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You can grill them about the individual artists or what the overall inspiration was for their inaugural festival, but please don't ask Caterwaul organizers what type of music they're offering over four days and two venues in Minneapolis this weekend.

"We've gone to an incredible effort to not have an easy answer to that question," co-founder Rainer Fronz said.

"People are too used to having bands served to them on a platter," added his partner (and one of the performers) Conan Neutron. "This isn't that type of festival."

Scheduled Friday through Monday at the Palmer's Bar patio and the back room at Mortimer's — the latter for late-night sets — Caterwaul boasts 52 acts that could variously be categorized as noise-rock, electro-punk, post-punk, industrial, experimental, hardcore, sludge, ambient, metal, none of the above or most of the above.

"It's a real gathering of the weirdos," offered Fronz, who has long fostered strange greatness with his imprint Learning Curve Records and the more legendary label Amphetamine Reptile Records.

AmRep bands Vaz and Arcwelder — playing rare gigs Friday and Sunday, respectively — might be the best known Caterwaul performers to Twin Cities music fans. Fronz and Neutron gladly admit that isn't saying a whole lot.

While other locally fostered groups dot the lineup — including Tongue Party, Scrunchies, Gay Witch Abortion, Murf and Ex-Nuns — 80% of Caterwaul's lineup is from out of town.

Other notable names include Service (featuring ex-Jon Spencer Blues Explosion drummer Russell Simins); Chicago bands Dead Rider (with U.S. Maple's Todd Rittman) and Deep Tunnel Project (members of Chicago band Tar); and Seattle acts Big Business (members of Murder City Devils and Karp) and Sandrider (ex-Akimbo).

A native Californian now living in Milwaukee, Neutron said one goal of the festival is to pair up underground acts whose eccentricities make it more difficult to land a decent gig in Minneapolis.

"After the pandemic, it's harder than ever" to tour, he noted. "There's a murderer's row of bands already wanting to play this festival next year."

Fronz believes there's also pent-up demand among music lovers for Caterwaul.

"This is for people who want to see something they haven't already seen before," he said.


When: 7:30 p.m. Fri., noon-2 a.m. Sat & Sun., 1-10 p.m. Mon.

Where: Palmer's Bar, 500 Cedar Av. S.; and Mortimer's, 2001 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.

Tickets & info: $110/four-day, $30-$35/day,