On Stage or Screen, Low Cut Connie Has a Story to Tell
In December 2017, needing a break from the angsty alt rock of my formative middle/high school years and the angsty emo/pop-punk of my college days, I did what I always do … I turned to the internet and its seemingly endless supply of “Best of …” lists that crop up each December for advice.
I browsed dozens of websites, read hundreds of suggestions, and created a list of 10 albums to listen to by year’s end. Of those, just one – Rolling Stone’s 47th best album of the year – caught my ear. Truth be told, I can’t remember the other nine. But that one remains a personal favorite and in heavy rotation. Less than a year later, on November 1, 2018, I found myself at First Avenue taking in my very first Low Cut Connie show. It was pure rock 'n' roll bliss – dynamic, energetic, sweaty, and unapologetically rowdy.
This weekend, Mr. Low Cut Connie himself, Adam Weiner, returns to Minneapolis to unveil the “hybrid-genre concert film” he co-directed, Art Dealers, at Sound Unseen 2023.
“I’m most excited that it’s gonna screen in Minneapolis this weekend because our shows there have been a big part of the story of this band,” Weiner said. “We’ve always had these incredible shows there, and I wanted Minneapolis to be part of the story with the film because of that.”
Art Dealers is part concert film and part behind the scenes look at Weiner, his bandmates, and crew as they navigate the road, music, and life. It includes footage from a one-night stand at Sony Hall in New York City, older performances, and footage Weiner collected over the years.
With live performances like the one I saw back in 2018 (and again in 2019) at the heart of the band’s success, the question becomes, “how do you make sure you capture the essence and energy of the band on screen?”
“I don’t know because we just sorta crossed our fingers and it turned out great,” Weiner said. “I gotta give all the credit to Roy Power, my co-director, it was his job to capture it and he really did it.”
Weiner explained that with concert films like Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense, long considered one of, if not the best, concert films of all time, they were able to film three shows and cut it together to create the ultimate experience.
“We didn’t have that luxury,” he said. “We only had the one big night at Sony Hall, and we were either gonna nail it or we weren’t. For some reason the stars did align that night – the show was fantastic, the crowd was fantastic … the audio and the visual, everything lined up and we knew we had a film.”
Once Weiner and Power knew they were onto something, they were able to get creative and expand the film’s scope, incorporating other shows and footage Weiner collected over the last 15 years.
“We just kept expanding the concept of the film, but we were able to do that because the backbone of it, the Sony Hall show, was just so strong.”
The film’s trailer shows Weiner saying he knows he’s never going to be on the pop charts or have a hit single and that he’s not trying to. If mainstream success isn’t the end game, you may wonder “the why a concert film?”
“Coming out of COVID and reflecting on what I’d been doing for the prior decade, I felt like it was absolutely essential to capture the magic trick of a Low Cut Connie show,” Weiner said. “You never know what happens in life and I just wanted to make sure it was documented.”
“We’ve had these shows for a number of years that people would always say is just indescribable, it’s indescribable the feeling that we have in the room when these shows happen. And I wanted to try to capture that so people could see it.”
The early response to Art Dealers has “been amazing,” he said, noting that it debuted at the Richmond International Film Festival, where he won the Artistic Vision Award. “I’ve never won an award for my music, so it was really special to win for the film,” he said.
From there, it played at the Philadelphia Film Festival (his hometown). Requests for additional screenings continue coming in. He’s not sure what the future holds for the film, but said he plans “to put one foot in front of the other,” adding that Art Dealers might not be his final journey into the film world.
“I always wanted to be in film, I didn’t necessarily think I’d be doing a film about myself,” he said. “I hope it’s the beginning of more film … I’d like to go deeper into film and see what else I can do with my music or on camera.”
The Sound Unseen screening of Art Dealers is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis. There is a post-screening Q&A with Power and Weiner, who will also perform after the screening. Additionally, Weiner will be guest DJing Friday morning on The Current and Saturday night at Moxy Minneapolis Uptown.