Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Clientele

November 18th at the 400 Bar. Hey look at that! That was only last week! I’m finally starting to catch up.

I actually went to see a band from England. That’s a pretty rare occurrence. Ever since Clear Channel started promoting concerts in the Twin Cities, they seemed to have had a monopoly on British bands, especially the buzz bands. As a result, I became very disconnected and disenfranchised with British music. That’s really quite a shame. Fortunately, thanks in part to our scene’s pure animosity toward Clear Channel’s occupation of our venues, the corporate behemoth is starting to lose ground in the Twin Cities. Maybe I can finally start rising out of my North American isolationism! With my newfound enthusiasm for British music, I sprang at the opportunity to see The Clientele perform a non-Clear Channel show at the 400 Bar.

Alt-country band Mosquito Ranch opened the show. They were kind of a misfit, being that they were the only band there who probably hadn’t spent years studying Galaxie 500. Needless to say, they were the most rockin’ band in attendance.

Annie Hayden (remember? She used to be in Spent) played next. No, she’s not from England, even though she was trying to speak in an English accent to humor The Clientele. Her sweet but catchy songs were superb. Luckily, I wasn’t expecting much of a stage show. The trio wasn’t very mobile. Oh well. I was pleased to find out, however, that Annie Hayden covers our very own Replacements (“Swingin Party”) on her new album, The Enemy of Love.


Annie Hayden

If Annie Hayden wasn’t very mobile, then The Clientele were absolutely stiff. I suppose I have to keep in mind that they come from a country where almost everyone spent the first half of the Nineties proudly referring to themselves as “shoegazers.” Although The Clientele were motionless, their music was flawless. Alasdair MacLean effortlessly plucked at his guitar with his long, painted fingernails while he appeased us with his uber-distinct British drawl. They closed with a clever cover of “A Picture of Dorian Gray” by Television Personalities. I admit, I yawned a few times throughout the show, but I left satisfied nevertheless.


The Clientele

2 Comments:

Blogger erinlein said...

aww, lee, i miss you. come see me in deutschland.

11:40 PM

 
Blogger *Ashley* said...

Hey-o Lee. Thanks for visiting my blog. I was actually considering going back to the old blog format of just the picture of the expanded crochet purse! It is simple yet engaging how it is small one minute and long the next.

Speaking of the Replacements, did you know the Paul Westerburg and I have the same lamp? Erica was at his house once and saw it. I have celebrity taste, what can I say.

By the way, do not see Half Act, Katie and I went to see her coworker (the drummer) YAWN-O-RAMA.
However I will say they were all realy nice people.

11:51 AM

 

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Okkervil River

November 5th was another big night at the 400 Bar. I guess I could briefly tell you about it. Well, first Michael Morris, a local singer/songwriter who recently moved back from Seattle, put on a very nice show with his band.


Michael Morris

Then Minus Story soothed us with their dreamy indie psych. Can’t say they were the most exciting band to watch, but they were enjoyable nevertheless. And I have to say, their new album, No Rest for Ghosts, has really been growing on me.


Minus Story

Last, but not least, Okkervil River played. Yay! I had never actually seen Okkervil River before, but singer/guitar player Will Sheff looked very familiar. I wondered if maybe I had seen him around while he was attending Macalester College in St. Paul. Probably not. Maybe I just confused him for…umm…Elvis? Anyway, the show was great, and Okkervil River was a lot more energetic than I expected.


Okkervil River

Did you know that Will Sheff and keyboard player Jonathan Meiburg are in another band together called Shearwater (in which Jon is the chief songwriter/singer)? Yeah, I fell in love with them during this year’s SXSW (Will wasn’t able to join them during SXSW, so no, that’s not where I recognized him from). Of the two bands, Okkervil is more widely known, but I’m telling you, if you’re able to hunt down a Shearwater record, you will not be disappointed.

