This Thurday, March 15, one of the most unique and unpredictable bars and music venues in the Twin Cities, the Nomad World Pub, will celebrate seven years of music, fun and bocce ball. We caught up with Trevor Engelbrektson, who books bands and does sound for the Nomad, to talk about the anniversary party, his time at the Nomad and some of his favorite music.
How did the Nomad get started? What was your background going into it, and what were you hoping to get out of it?
The Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis started when Todd Smith bought the 5 Corners Saloon seven years ago. I took over booking from Matt Perkins four years ago. So, the real beginnings of the Nomad are only stories I hear and almost the stuff of legend at this point. I met Ryan Olcott (former head of sound at the Nomad/amazing musician/great guy) at the Minnesota Museum of American Arts when I did sound for Mystery Palace at the Thursday “Patio Nights” series. He started letting me fill in on sound. I’d had a failed attempt at booking Monday nights at Big V’s, but I told Todd that I knew what I was doing when Perkins asked me to take over for him. I started booking full time because I was broke and couldn’t afford to buy the beer I liked anymore. Its been such a fun job and such a great learning experience; I’m still here four years later. I love and respect my coworkers so much; it’s such a treat just going in to do sound that I don’t know if I will ever quit.
What do you think makes the Nomad stand out as a bar on the West Bank?
I think what stands out is the diversity, from the clientele to the bands on stage. We host a wide variety of styles, hip-hop to country, punk to reggae, dance nights to old timey boogie-woogie. I feel that the fearless attitudes of everyone involved with the bar over the years regarding everything from the crap on the mantel to the events we put on(no matter how ridiculous) has helped the Nomad to create an identity all its own. The theme of a World Pub is something I’ve only started to understand recently and from what I’ve gathered, it means that the bar doesn’t travel the world picking up ideas, we leave ours there. That and Bocce Ball is a really enjoyable sport. I finally played my first season last year.
Booking a bar/venue no doubt leads to many memorable nights, and the Facebook event for the anniversary party rattles off a number such occasions. Is there one most memorable night for you at the Nomad over the last seven years?
I can’t pick one event over the last seven years to name “Most Memorable.” Too many fun events. Ro shambo Tournaments, Punk Rock Prom, Air Sex Championships, Sunday night Dance Party, Midget Wrestling. World Cup on the Jumbotron in the Parking lot was awesome. The St Patrick’s Day Pee Party is always embarrassingly hilarious. So many fun nights. Some of them TOO fun. And I can tell you honestly that I am looking forward to Cinco De Mayo with Malamanya. There are many more fun nights to be had. It’s refreshing to be able to host events that are creative and abnormal for a music venue.
Let’s talk about the anniversary event. Who are the bands and why did you choose them? What should people expect if they go?
All of the acts on the bill for our Anniversary shows are ones that we are close with. That way the event seems more like a family celebration. This year we have Maria Isa headlining. She is a truly amazing artist and performer and I really enjoy working with her and running sound for her many configurations. MPLS Dub Ensemble is my favorite reggae band next to Toots & the Maytals. All of the guys in that group are amazing musicians and I think its incredible to watch them play. DJ Shannon Blowtorch is one the best DJs in town, and a dear friend of mine personally and of the bar. I chose these bands because I feel that they represent the diversity of the Nomad World Pub and the sonic variety that we try to offer.
People should expect to dance when they show up. They should also expect some really great drink specials. I don’t know if there is going to be cake this year; Elton is still cleaning frosting off of the disco ball. Todd Smith said that he would take his first shot in seven years at the stroke of midnight, then he will turn back into a pumpkin. I don’t know what he is talking about, but then again, who does? According to the internet, traditional seven-year anniversary gifts are wool or copper. Please do not wrap your gift sheep in air tight packing or throw gift pennies at the staff.
The Nomad has participated in the West Bank Music Festival for the last two years. Are there plans for that event to take place again?
Always. The Nomad is 100% behind and involved with the West Bank Music Festival and keeping that event going. The void left by Cedar Fest has really, in my opinion, left the West Bank as a whole without a big annual celebration of what makes the neighborhood great. I’ve really enjoyed the last two years of the festival, and am excited to see more of the neighborhood jump on board. I really hope to think ten years from now (as I eat food truck snacks in the middle of Cedar Avenue watching a band play) that I was there at the beginning and that I helped Dessa sound check at year two.
Tell me a little bit about the Nomad’s relationship to the local music scene. Are there any bands or artists who you’re particularly proud to have supported over the years?
I feel that a lot of bands in town have had a great opportunity to cut their teeth at the Nomad Minneseries. For those of you who don’t know what the Minneseries is, it’s a month long Thursday residency hosted by a local band. Matt Perkins started this tradition six years ago with Dance Band, and It’s been something I love and have worked really hard at keeping alive since I’ve started. Solid Gold, Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles, Mayda, Reckless Ones, Teenage Moods, F*ck Knights, City on the Make, First Communion Afterparty, Twilight Hours and Spyder Babie Rawdog & 2% Muck are just a few of the bands that have held it down at the Nomad for a Minneseries. I’m proud of any band/event that comes through the Nomad and then outgrows our space. I get a great sense of pride to see people that I know become successful. Soul Friday was one of my favorite dance parties. We hosted it for a year and a half, but it got to the point where they were drawing way past capacity, and we had to let them move to a bigger space. Now we have Hotpants DJs the third Saturday of the month and it’s my favorite night. The Goondas, Night Moves, Culture Cry Wolf, 4onthefloor and Dream Crusher are a few bands that have moved on to bigger rooms and we are super excited to see them continue to grow. Truthfully, I’m just happy to support the local music and to be a part of a great scene.
When you don’t have live music at the Nomad, what kind of music do you like to put on?
We usually have some pretty cool Pandora Radio or Spotify going on. We have music on stage (or floor, on Sundays) six nights a week, so to catch some of those tunes you have get in early! My faves right now are Fela Kuti Radio, King Tubby Radio, and whenever Chris Wussler puts on the Boss. Bruce gets me pretty pumped up and ready for rock.
The Nomad World Pub’s 7th Anniversary Party takes place Thursday, March 15 at 8 p.m. More info here.