Gospel Gossip officially released their Dreamland EP (Guilt Ridden Pop) last Friday night, the middle show of a two-day, three-show extravaganza. Earlier in the day Friday the trio played at Carleton College in Northfield where they met and they closed it out with an all-ages freebie at Treehouse Records on Saturday. The Turf Club show was a full one, with three other bands on the bill- probably to buy GG enough time to re-group, have a beer and get pumped up again.
Openers Mute Era blasted the night off with their noisy, fuzz/distort/reverb heavy guitar and drums combo. There are intriguing moments in their sound, which is anti-melodic and heavily structured but less energetic than their Japanese-fronted-guitar-and-drums-duo counterparts here in the cities, Birthday Suits. There is a whole thought bubble waiting to happen there about the strange simultaneous existence of band binaries in the Twin Cities; Mute Era/Birthday Suits, Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles/Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps, The Alarmists/White Light Riot. Maybe that thought bubble is “Huh, that’s odd,” and then we move on.
Moving on to the second band of the evening, Brooklyn’s Black Horse made a valiant stab at un-ironic Southern rock/blues, doing a pretty decent impression of The Dead Weather (an impression of impressions, if you will). Guitarist AP Schroder had some definite chops and the tiny Korg keyboard onstage made a deliciously heavy roar, even if it was underutilized. The best moments came when their was some modulation in dynamics and tempo, although the bulk of the show was uniformly loud and fast.
After Black Horse, local faves Lookbook took the stage, a definite shift in sound, tempo, style, and just about everything. The duo of Grant Cutler and Maggie Morrison play to their strengths, Cutler’s unimpeachable 80s dance/new wave production boosting Morrison’s sultry vox. It is softer and clubbier than Morrison’s other project Digitata (who also released an EP, Art Work Pays, this weekend) and in the midst of bands that played with ferocious live energy, felt, if not out of place, a little staid. Still, the pairing of Cutler and Morrison is one that makes sense musically and their dueting stage presence has to be one of the cutest things in town.
Then, just as we all mellowed out, it was time for the big show. Gospel Gossip’s new disc feels tighter than their first full-length, Sing Into My Mouth, with them doing more in less time to powerful effect. It is good to hear that captured on record, but also good to know that their live shows are just as enchanting and frenetic as they have always been. The show wasn’t without difficulty- Justin Plank’s bass receiver crapped out two minutes into “Sippy Cup”, so Sarah Nienaber and Ollie Moltaji finished it alone. Plank got a spare onstage in aminute though and went back to beating the hell out of his bass and giving us a pulsing backline. At one point Moltaji lost a tom, but he carried on with the snare and hi-hat. You get the feeling from Moltaji’s distant look that if the world collapsed around him as he was playing, if his kit fell to pieces and all he had was a crash cymbal, he would make it work. Same goes for Nienaber, who, aside from the awkward (and endearing) shyness when she had to speak directly to the audience to buy time, was fully under the spell of the music, swaying, crashing to the floor, bending out the chords to fill the void, creating her own heaven. It all ended with blood as Nienaber ripped a nail and skinned her knees, but the music will make you do funny things, like play three shows in 36 hours, and the crowd loved it.