On an interesting and related side note, the Tuesday after the Okkervil River show, I went to the Playwrights’ Center to hear a reading of a play written by Kim Burke, the bassist from Shearwater. Every year, the Playwrights’ Center awards fellowships to five promising playwrights from around the country and invites them to perfect their art in our thriving theater scene. Kim was selected to be part of this elite group known as the Jerome Fellows. The other four fellows also presented bits and pieces of their own plays during the reading. All were excellent. One of the plays even included a sound collage done by Jon Nelson (a.k.a. Escape Mechanism, and host of Some Assembly Required). Exciting stuff.

Archives:
Shearwater @ Emo's (SXSW): March 16, 2005

1 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

Hey, I cannot believe I missed Okervil River! I found out about them through kexp.org. Dammit!! I hope they come back again, because they are indeed awesome. Did you pick up any of their albums? And if they so, I bet they rock. Don't they. Yeah, I thought so...

9:33 PM

 

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The Fallout

Over the years, I have become slightly more open-minded. But I admit, the idea of faith-based organizations reaching out to “hip” youth culture still kinda creeps me out. And I still let out a little shudder when I hear “Christian” and “indie rock” uttered in the same sentence. I know, I know, I’m a bloody horrible hypocrite (especially since these organizations and bands aren’t the ones giving Christianity a bad name…and they’re definitely not voting Republican). But I am getting better: I can admit that I like some of Pedro the Lion’s stuff, and I gave Sufjan Stevens a chance, and it turns out Illinois is one of my favorite albums of the year (OK, so maybe Illinois isn’t really a Christian-themed album). Oh, and bands like Low don’t really hide their beliefs, but I’ve always loved them. But still, I can’t help but be a little skeptical when something that makes no sense to me (religion) mixes with something that makes perfect sense to me (indie rock). This is part of the reason I’ve never (until recently) stepped foot in The Fallout Urban Art Center (an art gallery that doubles as a rock venue sponsored by a local faith-based organization). Well, that, and I also heard that Calvin Johnson played there once and he wasn’t very well received.

On November 4th, I caught word that Saxon Shore was playing at the Fallout. I had been listening to Saxon Shore a lot, and I regrettably missed them the last time they came to town, so I decided it’d be worth it to brave the Fallout. It was a neat little place. I really liked a lot of the artwork hanging on the walls, and I was impressed that so many young people showed up to see Saxon Shore. But I soon found out that Saxon Shore wasn’t even headlining, a band called Anathallo was. Hmm…

After a rather drab performance by emo band, Braille, Saxon Shore hit the stage. Ever since I discovered Godspeed You! Black Emperor, I’ve been on the lookout for other epic instrumental bands to spoon-feed me my emotions. Although nothing will ever compare to Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, I always have one or two instrumental bands in rotation at any given time. Saxon Shore is currently my instrumental band of the moment. On the post-rock spectrum, they’re more akin to Explosions in the Sky than they are to Godspeed, which is totally cool with me.


Braille

All the kids I thought were there to see Saxon Shore weren’t. I had plenty of space near the stage to rock out in peace, which turned out to be important since Saxon Shore really did rock. Their set was chockfull of loud, sweaty moments, even more so than on their albums. I thought to myself, “Shit, if that’s the opening act, I really have to see what’s coming next! I don’t know what could possibly follow that.”


Saxon Shore

I almost forgot, local band Wes Burdine and the Librarians were playing their farewell show next. Wes was moving to Philadelphia where he’d have to find a new set of Librarians. I decided to sit down and enjoy their pop rock from a distance. I have no complaints about their show.


Wes Burdine and the Librarians

Suddenly, the area in front of the stage became very crowded. Ahh, all these people were here to see Anathallo. But who the hell is Anathallo? How could a band I’ve never even heard of be so popular? Oooohhhh, I get it! They’re a *gulp* Christian band.

