Category Archives: live shows

Kirsten Dunst to Make an Appearance at Dinkytowner Tonight!

It’s been a while since I played “Kirsten Dunst” with a band.  The song, which was put on tape during my run with the Speakeasy Heroes in the summer of 2000, has remained a fan favorite (and a Toby favorite) despite the fact that I only play it when I play solo at unsuspecting coffee shops and bars.  Jim has been requesting it for years at shows, and, until last night, I had never dusted it off in the band setting.  So, tonight at the Dinkytowner, we will be opening with it.  YEAH!!!

By the way, band practice last night was fun, but it was sloppy as %#^$!  I hadn’t really played guitar since I left for San Francisco 3 weeks ago, and my hands felt like rubber, bouncing around at the whim of the laws of momentum.  My brain has not quite wrestled those hands to the ground yet, but when it does – watch out!

Here’s our set list for tonight (always tentative):

  1. Kirsten Dunst
  2. Inspiration
  3. Colleen
  4. Kids
  5. Tonight was a wonderful night!
  6. 2 Sisters/Monster (end on down beat after last chorus)
  7. Boulder
  8. You’re all that I want.
  9. Leaving L.A.
  10. Let’s Get Funky
  11. I Bombed Korea
  12. Quittin’ My Job

Lookin’ Past Me
Killer’s Creek

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Dinkytowner with Charlie Van Stee, Shivering Fits, and Lisa McGuire

I read today that Wednesday night’s Charlie Van Stee Trio show might be one of their last as a band, which saddens me.  Those guys have been staples of the local scene for some time.  Though, I guess if they are exiting the local stage soon, I am glad that I get to do one last hurrah with them.  We have probably played more shows with the CVS Trio than any other band in the Cities, and Charlie is one of the finest songwriters around.  It has been and will continue to be a pleasure sharing the stage with him in whatever form his music takes in the future.

Oh! We go on at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday; plenty of time to partake in those $5 pitchers – yeeeeehawwww!!!!
Double Oh!  Shivering Fits are a kick-ass guitar/drums duo, which I LOVE!  Remember the days of Arthur Dent?  Those were the days.  Actually, I still have some copies of the Arthur Dent EP if anyone is interested.

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Nerds and Booking

I was fully expecting and hoping to watch Revenge of the Nerds today (a key component of my expansive VHS collection), but instead I found myself sending emails to bars and coffee shops in an attempt to book some shows. While doing so, I realized that if I sent even one booking email per day to a venue, I would be much further ahead of the game than I currently am. (For the record, I am currently in a state of laziness.)

Today I emailed 5 venues. On Monday, I will email 5 more. Same with Tuesday. This might not seem like much, but it takes me about 1 hour to send 5 emails like that, since each one is customized to contain information for each venue.

I am trying to book June right now, which would save me from the stress of booking bands at the last minute as I did for the Valentine’s Day Fundraiser.

Anyway, no Revenge of the Nerds for me today. Next up is lunch with Megan, then an interview with Jenny Dalton for the Lunch of Champions podcast series.

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Rahm the Attack Dog

Today I might be playing a show with local rock legend, John Stowell, over at the Acadia Cafe.  John called the other day and asked me to sit in with his band on the ukulele.  Sounds like fun!  The show is at 2 p.m. and is free to get in…I think…

Also, I am trying to set up a songwriting session with Dave for today as well, but the schedule is packed tight.  Hopefully he is flexible!  🙂
Finally, I’m putting the band back together!!!  John, Ryan, and me will be playing a Cryns #3 set at Trocaderos on April 21 at 7:50 p.m.  It’s part of a battle of the bands and should be pretty fun!

Lastly, check out this awesome dog, Rahm, that my dad has on his desk:

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Dubliner Pub – Yeehaw!!!

Lots of fun at the ol’ Dubliner Pub on Thursday, I tell ya!  JFK, LOUDRAY, and all sorts of rowdy hooligans showed their faces.  Check it out:

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Acadia Cafe Wrapup – March 18, 2009

I had a blast playing the Acadia Cafe tonight!  Eliza Blue warmed up the stage for us, and we, in turn, warmed it up even more for Jack Ventimiglia, who is a fresh face from Detroit, MI.  Jack really played some nice songs and provided a great close to the evening.

