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#Theoroi Reflections: My First Date with Dave Holland Prism, Liquor, and Jazz

As I mentioned in my last blog post, last weekend’s Saturday was spent at the Dakota Jazz Club listening to Dave Holland Prism with Theoroi, the young-professionals group of the Schubert Club. It was the first of our ten scheduled arts outings this season.

Being the first time at my Dakota, my first time “out-on-the-town,” and my first time seeing a jazz concert in general, I was understandably a little nervous. I was so nervous I did the thing that chicks do when they’re getting ready for a date: got ready like two hours early and then proceeded to sit around so I could be fashionably late.


I arrived in downtown Minneapolis around 8:40 p.m. and with my expert ninja downtown parking skills, was able to snag a spot without too much trouble. I put on my best concrete jungle strut and sauntered to the Dakota, and promptly tried to go in the wrong door. D’oh. When I finally found the correct entrance I was met with a sign saying that seating for the 9:00 and a handful of people lingering around in the lobby. I glanced at my phone—8:50 and looked around to see if I recognized any of my Theoroi compatriots. Not a one in sight. This couldn’t be right. I could feel my inner socialite running for cover (#introvertprobs).

I got in what looked like the “will-call” line, hoping I could grab my ticket and park myself in a corner, get on my phone, and look busy. Luckily, shortly after I got in line I spotted our fearless leader, Tessa. I motioned for her to get in front of me just as we had reached the head of the line. She uttered the magic word: “Theoroi,” and suddenly, like the doors of a password-protected speakeasy, we were ushered into the darkness of the club and to their exclusive (ie. hidden from sight) back room. After not too long, and after perusing the drink menu (read my last post) we were shown to our exclusive tables at the side of the stage and given our plates of decadent desserts. Yes, please.

Photo: Demolished desserts! #yum @theoroiproject

Completely demolished desserts. 

Feeling pampered in this world of VIP treatment, I sat down to enjoy my sophisticated night of jazz. The anticipation grew as the musicians came on the stage and began gingerly plucking and striking their instruments. Dave Holland himself introduced himself, the band, and they began their first piece. I drew my breath…

…and was bombarded by cacophony of sounds that immediately jarred me. Almost immediately I felt assaulted by the sound and completely lost.

Wait, wait, listen closer, I told myself. After all, I had taken Jazz History in college, and I was practicing to be a patroness of the arts. I was just out of practice. So, I listened harder. I tried to listen for themes, 5-bar blues, repeating phrases…ANYTHING that I could hold on to.

There wasn’t anything. I was drowning in sound…the quick guitar, the tinkling piano, the thundering drums… all rushing over me like a wave…filling my ears and lungs—completely overwhelming and confusing me.

…and then, all of a sudden…


…without warning…


… I stopped…


…and let myself fall. And get carried away.


To be frank, I’m not sure whether it was the alcohol finally loosening me up, or me letting myself give in. Talking to a  fellow Theoroi member (Theoroite? Theoroian?) Fritz after the show, he had a similar existential experience while eating his chicken wing. Maybe the Dakota puts something in their food/drink to make its patrons receptive to foreign art forms? However, once I stopped trying to fit the music into what my (obviously narrow) mind considered to be music I was able to enjoy it much more. Instead of trying to fit it into an ABAB song pattern, or pinpoint it to a particular genre of Jazz, I could just have fun.

I was reminded of that Sex and the City episode where Carrie date a jazz musician, Ray King for a time, and attempts to legitimize having just an amazing sexual relationship with him, even though she cannot connect with him personally.


“Hey Carrie. What do you think of hanging instruments in my kitchen instead of pots and pans?” – Ray King

Ultimately, Carrie decides she wants a “melody she can sing to.” Me? I found a rhythm I could groove to.  I found myself clapping for the solos. I even found myself bobbing my head to the rhythm of the music that I had previously thought was not there. And, the funny thing was, as I looked around, I saw other people doing the same and to the same beat that I was! Maybe there was something to hang on to after all.

And really, once I got past all of my hangups, there was really a lot to love. In addition to the musicians so obviously having a blast and doing what they love, they each got to showcase a bit of themselves. When I think of bands, I always have this image in my mind’s eye from the old Nickelodeon show, Doug. In one particular episode of Doug, he starts a band and ends up with something like 5 drummers and everyone in the band wants a solo. Dave Holland Prism was that, but done in a brilliant and oh, so good way.

My favorite song of the evening was their last before the TOTALLY (not) unexpected encore, called “Choir.” By this time in the evening I was really getting into it and the high energy of this song just put it over the top. The arrangement of the song was a jazzed up version of something you might hear from the Harlem Gospel Choir or those amazing kids from sister act, and I didn’t even miss the singing one bit.

Ignore the atrocious spelling of whoever posted this. Quier? Seriously?

I mean, come on! How can you not love that? In the video, you can even hear the audience start to clap along, much in the way I would expect a real choir to do when tasked with singing a song like this one.

All in all, a successful first date if I do say so myself. Can’t wait to see what the next outings hold!