Turns out, a bunch of the “youngsters” I noticed earlier were actually in the band. There were eight of them in all, all multi-instrumentalists. That could only mean one thing (dare I use the term?)…hyperprog! Well, they can thank my current obsession with Architecture in Helsinki for me not just passing them off as a high school Christian youth group. I was even able to overlook the pretentious Biblical references and admire Anathallo for their exceptional creativity and unfettered experimentalism. Anathallo was obviously heavily influenced by Danielson Famile, but they were way less annoying. In effect, I thoroughly enjoyed them. So what? You see, I’m not completely closed-minded; I don’t “throw out the baby with the bath water.” And you know what? I even bought a couple of Anathallo’s albums.


Anathallo

By the way, the whole time I was in the Fallout, not a single person asked me if I was happy with my life, or even attempted to hand me a questionable slip of paper. So I think the Fallout is safe for us non-Christians. Just don’t ask them about Calvin Johnson.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jess said...

I can understand your skepticism...

11:14 PM

 
Blogger Chris said...

I have got to see Saxon Shore. You said they're like Explosions In The Sky, and you know I would totally renounce Jesus...I mean, reclaim Jesus...I mean, ok...nevermind...if I saw a band that's akin to Explosions, or that brings about so much emotion. Lucky.

9:38 PM

 

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things


Craig Finn of The Hold Steady

Thunderbirds Are Now! seem very driven to increase their exposure in the Twin Cities. If playing a show here once a month (more than most local bands) doesn’t do it for them, opening for the beloved Hold Steady definitely will. October 30th at First Avenue was actually the second time I’ve seen the Thunderbirds open for The Hold Steady in the past year. TBAN!’s set didn’t stray too far from what I’ve come to expect from them. The ADHD stage antics were still there, and since it was the day before Halloween, Scott Allen spent some time dressed up as a California Raisin. During their last song, Scott discovered a roll of duct tape and decided to wrap all around his body. After he peeled it off, he formed it into a noose and put it around my neck. Now, a dedicated fan probably would have kept the duct-tape noose as a concert souvenir, but I made the wise decision to throw it away since I already have enough trash cluttering my room.


Thunderbirds Are Now!

If you click on the link to view my Blogger profile, you will notice that under “Favorite Music,” I listed both Constantines and Lifter Puller (oh, I also listed First Avenue under “Interests”). So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that the Constantines and The Hold Steady would be sharing the bill in my favorite venue. Things got even more exciting when Broken Social Scene showed up to enhance the Constantines’ set (BSS had played First Avenue the previous night, and decided to hang out in the Twin Cities for the weekend). Constantines played about half of their songs with the help of various members of Broken Social Scene. During their finale, the stage was packed with the Constantines, Broken Social Scene, Thunderbirds Are Now!, and the majority of The Hold Steady. Craziness I tell you!


Constantines with Broken Social Scene

Know what else is cool? People singing along to the Constantines. When I first started getting into the Constantines, I got so weary of trying to explain what makes them so great (they just are! OK?). The whole “Fugazi meets Bruce Springsteen” descriptor became a little overused, so I finally gave up and just started telling people to “go find out for yourself.” Nowadays, since the Constantines have three solid albums under their belt, and since Sub Pop has introduced them to the US, it’s no longer a struggle to describe the Constantines to my friends. I can say “Constantines” and people know exactly what I am talking about. The mass of people at First Avenue chanting along to “Young Offernders” is a testament to this fact. It’s about frickin’ time!


Bryan Webb of Constantines


Steve Lambke of Constantines

The Hold Steady were awesome as usual. Craig Finn’s between-song (and mid-song) banter is always just as entertaining as his songs. One of his long-winded raves about the Minnesota music scene included a story about how he made a deal with his dad back in 1984: if he paid his dues by mowing lawns, his dad would take him to Oarfolkjokeopus to purchase Let It Be (only in Minnesota can you say "Oarfolkjokeopus" without people giving you funny looks, and "Let It Be" without people thinking of The Beatles). He claims that “I Will Dare” is still his favorite song (a very common claim in this neck of the woods). I guarantee that in the near future, people will be telling very similar stories about Fiestas + Fiascos.


