The Triple Rock, owned by Erik Funk of Dillinger Four and his wife Gretchen Funk, will be shutting down for good after November 22nd. The bar was opened in 1998, and the music side in 2003.
Shows will continue until the bar closes for good, with acts including Craig Finn of the Hold Steady/Lifter Puller, the Dead Boys, Swingin’ Utters, Western Settings, and tonight, Rozwell Kid. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a final Dillinger Four show.
To put it eloquently, this is a giant fucking bummer. One of my first shows there was Against Me! in, 2004, I think. My most recent show was The Murderburgers with Rational Anthem, City Mouse, and 83 Wolfpack. I lost count of how many times I saw Dillinger Four, Off With Their Heads, and Banner Pilot there.
Dillinger Fourth of July was always the best. You don’t know fine dining until a shirtless, drunk Paddy Costello starts passing out hot dogs and lit cigarettes in the middle of a set. The last D4th of July I went to was in 2016, where I caught The Brokedowns and was instantly a fan.
With no barricades and the stage only a few feet off the ground, it will forever be one of my favorite venues. Most bands I saw mingled, bought drinks for fans, and sold merch themselves. Maybe that’s not so uncommon in other places, but for a kid from a small town in the sticks of southern Minnesota, it was pretty fucking cool. Before I started going to the Triple Rock, I had only been to Warped Tour in 2000 (my first and last time), the legendary First Avenue, and The Quest (Fuck those columns!). Beyond house shows, I had never been exposed to anything so intimate.
Going to the Triple Rock showed me that the people that made the music I loved were just normal people. Billy Morrisette of Dillinger Four gave me a couple of free drinks because I played his (and my) favorite Clash song on the jukebox. I met Paddy at Grumpy’s in NE Minneapolis. We shotgunned cans of Francis Ford Coppola’s champagne out back. He forgot his knockoff Aviators at the end of the night, and I tried to return them the next time I saw him at the Triple Rock, and he told me to keep them. Yes, it’s all incredibly stupid, and yes, I’m dropping names. It doesn’t make me special. And that’s the point. These were just normal (I use that word very, very loosely) people. They made a thing I loved, and I could approach them. We could relate. The people that made the music I loved had time for a naive, wide-eyed kid fresh off the farm town. Fuck yeah.
The Triple Rock was a haven for me during one of the worst times of my life. I never had a bad time there. I saw a lot of great local bands that are no longer around, but still have a place in the giant CD book I’ve been lugging around from car to car since the early 2000s. Pretty Boy Thorson, The Fuck Yeahs, The Goddamn Doo-wop Band, Choke Cherry, Bastard Saint, Cardinal Sin, who knows who else. Hopefully some of the other smaller venues up here can pick up the slack, or maybe something new will come out of this. Either way, the Triple Rock will be sorely missed, but I’m grateful for the memories and all the people I met there, from performers, to staff, to other fans, and even that weird dude walking by out front that tried to sell me flowers at the Murderburgers show.