Dave Roepke, Published January 08 2009
Rock ’n’ roll reprieve
When winter puts its stranglehold on the Upper Midwest, we pretty much have to entertain ourselves. Good luck with convincing somebody else to come up here and do it.
That’s the essence of the Winter Carnival, the on-again, off-again local festival that’s been held five of the past seven years and is on again Saturday at the Fargo Theatre. It’s a day of music meant to brighten up the dreary stretch of weeks after the holidays by showcasing local artists.
“It gets so, I don’t want to say dull, but we hit the winter doldrums,” says Randal Black, a DJ at KNDS 105.9 FM who is emceeing the event. “We need something fun.”
The festival is a combo platter of fun bound to please many tastes, with 17 musicians and bands that in addition to locals will include three headliners from the Twin Cities. On top of a mix of music broad enough to find space for hip-hop, death metal, countrified punk and even battling DJs, there will also be student films, a drag queen and a burlesque show and local art for sale in the theater’s balcony.
“That’s completely the idea, to be eclectic and showcase people who are on different ends of the spectrum,” says Chris Hennen, the promoter from The Aquarium who is organizing the event.
Want to make some sense of the more than 10 hours of action at the Winter Carnival? Take a look at our chart to see how the performers break down by style and for some expected highlights.
The big draw here is the first Fargo show by Minneapolis punk stalwart Dillinger Four, which, despite being around for 15 years and four albums, has never played Fargo. This is an even bigger surprise given Dillinger Four has ties to The Soviettes, the defunct punk band that included Fargo natives Annie Holoien and Susy Sharp. The Awesome Snakes, a duo of Holoien and former Soviettes drummer Danny Henry, is also on tap.
As for the local rock and punk, best get there early. Ear-puncturing noise rock from Gumbi kicks things off while The Cass County Uglies and Empire Builder – both playing before the beer starts flowing at 6 p.m. – are also worth your promptness.
If you’re not completely wiped out and you love both B-movies and freaky orchestral pop, stick around for the midnight showing of the Flaming Lips holiday movie “Christmas on Mars.” Not recommended for the squeamish.
For live electronica geared toward dancing, check out Sovereign Sect early in the day. Fake is a one-man show that incorporates political messages in accompanying video. The turntable battle between Scratch Dungeon DJs Buck Nastee and Stupid Birthday is a must-see.
Rhymesayers duo Eyedea and Abilities is tight and will surely pull in a crowd, but don’t forget about the locals a little lower on the bill, Me and You Crew. That duo seems to be constantly improving.
If you haven’t seen them yet, definitely check out Battlefields. The Fargo band weaves together style-jumping metal soundscapes as bleak, unforgiving and encompassing as a North Dakota winter.
Amanda Standalone’s burlesque show is a warm-up of sorts for a regional burlesque competition she is entering next month in Minneapolis, Hennen says. Check it out before she takes it on the road.
If you go
- What: Winter Carnival
- When: 3 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Fargo Theatre
- Info: $10; all ages. Alcohol served after 6 p.m.
- For more information: Call (701) 235-4152 or visit www.fargotheatre.org
Schedule of bands
- 3:05: Gumbi
- 3:35: Sovereign Sect
- 4:05: Hoest
- 4:35: Cass County Uglies
- 5:05: Battlefields
- 5:35: Empire Builder
- 6:05: Me and You Crew
- 6:35: Buck Nastee vs. Stupid Birthday DJ Battle
- 7:05: Burlesque show with Amanda Standalone
- 7:20: Films from area filmmakers
- 7:45: Fake
- 8:15: GhostHandPunch
- 8:45: Les Dirty Frenchmen
- 9:10: Drag show with Janessa Jaye Champagne
- 9:30: The Awesome Snakes
- 10: Eyedea and Abilities
- 11: Dillinger Four
- 12 a.m.: The Flaming Lips: Christmas on Mars
- 12 a.m.: (At The Aquarium’s after party) The God Damn Doo Wop Band.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535