Forged Artifacts Showcased Yummy, Organized Chaos at Triple Rock

Rupert Angeleyes' "One Bong Rip From Heaven" is on the new Forged Artifacts comp.

Rupert Angeleyes' "One Bong Rip From Heaven" is on the new Forged Artifacts comp.

Forged Artifacts Showcase
Rupert Angeleyes, Kitten Forever, France Camp, and Real Numbers
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Saturday, December 6, 2014

Minneapolis-based record label Forged Artifacts synced up the release of two ambitious projects Saturday night, but it didn't turn the four-band showcase at Triple Rock into anything resembling a business transaction.

All of the night's acts are featured on the new label compilation tape The Greatest of All Time #1, which is an 11-track look at some of the Twin Cities' most successful basement collisions between punk, garage rock, and psychedelia. The night's headliner Rupert Angeleyes also utilized the night to celebrate the unveiling of their Young Sunset LP. Greatest Concert of All Time? No, but it was pretty great.
[jump] Real Numbers frontman Eli Hansen rocked indoor sunglasses that beautifully complimented his pageboy haircut. The group, which released a retrospective collection called What Was and What Is in November,  worked through a set of new mod punk tracks that beautifully complimented his key-resistant voice. The guitar work is elegant and the new stuff sounds promising.

Kitten Forever tore up the Triple Rock like any number of great punk bands before them. Corrie Harrigan, Laura Larson, and Liz Elton all took turns shouting third-wave maxims into a telephone receiver while the crowd in front gently ran into each and bopped around some balloons.  
Kitten Forever never appear to know quite what's going on -- they acknowledged as much several times throughout their set -- but they're still able to switch songs and instruments without so much as a head nod. Each member's turn behind the drums was killer and the vibes were universally feel-good. Watching the balloons drifting safely above the crowd to drums-and-bass hardcore was pleasantly surreal -- so much so that it felt like an act of violence when Harrigan popped one.

The participatory anarchy that began during Kitten Forever's set came out fully when France Camp played. After a series of mechanical difficulties, France Camp were back on track by their third song and free to go about their self-destructive ways. In a world filled with scuzzy, falling-apart-at-the-seams garage punk it often feels like there's hardly a reason for another one of these bands to exist, but when you see someone toss yourself into it to the degree that singer/guitarist Jay Simonson does, you're reminded why this is still a thing -- it's crazy fun to watch to and even more fun to play.
At a France Camp show you get the best of both worlds. After getting the audience in on a grindcore rendition of "Happy Birthday" that somehow evolved into "The Star-Spangled Banner," Simonson passed his guitar off to a friend in the front row and told him to play it while he in turn proceeded to throw himself at the audience. A steady stream of questionably competent volunteer guitarists followed.

By the end, the balloons had been replaced by flying beer cans and Simonson was on top of the Triple Rock dividing rail, precariously rocking out over an unhappy earplug-wearing man's fancy cocktail. They finished with last year's EP closer "High Noon" and it sounded almost impossibly tight. If the rock star thing doesn't work out then every one of these guys has a future in crisis management.

Band of the hour Rupert Angeleyes' comparatively chill vibe should have made France Camp a tough act to follow, but the love and energy was strong enough for them to close down the night with disarmingly charming aplomb.
There's something a bit eerie about Rupert Angeleyes' live show. From frontman Porkchop's spacey conversational interludes ("Thank you for coming everyone -- I'm proud of you all") the keyboardist's top hat, and the bassist's single white glove. It's all just a bit not quite right, like a walk around a community carnival after combining too many rides on a Tilt-A-Whirl with too much cotton candy. (Or maybe just drugs.)

The psychedelia-tinged pop can be relatable one moment ("Being friends is hard/ when you see her at your favorite bar") but impenetrable the next ("I could be a king and study dentistry").

Porkchop stood at the center of it and ran the show admirably -- alternating between croons and shrieks with his band at his back. They played through most of the new album ("Jealousy" and "I Don't Believe In Love" sounded especially lovely) and hit a few older songs. When they closed with "Yummy Candy" and then re-introduced it and played it again it was easy to question one's sanity.

This, combined with lots more balloons, confetti, and a few straggling flying beer cans created the perfect atmosphere for Rupert's slightly off-kilter universe.

The Crowd: Cool young people who all seemed to be friends with each other. 

Personal Bias: Nine times out of 10 I am going to pick the show that inspires the most beer can throwing, so France Camp was the band I was most psyched for last night. I'm less keen on balloons but everyone was good enough for me to overcome any anti-helium bias. Maybe it's just me, but there's something innately unsettling about people who are named after cuts of meat.

Overheard: "The drummer in that band plays guitar in France Camp."  "Oh, Dave Grohl?"  "Uh, yeah, yeah."


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