What to Heck 2016?!

Me getting through 2016:

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2016 may have been filled with hate and death. Most see this year as being depressing but I see it as a reality check. A not-so-friendly reminder to take life a day at a time and be considerate to others. As life goes on, there are seldom guarantees but we can always count on one album, band, or song to keep us going.

A few albums/EPs that I constantly return to have been

  • Nothing But Thieves – Self Titled
  • Bad Suns – Disappear Here
  • The Wrecks – We Are The Wrecks
  • Young the Giant – Home of the Strange

I’ve listened to these artists so much that they’ve taken over my ‘Top Songs of 2016’ playlist on Spotify, despite the short amount of time it’s been since finding these killer jams.

There were also a lot of amazing concerts that took place this year, I definitely beat my record from last year and I’m really wishing I would’ve kept track.

Anyways, what were your top music loving moments of 2016?

Varsity Theater Under Scrutiny

Protesters call for boycott of the Minneapolis music venue after the owner is accused of multiple counts of sex abuse.

A beautiful venue, a great restaurant and an allegedly dark backstory.

Current owner of The Varsity Theater and Loring Pasta Bar, Jason McLean has four civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors at the Children’s Theater Company during the ’70s and ’80s, when he worked as an actor and teaching artist.

14445261_1204394236283429_1625766846_nAccording to the Star Tribune, the women have recently come forward due to a change in the way sexual abuse cases involving a minor were handled under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. Originally, the women would have been turned away by police because of the law previously in place stating that all claims of sexual abuse as a minor needed to be filed before the victim is 24 years of age.

With this change in the law, the Sexual Violence Justice Institute informs that “individuals older than 24 at the time of the Child Victim Act enactment (May 25, 2013) have a three-year window of opportunity from the date of enactment to bring their civil claim forward. This window period ended on May 24, 2016.”

Victims of sexual abuse and their supporters called for a boycott of McLean’s businesses. The reality is some people, long aware of rumors, have quietly boycotted the two businesses for years. On September 10, about 40 demonstrators gathered outside the businesses with signs and knowledge to share. According to The Minnesota Daily, the protest was meant to educate the campus community of sexual abuse allegations against the Dinkytown businesses’ owner, Jason McLean, said the organizer Sarah Super.

In wake of the lawsuits against McLean, a handful of acts have decided to switch venues from the Dinkytown venue. Including Warpaint, Against Me!, Baroness and Jake Rudh, a DJ who had often filled the venue with repeat events. Rudh posted to his personal Facebook page in response to the allegations, “the scheduled Transmission event that was to take place on January 27th will now be moved to Clubhouse Jager. The venue of all future monthly themed Transmissions will be determined on a monthly basis.”

The Star Tribune reports Lynn Nyman, senior manager at the Varsity Theater, issued a statement that emphasized the fact the venue’s employees would be hurt most by any boycott. Nyman states “The allegations against Jason McLean are more than 30 years old and are not related to the Varsity or its employees. I ask that the patrons let the legal process take its place which will happen in due time. I ask the patrons to stick with the Varsity, in the meantime, for the sake of the employees.”

Super, in response, noted that the boycotting of the businesses was intended to honor the wishes of survivors. “I have sympathy for the employees who I do believe are innocent and have not participated in any part of the sexual abuse around these victims. I have a lot of sympathy for the people who have come forward … I have no sympathy for Jason McLean,” she said.

With the lawsuits still in limbo, public awareness and justice for the victims are the main goal for the demonstrators. If there is a show at the Varsity that you would like to attend but also want to show support for the victims, the best advice is to let the headlining band or artist know of the accusations ahead of time. This way the act has time to move venues if they so choose. In the end, it is up to you whether you go or not.

Concert Review – Vance Joy

On Wednesday, Vance Joy kicked off the U.S. leg of the Fire and the Flood Tour in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was lucky enough to win both tickets and meet and greet to the show.

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The setlist seemed a lot different from shows I usually attend, mainly starting out with a song everyone will know, then ending with their biggest hit. This concert was different, most sat in their seats, as there was no general admission or pit, until the end of the show. This experience had fans singing along to the lesser known songs and everyone singing and dancing by the end of the show.

The commentary between songs gave them a lot more meaning. I recently found that Spotify has Vance Joy’s comments on each song on the album Dream Your Life Away.

12552937_467580190095796_9359373230419210_n As for the meet and greet, this was another experience that I had been through quite a few times, but Vance Joy and his team made it feel different. The ambiance in the room was quite calming, dimmer lights, fragrant candles, and some light music playing. This took away a lot of the jitters that were felt by the group in the hallway. I just want to point out in the picture, Vance is extremely tall and I am not short.

 

Overall, I left the concert a bigger fan of Vance Joy than I was before; And I was already at the point of singing the songs at the top of my lungs. Special thanks to Go963MN for supplying me with the concert tickets and meet and greet!