Caterwaul Festival: A Noisy and Rocking Late May Alternative


On Memorial Day weekend last year, when Maryland Deathfest took the year off, Northwest Terrorfest, the Milwaukee Metalfest and the Hell in the Harbor Fest all seemingly tried to take advantage of the absence and fill in the gap by airing their own festi-tacular wares that particular weekend. Almost lost in the shuffle of extreme and loud live music options was the excellent Caterwaul Fest, a gathering that describes itself as “more than a ‘music festival,’ we are a community of people working together to make things happen. Many of them are noisy and they definitely rock. It is not: however, Noise Rock.”

However, take a gander at the lineup of the 2024 edition (as well as any previous years) and have fun trying to convince anyone this isn’t a festival in which noise rock dominates the program. So, if bands like the Austerity Program, Gay Witch Abortion, Whores., Couch Slut, Part Chimp, Murf, Thrones and Oxbow (and any of the 37 others playing) and downtown Minneapolis is more your speed, then do yourself a solid and get thee to the midwest and the spiritual home of noise rock. Yeah, we said it. And if you needed anymore convincing and cajoling, we cornered festival co-founder, Conan Neutron (also host of the Protonic Reversal podcast) for his thoughts on why you should consider visiting Minneapolis and attending Caterwaul later this month.

Top 5 Reasons to Spend Memorial Day Weekend at Caterwaul Instead of Maryland Death Fest

1) Diversity in sound: We got the heavy, we have the aggro, but we have the weird too…. I burn out on hearing too many metal bands in a row personally.

2) Diversity in representation: We take a lot of care in our programming to ensure that it isn’t just a bunch of dude bands. I could be wrong, but I think our proportion of non-male to male representation is far greater than Death Fest. I might be assuming things, but, look… I’ve been to metal shows… I’m probably not.

3) Legible logos.

4) Brainiac is playing Caterwaul. The band that inspired everybody from Nine Inch Nails to the Mars Volta. They won’t be back for forever, but we have them and boy, is that a treat!

5) Oxbow! One of the most original and enduring bands in weird/heavy music. Not common to be able to see in the best of times, but Oxbow appearances are going to be even more rare than ever. See them while you can, an American original.

Top 5 Past Caterwaul Moments

1) The gleefully topsy-turvy and perfectly appropriate Flipper set with Shannon Selberg of Cows on vocals that closed last year! One of my favorite bands of all time, and who everybody in heavy and weird music owes a huge debt to.

2) Big Business closing out Caterwaul 2022 on the TINY inside stage at Palmer’s. After fair weather ALL WEEKEND, we got hit with a tornado warning (!) and gale force storms on the bigger stage and the monster duo of Big Business pulled in a ripper set with the entire festival packed into a tiny space. Something I remember when I hear anybody complaining about small stages or adverse musical situations or even think about complaining about it myself. Heroes!

3) Hands Up Who Wants to Die last year. Their set was a standout for me, I love their new singer Rory and what he brings to the band. Definitely the exact right band at the exact right time and a great example of the kinds of bands folks SHOULD know that we also showcase at Caterwaul.

4) Shawn from Child Bite crowdsurfing during Chat Pile’s set! If only Charles Peterson had been there to take the picture. I love it!

5) Sandrider (from Seattle) busting loose a cover of Big Black’s Kerosene for their set at Caterwaul 2022. Completely unexpected for me but VERY, VERY welcome

Top 5 Non-Caterwaul Things to Do in Minneapolis When Not Caterwauling

1) Shop at Twin Town guitars! One of our sponsors, but boy, what a cool music store. If you are remotely into gear, it is a must.

2) Drink at Falling Knife Brewing company, a very cool spot that makes very cool stuff. They’ve sponsored previous years and are great folks. They have a great taproom.

3) Eat at Uptown Diner on Hennepin, about a 15 minute walk from Mortimer’s. Just an awesome old school American style diner. Have had many a “day after the show” breakfast here with friends and folks. Great vibes and great food. No hipster fare or hipster prices!

4) Go look at First Avenue/7th Street Entry. A legendary venue! They have stars outside, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, of all of the great bands that have played there over the years. Hard to argue with the location Prince did Purple Rain at, right? Worth a look at least since it has been around since 1970.

5) Go look at the Replacements house! As in the one on the cover of Let it Be… It is still there. Of course people live in it, so don’t try to climb on the roof and recreate the album cover. I can’t imagine they’d care for that. But if you’re into that kind of thing, it doesn’t cost a dime and it is really cool to see.

Caterwaul is held May 24-27 in Minneapolis at Palmer’s Bar and Mortimer’s Bar.

Ticket info here.

Updated schedule here.

Caterwaul website here

Originally Posted Here

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