concert memoirs pt. 39 - the mighty mofos & breaking circus

Now that I have run out of ticket stubs, I'll turn my memory machine to the shows for which I have no ticket stub and, therefore, I do not know the dates. It's most likely that I never received a ticket stub for these shows, because I was pretty good about hanging onto them. Several of these shows were at the Cabooze, a Minneapolis club that didn't hand back ticket stubs for their shows.

I'll relate stories about acts such as The Mighty Mofos, Big Black, The Three Johns and others. One band, the Urban Guerrillas will have several shows to talk about because I had see them the most of any band I've seen play. I will even tell you about the show at which I most embarrassed myself. It was The Guess Who at the Cabooze. I know, The Guess Who, pretty sad, huh?

This section won't be nearly as long as the ticket memories. So, let's get started...

The Mighty Mofos (Minneapolis band)

John and I had seen this band a few times. It seems as though they opened for every band we saw at the Cabooze. Of course, they didn't. It just seems that way.

Formerly know as The Hypstrz, The Mighty Mofos were a pretty straight forward rock 'n' roll bar band. Very high energy with some excellent guitar work by Ernie Batson. Ernie's brother, Bill, handled the lead vocals and had that commanding stage presence that most bands would want in their lead singers.

Bill also worked at First Avenue setting up the stage in the 7th St. Entry and running sound. Because of Bill's working there and John and I frequently hanging out at the disco, we got to the point where we would be recognized by Bill. He'd see us and give us the up nod. Pretty cool.

So, there was one show at the Cabooze with The Mofos playing and John and I were right up front. Kind of leaning against the stage, trying to look hip. Bill was rockin' and he was trying to get a little audience participation going. He was trying to get the crowd to clap along with the beat. (The Mofos must have been opening, because most people don't do much for the opening act. They tend to stand back and wait for the headliner.) Bill wasn't having much luck and it didn't improve when he approached us.

He saw us and gave us the up nod, but then he came over doing some rhythmic hand clapping. He was giving us a little "come on, fellas!" look, but we just stood there. Sorry, Bill. We don't do audience participation.

We were just too cool.

Breaking Circus (Minneapolis band via Chicago)

Breaking Circus started out in Chicago, but Steve Bjorklund, the guitarist and singer, moved to Minneapolis in 1986. As best I can remember, the first time John and I saw them they were using a drum machine, but later the bassist and drummer from another local band, Rifle Sport, were added to the line-up. I believe those two pulled double duty and continued playing in Rifle Sport.

Breaking Circus was a very cool, very angry band. Their sound was very aggressive and Bjorklund was a great front man. Not only that, the band produced one of the all-time coolest songs, 'Driving The Dynamite Truck'. I love that song!

My favorite Breaking Circus moment occurred in the 7th St. Entry on New Year's Eve 1986. (I'm fairly certain it was 1986.) It was the custom at First Avenue that every New Year's Eve they would feature the best of the bands from the new band nights of that year. They would have the bands play in the Entry while the revelers whooped it up in the main room.

John and I were pretty impressed with the band when we saw them earlier in the year on a new band night in the Entry, so we ditched the main room scene to watch Breaking Circus rock in the New Year. And they were great.

The high point came just after midnight. The New Year had arrived while the band was still playing, but, once the song was finished, Bjorklund had a treat for us. He threw out to the crowd several small vials of some white, powdery substance. He said, "Here's your New Year's cocaine! Come and get your cocaine!"

John actually nabbed one. It was powdered sugar.

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