Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Friday, October 21, 2005

I Would Die 4 Architecture in Helsinki

Cameron Bird of Architecture in Helsinki

I’m gonna pretend that I haven’t been absent from the blogging world for the past few weeks and pick up right where I left off.

As you may remember from my last post, I discussed the bragging rights attained from seeing a band in the 7th Street Entry right before they become international superstars. There are people in the Twin Cities who can say that they saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Nirvana or Sonic Youth play the Entry. There are even some that I can lay claim to, such as The Postal Service, and more recently…Architecture in Motherfucking Helsinki!

I must be doing something right. The greatest band to ever come out of the Southern Hemisphere has visited my fair town twice this year. On top of that, I got to see them at my favorite venue (the Entry). On top of that, I got to see them right after Arcade Fire had just finished blowing my mind in the mainroom (it was a busy night at First Avenue).

Architecture in Helsinki’s fellow Melbourne-ite, New Buffalo was the first opener. New Buffalo is the lo-fi one-woman project from Sally Seltmann (yes, she’s married to Darren Seltmann of The Avalanches). Sally’s set was actually quite refreshing. It seemed like, throughout the preceding few weeks, I had been seeing nothing but bands stacked with five to nine multi-instrumentalists playing music that is too complex to replicate in a garage (Architecture in Helsinki included). With her Discman and simple guitar instrumentation, Sally put the long-lost “hey-I-could-do-that” aesthetic back into punk rock. Sure, bands like Architecture in Helsinki are what make you fall in love with music, but bands like New Buffalo are what inspire you to start your own band.

Philadelphia’s wacky bunch, Dr. Dog played next. Due to the incredible night of music, I was in a very focused mood. I think that was why I enjoyed Dr. Dog much more than the last time I saw them. Their set was very amusing; it was exactly what you’d expect from a band that wears Velcro shoes and plastic kiddy sunglasses. In effect, they were a good warm-up for what was going to happen next.

Dr. Dog

I didn’t think it was possible, but all eight members of Architecture in Helsinki as well as all 256 of their instruments were able to fit on the Entry stage. It was quite the spectacle, but then again, when isn’t Architecture in Helsinki “quite the spectacle.” Boy oh boy, they were awesome! Architecture is possibly the only band that could adequately follow a spectacular Arcade Fire show. While Arcade Fire’s set was powerful and emotionally intense, Architecture in Helsinki’s set was lighthearted and rump-shakin’. When they played the Turf Club, they were very focused on replicating the intricacies of their recorded work. This time, they were all about having fun with their songs. Instead of his usual gentle falsetto, Cameron Bird was yelling his parts at the top of his lungs. Kellie Sutherland was amusing herself by rolling around the stage while she sang. And the rest of the band was frantically trading instruments as they tried to keep up with the caffeinated tempos.



As if things weren’t chaotic enough, for their last song, Architecture in Helsinki was joined on the tiny stage by Dr. Dog and Wolf Parade (Dr. Wolf? Dog Parade?). It was all-out anarchy. People climbing on top of each other, heads inside of drums, dogs and wolves foaming at the mouth…What a closer! Oh, but we made sure that they weren’t done yet. After they turned off their amps and left the stage, the audience didn’t budge. We needed more! And eventually, Architecture was persuaded. They came back to deliver a pleasing, but very effed-up impromptu cover of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” (afterwards, Cameron told me that it was a last minute decision – they had never even played it before). But I couldn’t imagine a better way to top off a legendary night of music at First Avenue than with a Prince song. How very appropriate. (By the way, the version of “I Would Die 4 U” that you hear on Purple Rain and on radios across the globe was actually recorded live at First Avenue.)

Wolf Parade, Dr. Dog, and Architecture (and more)

In case we die...

Architecture in Helsinki @ The Turf Club: June 3, 2005
Dr. Dog @ Emo’s (SXSW): March 17, 2005
Wolf Parade and Arcade Fire @ First Avenue: September 29, 2005


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