Clouds minus the thunder with all-acoustic show
The members of Cloud Cult are trying some new things in their return to Rochester.
The experimental indie rock Minnesota band has played plugged in throughout Minnesota, including the St. John's Block Party in Rochester. In its return trip to southeastern Minnesota, Cloud Cult will play an acoustic show at the Rochester Art Center. Its first appearance at the downtown Rochester location.
The eight-person band, led by Owatonna native Craig Minowa, will play a sold-out show at the art center at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Show promoter Kurt Augustine, who chaired the St. John's Block Party when Cloud Cult played there in 2008, 2009 and 2011, said the 450 tickets to the acoustic show were long gone months ago.
"Rochester loves them," Augustine said. "It's really impressive to sell out a December show two months before the show."
Minowa, who sings and plays guitar, said the band members are honored by the quick sellout.
"We plan to put all of our best energy into the performance," he said. "I also have a lot of family in that area, as my dad grew up outside of Rochester, so it always feels a bit like home being there."
The idea of an acoustic show came to Minowa when Cloud Cult performed at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis a couple of years ago.
"It has taken quite some time to build a full set that is completely acoustic, simply because our usual show has a lot of electric elements in it," he said. "We wanted to build a set that was really stripped down and intimate and could provide a lot of focus on the messaging of the music and the energy exchange between the audience and the band."
To prepare for the short acoustic tour — the band will also play three sold-out shows in the Twin Cities — Cloud Cult did some what Minowa called "test shows" in Seattle, St. Louis and Indianapolis. Rochester will provide the band an opportunity to perform the entire set before recording the Twin Cities' performances for a live album, set for release in early February.
Cloud Cult started in 1995 and the group has recorded well over 100 songs. Minowa said picking the songs for the acoustic live album was not easy.
"The songs were chosen based on their lyrical messaging," he said. "The goal is to offer a show that brings a refined message of positive intention. The show is a sort of messaging summary of the past 10 years of Cloud Cult's philosophical and spiritual explorations."
Throughout the early part of 2014, Cloud Cult will tour to promote the live album, playing both acoustic and electric sets. Augustine said no additional tickets will be released for Cloud Cult's arts center show, but he hopes to bring the band back next year, and, hopefully, in a bigger venue.
"Cloud Cult always brought in big crowds, but those were outdoor shows, so you never know if they will have the same impact inside," Augustine said. "In a perfect world, it would be great to put them in an place with 800 seats, but Rochester doesn't have that, but they may do well in a place like Presentation Hall or the Mayo Civic Center Auditorium. We will have to see."
Cloud Cult will fit in at the art center for another reason. Connie Minowa, Craig's wife, and Scott West paint on stage during the show. Both painters also are from Owatonna.
What:Cloud Cult acoustic show.
When:7:30 p.m. Dec. 5.
Where:Rochester Arts Center.