Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Saturday, June 04, 2005


A lot has changed since I last saw The Stunning. For one, they have followed in the footsteps of bands like LFTR PLLR and S PRCSS and removed the vowels from their name. [Curiously enough, STNNNG’s music can be imagined by combining the idiosyncrasies of LFTR PLLR and S PRCSS (with a definite influence from The FLL’s Mark E. Smith).] Now, this spelling change presents a slight problem for anal people like me. All of my CDs must be properly alphabetized. Do I pretend that the vowels are still there and place their CD between The Strokes and Suede on my CD rack? Or do I ignore the phantom vowels and place their CD between The Stills and The Stone Roses? This is what keeps me awake at night. But my conundrum is nothing compared to the problem experienced by unaware radio DJs when they’re forced to pronounce “STNNNG” on the air.

Which brings me to the next few changes that have taken place. STNNNG just released their debut LP, Dignified Sissy, in April. The record has been widely lauded around the Twin Cities – half for its distinct and exciting songs, half for its unforgettable artwork (see picture above). As a result, their popularity has skyrocketed. I can’t turn on the radio without hearing STNNNG (which is much better than that time I couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing that horrendous Santana/Rob Thomas song, “Smooth”).

I remember a year or so ago, Radio K had a STNNNG demo that they played on their local music show. The first time I heard the demo, I was shocked. I immediately called up the station to find out who it was. I rushed to find a pen, and I scribbled “The Stunning” on the back of an envelope. I’ve been excited about STNNNG ever since. The recent buzz has only added to my enthusiasm. Without this elevated level of excitement, there’s no way I would have gotten off my lazy ass last Saturday to see a show.

Gosh, I was so tired on Saturday; I had no motivation to do anything except sleep. Finally, around 9:00 pm, I told myself that I could prevent the day from becoming a complete waste if I got out of bed to see STNNNG at the 7th Street Entry. So I wiped the sleep from my eyes, got dressed, and headed downtown.

Nothing like loud, raging rock and roll to wake you up. Although I was too pokey to catch Muncie, Indiana’s Ari Ari (which is a real shame according to the reviews I heard), I arrived in time to catch the end of Her Flyaway Manner’s set. The two songs I heard from this Lincoln, NE three-piece helped me forget that I was just sleeping a half hour earlier. After the show, I told the bass player that I wish I could have seen their entire set because I really liked the last two songs. He modestly replied, “Oh, those were our two good songs.”

Her Flyaway Manner wasn’t the only Nebraskan band to grace the Entry stage that night. Rent Money Big also decided to come and stir things up. Talk about spaz rock! The few recordings I’ve heard from this band don’t adequately capture their live sound. Live, there is more screaming, and more bodies flying through the air. Since they kept me thoroughly entertained, I forgive the singer for throwing his keyboard at me (well, he wasn’t aiming at me, but it hit my foot on the bounce).

Die Electric! (formerly known around town as The Volts) was next in line. If any band is deserving of an exclamation point after their name, it’s them. High energy is the name of the game. They are so much fun to watch, due in part to their between-song banter. It seemed like Dave Gardner (the bass player) was reverting back to his former Selby Tigers persona, Sammy G, the Frenchman. He told us that tonight was all about the French (referring to France’s vote on the EU constitution that was to happen the next day).

But the night wasn’t all about the French; it was all about the STNNNG. They were wild! Their singer, Chris Besinger, was all over the place, as usual. One minute, he’d be crawling on the floor; the next minute, he’d be hanging from the ceiling; the next minute, he’d be sitting on the shoulders of an audience member. He reminds me a lot of Tim Harrington from Les Savy Fav. But Chris doesn’t take all of the attention away from the rest of the band. They are all crazy in their own right. The entire stage was a riot. I was very grateful that the STNNNG was able to rescue my day from the dumps.

The rest of my Memorial Day weekend was very eventful. On Sunday, I went down to St. Olaf College in Northfield to see my sister graduate. The college went all out for the ceremony. There was an open house, they fed us tons of food, and the commencement speaker was great. Gosh, my graduation ceremony at the U of M was lame. We had some boring speaker discussing economic theory, or something like that. The highlight of my graduation was when they offered free cookies after the ceremony, but that was nothing compared the food at St. Olaf. Anyway, I should write a separate post about my sister’s graduation since it was a big deal. Maybe I could share some pictures too.

Monday was a nice day as well. I meant to spend the entire day getting work done, but instead, I went down to Aardvark Records to see an in-store performance by Lucero. I was a little confused when I was driving to the store because I heard Lucero playing live on Radio K. I thought, “Aren’t they supposed to be setting up at Aardvark right now? Oh I see, maybe the in-studio was prerecorded.” Nope. They were still at Radio K. The temperature in the tiny record store rose about 20 degrees as the swarm of people waited patiently for Lucero to show up. Luckily, it was a beautiful day, and I didn’t mind sitting outside the store, people watching. Finally, after about an hour, Lucero drove up in their big white van. After apologizing for the wait, they delivered a stellar performance. The focus was on their brand new record, but they made sure to play at least one song from all of their records. Shortly after they finished playing, they packed up and headed off to their show at the Triple Rock. Busy day for Lucero.

Boy, I’m running behind on these blog posts. Memorial Day Weekend was an entire week ago. I really want to tell you about my amazing, incredible, extraordinary experience at the Turf Club last night, but that will have to wait for now. Sorry.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucero? Aren't they from the south? I have this friend from Alabama who put a song of theirs on a cd for me a few years ago.

Also it's very funny to hear you talk about those Nebraska bands because I know who you're talking about. I've been heading to Omaha a lot lately.

I hope you're well.

11:52 PM

Blogger Lee said...

Yup, Lucero hail from Memphis, TN.

By the way, I'll be expecting a call if your voyages about the Midwest bring you back to the Twin Cities.

1:22 AM


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