BNLXFest Night Two at Cause, 11/17/12
Photo By Erik Hess
BNLXFest Night Two
With Pink Mink, BNLX, Me And My Arrow, Wiping Out Thousands, and Gloss
Cause Spirits and Soundbar, Minneapolis
November 17, 2012
Twin Cities music fans packed into Cause on Saturday night to not only celebrate the release of BNLX's debut LP, but to also take pleasure and pride in a small sampling of local bands who make the local scene so distinct and dynamic. During the second night of BNLXFest, not only did the festival namesakes deliver a potent set of their own, but they brought along four talented bands that showcased the Minneapolis sound of the recent past as well as the immediate future.
Openers Gloss are a young five-piece band who were playing their first ever live show in a venue, and the club was rightly crowded with friends and family in support of the fledgling group. They were visibly nervous as they started their set, as any band would be playing to a full room for the first time. But Gloss opened with a lengthy, textured instrumental which seemed to calm their nerves down while also winning over the crowd. Musically, the group has an early Cure/Pains of Being Pure At Heart sound, with guitarist/vocalist Jeff Cornell's sheepish but appreciative stage presence adding to their appeal. The bouncy debut single, "Front Porch" soared in the small club, leaving everyone in the crowd looking forward to hearing what Gloss will do next.
Next up were electro-rock duo Wiping Out Thousands, who were still riding the wave of their spellbinding record release show of their own two weeks earlier. The group seemed a lot more at ease on this evening, knowing that the focus wasn't squarely on them, and their tempestuous music took on an added inventive edge during their thrilling 35-minute set.
Photo By Erik Hess
A majority of their performance drew from their excellent debut full-length, This Came First, as "Feed," "Creation," and "Hips" all took on a propulsive, visceral edge in a live setting, with Taylor Nelson serving as the untamed sound technician while Alaine Dickman's textured, ethereal vocals floated above the powerful din. Wiping Out Thousands served clear notice that they are boldly taking the Twin Cities sound in a new, dynamic direction, and everyone in the crowd at Cause are certainly going to be following them along the way.
Me and My Arrow were up next, and before you think that guitarist/lead singer Jacob Grun actually dressed up for the occasion, he announced early in their set that "I don't typically wear a suit for fucking anything, and I didn't do it for BNLX, I must admit. We're heading to a wedding reception after this -- you can all come." And while the quartet's autotuned-twist on classic American rock 'n' roll went over well during their brief but spirited performance, it was clear that Grun started his wedding celebration earlier in the night. During a lively rendition of "Erazor," Grun fell off the small stage, and tumbled into the lights set up for BNLX's set. It brought the set to a rather abrupt end (thought Grun was all right, and laughed about the incident afterwards), while reminding us that this was indeed a rock show after all.
Photo By Erik Hess
Rather than headline their own festival, BNLX played the penultimate set during both nights at Cause, another diplomatic move by the band which only served to further share the weekend's spotlight with the other talented bands on the bill. The trio's Saturday night set began with "Frogger," which featured a raucous balance of exuberant pop and raw aggression, a trend which would continue straight through their 50-minute performance. After a lively take on one of the group's first songs, "Do Without," the band shifted their focus to their new tracks, as lead single "Vibrant" truly soared, with the band giving the buoyant number some added teeth in a live setting.
Photo By Erik Hess
After fiery versions of "Devil You Know" and "Everything Must Go," the band delivered a boisterous, textured take on Lana Del Rey's smash-hit, "Video Games," giving the song a churning pulse and a lively spirit that is lacking on the original number. "1929" proved to be another clear standout of the set, as the slow-burning song built to the massive chorus which rattled the walls of the crowded club. That track is one of the best singles to come out of the Twin Cities in a while, and the forceful live version won everyone who wasn't already a believer over in a flash.
The night was running a bit behind at this point, so after an incendiary version of "Burn The Boats," BNLX graciously brought their set to an end with their traditional closer, "BNLX2DAY," (sadly skipping "Meet Me On the Barricades" and "Where Is the Love" in the process) so that Pink Mink would have plenty of time to set up and play, proving that on top of everything else, BNLX are considerate hosts as well.
Photos By Erik Hess
Pink Mink's raucous set started past 1 a.m., so that the crowd (and the band) were plenty loose by this point. And there's really no better music to hear as the night grows long than loud, lusty rock 'n' roll, and Pink Mink gladly gave everyone what they needed. A blistering version of "Black Door" started the set with a shot, and the quartet didn't really let up once during their breathless 45-minute performance. Both "Earthquake On The Loose" and "Seeking Scott Seekins" (which Christy Hunt claimed she hadn't played in a while) got the well-lubricated crowd moving, while a scorching version of "Werewolf Island" had both Hunt and Arzu Gokcen on their knees, wailing away on their guitars while writhing in time to the beat.
Photo By Erik Hess
A lively cover of the Carole King/Beatles classic, "Chains," kept the energy level of the set running on high, and was followed quickly by "Booby Prize," with the group claiming that drummer Charles Gehr was choosing the songs during the set, and he only wanted to play the fast ones. The highly enjoyable set came to a close with the ferocious one-two punch of "End of the World Delight" and "Hidden Beach" which got everyone dancing and singing along, lost in the boundless spirit of the song. It was a great way to bring BNLXFest to an end, as we all celebrated the thriving local scene as well as the group who brought us all together for these two entertaining nights.
Personal Bias: I'm a big fan of BNLX, Wiping Out Thousands, and Pink Mink (though it had been a while since I'd seen them play), but had never seen Gloss (obviously) and Me And My Arrow. All the bands ended up meshing well throughout the well-paced night.
The Crowd: There were a lot of young folks in early to see Gloss, but by the time BNLX and Pink Mink took the stage, the place was filled with plenty of familiar faces from the scene over the years.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Things are really starting to get weird in this crowd"--quoting myself at about 1:45 in the morning, when liquor finally won its long tug-of-war with some members of the audience.
Random Notebook Dump: Cheers to BNLX for not only releasing a killer full-length (and putting it out on vinyl!!), but also putting together two great nights of music and fun at Cause.
Devil You Know
Everything Must Go
Video Games (Lana Del Rey)
Got Nothing On You
Message From HR
Burn The Boats
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