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Twin Cities music lovers finally got to see live music inside Icehouse again — albeit just a one-song performance also seen by the rest of the world.
Tuesday night's music performance by Chicago indie-rock Fruit Bats on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" was filmed at the Minneapolis supper club with a quartet of well-known Twin Cities musicians in tow. Fruit Bats founder Eric D. Johnson enlisted ubiquitous Minnesota sidemen JT Bates (drums), Michael Lewis (bass), Jeremy Ylvisaker (guitar) and Bryan Nichols (keys) as his backing band for the televised performance of "The Balcony."
Like a lot of recent intrastate music collaborations of this sort, Tuesday's pairing can largely be traced to Justin Vernon's Eaux Claires festival, where Johnson performed with Bates and Lewis in the 2018 debut of his side band Bonny Light Horsemen, also featuring Anaïs Mitchell and Josh Kaufman. Johnson's well-reviewed new Fruit Bats album on Merge Records, "Pet Parade," was produced by Kaufman (also producer of the Hold Steady's newest LP).
Ylvisaker, Bates and Lewis all play together as Alpha Consumer, and along with Nichols they have collectively backed about 9,000 acts over the years, including Bon Iver and Johnson's fellow Illinois strummer Andrew Bird.
Nichols gave his Instagram followers a heads-up about the performance on Tuesday, writing, "I got the chance to play some music with friends in person a couple weeks ago and it was absolutely wonderful and life-affirming, and they're showing that music tonight on TV."
Home to some of the best COVID-era outdoor gigs in town last summer and fall, Icehouse is actually hosting live music indoors again, albeit on a smaller scale with stripped-down, no-cover sets. Those include a pair of suppertime performances this Friday and Saturday by jazzists Ted Olsen, Aaron Hedenstrom and Miguel Hortado, plus brunch sets by Lonesome Dan Kase on Saturday and the Red Hot Django Peppers on Sunday.
Many of the Icehouse's best-known regular performers recently banded together to raise money for the eatery's live music efforts during the pandemic with the digital compilation album "Icehouse Live Series, Vol. 1," available via Bandcamp.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658