Sunday, March 1, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 7.5

Cheap Girls with opening acts Restorations, Chris Farren, and The Slow Death at the Turf Club in St Paul MN on February 27th, 2015.

I went to this concert to see Restorations. It was the first time that they had been through the Twin Cities and I was so excited they were going to make a stop here. I was not sure that I was going to go and see them until the day before. It was kind of a tense moment making that decision, which is perfect for this band really. I hope they come through again in the future.

I took my wife to see the concert. I did not pre-order tickets like I would usually have done. I guess that added to the tension that I had mentioned previously. It was not an issue and we got in right away. We got there early and were able to get a table with stools.

I went up to the merchandise table to see what was available. I was hoping to see a copy of the first release from the band, a split 12” with Rosetta, but it was not to be. I forgot to bring my copy of Call + Response for the band to sign. They did have copies of that 7” so I bought another copy. The drummer, Carlin Brown, sold me the copy and started to tell me the story behind the release. I stopped him right away to let him know that this would be my second copy and asked if he could sign it. He said that not only would he sign it he would bring it around to the other members of the band and get them to sign it too.  That was probably the easiest garnering of signatures that I have ever had. There was a small issue of trying to find everyone though. He dropped the record off at the table and got everyone over to our table to sign it eventually before any of the other opening acts started to play. Actually, the keyboardist, Ben Pierce, ended up staying to talk to us as the other members were rounded up.

We talked to Ben about the groups first time playing in the Twin Cities. From there we moved on to talk about how a certain number of people living in St Paul have never been to Minneapolis. He looked at us a little confused. We then compared it to living in New Jersey and never going to New York City. He said that was ridiculous. We then went on to explain that it isn’t the same the other way around. Most people who live in Minneapolis have been to St Paul. We moved on from that topic and started talking about the record that I had just bought. It is two sides that make up one track. When I got my first copy I recorded the song like I usually do but I had to join the tracks together. I found that when I did this the track time comes to about nine minutes and ten seconds. I quoted seven and a half, my mistake. But the point is that the record is shorter than the digital download version. Ben didn’t know but though that I should bring this up with the lead singer, Jon Loudon. I didn’t get a chance to talk with Jon but maybe he will read this and have a possible answer. I had also asked Ben if they were going to stop over at any radio stations for an interview. He said that there wasn’t anything planned but they were going to go north to Fargo and would be talking with some folks there. I guess that I got the only interview in the Twin Cities. If only I had recorded the conversation that we had. I did get all of them to sign the book before the first opening act started.

The first act was The Slow Death. They were early on in their career as a band it seemed like. The lead singer was already drunk before they got on stage. I am not sure if they were just having a good time or if the lead singer needed the alcohol to perform on stage. Either way they were not as good as they could have been if they were a bit more serious about the situation. They had that east coast sound that I have talked about in the past that reminds me of Bruce Springsteen but more modern. The jokes between songs were so bad mainly because of the alcohol consumption.

Chris Farren took the stage next. I saw him getting ready and thought to my self, “There is no supporting members, it is just him?” He had a pretty arch-top guitar that was set to the neck pickup it sounded like. I didn’t see a pickup on the body though so it must have been some kind of internal pickup. I mention this because the guitar sound didn’t have any body to it. Maybe he liked it that way, not my style unless I have other layers on top of that higher pitched sound. It was difficult to hear him as the mix was too soft. I wear earplugs when I go to concerts and I expect to be able to hear the music with the earplugs in. I took one out to be able to listen to this guy. I just sort of lost interest in what he was doing on stage. I think that most of the crowd did too. Most of the people left the dance floor and did other stuff. I think that Chris has something with what he is doing but he needs to flesh it out with something. I don’t know if it should be a fuller tone or more members in the group.

Next was Restorations. They played eight songs in their set. All of them sounding so good and polished I felt like I was listening to a CD. I have never felt that they were a hard rock group and they proved it with this show. The songs were awesome slow burners that have emotion and feeling. They don’t make you think but give off a warm melancholic feeling. I bobbed my head to the beat as if I were saying yes this is exactly what I needed on this day and at this time. What a release.

The first song they played was Misprint from their latest album, LP3. They were supposed to play Wales but I think that they were short on time so they skipped it. Wales isn’t my favorite song so I was happy to find that they did skip it after seeing the set list. Misprint on the other hand was a great way to start off the set. It is a slow burn track that uses primarily two chords to move the song. They nailed the song with what seemed little to no effort, perfection in the making.

New Old was the second song played. This is a track off a single that never made it to one of the albums. I always like it when a group plays songs from the harder to find singles and EPs. It makes me feel like they really care about their fans and pick the tracks that will make them happy too. It is a faster song that gets me moving. I like the distorted bass just hovering under the surface. It is like choppy waters that are trying their best to calm down. The breaks in the song are sweet and meaning full. Jon’s vocals are borderline country and sound fantastic with the band backing in a rock feel, one of my favorite songs from the group.

The only other song not from LP3 was Lets Blow Up The Sun. This track faster paced rocker with slower paced vocals. The drums on this one are loud with heavy use of symbols. It is perfect for the song though. It helps to keep the intensity up on the track. I still can’t get over the way that Jon can so easily slip from clean and clear vocals to that slight raspy, almost gritty, vocal style. It is so good and helps to accentuate certain vocal lines.

The last song in the set was Separate Songs. This was the reason that I got heavy into this group. I had known about them through Side One Dummy Records with the release of their second album, LP2, but didn’t really dig into the group to much at that point. When I hear this song I had to have everything I could get my hands on from them. I am now just missing their first split single with Rosetta. This song is just perfect for me. The layers of guitar, the walking bass line that fast paced drums and the awesome vocal style all make me feel so happy.

They were going to play one additional track but like with the first track they didn’t have enough time to fit it in. The last song was going to be a song called Adventure Tortoise.

Thanks to all the bands for coming out and of course thanks to the Turf Club for having them. A special thanks to Restorations for signing my second copy of Call + Response IV.

Restorations Set List:
New Old
Tiny Prayers
Most Likely A Spy
The Future
Lets Blow Up The Sun
All My Home
Separate Songs

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