Local Current Blog

Jenny Lewis, Conor Oberst, and others play surprise sets at the Clown Lounge

Conor Oberst at the Clown Lounge on September 5, 2016. Photo courtesy Kyle Matteson.

Last night, a caravan of special guests — including Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst — performed surprise sets at the Clown Lounge (in the basement of St. Paul’s Turf Club). Frankie Lee & Friends headlined the literally underground show; the bill’s “& Friends” turned out to include Lewis, the Watson Twins, Oberst, Har Mar Superstar, the Cactus Blossoms, the Pines, and more.

Last week, Lewis stopped by The Current and talked with Jim McGuinn on-air, saying she’s a “big fan” of Frankie Lee, Trampled By Turtles, and the Cactus Blossoms. She saw the Cactus Blossoms in New York City, which she called “one of the best shows I’ve been to,” and she also watched their Lake Harriet performance on Aug. 26. On the Clown Lounge, she said, “Love the Turf Club. Love the Clown Lounge! I was at the Turf Club, and I just walked outside of my dressing room into this dark room, turned on the light, and there’s this amazing, creepy, awesome room with a piano and the clown paintings.”

The Frankie Lee show was announced on Aug. 30, but Lewis’s other show in town has been on the books for months. Tonight, she and the Watson Twins kick off a tour at the State Theater (tickets are still available), commemorating Rabbit Fur Coat‘s 10-year anniversary with a 10-day tour.

No opener has been announced yet, but with Oberst in town, anything could happen. Lewis and Oberst have been friends for many years, and along with Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Oberst was featured on Rabbit Fur Coats‘s “Handle With Care,” a Traveling Wilburys cover. Talking with McGuinn, Lewis promised “a very, very special opener — a surprise opener.”

According to Kyle Matteson (a.k.a. music superfan @solace), last night featured sets by Kyle Lutz, Jack Klatt, Megan McCormick (Lewis’s guitarist), Har Mar Superstar, Dave Simonett (of Trampled By Turtles), The Pines with Frankie Lee, Frankie’s solo music backed by Jake Hanson and the Pines, the Cactus Blossoms, Oberst, and Lewis and the Watson Twins, in that order. “Frankie played [piano, harmonica, or guitar] with most all of them,” Matteson reports, but not with Oberst or Lewis. Twitter user @whtegrlinacrowd reports that Lewis and the Twins played three songs: “Rise Up With Fists,” “Melt Your Heart” and NAF song “Door.”

Local music fan Tom Collins was there and reports, “I just enjoyed the looseness of the night.” He quotes one of the musicians: “‘We need a drummer. Hey, Sean [Har Mar]. You play drums? Cool. Get up here!'”