The Triple Rock Social Club
November 12th, 2010
On a briskly cold Friday night on the West Bank, a crowd gathers outside of the Triple Rock. Not just any Friday night Triple Rock crowd, this was a crowd that's eager to witness Minneapolis punk history -- the third and very likely last Twin Cities Soviettes reunion show of 2010.
[jump] For a band on hiatus they've been pretty busy, much to the delight of their throngs of dedicated fans. After two reunion shows in March celebrating a Rarities release and a trip down to Gainesville, Florida's Fest 9 they were ready to fill the Triple Rock with punk faithful Friday night and do the same in Chicago the next day, celebrating the Methadones' final gig at Reggie's.
Now for a bit of a disclaimer. I'm new to the Soviettes and their brand of pop-oriented punk. While I've heard them spoken of with a reverence reserved for a select few bands in the Minneapolis community, my exposure to their material was pretty sparse over the last few years. Some referred to their sound as a relic of a bygone era, others spoke of it as a crucial part of the Twin Cities music culture of the present. I was eager to get into the Triple Rock and see for myself.
From the very start of their set, the driving "Multiply and Divide," the crowd was boiling over. Annie Sparrows whipped the audience into a sing-along fury during "Bottom's Up, Bottomed Out" and "Matt's Song," while Maren Macosko (FKA Sturgeon) provided power-chord melodies to guide their furious energy on the rolling "Chanel X." The rhythm section of Susy Sharp and Danny Henry drove straight to the heart of fast, hard-driving songs like "Go Lambs Go!" and "(Do) The Stagger." For the crowd's part, they gave back the same energy they were given, shouting every call-and-response and singing along to every lyric.
By the time the band started set closer "Thinking of You" the crowd had exploded over a dozen times into frenetic moshing and crowd surfing and easily proved during "Thinking" that they still had more to give. As the band walked off stage, I marveled at the fact that, after four years on hiatus, the Soviettes had managed to slam through 16 uptempo, high-energy songs while hardly breaking a sweat or taking a breather. When they came back for their incredible crowd-pleasing one-two punch of an encore ("Cuff Wars," "Blue Stars," and "Hanging Up the Phone") they proved that they too had more to give. "Stars" in particular provided for some of the best punk sing-along action I've ever witnessed in person with every "Whooooo!" and chorus accentuated with the voices of hundreds of rabid fans.
And, with that, they were done. The crowd shuffled out into the first snow of the Minnesota Winter, some still brimming with energy, many carrying fresh tee shirts and records from the mercy table and all in high spirits.
This wasn't some dated, early-2000's cult revivalist reunion; this was visceral, powerful punk rock for right here, right now. This is a band that, nearly 10 years after their debut, is still just as vital as the day they cut their first LP. Who knows when our next chance will be to witness the ridiculously infectious live presence of the Soviettes? Here's to hoping it won't be long.
Critic's Bias: The Soviettes went on their hiatus two years before I moved to the Twin Cities from Florida and I missed my opportunities to catch them in March. To say I was happy to check out their live show after hearing so much about them would be an understatement.
The Crowd: Punk rockers, from old, leather-clad punk rock royalty to young and clean shaven kids that had studied every word.
Overheard In The Crowd: An under-21 fan (as noted by the big black X marks on their hands) screamed several times during the set "I've been waiting 10 years for this! 10 YEARS!"
Random Notebook Dump: Paddy Costello (AKA DJ St. Patrick for the night) was an amazing host. He took care of the two openers I saw with a tray full of shots -- two for each member -- and provided a great punk rock soundtrack between sets from a stack of 45's, 12" singles and LPs at the back of the bar.
For more photos: See my full slideshow from Friday night.
Multiply & Divide
1 is Number Two
Bottoms Up, Bottomed Out
Pass The Flashlight
Go Lambs Go!
(Do) The Stagger
What Did I Do?!
Paranoia Cha Cha Cha!
Whatever You Want
Thinking Of You
Hanging Up The Phone