Black Friday’s show started with the Milwaukee base band, GGOOLLDD. As singer Margaret Butler said, it’s spelled just the way it sounds. Their set was nothing short of captivating as Margaret danced around the stage in her gold leotard with a clear plastic skirt wrapped around her waist. Their look was as funky and fresh as their unique electro-pop song. Margaret seemed to be channeling her inner Karen O (front-woman of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs) with the way she acted on stage. Her movements along with the upbeat music coming from the band behind her kept the energy of their set high and kept the sold out crowd smiling and moving along to the music.
Tickle Torture is Elliott Kozel, AKA Uncle Tickle. Joined on stage by a full band and two beautiful dancers, Elliott had jaws on the ground as soon as he stepped on stage. His look matches his music. It’s sexy, provocative, and a little bit beyond strange. At the beginning of the set, I was shocked to see Elliott with tights, shirt, and a light jacket on. I told my friends that I was with that that was the most clothing I had ever seen him wearing. By the end of the set, Elliott was next to naked with only his bits covered up. You could hear people in the crowd start laughing and whispering about it. You could feel the guys in the crowd get a little uncomfortable as Elliott got more and more naked with each song but it wasn’t a bad uncomfortable.
I think that’s why I love Tickle Torture so much. Sure, they push the envelope and, yeah, to say their stage show is bizarre would be an understatement but it’s fun and different. Much like Har Mar, the stage show is gimmicky but when you take away the naked front man and the copious amounts of confetti and balloons flying through the air, you are left with some truly great music. The upbeat pop sounds are the type that have you moving and grooving whether you want to or not. Even when you’re sitting at home alone and listening to Tickle Torture, you can’t help but start moving around a little bit.
Har Mar is a balding, middle aged white guy with a beer gut and an apparent aversion to clothing (although he seemed to lean to the conservative side last night as he only lost his shirt but kept leggings on throughout the show). He is notorious for stripping down to his skivvies and having no shame as he dances seductively in front of crowds. To say he considers himself a sex symbol isn’t that big a of a stretch and, sure, it’s a little gimmicky, but when you take away his hilarious look and dancing, you are left with one of the most talented musicians in the Twin Cities.
Har Mar’s voice is soulful and powerful. His range is remarkable and his energy is electric. If you are ever having a bad day, just look up some live footage of Har Mar. It will definitely change your mood. Beyond Har Mar and his beautiful voice, the band that he has selected to join him on stage is truly great. They fact that they are able to hold their own behind such a larger than life character says it all. Even though all eyes seem to be on Har Mar majority of the time, you can’t ignore the horns, keys, drums, guitar, and bass that stand behind him.
Last night was his first night back in the Twin Cities after a tour that has lasted well over a month. He was greeted by a sold out crowd at First Avenue on a holiday weekend. That right there shows just how proud the Twin Cities are to call Har Mar Superstar one of our own.