The Hold Steady


Tad Kubler and Craig Finn of The Hold Steady (and Lifter Puller)

Archives:
Thunderbirds Are Now! @ The Whole: October 14, 2005
Thunderbirds Are Now! @ The Triple Rock: March 10, 2005
Constantines @ The 400 Bar: July 17, 2005
The Hold Steady @ Grand Old Day: June 5, 2005
The Hold Steady @ The Triple Rock: March 10, 2005

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Catching Up

I’m so sorry, dedicated readers. This negligence will not stand! There have been a heaping handful of shows that I’ve been meaning to document, but alas, I’ve been a bit distracted. We’ll see if I can’t remedy the situation today.

Of course, since I waited so long to write about these shows, my memory may not be so sharp. So if you’re looking for a detailed transcript of Craig Finn’s rantings at the recent Hold Steady show, I’d advise you to search elsewhere.

Oh, and I suppose I can leave you with some pictures. This first one is of my friend/old roommate Mike’s band Smashius Clay (formerly known as Cleaver Groveland, sometimes known as Smashius Clay and the Awesomists). Saw their live debut at the Triple Rock way back on October 26. The second is of acoustic guitar experimentalist bo.monro during his live debut/CD release show at the Manhattan Loft on November 10.


Smashius Clay


bo.monro (as seen through my cell phone)

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you enjoyed the show, bo.monro will be performing in red wing, mn on december 30. if you need more info check out www.bomonro.com

thanks very much for checkin me out!

bo.monro

9:50 AM

 

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Gold Star for Robotboy


Robotboy

The incredible Decemberists show left me craving more, more, more music. So since the night was still young, I decided to go check out what was happening at the Uptown Bar.

Witty pop band, Ellen Kay, was happening. They were by no means profound, but their songs definitely were amusing – particularly their song dedicated to Star Tribune music journalist, Chris Riemenschneider. Well, I won’t be satisfied until someone dedicates an ass-kissing song to Dinosaur in Trouble.


Ellen Kay

And it was good to see The Umbrella Sequence back in action. I’ve always liked them, even though I think they sound way too British. They’ve crafted a whole new crop of songs since I last saw them, and their performance convinced me that their new album is something to look forward to. And yeah, the new songs still sound suspiciously British.


The Umbrella Sequence

My main motive for going to the Uptown was to give Robotboy another chance. I think I was a little unfair last time. Maybe it was the elated mood that The Decemberists put me in, but I really enjoyed Robotboy this time around. Their fun and simple punk rock was a good way to end my marathon week of concerts (actually, I had tickets for The New Pornographers show the following night, but unfortunately, their bassist had to get his appendix removed, so they cancelled the show). Oh yeah, the lasers were pretty cool too.


Robotboy

Archives:
Robotboy @ The Uptown Bar: August 19, 2005

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The Decemberists!!!


The Decemberists

Oh…my…fucking…word! Why didn’t anybody ever tell me!? Why didn’t anybody ever tell me!? I was in no way prepared for what I experienced at First Avenue on Friday, October 21. Actually, I don’t think anything could have prepared me. I would have never guessed that The Decemberists are the de facto greatest live band in the world.

Cass McCombs opened. His set was pleasant, but unspectacular. I was actually expecting The Decemberists to follow suit. Oh, but they didn’t; they were hiding the ace of spades up their sleeve.


Cass McCombs

As you might have already inferred, I had never seen The Decemberists before. I avoided them the last time they came to town because they were playing a Clear Channel show. But this time, since they were playing at a venue that actually gives a shit about our music scene, I decided to check them out. I had no premonitions about the show; there was no media fanfare, no little voice in my head telling me that I should be excited. And that is why I was caught completely off guard.

I can’t even begin to adequately describe the show. By their second song, I realized that this was the closest I’d ever come to experiencing a Neutral Milk Hotel show. By their third song, I completely forgot about Neutral Milk Hotel, and I was lost in The Decemberists’ maritime fantasy world. The clever stage antics (Colin Meloy was even swallowed by a whale during the epic “The Mariner’s Revenge Song”) and the eerie lighting perfectly complimented the perfect music. I lost my cool and jumped and swayed as I sang along to the music and whispered “holy shit!” under my breath.