Dave sat in on the djembe tonight, which was a lot of fun!  He talks a lot on stage and at one point even noted that he was going to steal my thunder or something like that, which was pretty funny at the time.  I’m not sure I have any thunder to share, but he is certainly welcome to it. The crowd was great – more rowdy than usual for the Acadia.  At one point they started clapping in rhythm, so I asked them to keep it up while we burned through “Quittin’ My Job”.  Then a couple of songs later, I saw Eliza clapping along, and I asked the crowd not to leave her hanging, and they abliged by adding their claps to hers.  A fun night, I tell ya!  Here are some photos courtesy of the beautiful Lisa M. and me:

And here are some videos:

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Show Tonight at Acadia Cafe with Eliza Blue, Jeffrey James, and Jack Ventimiglia

It’s that time of the month again!  I am playing a full set with Dave Rowley (of “Heat It Up!” fame) tonight at the Acadia Cafe in Minneapolis.  It’s free to get in!  Here’s the lineup:

8 p.m. – Jeffrey James
9 p.m. – Eliza Blue
10 p.m. – Toby Cryns
11 p.m. – Jack Ventimiglia

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Creating a Buzz for my Band (Step 1)

I had a great meeting today over at Spyhouse Coffee with Shirani, a young dynamo/promoter in the Twin Cities. Among the topics discussed were:
– Promoting the new album, “Faraway Farm”
– Email distribution list
– Booking shows for April, May, and beyond

The goal of the meeting was to start to put together the pieces of a promotional/performing campaign that will allow us to play more often in the Twin Cities. The bottom line is that it is very time-consuming to book shows locally. On my West Coast tour last summer, I would guess that I contacted 15-20 venues for every show that was booked. That ratio is about the same when I try to book gigs in the Twin Cities.

Every now and then, through the grace of God, himself, one might stumbled upon a guy like Steve Key, as I did last summer. Steve is an amazing guitarist and performer, but he is also one of the most helpful booking guys west of the Mississippi River. He booked three amazing shows for me in central California and, in the process, made my tour much more enjoyable.

So, my thought is this: If I can generate some name recognition (and some buzz) for my band, locally, I will be able to cut those contacts down to 1-5 for every gig booked. That makes things MUCH easier. If I am looking to book 10 gigs, rather than sending and following up on 150-200 emails, I only need to follow up on 10-50. That leaves hundreds of hours to focus on making music, practicing, and paying the bills, a big time savings.

But, time is money, as a wise man once said. So, I will be paying Shirani to compile a database of music reviewers both locally and nationally so that we will have a starting point to start promoting and creating awareness of the new Cryns #3 record.

The specifics are still in flux, but the way I see it, any action on the promotions front is a step forward for this band! 🙂

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The day after a great show is always kind of depressing.

The day after a great show is always kind of depressing. Last night I was a rock star, and today I am Toby Cryns, mild-mannered computer geek. Last night I was empowered and could potentially change the world. I had a microphone. Today I have a blog, which is a much more passive device.

I think part of what makes movie stars go crazy is that they never feel like they’ve “made it”. That is, they have to keep making popular movies or throwing temper-tantrums in public to remain famous. They are always one step behind the curve. In that sense, I suppose I am lucky. I am so far behind the curve that I can’t even see the damn curve! haha! It’s looming somewhere in that messy haze on the horizon, over by those mountains in the distance.

Lots of great things happened last night. We raised $321 to help organize local renters in their fight against slumlords. We were introduced, Illinois-style, by one of the finest statesmen in these United States, Mr. Jim J. Lots of friends came out to support the cause, and many of those friends brought friends along. It’s always nice to play to a crowd of supporters, and last night was one of those nights where I was just overjoyed to see all the smiling faces in the crowd. It warms my heart and gives me motivation to do it again next year!

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Tired but Cannot Sleep

Maybe it’s pre-show jitters, or maybe it’s the fish and chips I ate earlier, but it’s 2:15 a.m. and I’m up. Hmmm… I did discover two fantastic bands/performers in my post-nap/pre-sleep binge. First, check out Metronomy’s “A Thing For Me” video below (Thanks, Liana!) and then check out Matt Latterell, a brilliant up-and-coming songwriter from Minneapolis.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!

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Practicing Like Mad for Saturday's Show!

