At a recent show in California, a little band from Minneapolis called Fury Things had the chance to be on the same bill — along with a handful of other bands — as Bob Mould.
Who is Bob Mould?
If you’re at all versed in the history of the Minneapolis music scene, you’ve heard of a band called Hüsker Dü. Bob Mould was the dominant creative force in that band, a punk group that ranks right up there with The Replacements, The Suburbs and Prince on the list of heavy hitting artists that put Minneapolis on the musical map in the 1980s.
Mould, since the band’s breakup, has had a long and critically acclaimed solo career, and still commands respect from all corners of the music industry, including the up and comers such as Fury Things.
“I gave him a CD at a show in California and said, ‘We’re from Minneapolis, and we’d love to play with you sometime,’” says Kyle Werstein, who along with Devon Torrey Bryant and Andrew Neil Carson make up Fury Things.
A few months later, the call came. They’d be opening for Mould at First Avenue.
A Bob Mould show at First Avenue is a night to remember. The main room is packed with a rabid fan base that knows its music. When a legend such as Bob Mould brings you into that fold, it means something, and that fact wasn’t lost on the band. (And the band’s sound isn’t altogether different from Mould’s, either.)
“Can’t even really wrap my head around the fact that it happened,” Werstein said.
Fury Things will perform live this weekend at Buster’s in Mankato. They’re performing with fellow Minneapolis band Hardcore Crayons and Mankato favorites Crash Cuddle. This is a show that was originally slated for the What’s Up? Lounge, but after it closed, the show’s promoter, Chad Roemer, had to scramble to find a venue. Buster’s fit the bill, and now a show that could easily have died is on.
Actually, this is the second time a Fury Things show was in jeopardy. The first time around, Werstein came down with a viscous case of mono.
”I thought I had strep for three weeks,” he said. “My throat was almost swollen shut, I was barely able to breathe. It’s like having the worst case of strep throat ever.”
Roemer, who has been setting up shows in the Mankato area for years, said there was a time when it was tough to get anyone to come out to a rock show.
”Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to force it down Mankato’s throat,” he said. “The live scene for Rock ‘N Roll is not the best right now.”
The local live scene is a jumble of everything. And if you look hard enough, you can find what you’re looking for. But if you’ve paid attention to the shows that have gotten the most attention, they tend to trend toward hip hop. Roemer says that, even in a time where it’s been hard to get traction with rock shows, this one will be different. Fury Things and Hardcore Crayons already draw crowds in bigger locales, such as the Twin Cities. And the local act, the instrumental duo Crash Cuddle, has a loyal Mankato-area following.
Fury Things, he said, are “really taking off.”
A year ago January they were invited to play a show at First Avenue as part of a group of bands dubbed the Best New Bands of 2013. A few months later they were invited to perform live in the studios of Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current. Bands asked to perform in that studio represent a mix of what the station — which as become the go-to place for hip music — thinks your attention should be drawn to.
Getting an hour on The Current, Werstein says, was a big deal.
”When I first came here to go to college [at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design] I remember hearing (The Current’s) ‘The Local Show,’ and they had a band called The Red Pens on. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
A few years worth of shows later, the email from The Current showed up in Werstein’s inbox.
”We were super excited, really ecstatic,” he said. “It’s humbling. To have that validation means so much to us.”
Fury Things isn’t necessarily looking for super stardom. They’re not expecting to be the next Foo Fighters. Although Werstein says he’d be lying if he says he hasn’t fantasized about that.
Instead, they take a realistic approach to success. Getting to open for Bob Mould is success. Having fans follow them around to all their shows is success. Having people know their songs and hear them on the radio is success.
Still, a tad more would be nice.
”If I can get to the point where I can tour all year and not have to hold down a day job to pay my bills,” he said, “that would be nice.”
If you go
What: Hardcore Crayons, Fury Things and Crash Cuddle
When: 9 p.m. Saturday