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Pizza Lucé Block Party with Motion City Soundtrack, 8/10/13

Pizza Lucé Block Party with Motion City Soundtrack, 8/10/13
Photos by Joanna Fox

Motion City Soundtrack
w/After the Burial, Bloodnstuff, Haphduzn, Frankie Lee, and Sean Anonymous
Pizza Lucé Downtown, Minneapolis
Saturday, August 10, 2013

After going on hiatus last year, the 10th annual Pizza Lucé Block Party returned last night to celebrate 20 years of Pizza Lucé. The day also served as a birthday celebration for the Current's Barb Abney, who hosted the entire show. Overall, the festival was an eclectic group of musicians. From rap and hip-hop to heavy metal, Americana, and punk, there was honestly something for everyone. Armed with a picturesque summer evening and Summer Ale, each of the musicians stole the crowd's attention in their own way.


Channeling the likes of Atmosphere, Sean Anonymous (a.k.a. Sean Quinn) woke up the growing crowd during his very audience-involved set. Trying to keep his set diverse, Quinn invited Chicago rapper Phillip Morris to join him onstage for three of his last songs, but he totally could have done without. Jumping around "like a cat on coco puffs," as summarized by Barb Abney, his performance of his most recent single, "Brick by Brick," was a definite highlight. Quinn's genuine enthusiasm and love for the audience listening shined and everyone participated in his adorable plea to simultaneously 'SHHH.'

Pizza Lucé Block Party with Motion City Soundtrack, 8/10/13
Pizza Lucé Block Party with Motion City Soundtrack, 8/10/13
Photos by Joanna Fox

Anonymous took the stage again later during Haphduzn's set, which held the same energy, and cranked it up another notch. The south Minneapolis rapper has enjoyed a breakout year in the local scene and beyond, and it's partly because his charisma is undeniable. With his expressive long limbs and booming voice carrying his performance to the back of the parking lot, Haph brought out cuts from Whittier Alliance and expressed his own alliance to the unifying power of all types of hip-hop and not just "trap rap."

Things definitely cooled down for Frankie Lee, who took the stage next. Dedicating his second song, "Country," to Abney, Lee and his crisp vocals truly stole the stage. Wearing sunglasses throughout the entire set, Lee and his band showed the audience what Americana is truly about. They even threw in a cover of some of the north-of-the-border variety via Neil Young's "Down by the River." The only downside to Lee's set was that most audience members took it as an opportunity to grab a slice a pizza and stock up on more alcohol. A lot of folks missed out on the sublime vocals and guitar solo of "Black Dog," which highlighted the early evening.

Pizza Lucé Block Party with Motion City Soundtrack, 8/10/13
Photo by Joanna Fox

Each of the sets started right on time, leaving the audience to linger alongside the side wall of the Fine Line Café, or to venture out onto the closed off street to test out the other activities planned for the entire day which included snow cones, a dunk-the-waitress machine, face painting, and sidewalk chalk, which was definitely the most popular (second to the music, of course). Once the upcoming bands would begin mic tests, the crowd gradually made their way back to the stage just in time for the opening songs.

 

One of the night's most thrilling acts was Bloodnstuff. Despite only having two members, this punk/post-rock act had all the force and possibly more talent than a four-piece band. Opening their set with "Fire Out at Sea," Ed Holmberg's pristine layering of lead guitar and bass seriously melted the faces off everyone in the crowd, which steadily grew as more became amazed by the sound created by only two members. However, their song "Bloodnstuff," off of their self-titled album, stole their set with its flawless riffs.

Pizza Lucé Block Party with Motion City Soundtrack, 8/10/13
Pizza Lucé Block Party with Motion City Soundtrack, 8/10/13
Pizza Lucé Block Party with Motion City Soundtrack, 8/10/13
Photos by Joanna Fox

As After the Burial took stage, lead singer Anthony Notarmaso powerfully shed his emotions through his mic and onto the restless crowd. From the front barricade to about the middle of the parking lot-turned venue, the audience transformed into a jumping sea, using Notarmaso's demands to lose control as their only concern. However, not all were prepared for After the Burial's heavy-metal, screaming set. Notarmaso often prefaced a song by saying, "Yes, we are a metal band, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun. If it's your first metal show, just let loose a bit!" But not all succeeded, as Notarmaso called out one of the audience members for simply standing up front and made him leave. In the long run, it was probably best for the guy's eardrums.

Motion City Soundtrack opened their much anticipated set with "Attractive Today" off 2005's Commit This to Memory, which was immediately joined by a chorus of audience members who knew all of the lyrics. The set had a good mix of songs from across their discography, however their classic 2005 sing-alongs, "L.G. F.U.A.D" and "Make Out Kids," stood out against newer cuts such as "Broken Heart" and "True Romance." Spreading the local Minnesota music love, one of the highlights of their set was their cover of Trampled by Turtles' "Wait So Long." Frontman Justin Pierre transformed the folk-bluegrass hit into a pop-punk anthem that sounded like something straight off one of their albums. However, that wasn't the only surprise MCS had in store. Reminding audience members how long they have been around, Pierre announced that the band are working on their sixth studio album, and played new song "Inside Out," which, although new, didn't hold any significant changes from their older stuff.

Pizza Lucé Block Party with Motion City Soundtrack, 8/10/13
Photo by Joanna Fox

The band closed the night with the '05 outcast hit, "Everything Is Alright," which sent the crowd into an eruption of jumping into each other and screaming along. Immediately after, the audience screamed for an encore, but their pleas were cut short due to the strict time constraints given to the festival by the city.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I wasn't able to make it downtown until 4 p.m., but it looked like a lot of the crowd was still filling in at that time. I was also a big fan of Motion City Soundtrack back in high school, so getting to see them live was definitely a summer highlight.

The Crowd: Twenty-thirty somethings, some who choose to bring their young children, and a large group of boys playing hacky sack.

Overheard in the Crowd: On After the Burial's set: "You just have to read the lyrics."

See Also:
50 cool facts about the Minnesota music scene
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list
Top 10 must-see Minnesota music videos this week

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