Gayngs Affiliyated Showcase at First Avenue, 3/6/2011
The Gayngs and Gimme Noise Affiliyated Showcase at First Avenue was nothing short of epic -- so epic, in fact, that even the word doesn't seem big enough. The colossal 15-band bill was a Minneapolis Best Of, with simultaneous billings in the Record Room, the Entry, and the Mainroom. Not to mention solo DJ sets by members of Doomtree in the Record Room, starting at 8:30 with P.O.S., whose short stint in the dark attic-like bar became so hotly packed so quickly it was astounding. The music spanned over seven hours in total.
Just for posterity's sake, here's what the set times looked like:
I spent my time wandering back and forth between the Entry and the Mainroom for the most part, trying to catch as many acts as possible (and running into, you know, practically everyone I know in this town). At the Entry, Albert (Albert Molly Kroeten) delivered a performance art-esque set, featuring what could only be described as "experiential techno"; from there, I wandered to the Mainroom, where Alpha Consumer, easily one of the city's most lauded and skilled bands, put their best rock faces forward. Spyder Baybie Raw Dog's party-style sexed-up hip-hop seemed to be going over quite well at the Entry -- though after I exited the room, there was absolutely no getting back inside of it for Marijuana Deathsquads or Har Mar Superstar.
In the Mainroom, Megafaun was joined on stage by Rosebuds front man Ivan Howard for most of their set, and the addition was beautifully well-received. Howard's voice is heartbreakingly crystalline and lonely even without the melody or the lyrics, and plenty audience members traded looks that meant things like, "Oh my god, this is so good it hurts".
Solid Gold and Zach Coulter, of course, have a special place in the heart of nearly every Minneapolitan musichead -- rightly so. Those sweaty, glamorous-sounding piano keys and symphonic guitar elements are appropriate for everything from basement house parties to headlining First Ave shows. Doomtree's set afterwards featured new songs by P.O.S. and Mike Mictlan and some of the loudest cheers of the evening for Dessa. As the Twin Cities' darling of rap performed "The Chaconne" and "Dixon's Girl", the entire audience joined her on back-up vocals.
By the time Gayngs took the stage at 12:40, the crowd was tired -- they couldn't not be, they had been standing and drinking for over five hours -- but damned if anyone was going home before the show was over. Ivan Howard again took the microphone and started the set with that irresistible voice that, coupled with Mike Lewis' breezy, soulful sax playing and the slow-burning electric guitar, will undoubtedly contribute to a well-populated future generation.
There was a huge community feel by the end of the show, and not just in the audience -- on stage, band members were spreading the love around, clearly pleased and proud of the work they were doing and the partnerships that were solidifying. When Har Mar joined Gayngs for his cover of George Michael's "One More Try", he all but made out with Zach Coulter -- well, okay, actually, I guess he did make out with Zach Coulter a little.
Gayngs walked off the stage at 1:45, but of course there was an encore, and Channy Moon Casselle led in with a cover of Sade's "By Your Side" that could not have been more perfect. Har Mar wandered back on stage and lounged on top of the speakers, gazing dreamily into the crowd and grasping a forty -- which he passed back and forth to Spyder Baybie, who was at the front of the pit.
It was basically a great big love fest; a massive, infectious orgy of talented artists putting on stellar music. And regardless of Howard naming the night "The Last Prom On Earth", there is the distinct feeling that there will likely be a few more Gayngs proms to come.
Critic's Bias: Oh, so biased. Please. Dessa? Justin Vernon? Ryan Olson? Mike Lewis? Come on. Even if I wanted to dislike this show, there's no way I could have.
The Crowd: Surprisingly tame, all things considered. And with the extra room between the Entry and the Mainroom, the crowds were manageable, for the most part.
Overheard in the Crowd: "He has so much to give," remarked my friend of Har Mar Superstar as he suggestively shimmied around on stage during the Gayngs' set.
Random Notebook Dump: I think I ran into eighty percent of Minneapolis last night. I don't know where the other 20 percent were, but they probably weren't having nearly as good of a time as we were.
Set list: Hahaha. Just kidding.
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