Erik Appelwick. Photos by Sarah Nienabar, click for slideshow.
Tapes 'n Tapes proved their mettle Friday night to a capacity crowd at First Avenue. They've come a long way from being that band with the funny name playing to 35 people in the 7th Street Entry just a few years back, and after all the hype and buzz has subsided it's clear their success was no accident. They have played these songs (the ones that ended up on The Loon in particular) countless times, but on Friday it seemed that they had a little extra punch.
From the opening song ("The Dirty Dirty" from last year's sophomore offering Walk It Off) to the familiar "Insistor," TnT seemed to be going pedal-to-the-metal for nearly the entire set. They didn't phone in even a second of the 50-plus minute set, and aside from Josh Grier's now shoulder-length hair (oh, and the fact that they're pretty famous now) very little seems to have changed for the band. They still dress in beat-up jeans and vintage clothing -- Grier's T-shirt with an image of Christopher Walken from the now-classic "More Cowbell" SNL sketch was particularly amusing -- and there seems to be little ego amongst the four of them. They actually seemed humbled by the turnout, though they should hardly have been surprised. They have relentlessly toured over the last three or so years and Minneapolis has kept tabs on them the entire time, quietly awaiting their return after each departure.
Josh Grier. Photos by Sarah Nienabar, click for slideshow.
About halfway through the set, drummer Jeremy Hanson's older brother Jacob joined them on stage for a few songs and that underscored the night in a way: TnT most likely give their all every night in every city, but they don't get to do things like that in Cleveland or Portland. It gave the room a bit of a "We're all in this together" feeling that simply can't exist elsewhere. They seem just as proud to be from here as we are.
As the set headed for its inevitable end, the energy on stage waned a bit, but they caught a second wind with "Manitoba." They dedicated the song to their sound man and his family, many of whom had traveled from Winnipeg to see the show. They closed the set with an absolutely stellar rendition of slow-builder (and explosive finisher), "Jakov's Suite," and after a short break came out for a three or four song encore that began with fan favorite "Just Drums."
Overall, this show cemented them as hometown boys done good. The ever changing tastes and whims of the blogosphere may have made them, but their own talent and formidable strength as a live band will carry them from here on out. People will always search for the next big thing, but we would be remiss to ignore the big thing that is here right now.