Photos by David Rubene / TCM
What do you get when you mix a brass band, one of those rainbow parachutes from elementary school, and one of the most powerful local voices I have ever heard? You get a damn good time and how I spend my Friday night.
Friday night’s show started with Jaedyn James & the Hunger. To say these guys caught the attention of the entire crowd within the first note would be understatement. They came out on that stage and, with little to no warning, singer Jaedyn James belted out one single word and it was over. Any chance of me making my way to the bar to get my typical Red Bull just went out the window. I sat close to the stage with my jaw on the freaking ground throughout their entire set. All I was thinking was, “Wow! Wow wow wow wow wow!”
JJ&TH’s music is a super unique blend of funk, soul, rock, and love. It’s positive music for positive people and it’s the kind of thing that makes you get up and groove a little bit. The ten piece backing band behind Jaedyn was absolutely amazing. They were funky and fresh but not overpowering. They had a great stage presence that made them impossible to ignore and they let the star of the show, Jaedyn’s voice, shine. Jaedyn’s voice was a little Janis Joplin mixed with Jessica Hernandez. It had an undeniable sense of power to it and, mixed with the smile on her face, made for one of the most powerful front women I have ever seen.
KKKR is the Sesame Street of rap groups. Hailing from Minnesota, Neil and Bryan have turned this hip-hop group geared towards young kids, into an irresistible force in the punk scene. The first time I heard about these guys was from one of my favorite rock guys, Frank Turner. Frank, from the U.K. and a super big deal, liked KKKR so much that he took them on tour. Sure, some audiences probably didn’t get it, but Frank didn’t care. He loved KKKR and he wanted to share them with the world.
KKKR’s music is seriously hilarious. They have songs about cutting the crust off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, songs that ask you your favorite color, songs about unibrows, and, their hit songs, “Cat Party” and “Everybody Poops”. It’s seriously something made for little kids that, as an adult, you can’t help but just laugh. What’s better than their funny song concepts and lyrics is the energy that Bryan & Neil have.
Before they start playing their songs, Brian & Neil make the crowd stretch. It sounds cheesy, hell, it is cheesy but it is absolutely perfect because, if you don’t stretch before what’s about to happen, you may wake up in a world of hurt if you’re not an avid exerciser. Their show is part concert, part work out routine. The first time I saw them, I was resistant to their cheesy moves that they have the crowd do but, the more I see them, the more involved I get. It’s fun to release all of your inhibitions and act like a kid again especially when you’re under the coveted rainbow parachute (you know the one I’m talking about) that comes out towards the end of every KKKR set.
I can’t explain to you what it’s like to be at one of your favorite punk venues in the Twin Cities and watch adults sing about unibrows with their fingers plastered to their foreheads mimicking a unibrow. It’s funny, it’s bizarre, and it was an absolutely perfect addition to last night’s line-up.
The stage was filled by ten guys with horns and drums in their hands. Within seconds of storming the stage, the ten guys started playing and had the crowd dancing around. McNasty is a brass band so it sounds exactly how you think it would. Let’s be real for a second, listening to brass bands is not one of my go to hobbies but seeing someone like McNasty play live is definitely something I could get used to.
It has been a couple of years since I’ve had a chance to see them live. I went to school with some of the boys and remember them coming up with the idea of the band. I worried that it was too much. I mean, when you have ten members, what’s the chance that you can all get together and practice and, more importantly, when you have that many members, how do you keep the music sounding clean? I don’t know how, but McNasty someone pulled off both of those things.
Last night’s set was beyond perfect. Not only was McNasty’s sound on point, the sold out crowd was eating it up. You can tell from watching the band members that they were seriously just having a great time. Every time a soloist was introduced, the crowd would erupt in applause and shouting. It was clear that regardless of if you were a friend of a band member, a parent of a band member, or someone who was just intrigued by the idea of seeing a brass band live, everyone was enjoying it.
With the amount of shows I go to, it’s hard to remember all of them but last night is definitely one for the books. I don’t know the last time I had that much fun at a concert. The music, the people, the vibe and the love in the room was beyond amazing.
Congrats to McNasty Brass Band on the release of their new album and the sold out show!