Apr 23

Excision @ Skyway Theatre 4/19/14


Ears ringing? VoExcision-4716ice MIA? Body odor unfavorable? Mind blown? If you answered yes to any of these four questions, you may have just come from an Excision show. Once again, Excision destroyed his crowd at Skyway Theatre. Each year I wonder how Excision will be able to top his last show, but this time around he definitely turned it up a notch. It was a loud, hot, sexy, mesmerizing performance that I won’t soon forget.

Excision took the stage full force, opening with sounds that can only be described as a spaceship getting ready for take-off, which slowly and progressively built up to a bass drop so loud one would think said spaceship fell from the sky and onto The Skyway Theatre. After that moment, trying to have a conversation with anyone present was laughable. When I first heard that there would be over 150,000 watts of bass, I have to admit that I was a little worried that the sound quality would be terrible. To my surprise, each sound from each song was so insanely crisp, that I began to question if I was actually hearing 150,000 watts.

Excision has not only stepped up the audio, but the visual experience as well. We had seen the Executioner stage before, but not quite like this. Fresh new 3D visual animations covered the monstrous 420 square foot surface, which one person described as being Excision’s “bass bunker.”  It truly was just that. Sliding panels reveal Excision in the center of the Executioner. Several other sliding panels and pneumatics hide lasers, fog machines, and more. The highlight of the visual experience has to be the very life-like T-Rex that was dancing on stage. Rexcision invaded the Executioner – jumping around to the bass, and roaring at the crowd. It was completely unexpected and unforgettable.

Excision-4537The sold-out Excision show created an atmosphere unlike any other. I personally thought it was just hot enough at all times to be perfectly uncomfortable. You didn’t even have to dance to be dripping in sweat. In fact, at times I wondered if it was my sweat on my shirt or if somebody else was missing some. Entering the main stage area from the main bar felt as if you were walking into a heat wave that never stopped cycling through the venue. Although the heat and body odor overload did not make for a very comfortable setting, there were many friendly patrons handing out water, candy, kandi, and most importantly, good vibes. How can you have a bad time when you’re surrounded by beautiful, positive people and amazing, eargasmic music?

Excision released a series of singles each month while on tour. Being that this was his last of 55 show stint, I feel like we were privileged to hear the vast majority of these new tracks. Along with the new-new there were a few crowd favorites like “Headbanga,” “Crowd Control,” and “Bounce.” The Canadian producer has pushed the boundaries of bass, as well as stage production. My ears have been executed, and I have Excision to thank.


View the full photo album HERE.


Article by Rachel Atkinson

Photos by Joe Flannigan


Apr 23

Seven Lions [Preview]

Seven Lions

Official Facebook Event Page


Jeff Montalvo, known in the music industry as Seven Lions, is a metal drummer turned dance music DJ/Producer. Over the past year he has gained a hell of a lot of traction in the EDM scene, and continues to flirt with international prestige. His music is true to his heart and soul, while keeping self-reinvention a priority. Montalvo’s diverse background gives him a unique perspective on dance music, and creates a special aura around his live sets.

Seven Lions will be bringing his “Worlds Apart” tour to First Avenue on Friday April 25, 2014. Expect him to bring his journey-like sets that he has built such a strong reputation around, and create a unique, emotive experience. He’s definitely an artist like no other.

For more information, visit www.sevenlions.com.


Seven Lions

First Avenue

701 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55403




Article by Alex Stahlmann

Photos and music compliments of Seven Lions


Apr 19

Phantogram @ First Ave 4/13/14

Utterly Impressed… Again

Since I heard “Mouth Full of Diamonds” on The Current airwaves back in 2009, I have been a die hard Phantogram fan. How could you not be? The bands emotion filled synth rock and high-energy shows are intoxicating, and have a way of making you want more and more. Not only is their music addicting, but I’ll also admit I have a huge girl crush on Sarah Barthel. She has a stellar haircut, killer outfits, and is a rock goddess! Guitarist Josh Carter is pretty great too, but Sarah is definitely one of my rock idols.

