Poptone, Automatic, BNLX, Jake Rudh, And First Avenue – Strenght Through Music


If I had half a brain, I wouldn’t even be here……………..

It’s not been a good week. With a loved one being rushed to the hospital, faced with a good chance of losing her or suffering severe long term effects, the last two days had been emotionally and physically draining. But as the prognosis got better and better and family members being with her I felt the call of First Avenue beckoning me to forget about my worries for a short while.  It sure wasn’t the happy-go-lucky music a therapist may recommend, after all Poptone has its roots in Bauhaus, Love & Rockets and Tones on Tail, so we’re talking some pretty dark tunes here.

So this is not going to be a regular review, honestly I wrote a few things down, but do not remember many details.

DJ Jake Rudh provided music before the first band and I found myself walking into First Ave the tune of the Church’s “Reptile” and felt a weight lift of my shoulder. One of my favorite songs! What timing! How did he know?  Rudh always has a knack for including at least one song that I love but haven’t heard in forever and tonight’s selection was Gary Numan’s / Tubeway Army’s “Me, I disconnect from you” which blasted out after BNLX’s set.

The first band up Minneapolis’ BNLX.  They are a bit of a Minneapolis cult bands with deep roots in the music community. They returned recently from a baby hiatus with a new EP “#10”. As the tunes of their first song “Vibrant” rang out, I got a bit teary. That’s only one of my all time favorite songs. Where they in cahoots with Jake Rudh? “For it’s not my intention to die here” – DAMN RIGHT!

Automatic is composed of Lola Dompe, Izzy Glaudini, and Halle Saxon Gaine. Yes, there’s a relation to Diva Dompe of Poptone (go google it). Their live show is quite interesting, their sound synthy with a good rocky foundation. If you closed your eyes you’d be reminded of a modern Devo, but their sound is a bit darker. I look forward to seeing them again when I’m able to pay more attention.

Poptone combines music veterans Daniel Ash & Kevin Haskins with Haskin’s daughter Diva Dompe. It’s a vessel to bring songs from 3 influential bands together. It’s heavy on the later of the 3 with only one Bauhaus song in their live show – and that one comes in the encore. They also did a Temptations cover, just to keep things interesting.

After the first 3 songs, I found myself lost in the music. The only note I took was “Sax Solo!!” for “Movement Of Fear”. The dark music balanced my emotions and soothed my soul. Poptone manages to channel the spirit of 3 bands in an authentic way. If you enjoyed any of the original bands’ music, go see them – you’ll be in for a treat.

As for me, I walked out of First Ave tired (I was working on 1 hour of sleep and a series of 10 minute naps) but refreshed at the same time. I was back at the hospital 20 minutes later for the overnight watch and am happy to report my loved one is doing well and on her road to a full recovery. So – like the booklet we received at the hosptal said – Caregivers, take care of yourself, you will need your strength. Part of mine comes from music and I couldn’t think of a more perfect show for me that night. To the artists and the staff of First Avenue – Thank you – I needed that!

Set List: Speed / Haunted / All In My Mind / Mirror People / Movement Of Fear / Happiness / No Big Deal / Lions / Love Me / Burning Skies / Performance / Christian Says / Ball Of Confusion / Alien Love / Go / American Dream / Slice Of Life / Yin & Yang