There were a couple of shows on Saturday night that I would have loved to be at. From The Plot In You playing a sold-out show at Amsterdam in Saint Paul to Impaler’s Merry Krampus celebration at the gorgeous Hook & Ladder– there were a few places I wanted to be at but only one me. Also, yes, I understand that just earlier this week I was explaining how shows seem to slow in the winter and the conundrum I found myself in on Saturday night completely contradicts that but let’s just consider Saturday a weird phenomenon. Even with those two amazing shows happening, I did something I never thought I would do– I chose a cover/ tribute band show. Why would I do such a thing and was it the right decision? Read on to find out.

Although Dirty Rotten Scoundrels wasn’t around when I was growing up in Des Moines, one of their members was in a few bands that I worshipped to the point where one of his projects even made the cut to play my Bat Mitzvah (That’s right, Bradford– let’s not forget what is probably the highlight of your musical career– playing a legit Bat Mitzvah). Life always gets in a way and Bradford and I have somehow stayed in touch although we don’t talk much but when he told me he would be playing at The Turf Club, I knew I had to be there, and as soon as I heard him say “We are Dirty Rotten Scoundrels from Des Moines, Iowa”, I knew I had made the right choice.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels plays covers. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know that I hate cover bands. It’s a spoiled brat kind of thing. The fact is, I just really don’t like old music. On top of that, I have had the absolute privilege of seeing damn near everyone and anyone I have ever wanted to see live that has been alive in my lifetime. Yes, I understand that sounds completely bratty but I’m okay with that because it’s the truth. All of that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ set.

Although every song was a cover, there were little flairs throughout the set that kept the songs and overall vibe of the set from feeling completely dated and regurgitated. Some of the little intricacies were small and subtle but I really felt, that they are what made Dirty Rotten Scoundrels stand out to me. There were moments when it was clear that there were some issues with monitors and in-ears but the band powered through without missing a step.

Maybe it was the fact that I was watching Bradford perform again for the first time in decades or maybe it was just the fact that their song choice was on point. From “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison to a smattering of tracks from The Beatles, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels knew just what to play to get the audience moving and smiling. Although it took a while for the dance floor to really come to fruition, by the end of their set, a smattering of people had made their way up closer to the stage and were clearly seizing every moment of every song this band was playing.

The audience was clearly not ready for the night to end so it was a blessing that the changeover between Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and headliners Church of Cash didn’t take long. Full disclosure, I knew very little about Johnny Cash. It goes back to that whole “I don’t really love old music” thing. That being said, I absolutely understand the importance and God-given talent of Johnny Cash so I was excited to see the closest thing I think I will ever get to seeing Johnny Cash.

Frontman Jay Ernest truly embodies Johnny Cash in an uncanny way. From his deep baritone voice to his shiny black suit and subtle mannerisms which matched the few things I’ve seen of the OG Johnny Cash, he just had it completely nailed and then some. I know that I wasn’t actually watching Johnny Cash on Saturday night but there were many moments throughout Church Of Cash’s set where I felt like the reality was a bit blurred. It was so easy to get lost in Church of Cash’s world due to the sheer power that they brought to the stage and their true professionalism and talented musicianship that was being put in the spotlights.

Not being super familiar with Johnny Cash’s catalog, I can’t list off all of the songs that the band played throughout their hour-and-a-half long set but I definitely recognized some of the hits. From “I Walk The Line” to “Ring of Fire”, Church of Cash had the audience singing and dancing along regardless of if they were playing a hit or a deep dive from The Man in Black’s catalog.

I have to be honest, I had no clue that Church of Cash is actually a Minneapolis act. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t seek out cover or tribute bands or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t go out of my way for anything Johnny Cash but I was just a little taken aback when I figured it out. I was also excited because that meant maybe I could catch these guys again. It also means that I am going to make an effort to check out Folsom Prison Experience– a “Full contact immersive tribute drama” that depicts that pivotal day in Johnny Cash’s life. Folsom Prison Experience stars the one and only Jay Ernest and, with how convincing he was at the Turf Club on Saturday, I can only imagine how convincing he would be with a whole production around him.

I would have loved to be at the Merry Krampus event featuring Impaler on Saturday. I got a little bit of flack for not being at The Plot In You show because of the amazing local acts they had opening. Honestly, it was a hard decision because my roots are in the local music scene and both of those shows would show those roots but, the truth is, my real roots are back in Des Moines, Iowa. That’s where I got addicted to live music. That’s where I really decided that this was going to be my life. I respected my roots by going to The Turf Club to see a friend from my past perform on stage after about two decades of not witnessing it and I regret nothing. Being transported into Johnny Cash’s world with Church of Cash was absolutely the icing on the cake of a wonderful evening.

Line Up:

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Church of Cash

Venue: Turf Club

Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable

Average Age of the Crowd: 47

Crowd Surfers- None

Stage Divers- None

Mosh-ability- 1 out of 10

Sausage-Fest Meter- 6 out of 10

Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0

Broken Bones- None

Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing

Fights- None Witnessed

Pukers- 0

Randomly Shirtless Men – 0

Passed Out Kids- 0

Idiots Taken Out By Security – None Spotted

How Irritated I Was With The Audience – 1 out of 10

How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – 0

Church of Cash – 0

Celebrity Sightings – Ann of Mostly MN Music

Overall Score- 8.7 out of 10

Show on Deck — Big Salt

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