20140413_223941(0)When I heard Phantogram was making a stop in Minneapolis supporting their new album Voices I could not contain my excitement! As to be expected, tickets sold out fast. When the band visited Minneapolis back in October the show sold out quickly as well. Minneapolis loves them some Phantogram, and awesomely enough, Phantogram knows this.  During the April 13th show Sarah thanked the crowd multiple times remarking “This is always one of our favorite places to play in the US, so let have some fucking fun!”

The stage was set as most of their shows at First Ave have been with lots of smoke and strobes. The combination of the smoke and bright lights behind Sarah and Josh creates their signature ominous silhouettes. They started the show off with the leading track from Voices, “Nothing but Trouble.” Afterwards Sarah asked the crowd half joking, half secretly hoping, “Is Prince here? No? Maybe next time then?”

The set carried into their Voices first released single “Black Out Days,” and the crowd slowly began to get their dance on. Barthel’s energy undeniably helped get the crowd to go from a 6 to a 10 as she strutted around the stage head banging and coaxing the crowd. Carter and Barthel took turns switching off and on for vocals of different songs from all their albums. Though the tour is in support Voices, the duo played a variety of songs from Eyelid Movies, Nightlife, and Voices. Carter had vocals on “Running From The Cops,” and Nighlife track “Turning into Stone.”  Barthel belted it out so you could feel it in your soul for “Don’t Move,” and “As Far As I Can See.

20140413_215355At one point Barthel requested the crowd get out their lighters if they had them – a very nineties thing to do as she exclaimed “Kurt Cobain Forever,” and led into a slower track, which didn’t seem to amuse the crowd around me.  Shortly into the song surrounding audience members began to chatter loudly, come on guys I didn’t come to hear about what a jerk your boss is, I came to listen to Phantogram… annoyed.

The band quickly turned things around and the chatty crowd shut up as they led into a passion filled version of “Fall in Love” followed by crowd favorite “Howling at the Moon.” Their alleged last song of the evening was “When I’m Small, but the cheering and hollering that followed as they left the stage gave them no choice but to return to the crowd they love so much. Once again Sarah thanked the crowd and reiterated the bands love for Minneapolis fans, First Ave and the 7th St. Entry. They finished the night off with another crowd favorite “Mouthful of Diamonds” and “Celebrate Nothing.” It was a fantastic energetic soulful way to end a powerful show, and once again I found myself leaving completely satisfied and utterly star struck by the talent that Phantogram is!


Article by Anna Britta

Photos by Alex Stahlmann


Past Coverage: Phantogram @ First Ave 10/10/13


Apr 17

Excision [Preview]

Main Press Shot

Click for Official Facebook Event Page


Jeff Abel, better known by his moniker Excision, is finishing up his North American tour at The Skyway in Downtown Minneapolis – a consistent destination for the Canadian Dubstep pioneer. The show will mark the end of a massive 55+ date excursion, and it’s sure to be one grand finale. Along for the ride are Dirty Phonics, Ill gates, and for the Minneapolis stop, DJ duo Pot Roast!

Anyone familiar with Excision knows that he takes his sound and lights seriously. Fans at The Skyway will not only be treated to some of the most filthy, brutal, and unforgiving sounds the industry has to offer, they’ll be taking it in at an earth shattering 150,000 watts! As if that wasn’t enough, the tour also marks the return of the 28 foot wide, 15 foot tall mammoth video and lighting instillation known as “The Executioner.” Prepare to be blown away.


The Skyway
711 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403




Buy Tix

Article by Alex Stahlmann

Photos and compliments of Excision



Apr 16

Particle [Interview]

Particle Lake Tahoe 2

Forming in 2000, Particle is a pioneer of the Livetronica music scene. They’re upcoming show at The Cabooze on April 18th will continue their tradition of combining a full light show and multimedia production with their signature mix of high-energy dance music, rock, and funk.