This was my third show in three nights. Under normal circumstances, I’d be tired. But under these extreme circumstances, I did not want the show to ever end. Truly amazing! I don’t expect any show for the rest of the year to top this historic event.


The Decemberists


For the birds

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The Ponys


The Ponys

On Wednesday (10-19-2005), The Paper Chase put on an amazing show at the Triple Rock for some crickets, a tumbleweed, and me. On Thursday (10-20-2005), the Triple Rock was packed to the brim with people eagerly awaiting The Ponys. Where were all these people the night before? I better hear some good excuses.

Anyway…hipster band, The Drama Club opened the show. You know, it’s been interesting to witness the effects of Interpol’s success. First, the major labels start signing bands like Longwave and The Stills, and then a new crop of less interesting sound-alike bands start springing up across the country – even in the Twin Cities where we’ve had a long and proud history of starting our own trends. The Drama Club unabashedly follows this NYC trend. But what do they care? They’re too cool. Too cool to move on stage, too cool to smile, and too cool to honor the indoor smoking ban. Yeah, I believe you Drama Club, you’re important. Pff!


The Drama Club

Die Electric! were their usual wacky selves. Just some good-old punk rock. What more can I say? Umm…I like it when Misha dives over his drum set.


David Gardner and Die Electric!

Last time I saw The Ponys, they were opening for The Unicorns (a band that, unfortunately, will only live on in legends). That equestrian-themed show went down in history as one of the best shows I’d ever seen at the Triple Rock (mainly because The Unicorns, aside from being pure geniuses, were freakin’ hilarious). This particular show won’t go down in history, but The Ponys were good, nonetheless. They played a surprisingly even mix of songs from both of their albums. The absence of their old guitarist, Ian Adams, was a little disappointing, though. Although his voice could be a little grating, Ian’s songs were some of their most interesting. Oh well, at least The Ponys still exist. I’m positive that this show would have been more memorable if it wasn’t sandwiched between two extraordinary shows: the previous night’s Paper Chase show, and the following night’s unexpectedly legendary performance at First Avenue (which I’ll get to next).


The Ponys

Archives:
Die Electric! @ The 7th Street Entry: May 28, 2005

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a link to a few videos of Die Electric! playing at the Triple Rock. Enjoy.

http://scheduletwo.com/video/index.php?vid=3

11:58 PM

 

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the pAper chAse


The Paper Chase

Just about everyone who was willing to stay out late on a Wednesday night (10-19-2005) was probably at the LCD Soundsystem show. Well, that’s what they get for depending on Pitchfork for every bit of their indie awareness. Little did they know, there was a much better show going on concurrently across town. Yeah, I was one of about fifteen people (maybe less if you don’t count the band members) to witness The Paper Chase’s phenomenal performance at the Triple Rock.

I missed Milwaukee's Forsake Ya to the Snakes, but I arrived just in time for Xiu Xiu cohorts, The Dead Science. The Dead Science have the unique talent of pulling off their soft-spoken jazz-inspired post rock without being boring. I really enjoyed them, and I was pleased to learn that their new LP, Frost Giant, is more representative of their profound live sound than last year’s EP, Bird Bones in the Bughouse.


The Dead Science

The Paper Chase were incredible. If you’re ever in the mood for some of the darkest, most intense music since Big Black, I strongly recommend checking out last year’s God Bless Your Black Heart. If that still doesn’t satisfy your black heart, I strongly recommend checking out The Paper Chase in concert. Very few bands can effectively play with that intensity (regardless of the size of their audience). The way singer/guitar player John Congleton twists and jumps around the stage is not forced; it is involuntarily induced by the extreme rage-ful passion in his music. What a cathartic experience! Too bad you missed it.


The Paper Chase

Archives:
The Dead Science @ The Triple Rock: March 26, 2005
The Paper Chase @ Room 710 (SXSW): March 19, 2005

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