Since their first show in late 2012, a major buzz about the band Frogleg has been spreading through the music scene stemming from their ever-growing weekly tradition, “Frogleg Thursdays @ Bunkers” in downtown Minneapolis. After four years, Frogleg closed the book on that chapter of their musical path. Their send off from Bunker’s was met with a series of sold out appearances at the club counting down to the final show.
Since departing from their home gig, the band has headlined shows at most of the major venues in Minneapolis from the Cabooze to the Skyway Theatre downtown as well as an appearance on the First Avenue mainroom stage. Outside of Minneapolis, Frogleg has expanded their touring circuit considerably, now including many of the friendly mountain states as well as the greater Midwest. Frogleg has shared the stage with Steven Tyler, Jeff Austin Band, New Orleans Suspects, Devon Allman, Orgone, Raw Oyster Cult, Samantha Fish, Allie Kral, Robert Randolph and has played multiple dates with Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band.
Known for their songwriting and improvisational live performances, Frogleg would be best described as a soul band, as their influences are not drawn from one specific genre. A typical Frogleg show usually features a unique blend of Funk, Reggae, Rock and Jazz exploration.
Frogleg’s debut, self-titled album, released in April of 2015, first pressing sold out in under six months. The band followed up in 2017 with the release of ‘Busy Checking In’. The release show was met with much excitement pairing Frogleg with George Porter Jr. and Jon Cleary on the beautiful Como Dockside Pavilion. The album is seeing lots of attention from national radio, charting on stations from California to New York! The band followed up their release by pressing the album to a double vinyl and adding on some bonus live tracks from an in studio radio performance. The vinyl release show quickly sold out – something that Frogleg seems to be making a habit of. Do yourself a favor and go see a Frogleg show!
Joe Marcinek Band
Joe Marcinek Band is an ever evolving mixture of original compositions and incredible musicians. Each show has a slightly different lineup and interpretation. The music is a blend of jazz and funk with a cerebral emphasis on groove and improvisation.
Recently the JMB performed for ex president Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative at the Field Museum in Chicago. The group just finished a successful run with special guest keyboardist Steve Molitz from Particle and Phil Lesh and Friends. Other artists JMB has played with include, Jen Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), Allie Kral (Yonder Mountain String Band), Nick Gerlach (Cosby Sweater), Joe Hettinga (Digital Tape Machine / Strange Arrangement), Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band) – and many more.
John Papa Gros
Born in New Orleans, John “Papa” Gros has spent more than a quarter-century championing the music of the Big Easy. He’s played it all — New Orleans funk, rock & roll, jazz, blues, Americana, pop/rock — and he swirls those styles into a genre-bending gumbo that pays tribute to his influences while still pushing ahead into new territory. Like Allen Toussaint and Dr. John, Gros is a proud local who carries on the tradition of New Orleans music, both honoring its past and helping to shape its future.
After kicking off his career as an organist and pianist, for George Porter Jr.’s Runnin’ Pardners, during the 1990s, Gros formed the funk group Papa Grows Funk in 2000. The band held down a weekly performance at the famous Maple Leaf Bar for 13 years, mixing the smooth sophistication of a jazz quintet with the wild, anything-goes spirit of Mardi Gras. Fans and tourists crowded the bar every Monday night, looking for Papa Grows Funk to dish out a greasy, groove-heavy serving of Big Easy funk. The band delivered, releasing six critically-acclaimed albums — including Needle in the Groove, which was co-produced by Nola legend Allen Toussaint, and a 2015 live record that captured Papa Grows Funk’s last Monday night at the Maple Leaf Bar.— and touring around the world, carrying the torch of New Orleans’ music scene to far-flung places.
Papa Grows Funk called it quits in 2013. Gros (pronounced “grow”) kept playing music, landing work as a sideman for many Nola artists — including Better Than Ezra, Anders Osborne, The Metermen, Raw Oyster Cult, and Bonerama— and playing organ during a pair of all-star tributes to Dr. John and the Neville Brothers. Finally, Gros began focusing once again on his solo career — which he’d kicked off in 2004 with the album Day’s End — by prepping a second solo record that focuses on the full range of his musical influences and abilities.
He’s been a sideman. A bandleader. A frontman. A solo artist. A singer. An instrumentalist. The roles have been varied, but the goal remains the same: to honor the music he’s been living his whole life, and to add his own page to New Orleans’ history book.