"I was looking forward to this show all day at work," Solid Gold frontman Zach Coulter said between songs, grinning. "But I had no idea it would be one of the best show nights of my life." Throughout the night on Monday, Coulter looked like he was having a blast -- he sat in with nearly every band on the bill, and spent the rest of the time wandering through the crowd issuing hugs and heartfelt thank-yous -- as his friends rallied to raise money to replace some of his band's stolen gear, and those warm-tingly vibes became the theme of the evening as fans packed in to the sold-out Entry.
At the end of a short solo set by Jeremy Messersmith, Coulter hopped up on stage to play guitar on a cover of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood," which the pair recorded for the Minnesota Beatle Project compilation last year but had never played live before. The duo created an eerie vibe, with Messersmith slowly strumming his acoustic guitar and Coulter issuing low, moody moans from his electric, causing the chatty audience to button up for a moment and pay attention to the intense exchange happening on stage.
Another highlight came when the Pines took the stage, backed by Solid Gold drummer Adam Peterson with Coulter sitting in once again on guitar. The audience was obviously excited to start dancing, and most of the front row starting bouncing comedically to the Pines' sultry, dusky folk songs. At one point, the swaying college dude next to me turned to his friend to ask if the Pines were playing an Allman Brothers cover (no, I'm not trying to make some joke about college boys, this actually happened), which I think was some kind of bro-sign that he was digging the folk duo's tunes.
For the Pines' last song, Solid Gold's slide guitarist Shon Troth came on stage for an impromptu collaboration, and the results were so chilling that it would be a shame if the band didn't collaborate with Troth again in the future.
And then there was Solid Gold, the main stars of the night. Though the Entry was sold out by the time the band took the stage, there was still plenty of room to walk around in the back of the room -- a testament to how packed it was down on the main floor. With giant technicolor light boards set up behind them, Solid Gold transformed the small space into a dance party and played one of the tightest and most potent sets I have seen from them. "This is better than selling birdseed online to pay for homeless sparrows," one of the band members offered between songs, and though it didn't make any sense at all the sentiment was right-on. It <i>was</i> better than selling birdseen online to pay for homeless sparrows.
Unfortunately I arrived too late and left too early to catch either Adam Hurlburt's new side project Batmen or the closing set by Marijuana Death Squads, so leave your thoughts on those acts in the comments if you were out at the show.
For more photos of Monday night's show in the Entry, check out Erik Hess's full set of shots over on his Noise Damage blog.