Innovation is lost on many performers who are trying to pave their path to success. While it is useful to study and be influenced by legendary musicians, there comes a time when one needs to carve his or her own niche and refine one’s own unique style.
Happily for the Twin Cities, we have a few artists who showcase their creativity for the public on a regular basic. Patches and Gretchen is one such group.
Gretchen Seichrist heads this avant-garde mix of regular musicians while scraping together some of the best local talent for a weekly web broadcast called “Headquarters and Dimes.”
Most of these shows are recorded at Seichrist’s house, but a few have been public performances, most recently the CK Food and Fuel at 48th and Nicollet in Minneapolis. Apparently under new ownership, the owner had posted something to the effect of “artists wanted to display art.” Seichrist proposed her idea of a live bazaar and suddenly the event was happening.
The neighborhood seemed to enjoy the antics of Seichrist and company. Her all male bandmates were wearing frilly dresses while the Mistress of Ceremonies was wrapping walk-ups in yarn, passing out the free cupcakes donated by Sweets Bakeshop, or improvising catchy songs about Twitter, social media, or current events happening in the parking lot.
Joining Patches and Gretchen were a few recognizable Twin Cities musicans such as Jim Walsh, Nate Dungan (Trailer Trash), Caveman, and Larry Sahagian (Urban Guerillas). Each musician added their own sounds, whether it was folk, country, rockabilly, or cabaret. In between musicians, Patches and Gretchen would perform some of their own rock hits.
Others walked up with instruments, finding out about this event from fliers passed out earlier in the week. Still, others joined in after having walked by, witnessing the event, and then being invited by Seichrist herself.
Though the event featured a great round of diverse music and talent, it was far from the typical hootenany or open mic event. Gretchen Seichrist kept the art moving and entertaining. If a musician wasn’t ready when called up, she would begin a song about the menu items for the adjoining Chinese restaurant, Xin Wong. If a musician overplayed their welcome, she would interrupt and say, “This is boring now. Let’s do something else.”
An event executed so well with an entertainer adept at improv guarantees a return audience. No show will ever be the same and if you miss out, well, you never know what you will be missing. Keep your eyes out for more events like this. Patches and Gretchen hope to take the show around the city to other public areas and will continue to show case the private events via webcasts. Live and archived webcasts can be found at Headquarters and Dimes.