10 Thousand Sounds festival 2013: A music and photo timeline

10 Thousand Sounds festival 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo By Erik Hess

10 Thousand Sounds Festival
Free Energy, Greg Grease, The Chalice, Strange Names, Prissy Clerks
Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota
June 22, 2013

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak defiantly proclaimed early on at Saturday's 10 Thousand Sounds Festival that, "A little rain isn't going to keep Minnesotans from putting on a music festival." And indeed, for fans and artists alike, a day filled with music provided a necessary distraction from the widespread devastation brought on by Friday night's deluge, and gave those without power a few hours of fun while the Twin Cities slowly recovered from the storm.

As for the music itself, the opening part of the festival presented a terrific cross-section of what makes the current Twin Cities scene so vibrant and vital in the first place, as Prissy Clerks, Strange Names, Greg Grease, and The Chalice (who, in addition to hosting the festivities, also played a four-song set), all looked perfectly comfortable and confident on the big outdoor stage, and kept the gradually swelling crowd entertained with spirited sets throughout the afternoon. And Minneapolis expats Free Energy brought the party vibes in the early evening, giving the festival the jolt it needed as the day started to grow long.

See Also:
Slideshow: 10 Thousand Sounds Festival 2013: The Music
Slideshow: 10 Thousand Sounds Festival 2013: People and Scenes
Slideshow: 10 Thousand Sounds Festival 2013: Backstage

4:10 p.m. The sun was shining strong as Prissy Clerks kicked the festivities off early on Saturday, with fans still wandering in and getting settled as the band built up steam. Their hard-hitting half-hour set drew mainly from their stellar debut record, Bruise Or Be Bruised, with a few brand new songs fitting seamlessly alongside their earlier work. Frontwoman Clara Salyer's deadpan between song banter (including the first 'free energy' joke of the day for the power-deprived folks in the crowd) proved to be endearing introductions for the bristling songs themselves, as the group churned through their well-paced set with precision and potency.

10 Thousand Sounds festival 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo By Tony Nelson

Emily Lazear played keys throughout the entire set, which gave the songs a subtle electronic dimension, adding to the poppy garage-rock squall the rest of band were generating. The rapid-fire set ended strongly with a dynamic version of "Blast Off Girls" ringing true into the heat of the afternoon, and one can only hope that the fortunes of this talented Minneapolis band take off sometime soon.

5 p.m. After a playful introduction by Mayor R.T. Rybak where he said as someone with a strange name himself, he was naturally drawn to a band called Strange Names, the quartet launched into a pulsing, dynamic set that proved to be the best of the day. After a soaring, funky take on "Luxury Child," Liam Benzvi joked about the band's bedroom recording origins, "We used to be lo-fi." But their songs have now taken on a more prodigious, assured tone that only adds to their appeal. After an elegant run through of their current single, "Once An Ocean," the band debuted the first of three new songs on offer throughout the set, as "Ricochet" simply soared in the outdoor setting.

10 Thousand Sounds festival 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo By Erik Hess
10 Thousand Sounds festival 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo By Erik Hess

Before the Thomas Dolby-esque "Minor Times," guitarist/vocalist Francis Jimenez asked, "Has anyone ever felt sad? Well, fuck that!" And indeed, this exuberant set was filled with a blissful pop buoyancy that put a smile on the faces of everyone in the crowd. After a vivacious take on "Potential Wife," the set ended with two more new songs, "Overused Phrase" and "Neighborhood," as the band confidently gave their fans a small but stellar taste of where they are planning on taking their sound in the future. Hopefully they don't keep us all waiting too long for their highly-anticipated full-length.


6 p.m. As Greg Grease's DJ Just Nine got his decks sorted before the set, the ladies of the Chalice ditched their hosting duties for a moment in favor of what they are most comfortable doing on stage -- performing. The crew delivered a surprise four-song set which kicked off with a sultry take on "Push It" which got the crowd moving, before they debuted a brand-new song, which Lizzo claimed they "just wrote like five minutes ago." Their short but spirited set proved to be a terrific intro to Greg Grease's performance, creating a great vibe within the crowd that the burgeoning Minneapolis MC only built upon during his vigorous set.

10 Thousand Sounds festival 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo By Erik Hess
10 Thousand Sounds festival 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo By Erik Hess

6:15 p.m. "Are we downtown or what?" Grease asked assertively as he launched into a set which drew mainly from his recent full-length, Cornbread, Pearl, & G, as well as his just-released EP, Black King Cole. Just Nine kept the fresh beats banging throughout the 40-minute set, while Grease's laid back but intricate flow pushed the songs forward. Lizzo came out for another guest spot early in the performance, delivering her rousing chorus for Greg's passionate jam, "I Still Love H.E.R." Grease delivered a clear knockout on the Wu Tang-indebted "C.R.E.A.M. Dreams," as his stylistic verses rang out over the old school beats.

"How many of y'all are happier being hot from the sun rather than being wet from the rain?" Grease asked, letting the crowd know that we are fortunate to have a nice day to get down to. Before he launched into the next track, Grease insisted, "Everyone has got to act like this track is the coolest shit they've ever heard -- like Hendrix is doing a duet with Bob Marley, and Prince is back there mixing shit." And indeed, Greg brought out Metasota and the pair brought the set to another level with their collaborative take on "Harvest." I.B.E. also joined in the fun, as the pair closed things down impressively with a funky take on "Do It to the Death" that emphatically ended the terrific set.

7:05 p.m. As the warm afternoon wore on, the crowd really started to swell by the time Free Energy took to the stage, as the quintet with strong local ties gave 10K Sounds exactly the type of jolt it needed. "It's good to be home," frontman Paul Sprangers exclaimed as he surveyed the large crowd packed in front of the stage. And the band rewarded their longtime area fans with a trio of explosive songs from their debut, Stuck On Nothing, as "Bang Pop," "Free Energy," and "Dream City" all got the crowd dancing as beach balls flew through the air, completing the party vibes of the set.

10 Thousand Sounds festival 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo By Erik Hess

"You guys look so beautiful from up here. We're so fortunate to be playing in front of all of you tonight. The weather rules -- the haters said it wouldn't," Sprangers exclaimed, and the band seemed to feed off the enthusiasm of the crowd, with the dual-guitar attack of Scott Wells and Sheridan Fox giving the festive songs some extra teeth. The band also brought plenty of songs from their recent record, Love Sign, including a Def Leppard-like rendition of "Backscratcher," which Sprangers dedicated to "all our people in the Warehouse District," proving that even though the band claims Philadelphia as their home, they haven't forgotten their local roots.

In fact, Sprangers also endearingly gave a shout out to all of their moms during the set, who were in the crowd enjoying the set. After saying that "Girls Want Rock" is a song about Midwest girls, the guys ended their lively performance with an anthemic take on "Hope Child," which got the crowd dancing one last time as the sun found its way behind the buildings as night slowly settled over the city and we all grew psyched to see the Walkmen.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I was thrilled to see all of the bands on the bill perform, but was anxious and excited to see how the outdoor setup at the festival would work out.

The Crowd: A bit sparse early in the afternoon, but the parking lot filled in nicely as the day wore on.

Overheard In The Crowd: "I think I've eaten an entire pizza already, and it's only 6 o'clock."

Random Notebook Dump: Sound issues typically plague any outdoor music festivals, especially as diverse sounding bands demand their own specific mix, but the sound was stellar throughout the entire day (except for some issues that plagued part of the Walkmen's set). Kudos to the people hard at work making sure the music rang true.

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