Let your hair down for Septemberfest

Hairball headlines rock show Sept. 16

Photo courtesy of Hairball/Eric Sherman
Hairball’s Bobby Jensen pays tribute to Gene Simmons of Kiss. His band will headline Eagan’s Septemberfest Sept. 16 at Faithful Shepard School in Eagan.

It’s become the Basilica Block Party for the south metro.

Eagan’s Septemberfest is one big tent party Sept. 15-17 at Faithful Shepherd Catholic School, 3355 Columbia Drive.

In its 14th year, the fundraiser/concert/poker tournament/church service/expo draws thousands from the south metro.

“It’s an opportunity for the community to really let their hair down,” said Craig Johanns, executive chair of Eagan’s Septemberfest.

One of the regular guests is Hairball, an almost unexplainable band that specializes in arena rock theatrics from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The group headlines the concert Saturday, Sept. 16.

“They can’t get enough of it,” said Bobby Jensen, Hairball lead singer. “They keep asking us back. We don’t force ourselves on anybody, but how can you say no to so many people wanting to rock?”

Jensen could morph into several iconic arena rockers during the show. Jensen said he’s been told by Alice Cooper that he sounds more like Cooper than Cooper himself.

 

“It’s music that celebrates good times and parties,” Jensen said. “There was no safe space needed back then. It was rock and roll at its finest.”

Jensen’s whole life appears to be full of excitement.

“I’m a high-energy human,” Jensen said. “I don’t stop. I don’t sleep. I’m either on the stage acting crazy, or I’m in the police car with my dog chasing people like crazy. You’re only above ground for so long, you should probably do something fun.”

When he’s not singing for Hairball, he raises and trains police dogs, and works as a bounty hunter with U.S. Fugitive Apprehension in Minneapolis, he said.

Hairball plays about 150 shows a year. The band has played in London, Mexico and nearly every state.

Jensen said Hairball has shared the stage with nearly every singer they tribute including Dee Snider, Kip Winger, Joan Jett, Vince Neil, Rob Zombie, Jack Blades, Gene Simmons, Rob Halford and Tom Keifer.

Based in the Twin Cities, the band playing close to home is something special, “so come get us while you can,” Jensen said.

The next Twin Cities show is New Year’s Eve event at the Medina Entertainment Center.

As for anyone who hasn’t seen a Hairball show, “ask someone who has. You have to see it to beli

Photo submitted
Eagan Septemberfest features an expo where attendees can learn more about area businesses and organizations Sept. 15 at Faithful Shepherd Catholic School in Eagan.

eve it,” Jensen said. “There’s no way to explain it. We don’t make fun of it. It’s straightforward rock and roll played with the same conviction as the original artists.

“Most people in Minnesota have seen us or know somebody who has. We’ve been doing this for 17 years. If the world doesn’t go crazy, hopefully we’ll be around for 17 more years. Who knows though? There’s a good chance the world could go crazy.”

A local duo Soup Bones will kick things off at about 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16. Arch Allies, a tribute band that plays Bon Jovi, Boston, Journey and Styx, will also perform before Hairball takes the stage around 9 p.m.

The concert is for those 21 and older because there will be three beer tents set up, including one from Eagan’s Bald Man Brewing.

It’s become a successful fundraiser for the Catholic school and area churches through the years. Faithful Shepherd is part of three Catholic parishes including Church of St. Peter’s Mendota, St. John Neumann Church in Eagan, and St. Thomas Becket Catholic Church in Eagan.

“We never thought it would be this big. We just wanted a little block party in the suburbs,” Johanns said. “We’ll never be as big as the Basilica Block Party, but we didn’t want to. It’s important to bring in our extended community as a Catholic school, to bring in the southern suburbs on the other side of the river here. We had a lot of bumps along the way trying to figure out the recipe.”

For the first eight years, the festival welcomed bands such as the BoDeans, Kansas, Davy Jones from Monkees fame, GB Leighton and Tim Mahoney.

For the last six, Hairball has headlined the stage, and it’s been “wildly successful,” Johanns said.

Johanns thinks Hairball has been successful because everyone knows the songs they play.

“Some bands you’re just sitting there waiting for the two or three songs you know,” Johanns said. “(Hairball) comes out in character. It’s a real theatrical show. It’s two, two-and-a-half hours of songs you know.”

Septemberfest is a three-day event. An expo and family fun night is scheduled for 4:30-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, when about 1,400 people come for the games, cake walks, music and inflatable bouncy houses.

Inside the gym, there’s an expo featuring vendors from places such as Cub Foods, Minnesota Vikings, Northwestern Mutual Greg Baune Agency, Bald Man Brewing and other area businesses, schools and organizations.

There’s also a Texas hold ’em tournament at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, and a church service under the tent at 11 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 17. The Knights of Columbus will serve hot dogs and hamburgers following the Sunday service.

Tickets for Hairball are available at www.septemberfestrockseagan.com. Tickets are $25 in advance $30 at the door.