Although Particle’s original rhythm section recently announced their departure from the band, they gave fellow founding member, Steve Molitz (keys), their full support to carry the torch along with longtime guitarist Ben Combe and an exciting new rhythm section consisting of bassist Clay Parnell (Brothers Past), and drummer Brandon Draper (Quixotic). The revitalized lineup has written and recorded over a dozen new songs together, and will no doubt give Particle People the full Particle experience!


Particle – 4/18/14

The Cabooze

917 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404




Beat Mpls contributor, Guy Strauss, caught up with Particle’s Steve Molitz to talk about Particle’s current tour, Minneapolis, festivals, and Shaq Fu! Read the exclusive interview below:


TBM: How’s the tour going, are you guys down in San Diego?

Steve: Tour is going great! Ya, ya were driving on our way to San Diego right now, the tour is going great. We just had a big LA show at the Troubadour, MidAmerica music Hall in San Francisco, Vegas. We’re definitely feeling great man, having a lot of fun.

TBM: That sounds pretty awesome man, the last time I saw you guys was down at Aura.

Steve: Ya, Aura was a blast, and now we’re driving along side the Pacific Ocean, getting a little inspiration for tonight’s show.


TBM: Very nice, Can you tell us a little bit about how Particle got started back in 2000, and a little bit about your following the Particle People?

Steve: I knew original the bass player Eric before he moved out to LA. Uh, so, I, I’m from LA, and Eric moved out there. We use to jam together, and then he was jamming with Aaron, the original drummer. Through those guys, eventually the three of us came together through the LA music scene and found an amazing guitar player named Dave Simmons, and our first show was actually on a boat cruising around San Francisco.

TBM: That’s really awesome!

Steve: Ya ya, our first show was when Phish announced they were taking a hiatus in 2000. Umm ya, we played like a late night boat party cruising around San Francisco Bay. Uh and we really had no intentions of forming a band full time. We got asked to play this special event and we kinda put the band together just to play that show, and we had such a great time. I remember standing on stage by our instruments we had played and we all looked at each other like, I think there’s something here. We should keep this going, we should keep this band going. A lot of twists and turns and changes over the years, but fourteen years later, here we are on tour.

TBM: Well that’s awesome man. My buddy’s dad gave me Launchpad way back in 2004, when we were jamming and came up and said you guys should listen to this. So, I’m a long time listener.

Steve: Oh, cool. That’s really really cool. That album came out in 2004, and we’re actually putting the finishing touches on a new studio album right now. So, that should be finished this summer and released on our fall tour.

TBM: Nice

Steve: Definitely stay tuned to Particlepeople.com for all the info, and to answer your other question: somewhere along the line our fans kinda started calling themselves Particle People, and we loved the idea because we’re all Particle People. The fans and the musicians and everyone in the scene, and we sorta like the idea that a particle, depending on your perspective, can be a small piece of something really big, or it can be a planet. If your perspective is the galaxy and it can be you know one grain of sand on the beach, or ya know going all the way down the molecular level. It can be open to interpretation as our people, so individually and collectively, so we kinda like the idea that particle people is all of us and none of us at the same time.


TBM: That’s an awesome philosophy; we can all be something in the universe. So, your wikipedia page says a lot about how you guys having been touring since 2000 with bands like The Disco Biscuits and STS9, a lot of people contribute your funk, jazz fusion into forming what we now call “Livetronica.” How do you guys feel about that, and what do you think of the future of your genre of music?

Steve: I think it’s been a really exciting evolution. At the time we started playing this “Livetronica” music it was just something we were interested in, but there wasn’t a scene for it. I had never heard of bands like Tetra 9 or The Disco Biscuits when we first started. The Internet wasn’t as of a powerful tool back then. So, after the scene evolved we quickly heard of the handful of bands that were doing this. It was really unique you could count the amount of bands doing this “Livetronica” on one hand back then.

TBM: Oh ya, it was really small.

