After a day of playing the role of a hermit and just laying around my apartment for majority of the day, I was more than ready to finally get out of the apartment. The line-up was the kind of line-up that I live for. There was on band that I had never heard of, one band that I had been dying to see, and one band that I had seen before but hadn’t been quite sold on (although they seem to be all the rage among the kids these days). I was ready and as soon as I walked into The Turf Club I felt like I was back home again. Relaxed and ready for what the night would bring.
Hannah Racecar kicked the night off with their first ever show outside of their home base in Tacoma, Washington. This four piece had a very garage rock sound to them that just stunk of the northwest in the best way possible. Even though their sound screamed garage rock, there was this undeniable sense of post-punk to their sound. With vocals that took me back to my days of obsessing over Jawbreaker and their unclean (yet polished) garage rock instrumentation, listening to Hannah Racecar was more than a pleasure. Their set may have been short but it definitely packed a punch. Within just a song or two, the crowd that had been hoovering towards the back of the narrow venue and by the bar could be caught migrating towards the stage.
Before the final song, singer Adam Bredlau invited his mom on stage. She had traveled with the band on the long trek from Washington to Minnesota and it just happened to be her birthday. The crowd instantly started singing happy birthday to her and, when it came time to say her name, the crowd just said “mom” without any hesitation. After planting a big wet one on her son’s cheek, mom disappeared into the crowd. The amount of appreciation the crowd had for the young band seemed to knock the band members on their asses. They seemed truly humbled by the fact that so many people were into their music and the way they couldn’t stop thanking the crowd warmed my heart.
Dave Hause & The Mermaid were up next and the main reason I was super excited to be at this show. Dave Hause is a bit of a legend in my mind. He’s been in some of my favorite bands including The Falcon and The Loved Ones. He has a raspy voice that shouldn’t lead to being a singer of a band but it has a soft and delicate side to it that makes it absolutely perfect. The raspiness of Dave’s voice can have a very alt-country feel to it but the music created by his backing band keeps the music feeling very rock n’ roll. Mixing those two elements together leaves you with a sound that is so unique that, regardless of if you’ve heard of Dave Hause or knew any of his history or music, you were into his set on Saturday night.
Having never seen Dave Hause solo before, I was worried that it was going to be completely different than the times I’ve seen him in bands. Thankfully I was wrong. Early on in the set, Dave handed his guitar out to the crowd for them to hold as he took his jacket off. It’s that trust and that sense of love that has had me in love with Dave and every project he touches throughout the years. The crowd that was crowding the stage clearly knew who Dave was and they were singing along to every word but it was also clear that the crowd standing towards the back of the venue had no clue what was going on. Dave did his best to get them involved. He would teach them the lyrics of his songs and invite them to join in. By the end of the set, the entire crowd was singing along to the songs and dancing around to the music creating an absolutely gorgeous atmosphere and the perfect way for me to spend my Saturday night.
Headliners Beach Slang wasted no time jumping into their high energy set. The stage was setup with bright colored flowers and a microphone stand with flowers and lights twirling down the stand. As the band took the stage, it was very clear that they were comfortable in the Twin Cities and were truly excited to have finally made it to the Twin Cities date of their current stint. Within just a couple of songs, they had thrown out their set list and were taking requests from members of the packed audience. Since 2013, these guys have been taking the scene by storm with their upbeat almost punk rock songs with heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics. Singer James Alex’s infectious energy is something that, whether you’re a fan of the band or not, has you falling in love with them instantly. I think James said it perfectly when he announced to the crowd that Beach Slang was there to punch the crowd right in their big, beautiful hearts. That’s exactly what they did.
Beach Slang came off as a very professional band. The influence of Santana songs featuring Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 was apparent. Okay, neither of these things are true. James joked with the crowd that those are the two things that nobody has ever written about Beach Slang– the professionalism of the band and the influence of that song. So, being the smart ass I am, I had to write about it. Honestly, I thought that Beach Slang did come off as professional in a way. They knew what they were doing from the second they stepped onto the stage and until the final note was left hanging in the air as the crowd started to head towards the exit. Sure there was plenty of joking around and chugging Grain Belt beer on stage, but their music is anything but a joke. Their powerful sound is matched only by their amazing energy as a band.
“There’s a lot of places you can feel like you belong but not a lot of places where you feel like you’re home.” Those were some of the first words singer James Alex of Beach Slang said to the crowd and to say those words were perfect would be an understatement. I love being part of this scene.