Gramma’s Boyfriend And Maple & Beech Spook The Icehouse


Two words come to mind to sum up Gramma’s Boyfriend Halloween Ball at the Icehouse on Friday “SAU RAUS!” It’s Austrian dialect for when a pig is released from the stable runs into the field and goes – you guessed it – hog wild. It’s also used to describe a daring and committed downhill skier. And on our last family trip to Germany, it became slang for the road signs on the Autobahn indicating the end of any speed limits……….

But I’m getting ahead of myself, the first time I saw Gramma’s Boyfriend I fell head over heels for them. They push the envelope in music, style and attitude. They reminded me of the B-52’s when I saw them perform in Munich in the mid 80s – an edginess, a vibe of danger…….

So I jumped at the chance to see Gramma’s Boyfriend headlining last Friday. Of course the big question was, what costume singer Haley McCallum would wear. Well, I still am not quite sure, WHAT the costume was, but it was epic and surprisingly versatile. Maybe a Wood Witch or a Forest Spirit? There were antlers and there was a patch of pubic fur (in 2 colors). The elaborate headpiece was removed during the set (not sure if it was by design or if it simply could not keep up with McCallum’s energy), revealing a skull cap and changing the vibe. Not to be outdone drummer Mark Erickson performed as a giant thumb for most of the set.

The set started with  a children’s song “H A Double L O” and included some great covers from bands such as the New York Dolls. Of course the band’s original songs. And in true ball form, there was dancing, quite a lot of dancing. It was obvious Gramma’s Boyfriend had as much fun as the crowd. They left if all on stage, no holding back, there was no tomorrow. And all of a sudden “Sau Raus” popped in my head, and it’s still be best way I can think of to describe what I saw.

Set List: H A Double L O / Trash / Dust Style / We R Crtl / Lazybones / Sr Suitcase / The Eat / Electric Heartbeat / Deep V / Bury The Hatchet / Janitor / Legends / I Forgot / Donkey Donkey / Broken Dreams / Down In A Bucket / H A Double L O   Encore: Sugar Crash / I Got This Feeling

Opening the night was Minneapolis’ Maple & Beech dressed up a Zombie Mighty Ducks – complete with Zombie Coach. They had great pop sound and brought a horn section – somehow I always enjoy hearing trombone blasts at the Icehouse. Maybe it’s the venue, maybe 16 year old me remembers not being able to learn the trombone, it’s just fun to hear.

The band certainly had a unique sales pitch “If you like this shit, I have some CDs I burned in my basement”.  I liked their cover of Tears For Fears “Everybody wants to rule the world” and enjoyed their new single “Sand Sing”. If you get a chance to check out Maple & Beech – do it.

Set List: ?? Giant / Moth Bully / New Beachcomber / Sugar Bugs / Lion Droming / Downtwaa/Uptwaa / Everybody Wants To Rule / Sand Sing / Weddings Season / Cavers