Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Champions of Victory

It is evident from the six-hour nap I just took (and my empty wallet) that my average of two shows per night is starting to catch up with me. Nevertheless, last night’s West Bank extravaganza was totally worth it.

I had the privilege of seeing my roommate, Chad, open up for Books on Tape at the 400 Bar. Chad was awesome; I was very impressed. I had never actually seen him play live before last night. It’s always good to see when the sensitive singer/songwriter-types aren’t afraid to display their sense of humor.

Chad felt a little out of place since he was wedged between a rock band and the electronic sounds of The Demix and Books on Tape. I usually love that kind of diversity. However, I wish I didn’t have to sit through that first rock band (I’m not even going to mention their name). I hate being so negative towards a band (especially when they’re probably extremely passionate about what they’re doing). But I can’t really think of anything positive to say, except that they knew how to play their instruments fairly well.

I remember, when I was in high school, I went to see The Offspring at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. There was a little punk band that opened up for them; I can’t even remember what they were called. The kids in the audience, who were bred on MTV and corporate radio, were not having them. People were throwing coins and other hard objects at the band while chanting for Offspring, and yelling, “You suck!” After being welted with a coin one too many times, the band cut their set short and stormed off the stage. But before they left, the singer belittled the audience by saying, “Yeah, at least we didn’t learn our punk rock from a Sprite commercial.” Ouch. But he was absolutely right.

Unfortunately, the Sprite-commercial punks have now started bands. That’s what was running through my head while I was watching the band that played before Chad, and while I was applauding after every one of their songs. I hope they’re grateful that I didn’t throw any coins. I hope they feel guilty about throwing coins at the band that opened for The Offspring.

Now that I’m through complaining, I have to say that I really do enjoy The Demix and Books on Tapes. Alas, I wasn’t able to see either of them – I was running late for the much-anticipated Tin Horns CD release show.

After apologizing to Books on Tape for my departure, I skipped down the block to the Triple Rock Social Club. Things were hoppin’ at the Triple Rock. I was so happy to see so many of my friends there. (Did I mention that I was going solo to shows on Valentine’s Day?)

The first band I saw was Vox Vermillion. They were so very good. It’s kind of sad that any redheaded pianist is doomed to an eternity of Tori Amos comparisons, no matter how dissimilar their music is (not that I have anything against Tori; I actually like her a lot). Vox Vermillion’s music should be respected for exactly what it is – unique and beautiful. Their set was dominated by brand new songs. Pretty exciting!

And then the emo band that everyone can agree on – The Swiss Army. Their entire set (with one exception) was also dedicated to new songs. It all sounded great and very energetic. The new songs appeared to be a bit more diverse than the stuff on their debut album, which is a good thing.

Finally, the Tin Horns. What fun! It was good to see people dancing and singing along (even though their album wasn’t even available until last night). I had seen the Tin Horns several times before, but last night marked a new high, and the lively crowd made it even more enjoyable. I’m currently on my fourth time through their new album, “The Champions of Victory.” Very nice.

I now have to give a few words on why cars are no good. I thought it might be convenient to drive my car to the West Bank for the shows last night. The Cedar-Riverside area isn’t too far from my house, but I didn’t really feel like biking home in the slush at 2:00 a.m. (on a borrowed, sub-par bike – the wheels and seat of my good bike were stolen). Well, I discovered that cars do not have the edge. First of all, my roommates, who did ride their bikes, arrived at the 400 Bar immediately before me, even though we left our house at the exact same time. And second of all, I got back to my car at the end of the night to find a $33 parking ticket on my windshield. That hurts me. But I guess that’s what I get. Luckily, thanks to Tin Horns & co., my night wasn’t completely spoiled by the incident.


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