Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Plastic Constellations

TPC: hottest ticket in town

Is it acceptable for me to write about a show that happened two months ago? No? It defeats the purpose of a live concert review? Ha! I don’t care. I don’t do this for your benefit. I document these concerts just to prove that I was there (you know, like that LCD Soundsystem song). But I agree, my blogging negligence really does suggest that I’m “losing my edge.” Anyway...

January 27th - Triple Rock Social Club:
The day after The Plastic Constellations were featured in every single publication known to man (including the Star Tribune, City Pages, Pulse, and Pitchfork), the Constys packed the Triple Rock for two back-to-back shows celebrating the release of their Frenchkiss debut, Crusades. I managed to squeeze into the second show.

Dinosaur in Trouble favorites, STNNNG, opened the show. It is my impression that STNNNG sensed that half of the people in the crowd were fair-weather local music fans, so they decided to be louder and more obnoxious than usual. As can be imagined, they effectively divided the audience. Oh, I loved it.


When it comes to dividing audiences, however, no band in the history of Minnesota music has been as successful as The Hawaii Show – just ask the thousands of angry Nickelback fans (please don’t ask me what The Hawaii Show was doing opening for Nickelback). For any non-Minnesotans that might be reading this, The Hawaii Show is the band formed by Lifter Puller guitarist Steve Barone (a.k.a. Mr. Hawaii Dude) after Craig Finn and Tad Kubler moved to New York. The reason for their infamy is their gimmick of lip-synching all of their songs (as well as their conversations with the audience). Their songs, which are generally topical parodies of other people’s songs, are usually accompanied by a ridiculous stage show complete with wardrobe changes and homemade props. Genius, if you ask me.

Steve Dude of The Hawaii Show

The Hawaii Show’s performance at the Triple Rock diverted from their usual set in that it was a full-fledged lip-synched stage drama. The saga followed rapper Ludachrist’s fall from grace as his lip-synching scheme was uncovered and betrayed to the Romans. Not the most original storyline. But then again, who else would think of combining Ludacris, the New Testament, and lip-synching?


After crucifying famed lip-synchers Milli Vanilli and Ashlee Simpson, the Romans seek out their next target: Ludachrist.

The final opener, Doomtree, had a stage presence that was just about as chaotic as The Hawaii Show’s. With just a few more days until P.O.S. released his new album, a lot of the people in the crowd were just excited to see Doomtree as they were to see The Plastic Constellations. Since a very large chunk of Doomtree’s beats are produced by The Plastic Constellations’ Aaron Mader (known as Lazerbeak to the hip-hop world), it was very appropriate that they shared the bill. For Doomtree’s finale, TPC joined the stage for a rocking rendition of Doomtree’s chant-along theme song. Pretty cool.

Doomtree from left to right: P.O.S., Paper Tiger (DJ), Dessa, Sims, Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan

Sims and Cecil Otter

Let me tell you something about The Plastic Constellations. When I first moved to Minneapolis in 1999, everyone was talking about this high school band called The Plastic Constellations. Thanks to all-ages venues downtown like the Foxfire Café, young, creative bands like TPC actually had a chance to amass a following and to be taken seriously. Without that kind of support, The Plastic Constellations could have easily fizzled out like so many high school bands before them. Seven years later, The Plastic Constellations are one of the longest-running, most successful rock bands in the Twin Cities.

So here’s a call for more all-ages venues. The Foxfire is long since gone, the Fireball is long since gone, the Bon Appetit is long since gone, the Babylon is long since gone, Eclipse Records is long since gone. It is truly tragic that the survival of a music venue is so heavily dependent on alcohol sales. The lack of all-ages venues in the Twin Cities really suffocates our scene. Young talent is shut out before they even have a chance develop. How many Plastic Constellations have we unwittingly abolished in recent years with our ageist music scene?

Anyway, in the years I’ve been watching the Constellations play, they’ve never put on a bad show. Their show at the Triple Rock was extraordinary mainly due to the enthusiastic sold-out crowd. As balloons fell from the ceiling, The Plastic Constellations got sentimental by retiring their song, “Let’s War” – their raison d’être from their high school years. The fact that almost everyone in the club was singing along to the song shows just how important The Plastic Constellations are to our music scene.

The Plastic Constellations

The Plastic Constellations @ The Whole: October 14, 2005
Dessa and Cecil Otter @ The Triple Rock: January 22, 2006
Doomtree @ Nomad World Pub: July 21, 2005
STNNNG @ The 7th Street Entry: January 14, 2006
STNNNG @ Top 10 Albums of 2005
STNNNG @ The 7th Street Entry: May 28, 2005


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