Annie and the Bang Bang emerges from the pandemic with a slew of new material

If there was a silver lining in the COVID-19 cloud that hung over the Twin Cities’ music scene for two years, it was the time to write music in the absence of live performances. Annie Enneking and her band Annie and the Bang Bang retreated to a basement where, separated by plastic sheeting, they composed and practiced enough new material for perhaps five albums, including the recently released LPs “Walkie Talkie” and “Loveland.”

A resident of Highland Park, Enneking plays guitar and is the band’s lead vocalist. She is backed by John Riedlinger on guitar, Kari Tweiten on bass and Mike Kittel on drums and vocals. The foursome just put the finishing touches to another eight-song album that will be released when Enneking feels the time is right. They plan to go into the studio in October and November to record a selection of the remaining 24 songs they have already written.

Annie and Bang Bang
Led by Highland Park guitarist and vocalist Annie Enneking (right), Annie and the Bang Bang features guitarists John Riedlinger and Kari Tweiten and drummer and vocalist Mike Kittel. Photo by Brandon Michael.

Annie and the Bang Bang will introduce some of those songs in concert at 7 p.m. Friday, September 16, on the outdoor Under the Canopy stage at Hook and Ladder, 3010 Minnehaha Ave. S. in Minneapolis. They will be followed on stage by the veteran Twin Cities band the Flamin’ Oh’s.

Hook and Ladder booking director Jackson Buck described Annie and the Bang Bang as a crowd pleaser. “I think they’re really great,” he said. “Audiences absolutely love them. They’re very diverse…and the perfect complement to the legendary Flamin’ Oh’s.”

Enneking, who has been compared to punk rocker Patti Smith, came up with the name for the band to “express the energy of our music and honor the adventurous leanings of the band members.”

Annie and the Bang Bang’s repertoire encompasses several genres of rock music, from grunge to garage and folk-pop to punk. Enneking and Riedlinger have been with the band since its inception in 2011. Tweiten and Kittel replaced the previous bass player and drummer about five years ago.

Enneking, who has been compared to punk rocker Patti Smith, came up with the name for the band to “express the energy of our music and honor the adventurous leanings of the band members. I also wanted to be clear that I was the front woman leading the charge.”

 

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‘Music summer camp for adults’

Annie and the Bang Bang has been taking regular sabbaticals in the Colorado Rockies to work on new material. Based at an Airbnb in Loveland, they have performed at several Colorado venues and developed quite a following there. On days when they are not performing, they are often hiking in such places as Estes Park.

“It’s like music summer camp for adults,” Enneking said, and it inspired their album “Loveland.” “My ultimate goal is to play in every national park,” she said.

Enneking’s lyrics are drawn from her experiences in the natural world and in relationships. She admires the storytelling of such composers as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Rickie Lee Jones. Annie and the Bang Bang plays very few covers, though it has put its own spin on such songs as Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” and Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.”

A background in theater

When she is not working on her music, Enneking teaches stage combat choreography at the University of Minnesota. She has worked on stage as a professional dancer and actress, performing with such Twin Cities companies as the Guthrie, Frank and Children’s theaters and Theatre Latté Da.

“I’ve played Mother Courage and Hedda Gabler—some real heavy-hitting roles for women—and I’ve also performed in new works,” Enneking said. “I quit acting about seven years ago and have been working in the art of stage violence ever since.”

Enneking also teaches a course in writing at the History Theatre to “folks who are living with mental illness. It gets to what else they’ve experienced,” she said.

“Walkie Talkie” and “Loveland” are available in vinyl and CD. The albums may be found at Barely Brothers Records, 783 Raymond Ave.; at HiFi Hair and Records, 1637 Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis; and on the band’s website at annieandthebangbang.com.

Tickets for the concert on September 16 are $15 in advance or $20 at the door for general admission, $25 reserved. Doors open at 6 p.m. Visit thehookmpls.com.

— Carolyn Walkup

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