Welcome to Minneapolis, Where The Punk Scene Is Killer

May 2, 2022

Minneapolis is known for more than lakes, the Mall of America, and being “Minnesota nice.” In addition to being a top city to watch live music, Minneapolis’ history is deeply rooted in hardcore, raw, punk rock music, spanning back to the 1950s. With AFROPUNK’s anchor in punk and other alternative subcultures, we must acknowledge and celebrate the Minneapolis punk scene as our tribe plans to take over the city in the months ahead!

The City’s History

Rock & Roll in Minnesota began in the 1950s, with Augie Garcia notably remembered from the time as the “Godfather of Rock & Roll.” The genre didn’t quite skyrocket at the time because its reputation as “crazy rebellion” clashed with the state’s history of hospitality and generosity—the idea of being “Minnesota nice.” But rock really shook up the state in the mid-1970s when the New York Dolls performed at the 1974 state fair. Along with their music, the influential band brought their trending fashion and attitudes that spread like wildfire across the state. From there, a fantastic rock scene formed into a movement. What truly set it off was the “Preview to Rock in the 80s” marathon hosted at the University of Minnesota in 1979. The marathon showcased top rock talent that skyrocketed the scene into the 1980s. 

Trending Bands in the 80s

Famous bands like the Suicide Commandos, the Suburbs, The Replacements, Husker Du, Babes in Toyland, and the Flamin’ Oh’s took over the Minneapolis scene throughout the 1980s. As the genre continued to flourish, various rock types also took flight. Bands mesmerized crowds with hardcore, ska-punk, psychobilly, and new wave, giving their audiences a variety of rock that stuck with the movement. Bands Misery and Dillinger Four also remained popular through the 1990s and early 2000s. 

Who to Look Out For Today

If you haven’t noticed yet, keep your eye on Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Ondara—a Kenyan native hailing from Minnesota. His deep, rhythmic vocals and skills on the guitar combine Rock & Roll beats to bring us pleasant hits you’ll want to hear. Check out some of his hits like Lockdown on Datenight Tuesday and Isolation Boredom Syndrome from his latest album, Folk N’ Roll Vol. 1: Tales of Isolation.     

Planet AFROPUNK Live: Minneapolis

Get ready, fam—because we’re playing zero games this year. So make sure to meet us at AFROPUNK Live in Minneapolis for Juneteenth weekend! We’re bringing all the cultural vibes to set the mood and more. We’ll be unpacking all of the details for this event in the upcoming weeks, so grab your tickets and get your bags ready. Planet AFROPUNK will be out of this world!