The Minibosses: Top 10 Shows of Their 10 Years Together (Unabridged Version)

Categories: Lists
magfest 4 by verne becker.jpg
Verne Becker
When we asked The Minibosses -- who will celebrate their 10th anniversary Saturday with a giant blowout at the Yucca Tap Room -- to list their 10 favorite shows of their storied history, guitarist Aaron Burke gave us far more than we expected, and far too much to fit in New Times' print edition. So here it is, unedited and ready for your 8-bit pleasure.

10. August 26, 2005 at Ground Kontrol in Portland, Oregon, with The Necronauts

"We've played two shows at Ground Kontrol and, while both were great, only one made it to the top 10 overall. Ground Kontrol is a great retro arcade out in Portland. And on top of that, it's a bar. So, while the whole concept of drinking while you're playing classic games is an amazing one, unfortunately the whole alcohol thing means it's a 21-and-over venue. While we tend to avoid those kind of shows when we're out of town if we can, it wasn't possible in this case, and we were a little bummed. But a whole bunch of under-agers came out to watch the show anyway and watched it the best they could outside through the windows.

"Before one of the songs, we told the crowd inside we would be playing the next song for the under-agers. Then we faced the windows, with our backs to the club. That a bunch of kids came out to a 21-and-over show to hear it from outside the venue really made what was already a kick-ass show really special, I can still remember just how much fun the whole night was. Not to mention The Necronauts kicked so much butt that night. I remember Andy's bass shaking the arcade cabinets on the second floor. So good."

9. July 26, 2003 at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles. 1up third-issue release party with DJ Dolphinforce

It was our second show in Los Angeles, and it was a release party for our friend Raina Lee's videogame culture magazine 1up. We played in the back parking lot and maybe started around 5 p.m. or so. The sun started setting in the middle of our set and just added a nice touch to the overall feeling of the show. Plus, this really buff shirtless dude watched the show from the roof of a nearby high-rise apartment building. It was hilarious. We would talk to him between songs and he would respond back by making hand symbols or gesturing. The crowd and band were in hysterics from this dude. He ruled. Pretty fucking hilarious.

8. August 6, 2004 at Holgas Art Complex in Phoenix with Minibosses as I Hate You When You're Pregnant, Colorstore, Back Ted N-Ted, Sweetbleeders, and Osama Bin SARS

Man. This was a First Friday show. Way before this show, we asked our buddy Phil (I Hate You When You're Pregnant) if we could ever back him up as his live band for a show, and we all decided this would be the show to do it. This show just brings back a flood of good memories -- learning all the songs, putting them into a live format that sounded good, practicing with Phil, and then the actual show itself, which was fucking insane.

"We all wore these weird, one-piece paper outfits that were spray-painted in different patterns. I don't remember where we got them from. I think maybe one of the resident artists made them or something. Either Fred [Fred Johnson, former Minibosses guitarist] or myself decided that it would be fun to play naked under these things. I don't think everyone agreed, but I know that Fred and I went through with it. And I know we made the right decision because it was a Friday night in August playing outside in Phoenix. The other bands also brought the rock, definitely the best First Friday show we've ever played."

7. January 11, 2003 at The Soul Kitchen in Flagstaff with Hotfoughtcold and I Hate You When You're Pregnant

"I'm not gonna spend too much time talking about this show because it's one of those 'you had to be there' moments, like a lot of Flagstaff shows. Just an insane house show. Crazy. A rowdy ruckus.

6. September 16, 2005 at The Double Door in Chicago with Moistboyz

We were so happy when Moistboyz asked us to play a couple of shows with them on their '05 tour. This was the first of the two, so we were a little nervous -- and that really
doesn't happen that much anymore, so when it does, it feels a bit like an adrenaline rush. I think we fed off that and ended up playing a great show. It was our first time playing in Chicago and the Moistboyz crowd was great to us -- not surprising, considering they like the Moistboyz, so they must like 1) music and 2) having fun.

"I remember our set ended and we walked offstage. We were all giddy. Then Moistboyz played and brought the house down, as expected. A great night. The next night was great, too, but that would be on the list of top 10 craziest shows where some underage fans got too drunk and Ben lost the rental car keys and Burke almost punched a cop but was hidden by the Moistboyz tour manager before he did. Maybe we can explore that list if we're around in another 10 years."

