By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
For a lot of us, Free Energy is already that band. The dance-rock group with heavy Minnesota ties — singer Paul Sprangers, lead guitarist Scott Wells, and bassist Evan Wells are all Red Wing-bred vets of Hockey Night — has a reputation for making people move their bodies, and it seems that it's catching on everywhere they go.
"In the '50s, the rock 'n' roll show was where you went to dance, and rock music was danceable," Sprangers tells City Pages. "Riffs can be danceable, and that is definitely something we talk about and is a conscious decision."
10 THOUSAND SOUNDS TICKETS
General admission: $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and includes admission to the 10 Thousand Sounds Afterparty at Mill City Nights. Both events are 21+.
Available for purchase at the Electric Fetus and online at ticketfly.com/event/245011-city-pages-10-thousand-sounds-minneapolis/.
VIP: Pamperings include all-you-can-eat Pizza Luce artichoke dip, wings, lucky Luciano pasta salad, a variety of pizzas, and dessert. Plus, thereâ€™s exclusive seating in the shade, a viewing deck next to the stage, an exclusive bar with shorter lines, and private restrooms. It includes admission to the 10 Thousand Sounds Afterparty at Mill City Nights. Plus, you will be entered into a drawing to win a limited-edition festival poster designed by Burlesque of North Americaâ€™s Mike Davis. Tickets are $45 in advance online only, and not available at the door.
OFFICIAL AFTER PARTY
Mill City Nights (111 Fifth St. N., Minneapolis) presents the official City Pages 10K Sounds Afterparty. DJ sets by Free Energy & BadNraD. 21+, free with 10 Thousand Sounds wristband or $5 at the door. 10 p.m.â€“2 a.m.
Appropriately, Love Sign, the Philly-based act's latest, is brimming with cowbell, sing-along choruses, and those charged-up guitar riffs. It's a formula that confirms that, yes, it's time to debut that move you've been trying out in front of the fogged-up bathroom mirror for weeks now. Mining the stadium spectacle of '70s-era rock anthems, local radio staple "Electric Fever," as well as "Dance All Night" and "Girls Want Rock" do plenty to show where the collective mindset is at.
For their next project, Wells has sent some demos over to Sprangers for new material. Once they wrap touring, they plan to record, and hope to get an EP out by the end of summer. Ever charting the group's progress, Sprangers notes that the addition of guitarist Sheridan Fox in 2011 is when Free Energy started clicking, and they're a much sharper unit than they were even in September.
"Since January, at every show now people are dancing, and it's awesome," Sprangers says. "I don't care what I look like. I can look like an idiot and dance like a monkey. I think it relieves people of any kind of tension, and then they feel comfortable and start dancing, and then it's just a party, which is ideal." —Justin Baker
Named City Pages' Best Hip-Hop Artist of 2013, Minneapolis rapper Greg Grease has embraced high-concept inspiration throughout his burgeoning solo career — a Laurence Fishburne movie, the mighty wordsmith Shel Silverstein, and now one of the first successful black singers, Nat King Cole.
"I'm partially just giving him props," 26-year-old Grease says of this spring's Black King Cole EP. "He was existing when he was the only one doing what he was doing. That's like me saying, 'I'm doing the same thing.' Obviously my name isn't Nat King Cole, but what I'm trying to do is something that no one else has ever done, and exist equally."
Last December, Grease dropped a surprise entry into the race for 2012's finest local album, which has ruled much of this year too. Cornbread, Pearl, and G loads up on intricate lyricism, and basks in soulful production that crackles and warms you like a campfire. With Black King Cole, a few more folks saw him coming. But its off-kilter electronic beats — by Grease, Myke Shevy, Javi, Woolley, JHard, and GMO — show a guy who isn't ready for a specific niche just yet.
"My music is for people who like to use their minds," he says. "It'll trigger your mind when you listen to it. You might listen to it 20 times — and then all of a sudden on the 21st time you're like [affecting seriousness], 'Whoa, what did he just say? This is a smokin' song.'"
Want more proof? In addition to opening slots for rap heavyweights like the Coup and Cam'ron around town, Grease has recently done some live collaboration with with Marijuana Deathsquads, including at their recent show in Brooklyn. It all comes from a place of pushing himself to win over crowds who are strangers to his style.
"When I played out in St. Paul at the Amsterdam Bar [for the Local Current Live show], it was a crowd that had no clue what I'm going to sound like. Never heard me and don't listen to music that I make. I like to change people's minds. People be like, 'I don't listen to rap, but Greg Grease? I listen to Greg Grease, though.'" —Reed Fischer
Strange Names have slowly built momentum in the Twin Cities and beyond, and even placed seventh in our Picked To Click poll in 2012. The inventive electro-pop duo of Liam Benzvi and Francis Jimenez bonded over a love of music while sharing a dorm at the U of M.
"We were in the same sort of crowd," Jiminez explains. "We knew each other and had spoken and hung out and listened to music together, but it wasn't until we moved out of the university into our own apartments and started getting together that we started actually making music."
Both were in their own bands at that point, and shared bills in Benzvi's basement and other DIY venues in Minneapolis. Initially, Jiminez sent Benzvi the instrumental for what would become "Luxury Child" with the note, "This is pop music. People love it." It was intended as a joke. "I heard it and didn't understand that it was a joke at all," Benzvi recalls. "I thought, 'Oh, this is amazing.' And I went ahead and wrote the chorus for that track, and then we both realized that it was actually really good, and we both started to care about it."