The kind of two-tiered show that requires two rooms, Vita.mn’s Are You Local? showcase will move back to the best-loved twofer venues in town this year, First Avenue and 7th Street Entry, with a lineup topped off by the Cloak Ox and featuring a solo Dave Simonett, John Mark Nelson, Haley Bonar’s freak-punky side band Gramma’s Boyfriend and the up to five newbie finalists from the AYL? contest. Tickets go on sale today at noon via First Ave outlets for $10, and voting for the contest is under way at Vita.mn.
Despite their powerful reputation as a live band and the year-end acclaim for their full-length debut, the Cloak Ox will be making their headlining debut in the main room for the show. It will also be Simonett’s first high-profile gig away from Trampled by Turtles since the release of his first solo EP, “Razor Pony.” Nelson will be previewing tracks from his long-in-the-works sophomore album, which he plans to gain attention for at the South by Southwest Music Conference next month. Bonar is also readying her new, sonic change-up of an album but is always willing to cut loose with Gramma’s Boyfriend, which shares guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker with the Cloak Ox.
The newbie bands -- who range in quality on the AYL? voting site from "Wow!" to "Huh?" (such is the nature of the contest) -- will start off the night in the Entry. A "winner" will be chosen from the finalists to perform a quick set in the main room before the Cloak Ox and then to perform at the Vita.mn/First Ave day party in Austin, Texas, during SXSW at Holy Mountain on Friday, March 14. Carroll won AYL? last year, preceded by Prissy Clerks, the 4onthefloor and Bight Club.
[Photo: Star Tribune file]