Friday night was like a return from a night of Minneapolis music in the 1990s that I didn’t always see the first time around. Bands included The Hang Ups, Muskellunge and Deep Pool at the Hook and Ladder. (You can get a glimpse of the show with video courtesy of, and thanks to, Paul Engebretson, who can always be found in the front row!)
I spent much of the 1990s overseas or pregnant so I didn’t see as much music as I do now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t remember or appreciate the local sound and I was truly taken back on Friday night. The show was sold out, the music was great, the crowd was friendly, the vibe was happy.
I was drawn to the show by Muskellunge and their newest video. The voice of Reba Fritz is sweet but commanding and engaging, which adds a sensitive side to the string-forward band with the great beat. There’s a drive to many of the songs and they played some old and some new. There’s an element of cool in their music like a low slung guitar.
Deep Pool and The Hang Ups feature many of the same members; both founded by Brain Tighe and Jeff Kearns. Deep Pool feels a little more pure rock. The Hang Ups have a little more harmony and a poppier sensibility – in the alternative music world. Both bands have been around since the 1990s to differing levels over the years. There’s a clear comfort for everyone on stage that makes the music feel like home.
All three bands have that vibe of the 1990s. We were younger. The idea of a worldwide pandemic or a president plucked from reality television wouldn’t seem plausible as a movie plot, much less real life. The music feels like a breath of spring in the middle of winter. There’s just something lighter and more optimistic about the chord and the choruses. I look forward to seeing how the return to the stage has an impact on the local scene and an impact on the bands.