Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sad Day for Russian Futurism / Triumphant Day for the Artist Formerly Known as Manitoba

I’m doing Caribou a great disservice by writing about their show two weeks after it happened. A show like that deserves immediate praise.

Since my Grand Old Day experience was cut short due to the rain, I was still thirsty for more live music. Lucky for me, Canada was sending down three of their finest electro-pop bands to play at the 400 Bar that night. With such a solid lineup – The Russian Futurists, Junior Boys, and Caribou – it’d be foolish to arrive a second too late.

Turns out, I arrived an hour too early. But it wasn’t my fault. It was the US Border Patrol’s fault. The three bands had played a show in Winnipeg the night before, and were on their way to the Twin Cities when they were detained at the border. Junior Boys and Caribou were allowed passage, but The Russian Futurists were held by the FBI for most of the day. Apparently, there was a mix-up with the Futurists’ visas, so they were denied entry into the US. Just another example of Homeland Security’s hostility toward harmless Canadian musicians. Remember a couple years ago when the FBI held Godspeed You! Black Emperor for questioning as possible terrorists? But c’mon, The Russian Futurists aren’t nearly as “intimidating” as Godspeed. I mean, Matthew Adam Hart wears a Twins hat in all of his promo pictures; what’s not to like about him? Perhaps Homeland Security fears that Russian Futurism is a rogue movement striving to initiate a new era of Soviet world domination. Oh no! They’ve got Canada! The dominoes are beginning to fall!

So thanks to our fascist government, I wasn’t able to see The Russian Futurists. Fortunately, Junior Boys more than made up for the vacancy. After expressing their regret about the Futurists’ situation, they delivered a stellar set of subdued dance songs played at high volumes. Their music seemed to be a perfect fit for the rainy night, as well as a perfect primer for Caribou’s shocking performance.

By the way, it sure is a good thing that Manitoba changed their name to Caribou. I don’t know about you, but every time someone mentioned Manitoba, I assumed they were talking about Handsome Dick Manitoba, frontman of the 70’s proto-punk act, The Dictators. But of course, I’m stupid and completely incapable of rational thought. C’mon, anyone who actually knows who Handsome Dick Manitoba is isn’t going to confuse him with a modern indie-electronic band. And anyone who isn’t familiar with Handsome Dick doesn’t give a shit. Definitely not worthy of a lawsuit. Plus, last time I checked, Manitoba was the name of a Canadian province long before Handsome Dick ever donned his first wrestling suit.

Anyway, for those of you just familiar with Caribou/Manitoba’s recorded work; you ain’t seen nothin’! Caribou’s performance went beyond my wildest expectations. Freakin’ incredible! Dan Snaith tours with two other musicians: a guitarist and a second drummer. It seems like everyone’s doing the two-drum-set thing nowadays, but I’ve never seen anyone use two drum sets as effectively as Caribou did. The intensity and dynamics of Caribou’s live show would be impossible to accurately capture on a studio recording. Considering that Caribou’s recorded work is phenomenal, their live show is purely orgasmic. There’s only so much sound that can fit on a CD. Live instruments pumping out of a giant PA system have the potential to be so much more powerful. Caribou used this potential to the fullest. I experienced a similar feeling when I saw Mogwai live. But what Mogwai does with five musicians, Caribou accomplishes with just three. My goodness! This was an outstanding show, and an outstanding conclusion to a weekend packed with great music.


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