repercussions of jealousy and spite. It’s haunting and unfortunately timely – worse maybe timeless. And if I knew a way to do it, I would secretly send You Suck (Be Better) to at least one person. It’s a songs more about opportunity for redemption that mean people.
It was a great opening night! The Grand Oak Opry is a venue in a backyard not far from West Seventh Street in St Paul. It’s become a neighborhood project. Homeowners Sean and Tim invite bands to play and guests to come. All ticket sales (on site, night of only) proceeds go to the artists. Guests bring chairs or a blanket. (There are a few benches.) Some bring food and drink. All ages are welcome. Here are upcoming shows:
(Listen to Mostly MN interview with Nur-D.)