Our drummer, John, can’t make it to the show on Saturday, so we have been working with a fantastic guy, Dave, to round out our rhythm section for the show. I am happy to report that after three practices, it is clear that Dave will totally kick ass on Saturday.

Just in case you missed it, we take the stage at the Hexagon Bar at 11:45 p.m. on Saturday. Music starts at 9:30 p.m.

I love playing with different drummers, because they change the way that songs are played. For example, a song that used to be a shuffle turns into a rock rhythm. A couple of mysterious cymbal crashes appear, and now we have a rock anthem. It’s like I’m playing new music!

Also, I have brought Noah on board to produce the new record, and he is totally kicking ass! We are looking at an April release! Yooohaaa!!!

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Can We Fill Those Seats?

My dad recently asked the question on Twitter, “Do you really want to be famous?”, with the following video of Britney Spears getting harassed by the paparazzi:

So, I have been thinking – Do I really want to be famous? I don’t know. On the one hand, the end goal of pretty much any musician on the planet is to be totally famous – Britney Spears famous. But really, in my heart, I don’t want that. I want to lead a normal life, have a wife, kids, friends, etc. I don’t want to worry about getting a bad photo of me published in Us Weekly. God knows there is enough fodder of me on the World Wide Web already to give inquiring minds years worth of comedy, should I ever become famous.

The good news: I probably will never be famous. The bad news is the same as the good news. It’s weird. It’s like when I bake cookies, and all I want to do is eat them, but if I eat them I will feel gross afterwards. But I love to eat them, so I mow them down, and then I feel gross afterwords. *breath*

What I would LOVE, however, is something in between. I have always wanted to be able to play shows locally to packed houses. Tapes ‘n Tapes is doing it. They played a sold-out show at the best rock club in town last week. That’s where I want to get. I want to be onstage with a huge crowd, and know that I didn’t have to put any work into filling those seats.

“Why?”, you ask? Because I have spent the last month working my ass off, holding meetings, lining up bands, working with charities and booking guys, and promoting my band’s annual fundraiser. Maybe it will be a success, maybe not. That is the risk we run when we do things like this at the grass-roots level.

We have been fortunate to get Minneapolis’ hottest band, Solid Gold, on the bill as well as my old pal, Jenny Dalton, who is making quite a name for herself in the Midwest. Then there is my totally awesome band as well. And let’s not forget The Brutes, who also kick ass!

The point is this: This Valentine’s Day show is coming together with the help of all sorts of hard-working folks. We have community organizers, bands, friends, and friends of friends supporting us in this venture. It is going to be a great show. But the big question remains, “Can we fill those seats?”

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I Like to Play Guitar Really Really Fast.

toby heart hands

Sometimes when I practice, I like to play along to a random selection of The Meat Purveyors’ tunes. That band plays upbeat bluegrass faster than any other band I have heard. Their music is great, but the way they burn through certain songs is more impressive than their songwriting.

During my time in Los Angeles, I played in Spank – a band that prided itself on playing downstrokes on the guitar faster than any other band. My right forearm was bigger during that time than at any other time in my life. I want to get back to that. There’s something cathartic about playing guitar really really fast. It’s something that not many people are able to do. While I have a lot of work to go to get to the speed I want, I think I will get there. And when I do, you can expect me to form a new, upbeat bluegrass band that blows through songs faster than a snowplow through snow on a Minnesota street.

After running through The Meat Purveyors‘ brilliant “All Relationships Are Doomed to Fail” album, I proceeded to create and play through the set list for the Valentine’s Day show:

1. Inspiration
2. Kids
3. Boulder
4. Lookin’ Past Me
6. Tonight was a wonderful night!
7. 2 Sisters/Monster (end on down beat after last chorus)
8. Quittin’ My Job
9. You’re all that I want.
10. Leaving L.A.
11. Killer’s Creek
12. Colleen
13. Let’s Get Funky

It’s going to be a good one!!

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Valentine's Day Fundraiser! Fight Slumlords!!!

I am so pumped about this!  We are planning our 3rd annual fundraiser this Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14th) at the Hexagon Bar in Minneapolis.  Titled, “Heat It Up!”, the fundraiser will be raising money to purchase thermostats so that local renters can monitor their apartment temperature and report heating violations to the city of Minneapolis when appropriate. We even have a legitimate and completely awesome sponsor in Minneapolis’ Family and Children’s Service!

