Minneapolis-spawned rockers Soul Asylum — most widely known for their Grammy-winning 1993 hit “Runaway Train” — are back on the road, touring amphitheaters, casinos and other venues on the “Rock & Roll Express” tour alongside 3 Doors Down and Collective Soul. But this Friday, the band will dial things back a little for a special acoustic club show at Cincinnati’s Urban Artifact.
Friday’s show begins at 7:55 p.m. with a set from Cincinnati’s In Details. FAX and Mariela also perform. Soul Asylum is slated to hit the stage around 10 p.m.
This isn't Soul Asylum's first "unplugged" rodeo. In fact, this week's Urban Artifact acoustic show takes place exactly 25 years, two months and one day after the group's popular appearance on MTV's Unplugged series.
Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Dave Pirner and together since the early ’80s, Soul Asylum emerged from the Minneapolis Punk scene and began building a worldwide following with early albums like Hang Time and And the Horse They Road In On. But with 1992’s Grave Dancer’s Union, the group became AltRock superstars.
The “classic lineup” of Soul Asylum featured guitarist Dan Murphy and bassist Karl Mueller. Mueller died from cancer in 2005 and Murphy left the band in the early ’10s, but Pirner has kept Soul Asylum alive with various lineups (including a stint featuring Replacements legend Tommy Stinson). The most recent lineup of the band features Ryan Smith (The Melismatics), Winston Roye and former Prince drummer Michael Bland. Soul Asylum’s current tour is in support of the recent reissues on Omnivore Recordings of the group’s first two albums for Twin/Tone Records, 1984's Say What You Will... Everything Can Happen and 1986's Made To Be Broken.
Fun "local tie-in" fact: Pirner sang the Paul McCartney vocals on the soundtrack for the 1994 film Backbeat, about original Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe. The John Lennon songs were performed by Hamilton, Ohio native Greg Dulli of Cincinnati-born Rock legends The Afghan Whigs. The other members of the “Backbeat Band” were Dave Grohl, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Mike Mills of R.E.M. and Don Fleming of Gumball.