5. January 14, 2006 at Magfest 4 in Charlottesville, Virginia

"This show was pretty legendary. Magfest is an annual videogame convention out on the East Coast that caters to hardcore gamers. And people who don't need sleep. Also, there was a Taco Bell near the convention that was still making chili cheese burritos even after Taco Bell did away with them. Our set was filled with about 300 of the biggest videogame music fans on the planet -- and I mean planet. People flew in from all over the world. Great show and one of the longest ones we've ever played. I crowd-surfed during one of the songs and lost my keys, and didn't realize that until we stepped off the plane back here in Phoenix. Couldn't get into my house when I got back from the airport or drive anywhere; had to call a 24-hour locksmith. Completely worth it."

4. November 27, 2004 at Modified Arts with Mr Pacman, Totally Radd!!, I Hate You When You're Pregnant, and Osama Bin SARS

"We billed this as the Ultimate Show on both the flier and the Internet. Fortunately, it lived up to the hype. People still talk to me about this show. It's not that our set was even really all that good, but the other bands and crowd made this day fantastic. I miss Mr Pacman and Osama Bin SARS!!! Luckily, IHYWYP and Totally Radd!! are still playing these days, albeit in slightly different forms."

3. April 12, 2008 at Yucca Tap Room. Shotfest 2 with The Necronauts, Vinfiz, and Vineland

"We've had three Shotfests and, so far, the best one has to have been Shotfest 2. Vinfiz made Shotfest 2 shirts onstage by having people come up between songs. They would spray-paint the logo onto the backs or fronts of their shirts. I still have mine and treasure it. We were supposed to wear these Kingdom of Loathing matching T-shirts, but the guy who brought 'em accidentally brought the wrong sizes. I ended up wearing a girly T. I think we played around 13 songs. So, we each had 13 shots, at least. I was so far gone that after the show I lost a lot of the money. Thankfully, that was after paying all the other bands. A lot of people at the show did shots with us. It was a very fun, very friendly atmosphere." 

2. August 4, 2007 at Defcon in Las Vegas

"I could try to explain what needed to happen for this show to actually happen -- or what did end up happening, or what happened after the show -- but it would take forever and I'm not quite sure I could do justice to this baby. For a show that was booked just two days before it was scheduled, this whole episode was jam-packed with adventure. It's probably best to just ask one of us in person what the hell happened that night. The story will differ from member to member. Oh, and don't ask Ben, because he didn't play this show. He was in India that night.

"You can ask Robin, though, because this was his first show with us, and it was supposed to be a one-off. Epic show. This would need at least two or three chapters in one of those tell-all books that come out after bands start losing popularity in an effort to help revitalize their careers. So, I guess that means we should start writing that book right about . . . now."

1. April 2, 2004 at The Middle East in Boston with Eagles of Death Metal, and Pilot to Gunner

I don't think any of us will ever forget this show. The Eagles of Death Metal asked us to play four shows with them on one of their '04 tours. That was an honor in the first place, but we were also very excited about the prospect of playing on the East Coast again, which we hadn't done since we moved from Massachusetts in '00. This was the first show of the tour, and to say that we were nervous would be one of the grossest understatements of all time. And that last statement is probably an understatement as well. 

"Since we're all from around that area, some of our families or extended families were there, including my mom and dad, and they had never even seen Minibosses before. Also, there were some of our friends from college [Aaron, Ben, and Matt met while attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst] and some of our childhood friends. One of my best friends from high school, who I hadn't heard from in years, just showed up unannounced. It was very emotional. We would have just settled for having fun up there but ended up playing a very good, energetic set, just completely feeding off the crowd -- one of the best crowds ever. Very vocal, very happy, very loud. After the set, we found out it had been taped by the club and we got a copy. Later, we put that same recording out as a live record. This show still would have earned the number one spot even if we had never received the recording, but that's just the icing on the cake. We can always listen to the set if we want to re-live the
funnest show we've ever played."

Honorable Mention: February 27, 2010 at Yucca Tap Room with Annie Blackburn, Let's Go to Fucking Hawaii, Jenova Project, and Page the Village Idiot

"I know this show hasn't happened yet, but we're all really looking forward to it. We really can't wait. Our friends in Annie Blackburn and Jenova Project are flying out from the East Coast to play this show, and this is a rare Jenova Project reunion show -- only their second show since 2000. LGTFH and Page are also gonna rock the Yucca. We just want to thank anyone who's ever come to one of our shows or supported us in any way. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and we hope we've made you half as happy as you've made us.


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I don't think everyone agreed, but I know that Fred and I went through with it. And I know we made the right decision because it was a Friday night in August playing outside in Phoenix.

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