I don’t know how I got turned onto Lazyboy and his 2004 album ‘Lazyboy TV’ but it’s an album I go back to frequently. I found it to be super catchy and interesting musically but it was the lyrics that really got their claws in me– specifically from the song “Underwear Goes Inside the Pants”. It kicks off with the lines:

“Why is marijuana not legal? Why is marijuana not legal?
It’s a natural plant that grows in the dirt
You know what’s not natural? 80-year-old dudes with hard-ons
That’s not natural, but we got pills for that
We’re dedicating all our medical resources to keeping the old guys erect
But we’re putting people in jail for smoking something that grows in the dirt?”

Although I was too young to be a pothead back then and never really fell in love with the drug scene as a lot of my friends did, something about those lines struck a chord with me and that’s what was going through my head as I celebrated Minnesota’s legalization of marijuana on Tuesday night at the First Avenue Mainroom.

Let’s start with the walk up to the familiar doors of the legendary club. My friend and I parked in my normal parking spot in the ramp I normally parked at. Took the normal stairs down to ground level, made the usual left turn out of the ramp and started walking the block worth of distance between the ramp and the club. That’s where all of the usual and normal ended for us. As soon as we crossed the street to the block that First Avenue is on, everything changed. Instead of the typical smells of the city (including cigarettes, exhaust, and just, well, the city) we were blasted with the smell of the devil’s lettuce.

It was weird to be walking down the block and seeing person after person just standing there hitting a joint but I kind of liked it. There was a sense of celebration in the air and it was so fun to just stand there and take it all in. Tents started popping up on the sidewalks promoting different brands and products that all had to do with the weed industry. They started on the sidewalks but, before long, the tents had moved to the middle of the street and a little “weed street fair” had started. I’m not here to tell you about the little street fair happening outside on Tuesday night, I’m here to tell you about the festivities inside of the First Avenue mainroom but I figured I would at least set the scene for you.

Much like how it felt a bit surreal outside, it felt similar inside the iconic venue. With the smell of pot wafting in from the open doors and green lights illuminating the room with a heavy use of the fog machines, the familiar space suddenly felt a bit different to me but I loved it. I mean, Tuesday night was not a normal show. Sure, there was music, dancing, and flashing lights but it was more than just a show.

Before the music got started, a slew of speakers took the stage. I was on sensory overload as they talked so I apologize for not taking notes about who was saying what but I loved what they were saying and that is more important that the names. All of the speakers had something different to say but the overall theme of the speeches was celebratory for all of the hard work and loads of time that had finally paid off as of Tuesday. Everyone on stage had a different background whether it was in politics, activism, or just the weed industry in general. It was nice to see and hear so many different perspectives on the monumental law change. Obviously, the audience who was clearly eager to party, really perked up when former Governor Jesse Ventura came up on stage to show his support. Jesse’s speech was short and all I remember from it was him mentioning getting high and going to see Jimi Hendrix just before Jimi’s untimely passing but it was fun to see a bit of a legend up on stage taking part in the celebration.

There were plenty more times throughout the night where people talked about what this legalization means to them but being the non pot-head I am and being the live music junkie I am, I shifted all of my focus to the music. I’ve already written a lot in this post and I promise not to keep you much longer as I know we all have a busy day ahead of us but I wanted to mention just a few of the many performers that graced the stage on Tuesday night. Well, I want to mention all of them but that would take forever so I’ll just talk about a couple of the standouts for me.

The first act to take the stage was a personal favorite of mine, JoJo Green. She and her band instantly got the party started with their upbeat jams and shining personalities. Performing on Tuesday night was definitely a task for the groups as there was so much going on and people were so overstimulated by it all (or at least I was). I feel like it was hard for anyone to really hook an audience but JoJo Green seemed to do it with ease for those who chose to stay inside the venue after the speeches. Like usual, JoJo brought a sense of power and conviction to the stage that was just as fun as it was addicting.

Another stand-out act on Tuesday night was The New Primitives. This is a band that has been around for decades and has been on my list to see for years. Tuesday night was the first chance I had to cross them off my list and it definitely won’t be my last time seeing them. Their sound is unique as it blends a little bit of everything from rock & roll to reggae to Afro Cuban to funk to World music– okay, you get it. Their sound is all over the place and matched the audience perfectly because of it. There was something so genuine and raw yet polished about their performance that I just could not get enough of.

The final act that really stood out to me was, of course, Marijuana Deathsquads. I mean, with a name like that, of course they had to perform on Tuesday night. Marijuana Deathsquads is a local band that I don’t get to see as much as I would like to. Their sound and style is bizarre and far from typical. Instead of a normal band configuration, this group is made up for 4 drummers (yes– 4 full drummers with 4 full drum kits) and then a bunch of people leaning over a card table full of computers and electronics. There’s a lot more that goes into this band but that is Marijuana Deathsquads in a nutshell and they are one of those acts that you just have to see. They killed it on Tuesday night (as they always do) but it was the addition of Representative Ilhan Omar that was the icing on the cake when it came to their set. Ilhan came out in her leather jacket and joined in for a couple of songs which was honestly super cool to see. Typically music and politics don’t mix but last night that were joined at the hip and I feel like Marijuana Deathsquads playing with Omar really showed that in a special way.

Everyone who played on Tuesday night was great but I truly just don’t want to keep rambling on so mad shout outs to: Maria Isa, Dj Espada, DJ Lori Barbero, DJ Cristian Baca, DJ Verb X, and the one and only DJ Keezy. Seriously, everyone was so great and, if I had the time and thought you would all continue reading, I would write a little something on all of them.

Weed is legal now in Minnesota ya’ll. That doesn’t change my day-to-day life at all but I know a lot of people who are very passionate about this and celebrating with them on Tuesday was a thrill. At one point when I was standing in First Avenue, a guy standing right in front of me lit a giant joint and started passing it around. Is this the new normal? Well, staff was quick to shut it down (very nicely of course) so maybe not but what a time to be alive folks. What a freaking time to be alive.

Line Up:

DJ Espada

JoJo Green

DJ Lori Barbero

Maria Isa

DJ Cristian Baca

New Primitives

DJ Verb X

Ilhan Omar and the Music Rockers (aka Marijuana Deathsquads)

DJ Keezy

Venue:  First Avenue

Smell-O-Meter: All of the Weed

Average Age of the Crowd: 26

Crowd Surfers- 0

Stage Divers- 0

Mosh-ability- 2 out of 10

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

Broken Bones- None Noticed

Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing

Fights- None Witnessed

Pukers- 0

Passed Out Kids- 0

Idiots Taken Out By Security – 0

How Irritated I Was With The Audience – 0 out of 10

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

DJ Espada – 0

JoJo Green – 1

DJ Lori Barbero – 1

Maria Isa – 2

DJ Cristian Baca – 0

New Primitives – 0

DJ Verb X – 0

Ilhan Omar and the Music Rockers (aka Marijuana Deathsquads) – 6

DJ Keezy – 3

Celebrity Sightings – Har Mar Superstar/ Andy of Whiskey Rock N’ Roll club MPLS

Overall Score – 8.6 out of 10

Show on Deck — Paramore / Foals / The Linda Lindas

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