The Plastic Constellations rocked First Avenue’s main room last night – and if you missed it, then you may well have missed the last chance to see them. Ever.
“But they just came out with another record,” you may say. True, but from all appearances it looks likely that their record release show was also their last hurrah. So after twelve years, four albums and lots of touring, The Plastic Constellations (or TPC, as they like to refer to themselves) are hanging up their spurs at the ripe old age of 26.
Speaking of their latest album, the aptly titled We Appreciate You finds TPC mellowing its post-punk bashing with a slightly more melodic take on angst. It’s still fierce and loud, but this time the boys came up with some hooks. It’s an evolution of, not revolt against, their tried and true sound. If you haven’t done so, check it out.
But back to the show.
TPC also stands for Two Parts Confetti. More photos by Daniel Corrigan.
Set opener “We Came to Play” seemed to say it all. From the unbridled enthusiasm to the simple and earnest lyrics, this song – minus the explosion of confetti halfway through – seems to capture the TPC spirit. While over a decade in the music biz didn’t land them next to Madonna at the VMA’s or on TRL, what makes these dudes so lovable is their earnestness about who they are: a group of friends, a Minnesota rock band and damn fine entertainers. The last thing these guys could ever be accused of is being self-absorbed. And they know how to throw a party. The entire Doomtree crew showed up and various members jumped in to add some spice to songs like “Perched on a Porch” and “Bring What You Bring.” (This makes more sense if you know that guitarist Aaron Mader is also part of the Doomtree clan.) In a nod to their own prodigal selves, TPC tapped Shoe Shiners to play in the first opening slot. They’re a gang of 15-year old “indie rock geniuses,” so if you don’t know them yet, you may soon.
Throughout the set, the mutual appreciation was palpable – or as bassist Jordan Roske put it, “We’re here for you, you’re here for us.” And what’s not to appreciate about a band that arms their audience. Yep, you read it right: during “Let’s War” the crowd was armed with dozens of cardboard swords, shields and scimitars emblazoned with the TPC insignia. Rock on!
And rock they did. Bouncing and kicking their way through “Smallest Skyline,” it was almost hard to imagine that it was written when the band was in 8th or 9th grade! Even before the guys left the stage, the crowd was already chanting for their return. The encore was a “do it big or go home” rendition of “Sancho Panza” and in a fitting gesture, the last song was sung by Roske who used to be their lead singer way back in 1995.
There’s nothing like saying goodbye without regrets, and The Plastic Constellations sure did that. Now the only thing to regret is if you missed it. -- Desiree Weber