Thursday, May 30, 2013


Mr. Dad, Minot, ND.
Minot, North Dakota’s one of those area codes (58701-58703) that doesn’t get a lot of bandwidth if you’re trying to read up about punk music scenes around the country. Weirdly, like Billings, MT whose railroad-given nickname is “the Magic City”, Minot 350 miles east is also “the Magic City.” Seems like even though we’ve got the big ol’ internet, we’ve got fewer and fewer fanzines and things like that, or maybe more accurately the internet’s numbed us a bit to seeking them out. It’s easy to read about bands from towns of at least half a million people, and just kind of presume that the rest of the States is a wasteland for DIY/independent culture. You kind of have to go looking and dig around, which is good because folks who like punk rock normally are more inquisitive and unwilling to chow down on what Pitchfork’s told them to consume. At least I hope so. Lots of digression around here, man. The point is, we semi-but-not-really-rural folks need to stick together.

Why Not, Minot? Freezin's the Reason.
That Minot is one of the US’s coolest DIY spots is pretty excellent news for a relatively isolated Air Force-college-and-increasingly-oil-boom-town-with-a-flooding-problem-and-some-of-ND’s-hilliest-terrain. It’s a place with a vibe that reminds me of Missoula in the '90s, with a kind of Great Falls, MT vibe (Air Force, Hutterites, feed stores, big arterial) thrown into the mix. Minot came onto my radar first through the Pangea House and the enthusiastic punk and house show scene that turned out groups like Father Son Holy Smokes, Japaniel Flatsen, and Chapstick and Why Not Fest, and I’m sure lots more. We've heard nothing but good vibes from Tyson Ballew and Joey Running Crane who have played Why Not Fests over the years. They were treated super well, people watched their sets, danced and it was as community a festival as you can get. Minot strikes me as a place whose not being on an interstate has actually really benefited the punk scene. Shows are events, they don’t happen as often as a place like Fargo, and people are more invested as a result. Shows happen at houses and museums and there’s a big rad festival in Why Not that kind of gives it all an focal point and opportunity for celebration.

And what an introduction that is for Mr. Dad, who describe themselves as “a buncha sucka fools and papas making spastic, shitty, north Dakotan, hardcore-ish rock and roll.” I love any band that refers to themselves as shitty. Nuff said, I say.

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