Gary Burger at Lee's Liquor Lounge 11/30/12

Gary Burger at Lee's Liquor Lounge 11/30/12
Photo by Steve Cohen

Gary Burger
Lee's Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis
Friday, November 30, 2012

In rock 'n' roll, perseverance is a virtue. Such is the case with mayor of Turtle River and head Monk Gary Burger. He and his juvenile henchman took to Lee's Liquor Lounge Stage Friday night for a reprise of a gig they did last winter at the 331 Club.

Several of the Twin Cities' finest musicians -- of the Floorshakers/Conquerors/Spectors lineage -- have backed Mr. Burger several times in the past, and are now a well-oiled machine. On bass was Keith Patterson, Dave Russ on keys, Adam Fesenmaier holding down the beat with Dan Boardman giving the banjo drive while Burger would often go off into a stronghold of whimsical noise bursts with his own axe delivery sweltering feedback and grungy bombast while leading each song.

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Gary Burger at Lee's Liquor Bar, 11/30/12

Declaring a somewhat militant approach to rock 'n' roll Gary Burger and the Monks in the '60s set a trend that's transpired and has gained relevance through to today. With as fresh a sound in the confines of Lee's Liquor Lounge it was a treat and a full on inspiration to hear hit after hit from the Monks condensed, but always intense, body of work.

As KFAI DJ Jackson Buck introduced the band, "It's Monktime!", eventually the driving force of the evening, the five men adorned in black shirts and slacks delivered a full on assault of the Monks original garage rock beat sound. From "Complication," "Boys are Boys," "Higgle Dy Piggle Dy," and "We Do" Burger commanded the audience to boo the band after each song creating a sinister and dirty vibe across the packed Lee's dance floor.

Gary Burger at Lee's Liquor Lounge 11/30/12
Gary Burger at Lee's Liquor Lounge 11/30/12
Photos by Steve Cohen

As if having flashbacks, Burger put the audience back in the time and place of the days of the Monks stationed in Germany, "They are all fighting in Vietnam!" he cried out as the crowd got down and the band created sonic weirdness with each pelting rhythmic romp. Burger even played some new material they've been working on that provided more of a swing to typical straight rock edge of the Monks songs. They were welcome additions to his pounding stomp.

Hardly ever breaking a sweat, the band continued to work the room and inevitably took a guitar to the ground in true Monks tradition. As the four frontmen on stage attacked and essentially performed a sonic surgery of sorts on Gary's instrument, it created a combination of feedback and rhythmic squall the added to the bombast already on stage. The crowd ate it all up as it created quite the spectacle.

Pounding through "Count My Luck", "I Hate You" Burger reigned everyone in proclaiming, "Now here's the one you all know, let's get out of here boys!" as the band played a neck bracing "Oh, How to Do, Now" that got the audience moving at hyper speed and singing along.

Gary Burger at Lee's Liquor Lounge 11/30/12
Photo by Steve Cohen

It was a fantastic night at Lee's Liquor Lounge. One hopes these events become a regular thing. Knowing Gary Burger is a busy man keeping an eye on the various denizens of Turtle River it's always a guess when he and the band will strike next. Rest assured the Monks music lives on and will forever be a welcome release in the Twin Cities. We are a lucky, fun-loving bunch anytime Burger and the boys take to the stage.

Critic's Bias: Hadn't been to Lee's in a ages but remember the Conquerors themselves hosting Gary Burger on stage many years ago. This was a welcome return for the bunch to Lee's stage.

The Crowd: Cave stomp dwellers, party goers of a fraternal variety.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Monktime!!! It's Monktime!!"

Random Notebook Dump: Miraculous adventures of rock and roll are always abound in the Twin Cities. But truly, we are lucky for this bunch.

Shut Up
Drunken Maria
Boys Are Boys
I Can't Get Over You
Blast Off
That's My Girl
We Do
Higgle Dy Piggle Dy
Pretty Suzanne
Monk Chant
There She Walks
Ride In My Car
Count My Luck
I Hate You
How To Do Now

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