Mary Ellen Records
A bald guy in a Black Sabbath T-shirt and windbreaker has something to tell the three members of Story of the Sea. After hugging the stage during their entire set at the Turf Club on Saturday night, he conjures a guttural, wrestler-like yell that would be appropriate on a sold-out evening at the Metrodome where the first 20,000 fans through the door received an ambulance siren. "Ian!" he screams to drummer Ian Prince. "You guys rock so much ass, man! You rock aaaaassss!"
As the openers for Alpha Consumer (a sort of supergroup whose members play in Happy Apple, Fog, and Fat Kid Wednesdays) and one-man-band Dosh, SOTS perform a set consisting of mostly new songs that veer between sweet and poppy Lemonheads and early-'90s indie nostalgia, from back when bombast didn't mean bravado. They're so insidiously hooky that they sink into your dreams—and, apparently, rock your ass.
Moments later, a smoke machine fills the room with a thick haze that never dissipates and convinces a bespectacled friend of mine that his glasses are dirty. People near the stage are suffering from coughing fits. And Alpha Consumer frontman Jeremy Ylvisaker has dematerialized into a cloud of glycerin-based vapor like he's about to turn a guitar into an airplane with a magical adjustment of his microphone stand.
Instead, the three-man band launches into sweet harmonies and proggy punk tunes. Lights flash the entire time, bathing the band in rock-star red gloss. A woman in the front begs the audience to "Take a drink for Jeremy," and give "Cheers to Jeremy!" The Black Sabbath-clad gentleman cordially obliges.
The band segues into a slowed-down version of "Crimson and Clover" that has the pace of a dream in which your limbs feel like they're filled with concrete. Seconds later, they play a song with screaming guitar and vocals that could've been inspired by Black Flag and Sonic Youth. They end the night with a sweet lullaby, "Don't Forget to Dream," from their current self-titled album. But the Black Sabbath dude wants more. "Jeremy!" he yells. "You rock asssssss!" He turns around, beaming at anyone who is listening. "I went to high school with that guy! He rocks aaaassss!" And he wants everyone to know it.