First Communion Afterparty get Saucy

First Communion Afterparty
First Communion Afterparty
Photo by Emily Utne

Sauce is just what Uptown needs. The new restaurant/music venue is a comfortable inbetween from the Uptown Bar's ultra scuzziness and Barbette's sophisticated formality. Its location on a popular corner in Lyn-Lake, added with reasonable drink prices and cover charges and "casual Italian" food based on co-owner Mike Riehle's family recipes from Grandma Panebianca, just might lure concert-goers away from downtown and the West Bank. And it should. Uptown is infused with hip kids. If they're going to fork over their wadded up five-dollar bills somewhere, it might as well be in their own neighborhood.

Riehle has been pulling 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. days for a month and a half to launch his new venture. And it's evident Sauce is much more than a money-making scheme for him. "I've always wanted to have a music venue," he says, noting he has been an on again off again rock and roller since his teens. And after years wiling away in a certain Minnesota-based corporate behemoth, his self-determination got the best of him--as did his independence and community focus. "I didn't want to be next to a Gap or a Starbucks," he says.

But the atmosphere seems a little off. The bathrooms are clean and classy with no crude dick drawings or "Call ----- for a good time." And the venue side, with it's classy, muted colors and hardwood floors, seem more fitting to host blues or jazz music for a crowd of polo-shirted suburbanites. Right now, seeing a show and partaking in a night of thrifty bacchanal at Sauce feels like the first party you threw at your parents' house. But you know some kid is going to puke all over mom's white carpet. And when this happens at Sauce, when drunken hipsters set out to rough the place up a bit, then it will feel more like the rock venue that meets Riehle's vision.

More shows with Fuck Knights on the bill might speed this up a bit--not because of the audience, but because of the band's flimsily-contained chaos. The local three piece are the crudest of the rude. Singer/drummer "Sir Getsalottapus"  threw a half-full beer on the crowd before playing the first song. Talk about pillow talk. His onstage banter consisted of numerous demands for free beer. "You will bring us beer. We will drink it. And you will pay for it," he snarled. This, despite there being three unopened cans of PBR onstage. Image is everything, right? And Fuck Knights have the self-centered bastard don't-ask-me-to-meet-your-parents thing down perfectly.

This isn't to say that their music isn't worthwhile. "Get Outta My Life" may be a speedy rip off of "Stop Breaking Down," but it's a good one. Their drums/bass/guitar set-up is effectively primal, as is the hoarse braying and tom-tom pounding. It's music to move to--the soundtrack of conspiring to riot. And Sir Getsalottapus' annoying bravado masquerading as incorrigibleness might just be the spark that sets the city on fire.

But the reason to be seen at Sauce Saturday night was to witness First Communion Afterparty, local time travelers escaping from the '60s. They claim to be from on or around the year 2009, but this is laughable at best. Clue number one: communal living. Most of the band lives in the same house--filled with peace, love and a vegetable garden. Don't they know grocery stores sell lettuce now? Clue number two: Jesus Freaks. They "claim" they're not Christian, but the name calls that into question. And take this interview tid bit into consideration:

Liam Watkins: We have a lot of weird kitschy shit all over our house. We have one poster of Jesus and when you walk through the room its like it's following you. It's really scary.

Mama Carin: We have another one when you walk by it turns from Jesus into Mary.

Liam Watkins: We have a hologram of the last supper. You walk into our house and you think, 'What the fuck is going on. These kids are hardcore into Christ.'

Sure. It's "ironic." That's the word all the cool kids say today. Jesus Freak time travelers would be sure to pick up on that. It's all a ploy. All. A. Ploy. Then who left that green faux leather-bound New Testament in my purse that night? It sure as fuck wasn't me.

Anyway--Jesus Freak time travelers or not, First Communion Afterparty is the closest we of the computer age can get to the swingin' sixties. The band sounds like they get a lot of inspiration from The Warlocks and Brian Jonestown Massacre, but feel like they are genuinely sucked into the original psych rockers. Mama Carin may be the second coming of Grace Slick. (Okay--Grace Slick is still alive, but you know what I mean.) And like Jefferson Airplane, First Communion Afterparty are more fixated on the darker side of psych. There are no laughing gnomes in three-part harmony and hippy dippy bullshit. It's about heavy bass, cymbal crashes and a presence of pleasurable disinterest.

So, even if First Communion Afterparty are weirdo cult figures visiting us from hazy hey days of the past, let's embrace them. Their music (cleverly cultivated for decades and scientifically delivered to us in the present) is some of the best we have in the Twin Cities. Let's pack their shows and encourage them to stay for a while. Maybe if we introduce them to the cool things of our generation, like laptops and the Human Genome Project, they might be persuaded to stay.

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