Visit our sponsors

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Lifter Puller, The Mountain Goats, Monarques (Friday, June 6th, 2003, The Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis)

Monarques, publicity photo.

I feel a little sorry for the folks who waited in line outside the Triple Rock Friday night for the 100 or so tickets that were to be sold at the door and still didn't get in. All three days had sold out right away, but if you were paying attention, you were forewarned.

On opening night the club was so damn clean that I felt bad putting cigarettes out on the floor. Even with a packed house, the drink lines were't too bad, and the place was roomy enough that it didn't feel over-crowded. However, I did find myself wishing for larger bathrooms and for drink racks on the rails along stage left. And speaking of those rails, it looks like they might need a better method of being attached to the concrete floor. Some seemed a little loose by the night's end. All in all though, the club has great sound, a great sight line, and a friendly and capable staff.

Although Lifter Puller was definitely the main attraction Friday, and the whole weekend for that matter, I was also there to catch up with the Monarques, having been hooked on their sound after seeing them open for Har Mar Superstar on May 29th in the First Avenue Mainroom. The Monarques creep up on you just like their 2003 demo that starts out unassumingly and before long carries you away. The first track "No Rewind" doesn't really rock out so much as it gnaws at your ears in a sort of Clinic or Radiohead kind of way. You can't help but realize that it’s good, and that a lot of rock and roll know-how went into the crafting of these songs.

Monarques are Nathan Grumdahl, formerly of Selby Tigers, Sean Na Na and Arm on vocals and guitar; Jeff Brown, of Grotto and Sean Na Na on drums, Trenton Raygor on bass and Matthew Rezac on keyboards.

Dressed in white shirts and jeans, Monarques will go down in Minneapolis music history as the first band ever to take the stage at the brand new Triple Rock. Good-naturedly teasing them about their uniforms as they took the stage someone shouted, "Did you use Clorox on your shirts?" Bassist Trenton Raygor shouted back, "No, Tide."

The Monarques' set at the Triple Rock on Friday night began in the same kind of unassuming way their CD does. Some songs live sounded bouncy and Clash-like, others were slow and ambient sounding in a kind of American Analog Set sort of way. What Monarques are best at is getting your attention and keeping it without ever getting in your face.

Their 2nd song of the night, Black Helicopters was a real highlight. Hear it for yourself by downloading it from their website's media page here.

Also on their media page you can watch the video from this show for "Typesetter."The sound quality is pretty bad, but you can catch a bit of the vibe these guys give off and what I mean by the fact that they creep up on you.

The Day the World Turned Pink shows Monarques are more than capable of playing the kind of pop-rock that already made Revolver a household name in Minneapolis.

The last song featured genuine sleigh bells. How can you go wrong with that? Or a disco ball for that matter.

The Mountain Goats played the middle set. Actually a solo acoustic artist named John Darnielle, the Mountain Goats didn't play the divorce song that's been getting tons of Radio K airplay ("I hope you die / I hope we both die") they/he did play the infamous "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton" and a song about a love hate relationship with methamphetamine. Although someone by the bar shouted out something to the effect of "play some rock and roll" The Mountain Goats was an awesome and perfect middle set, and the ordering of rock / acoustic / rock was oddly correct.

Finally, Lifter Puller took the stage to a roar of applause. Vocalist Craig Finn , now based in New York, LP said out this was the coolest club they'd ever played. Nate Grumdahl of Monarques pretty much posted his own review of the Lifter Puller show and the evening on the Monarques website and since he covered it so well I’ll just quote him here to finish off this review:

"I cannot fully express my satisfaction with being included on that show last night, it was like a dream. We blazed our set in all white jean suits and badly blacklit effects (see the Media Section), and the Mountain Goats followed us up. By the point that the headliners hit the stage, the anticipation in room was palatable. With the opening chord of 'LBI', Craig was once again the furious lyrical faith healer our souls all needed to hear. Dan beat the piss out the D4 drum kit (thanks New Skins), Steve was rocking the 'magic triangle' riff and whipping out his trademarked 80's ski jump kicks, and I think that Tad can play his bass parts blindfolded, in a straight jacket at the bottom of a 500 gallon tank of bourbon. I call it skills to be able to play the show they played last night. Big ups to LFTR PLLR, Erik and Gretchen and all the people who burnt it on both ends of the candle to help open the doors of this fabulous new club. Thanks to all the press folks, the rockers, and all who helped sell out our first run of tee shirts. Hurray! ...Wait, this just in Monarques w/ Jets to Brazil at the First Avenue Mainroom on July 24th. Come on down! Nathan/Monarques."

Cool. I'll be back from Europe by then!