Intergalactic Groove Orgy and Nocturnal Elf Emissions

Shaking it with zombies and nuclear submarines

Minneapolis's Dance Band have the will to power—in the cosmic groove-orgy sense of the phrase—and they brought it to the Varsity Theater on the last Tuesday in February. With their extraterrestrial-origin myth and snug-fitting jumpsuit-based wardrobe, the band was like a Bad News Bears version of Parliament/Funkadelic. Their fuzzy ursine frontman, Captain Octagon, kept his glasses on the whole night—but his pants proved expendable. As the Capt.'s fellow emissaries from planet Dance played a buoyant disco bounce, he shimmied down to his skivvies.

"Shake you baby maker, everybody has got one!" he entreated the crowd. And before you could whisper Har Mar Superstar, every body organ with a billing in sixth-grade health class was wiggling and writhing at his feet. When zaftig vocalist Double D joined him onstage, the two traded boasts and pelvic thrusts. "That's how babies are made, people. Watch out," he warned when the song was over.

By then I, too, was covered in perspiration, and worried about the accidental ease with which children come into this world. Still, no amount of self-consciousness or restraint could keep a living soul from heeding Dance Band's boogie beckon. But what about the dead souls? As the group launched into a funky zombie tune that had the entire Varsity acting like the undead, lurching port and starboard and shouting, "What do we want? Brains! When do we want 'em? Brains!" I realized that Dance Band have the power to shake your ass—dead, alive, or dance-floor-shunningly shy. Your soul has nothing to do with it.

The newest InRadio compilation has arrived, and, as usual, Twin Cities musicians are well represented on the disc. Moments in Movement includes the mix-mandatory Haley Bonar singing the regretful, haunting "Ransom"; the stripped-down pining of Roma Di Luna's Channy Moon Casselle on "These Tears Ain't Mine"; and Ouija Radio's Christy Hunt howling through the tilt-a-whirl ride of "Cookie." You can get InRadio by subscription; the records come out every few months. I'm not sure exactly how these things are curated, but I suspect it involves a nighttime intrusion at the offices of MPR's the Current and the hasty duplication of a file marked "Indie Rock—Highly Accessible."

"Rock Music Versus the Moon!" proclaimed the flyer for a show organized by local band Dragons Power Up! Based on this strange artifact, I went to Big V's the night of the lunar eclipse expecting (fearing?) highly ironic expression of whimsy. But D.P.U. are metal-loving rockers with little use for gimmicks and lots of love for nasty feedback jams and guitar solos that invade your ear canal like a swarm of angry mosquitoes. When frontman Chris Tures finally opened his mouth to speak, I thought, "Now for the medieval lore!" but all he said was, "Sorry to be a total Minnesotan, but whose arm is tired from shoveling?"

If the Dragons were heavy, the Deaf, by comparison, were an infinitely massive and unfathomably dense dark star devouring the light of a hundred galaxies. The three St. Paulites had conservative haircuts, sensible sweaters, and a secret commission from the United States Navy's submarine fleet to open channels of communication using Extremely Low Frequency signals. With his innards knotted at the bottom of his throat, guitarist David Safer forced his words out with so much pressure that I could see the veins bulging in his neck. Athletic drummer Jack Kalyuzhny used his sticks to rip holes in every level of the atmosphere, puncturing the air and clearing away any obstacles that could interfere with the subsonic rumble broadcasting from the bass of Stephanie Budge.

Saturday night's eclipsing moon might have had some power over the ocean tides, but somewhere in the sea's cold, murky depths, metal leviathans were dancing at the command of the Deaf.

 
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