“A little blue thumbs-up isn’t the same as two real hands clapping,” said Jeremy Jewell, one of the frontmen for local band Hair of the Dog.

It’s likely been about three months since you’ve seen live music, in-person, inside a bar in Minnesota --but as the city gradually opens back up, all of that’s changing.

This past weekend, the North Star Bar (503 North Broadway, Rochester) in Rochester hosted its first live concerts with JT and the Gunslingers on Friday night and Fall Risk with Almost Amish and Luciano Azevedo de Souza on Saturday. And they’re not stopping there.

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Tomorrow night, The Star will feature the Atomic Playboys, followed by Lassos & Lace on June 20. The following weekend will find Hollywood BLVD taking the Star’s stage June 26, and Hair of the Dog on Saturday, June 27.

Charles Tune, a sound and lighting technician North Star, said the bar encourages customers to stay as safe as possible while enjoying the music.

“It’s pretty basic,” he said. “No more than 130 people allowed, masks aren’t required but encouraged, tables (are) six feet apart, and practice social distancing.”

Lassos & Lace (contributed photo)
Lassos & Lace (contributed photo)

The bands featured in the coming weekends include everything from the sounds of country to rock ‘n’ roll. Lassos & Lace, hailing from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and playing Saturday, features Madi Marie (lead vocals and acoustic guitar), Jarred Dahl (vocals and lead guitar), Jacob Bacino (bass), and Shawn Green (drums).

“Our music is a mix between country and rock,” Marie said. “We try and do a variety of pop and blues to appeal to different types of fans.” The band has been performing together for the last three years.

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Because of COVID-19, Marie said her band went months without rehearsals or shows, but they still stayed in touch to come up with new setlists and songs to practice. “We take our families’ and fans’ health into high consideration,” she said.

Hair of the Dog (contributed photo)
Hair of the Dog (contributed photo)

Jeremy Jewell from Hair of the Dog agreed that his band hasn’t played a show as a full group in front of a live, in-person audience since Feb. 21. He’s kept as busy as he could though with smaller private duo and trio gigs, live streams from local establishments, and even an appearance as part of the Land of 10,000 Streams online music festival.

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“Usually the way we play and look automatically creates social distance,” Jewell joked.

But in reality, he said the members of his band try to keep themselves six feet apart from each other and their fans, making sure to move tables and chairs away from the performance area. Though he’s excited to be playing live shows again, he’s also nervous.

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“It’s hard to imagine people dancing, but also keeping their distance from each other,” he said. To that end, Jewell said he only wants people to come out to the live shows if they’re comfortable with the risks it entails.

He’ll be sure to bring his own microphone.

If You Go

Here’s the June lineup at the North Star Bar (503 North Broadway, Rochester), from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

June 19: Atomic Playboys

June 20: Lassos & Lace

June 26: Hollywood BLVD

June 27: Hair of the Dog