Believe it or not, but the hottest music party going on in the Twin Cities is not located at an exclusive sold out club in Uptown or at First Avenue, the legendary indie rock Mecca in downtown Minneapolis.
Nope, the coolest music soiree in town isn’t even close to those trendy hotspots. The music party with the most awesomeness is actually located at Xcel Energy Center… right inside the Minnesota Wild locker room.
Yep, you read that right. The hottest music party in town doesn’t involve a bunch of twenty-something hipsters but instead is made up of a bunch of grizzled, hook-nosed hockey players. After every Minnesota Wild win, the team jubilantly celebrates their victory by blaring music in the locker room, and in recent weeks, there have been quite a few dance parties.
“I look for a song that the guys like, and that makes them happy,” said Kyle Brodziak
, the Wild’s resident DJ. “You know… something good to celebrate the two points with.”
You can hear the celebration start immediately after the players enter the locker room after the victorious game. Brodziak will plug his iPod into a stereo system, select a celebratory song from a list of today’s coolest music and the sounds will trickle out from behind the heavy wooden locker room doors. When the doors finally kick open to allow media access, reporters are not only greeted by the thick smell of sweat, but a wall of sound as well.
One of the songs that the Wild has been blasting lately is fittingly “All I Do Is Win,” by DJ Khaled. The song features mega star rappers T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Rick Ross, and is an infectious club thumper that can be heard banging out of all the hottest dance spots downtown.
Another Wild favorite of late has been “The Dog Days are Over” by Florence + the Machine, which is a nod to the team’s strength of character and their overcoming some early season bumps. Brodziak will even throw down some Primus, the base popping cult rock band to shake the walls. The beloved Canadian band Tragically Hip is usually a team favorite as well.
“If you’re from Canada, you usually want to hear it every day,” Brodziak said, as he let out a smirk. “Or you never want to hear it again.”
But after certain hard-earned victories the mood calls for some down-home roots rock.
“You can’t go wrong with ‘Chicken Fried’ by the Zac Brown Band,” Matt Cullen
All the music love in the Wild locker room doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, the Wild team is loaded with actual musicians. Brent Burns, Cal Clutterbuck
, James Sheppard, Jose Theodore and Antti Miettinen all play the guitar in their spare time. Miettinen plays in a band named Sementt (Cement in English) and Theodore has played on stage with popular bands such as NOFX and Pennywise.
In fact, a large majority of the Wild players are impassioned about the state of modern music. Cam Barker lists The Strokes, the stylish skinny jean-wearing garage rockers from New York City, as his favorite band. Niklas Backstrom
loves the throttling metal music of Metallica and Iron Maiden, and names Mettalica lead singer James Hatfield as the musician he’d most like to meet. Miettinen loves Nirvana and listens to the uber-popular Sirius stations Lithium and Octane as he drives to the rink. One would assume gritty veteran forward John Madden would listen to some old school rock and roll, but he surprisingly listens to nothing but hip-hop.
“50 Cent, Eminem, Akon, all that stuff,” Madden said bemused. “You name it. I listen to all that stuff.”
Strangely, some of the music that is listened to by certain Wild players off the ice actually reflects their playing style on the ice as well.
“Right now, I’m listening to a lot of the Black Keys,” Clutterbuck said, referring to the bombastic Grammy-winning guitar and drum duo band from Akron, Ohio. In concert and on CD, the Black Keys are renowned for their detonating guttural blues rock sound; one that mirrors Clutterbuck’s aggressive, yet controlled assault on the opposition. Take one listen to the Black Key’s song “I Got Mine” and you’ll start envisioning Clutterbuck barreling into Vancouver Canucks.
It also is no coincidence that Cullen, a player that has logged heavy minutes on the top line and on special teams for well over a decade in the NHL, loves to listen to Pearl Jam, a band that has thrived and survived the changing musical landscape because of their emotional depth, supersonic energy and classic hard-working rock and roll.
As the Minnesota Wild continue to pile up wins and turn their locker room into the hottest music club in town, hipsters can rest assured that there is definitely one kind of music that has been spared from the playlist…so far.
“I do have Justin Bieber,” Madden sheepishly admitted. “It’s not mine, though. I got it for my daughter.”