Steve: It was an exciting time, and we all had our own take on it. Each of the bands evolved their own sound in their own way. You know it’s just really been fun to watch over the years, and now it’s such a big genre, and it’s taken on a bunch of sub genres. Where now it’s really common to see kind of a duo where one person is playing a live instrument and the other person has a laptop, and one is a producer playing beats. It’s kind of sub divisions within this sub division, its kinda of a fun and exciting thing, we’ll see where it goes from here. I think the scene is definitely ready for a change, the “Livetronica” thing had a nice run, I feel like the DJ/Producer thing had a nice run, and I feel like there is probably another wave coming. I’m very excited to see what that is. We’re certainly excited and we certainly integrate elements of both of those things. We’ve never been a band that used all program beats or laptops or anything like that. On the other hand, we’ve never been a straight rock band that played traditional songs. [We’re] kind of a hybrid where we’re a fusion of funk and rock and electronic dance music. At the end of the day, I think our sound is always about tapping into the raw energy and harness dance music, and sorta loosing yourself in the moment, and really be free to follow the music into where ever it takes you and that goes for the musicians and the fans. We’re on this improvisational journey, just as much as the fans are every night and it’s a cool experience. The way we think about it is throwing up a circus tent when we come into town and whatever happens, it’s there and we’re creating our own little world and we’re all in it together. That’s kind how we approach our live show.

TBM: Well that’s what you guys excel at is this improv feel with your songs, and that’s what makes these sets unique and what really makes people lose it.

Steve: Oh absolutely, and the shows have all been really different from night to night. A lot of our songs are big open canvases that just allow us to create these different improvisations that let us go in a lot of a different directions from night to night.


TBM: So, how long has been since you’ve been in Minneapolis?

Steve: Um that’s a good question. I mean it’s hard to say, I love the Twin Cities, and I play there all the time. I feel like I’m there a few times a year, I really love the fans up there, and I have a lot of friends there and great bands.

TBM: it’s a great town.

Steve: Oh ya, it’s an incredible music town, and I’m trying to remember the last time Particle was there, and I’d probably have to say it must have been last year. The Cabooze has always been one of our absolute favorite places to play. To me that’s one of our kinds of homes away from home. Whenever I get there, it’s just a place where we see a lot of familiar faces and we feel like we have friends and family there. So, we’re really looking forward to that show.

TBM: That’s definitely my favorite venue in the city.

Steve: It’s an incredible room.

TBM: Small and intimate. You really get to feel the crowd and you’re right there next to the band, so it’s a lot of fun. How many times have you guys played The Cabooze?

Steve: Oh quite a few, I’m not really sure. I feel like saying you know a dozen or so. That’s one of those rooms we’ve definitely played a lot, it’s been a home base for us.


TBM: Well I’m super excited to see you guys tear up my personal favorite venue in the cities. Any hints on what we can expect there, are you guys going to drop a “Have a Cigar” cover like you did at Aura?

Steve: Oh, that might not be a bad idea. Ya, we’ve got some new songs we’ve been working into rotation. We debuted our version of “Cheap Sunglasses” a couple nights a go. We also have a bunch of new original tunes, that we’ll have up in up in running by that time, maybe we can save a few to debut at that show… [The Cabooze] being one of our favorite places to play. And of course our lighting designer, Will Signmen, is from the Twin Cities, and has ran lights at The Cabooze over the years. He’ll be in the house that night, with his full lighting rig. We’re just waiting to freak out, the fans in Minneapolis are really just some of our favorite to play for, it’s just a fun crowd. You know?

TBM: Always a fun crowd in Minneapolis, very rowdy.

Steve: Oh ya, true music lovers. Who just completely loose themselves in the moment and love to have a great time, love to get down and we’re really looking forward to that.


TBM: The Cabooze is definitely my festival family home, and we’ll all be in full force. So, was this your first time at Aura? This last year, I know you guys have play Wannee a few times.

Steve: Ya, that was our first time at Aura. We played The Mushroom stage at Wannee a whole bunch and that’s an amazing place to play, such a good vibe there.  At Aura we played The Porch stage. That was really cool also. If fans want to check out our light show they can see our full Aura set on Youtube. Get taste for what’s in store for the Minneapolis show.

TBM: So, you guys have been tearing up the festivals forever, you’ve played Bonnaroo countless times. What’s your personal favorite fest to play?