The fact that we have reached this point in this fight for justice is remarkable in and of itself. Just two years ago, I was sitting in my apartment in December without heat, watching those frozen clouds pour out of my mouth as I lay covered in blankets in my bed. And now, with the help of Family and Children’s Service, we have changed the city heating ordinance to be much more renter friendly. Plus, my slumlord/landlord and others like him are now on a city watchlist, making it more risky for them to skirt the law on this issue.

God bless democracy!

Here are the details of the fundraiser:

What: Fundraiser to raise money to purchase thermostats for local renters
Who: Local DJs and Bands: Jenny Dalton, Solid Gold (dj set), Cryns #3, and The Brutes
Where: Hexagon Bar in South Minneapolis (google map)
When: Feb. 14, 2009 – Valentine’s Day!
Cost: FREE! (We make a percentage of the drink sales)
Time: Music starts at 9:30 p.m.

Additional Information:
Help us promote the event!
About our cause

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Dinkytowner Last Night

Holy cow, did we ever rock it last night. I haven’t felt so good about a performance in a long time. We were well-practiced, Ryan hit his quota of half a beer before we took the stage, John was hot on the sticks, and I was caked in sweat by the end of it all. My ever-longening rockstar hair was also a factor.

Today I am tired, worn out, and ready to do it all over again.

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Valentine's Day Fundraiser

Valentine's Day

I am working with Minneapolis Family & Children’s Services on a fundraiser concert for Valentine’s Day Weekend. Do you think Friday the 13th or Saturday the 14th will be better for getting people to show up? On the one hand, Saturday seems better, because folks will be out and about romancing each other and making each other hot. On the other hand, people might get too hot to make it out to the show. But will Friday be any better? What do you think?

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Wednesday at the Dinkytowner!

Come check us out on Wednesday at the Dinkytowner!  Booyah!  We’re putting the band back together!!!  haha!  9 p.m.  Free to get in.  Drink specials!  See you there!


Eagles vs. Rockets KICKED SERIOUS ASS Last Night at the Acadia Cafe!

Photo of Toby taken with Mac Photo Booth

Photo of Toby taken with Mac Photo Booth

Last night’s Eagles vs. Rockets show at the Acadia Cafe kicked some serious ass.  We had some minor issues with sound to kick things off, and we took our dear time about developing momentum, but the final four songs were played from heaven on high!  Ripping through Ticky Ticky Tembo, Con El Sol, Revolution, and Woman Engineer in succession to end the set, we built up up up until in a final fury of post-teenage angst, we angrily pounded our respective instruments until they broke down and wouldn’t serve us any longer.  I remember looking over at Colin and thinking, “Oh shit!  He’s gone berzerk!” during the final four bars of Woman Engineer.  Wow.  Simply amazing.

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Eagles vs. Rockets this Friday at the Acadia!

I would be overwhelmed with joy if one or two of you showed up to the Acadia this Friday, Nov. 7 to support the second live performance by my new old band, Eagles vs. Rockets.  The band features my former Corrupt Senators, Speakeasy Heroes, Big Jerry, Cryns #3, and JC & the Moonshine Band mate, Rev. Bob Serrano, on the bass guitar and Pocahontas County‘s Colin “the Czar” Anderson channeling Kanye West on the banjo.  We will have T-Shirts and cds for sale and display.  Hope to see you there!

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Duluth, MN!!!

Here’s a video journal from the trip home:

Yesterday afternoon, I made the 3-hour journey to Duluth to play a 3-hour set at Fitger’s, a local bar/restaurant with immense popularity up there. It was an interesting show for me and reminded me more of my days playing Thursday night shows at Sportsman’s Pub than of my band’s more recent sets at the 331 Club and Dinkytowner. I met a few awesome people, and there were sporadic bouts of crowd engagement, but for the most part, it was me on stage, dusting off old classics and new material alike and mixing in a few standards here and there. By evenings’ end, I played roughly 40 songs! I even played The Meat Puppets’ Plateau when my new friend, Taylor Baggott, requested “a cover”. Haha! Anyone who has ever seen me play knows that I only play obscure cover songs – the type that nobody wants to hear. 😉

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