Local Current Blog

Photos: The Staves and Frankie Lee close out DUSTYGUN Icehouse residency

BBGUN and Dusty Heart perform at Icehouse on March 23, 2017. All photos by Nate Ryan/MPR.

“The whole of Minneapolis is at Icehouse tonight,” I commented after walking inside the candlelit Nicollet Avenue bar. Chastity Brown sat at a table with friends; Jess Staveley-Taylor stood on stage talking with a tech; members of the media and other familiar faces strolled around the floor. Singer/songwriters Dusty Heart and indie rock band BBGUN were about to play the last show of their March residency, and not-so-secret special guests Frankie Lee and the Staves would round out the line-up.

If you like pure, prominent vocals, this was a show for you. When Dusty Heart (guitarist Molly Dean and violinist/banjo player Barbara Jean) started their set with one of their strongest songs, “Timbre and Trail,” I found myself settling back and letting out a deep breath. Although the closely packed crowd talked over some of their set, especially during a subtle “fiddle tune,” Dusty Heart’s sweet harmonies relaxed my posture and stilled my pulse. Then, BBGUN joined Dusty Heart before segueing into their own work, and BBGUN, Dusty Heart, and the Staves took advantage of all six vocal mics while performing a song together.

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All residency long, DUSTYGUN proceeds have gone to Kulture Klub Collaborative, a Minneapolis non-profit that supports artists and youth experiencing homelessness (previous dates featured Chastity Brown, DEM YUUT, and Alpha Consumer). LT. Sunnie, a young artist who has worked with Kulture Klub, dropped in after BBGUN’s set to rap “Sunnielicious,” a jubilant, clever song that borrows from Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious.” “You are not your situation,” she encouraged the crowd while a donation bucket made the rounds. “Learn! Travel. Feel.”

The Staves, who moved to Minneapolis last year after working with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, hushed the chatty crowd with their signature harmonies and a cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Blue Ridge Mountains.”

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Lastly, Frankie Lee and band shut down the show, playing several tunes from Lee’s 2016 album American Dreamer.

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