Steve: Bonnaroo is always a fun one, and we did a lot of really cool things there. One time we brought in a local gospel choir from Tennessee, you know from a really small church in Tennessee, we brought them in and we did a big Funk and Soul routine, where we had this sixteen piece choir on stage singing back ups for songs. It was really cool. So, the Bonnaroo shows are all memorable. Some of the late nights we’ve gotten epic six hour marathon sets. Austin City Limits is another one we love, Coachella, Lollapalooza, uh ya we’ve really had some great times. One festival I’ve always loved is the Bella series.

TBM: Oh ya! Bella out at Harmony Park?

Steve: Ya, all the Minneapolis festivals, Bella, Harvest all the different things that you do out there. I mean, I’ve never been to Wisconsin; I’ve always wanted to go to South Side because I’m a big fan Apple Robinson and his crew. So, hopefully one day I’ll get out there and check that out. Your festival and the club scene is just so incredible. Whenever people ask me what the best music scenes are, I always say Twin Cities, Colorado, East Coast… we get into these really tight knit cities all up in New York and Philly.


TBM: So, you guys are big Harmony Park fans then?

Steve: Oh ya, it’s not even about the festival, ya know the name of each specific festival, they’ve all been, you know it’s the same thing with Wannee and Aura, it’s that park the Suwannee Park is just such an amazing place similarly Harmony Park, I feel like we have just amazing times there.

TBM: Ya, Harmony Park is definitely one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever been too. Same with the Suwannee. I was just blown away when we got there for Aura.

Steve: Ya.


TBM: So, what’s up on Particle’s festival season this year? Where are we going to see you guys at?

Steve: Well we just announced that we’re playing the Allman Brother’s Peach Fest, so you can check us out there. We’ll be at Catskill Chill in New York, that’s another great fest. We’re going to be making some really cool announcements about upcoming fests soon. Best thing thing to do is check us out at all the usual places: Twitter, Facebook, and our website, Particlepeople.com. We’re adding new things everyday. So, just stay tuned to that.


TBM: So lets talk about one of those crazy random bits of news on the ParticlePeople page. Your collaboration with Shaq.

Steve: There’s a sequel to an old game being made called Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn. I had scored a game last year for the production company that is making the game for Shaq. When they decided to make the game, they called and asked if I’d be interested in doing the sound track, so we got together. Shaq owns a bunch of movie theaters, so we went out and met at one of his theaters. He’s such a creative and fun guy. He has a million ideas per minute, a really fun and energetic kind of person to work with. So, there’s a really good spirit behind the game, and the production team has done some really great stuff. I played a bunch of games they’ve made, most recently the Halo Ten Year Anniversary Combat Edition. It’s a really cool game. It’s a great team and Shaq’s fun creative energy is behind it. If people want to get involved with it they can head to the Indiegogo. You can have your likeness created as a character in the game, record a voice over for one of the characters, or even do a motion capture of signature kung fu move. There’s all kinds of rewards there. Keyboard lessons with me, a private Particle concert, a pick up basketball game with Shaq. It’s just a fun way to get the fans involved. So, check out the indiegogo Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn page. I think there’s about two weeks left in the campaign so check it out.


TBM: Sweet, so did you get a chance to play some basketball against Shaq?

Steve: Not yet, but I’m hoping that happens.

TBM: You going to go up against the big man?

Steve: Although, I’m not sure how good I’d do against Shaq… I go up to his Knee caps.

TBM: Ya, he’s a giant

Steve: Ya, he’s a pretty big dude.


TBM: Well thanks for doing this interview. I’m really looking forward to your show at The Cabooze.

Steve: Me too man, we’re really stoked, and we’ll see ya down there. Come say hello. We have a bunch of stuff we designed for this tour. Actually there is an artist in Minneapolis, who designed our spring tour poster. It’s this limited edition silkscreen print, so definitely check those out at the show, and you’ll be supporting a Minneapolis artist.


particle higher ground 2-6-14


Intro by Alex Stahlmann

Interview conducted and transcribed by Guy Strauss

Photos and music compliments of Particle


Older posts «