photo by JDM Photography
The Garage is remodeling, Station 4 has been closed for almost two years, Jens Den dispersed, The Charlie Siren House has a baby, The Household was vacated, and both The Cherry Pit and The Medusa were busted. It feels like a bleak time for live local music in Minneapolis.
However, if you are looking for a show of your favorite local bands, or if you are trying to find your start in the Minnesota scene, look no further than our beacon of hope in the Como/Dinky Town area of Minneapolis. Still relatively new, The Como Cabana is one of the best places to catch a show right now. The Cabana is an all-ages home venue that bills itself as being drug, alcohol, and drama free.
It all started a year ago when seven guys signed a lease at 1082 16th Ave SE. With the Household members and tenants moving to Missouri, they planned to use this house to fill the Dinky Town house show void left behind. They moved in in September and had their first show 27 days later. For the first few months there had been no official name, until The Slack Shack (accredited to Hunter Slack) stuck. Hunter Slack handled the booking, played guitar in Ridgewood and ReCurrent, and he lived in the house from September until November.
Slack’s secession in November was “a miserable experience,” but before long everything resumed as it had been. The house agreed to continue hosting shows, and even now Hunter directs bands, handles money, runs sound, and basically everything else necessary to put on a concert. But with The Slack Shack’s utter lack of Slack, yet another name had to be assigned to this little house. With the double entendre of the Como location and a Barry Manilow song, The Como Cabana was born.
My favorite part of The Como Cabana has to be the people themselves. This house always manages a perfect ratio of natives and newcomers. There is nothing more isolating than walking into a show and not recognizing a single face, but if you were to know everyone that would mean the scene has become stagnant. Slack’s favorite part of booking are the reactions he has received. Locals claim Cabana shows are unparalleled, and touring acts regularly state their jealousy of our scene. “Just to hear that stuff and watch the scene grow even further in the five or six months the Cabana has been around is just baffling to me.”
“It’s always been a top priority for me to make sure everyone is having a good time,” Slack said, and everyone consistently does. You never really know what to expect from the Cabana (except Remo Drive, always expect Remo Drive). Crowds range from 20 to over 100 entranced fans and have become increasingly rowdy (hanging from pipes, surging at the drum set, breaking the heating system for the entire house…). Slack, as well as the tenants, are pleading showgoers to be more mindful from this point on, lest they be forced to closed down the Cabana. No matter the bill or the insanity of the night, I can not recall a single time that I walked out of that house without an ineffable feeling of contentment.
March is going to be an especially good month for the house. Hunter Slack, Kevan Larson, and The Como Cabana present: Cabana Fest I. This mini-festival was held March 7th and 8th. Hey, Doctor, Moonraker (California) and Township (Wisconsin) opened day one. Minnesota darlings Weathered and Molly’s Worst Enemy played next, leading up to Free Throw (Tennessee) and Dowsing (Illinois) as the headliners. Day two was led by The Homestretch and The Retakes, followed by ReCurrent and Crüise. Wanderer and Pierre brought the final close to Cabana Fest I.
As far as the future of The Cabana, they plan to continue putting on shows on an almost weekly basis as long as they can. You can find a comprehensive list of March shows below. There is a 4th of July cookout show in the works, and in August we can expect a two- or three-day Cabana Fest II.
From that first show in September, The Como Cabana has been uniting people of all ages. Bands and fans from right here in Minneapolis can play and convene with people from the Midwest and all around the country. Shows here are always a good time; you just can not leave The Cabana disappointed. Please remember, if you plan on attending a show at The Como Cabana: Keep it cool, keep it legal, keep it open (and please don’t break anything).
“I guess the only closing thing I have is just a thank you to everyone who’s attended or played shows at The Cabana. When we started doing this I was really worried it was going to be a flop…So to see people so stoked on shows at The Cabana has been really really cool and we’re really excited to see what the second half of the year holds for the house!”
March 13th – Hellen Keller, Bruise Violet, Ithomiid
March 15th – Atlas on Strike, Nello, Braver
March 27th – Hazing – Tread Lightly, The Family Bed
March 29th – Closet Witch, National Hero, Racket