After having a couple of days off, I was ready for a show– any show. Thankfully, The Life and Times were in town and, having never seen them before, I was ready to add yet another band to the endless list of bands I’ve had the pleasure of catching live.
The night started off like any other show night. After a quick nap and dinner, I walked up to a neighborhood bar to grab a drink with my friend (who happens to be another live concert blogger so she knows the struggle). As we wrapped up our drinks and I headed towards my car, I heard a cat meowing from under a car on the main drag by my apartment. Being the crazy cat lady I am, I couldn’t just leave the poor thing under the car so I swooped her up and started calling the number on her tag. After spending a half hour with this sweet little cat, I finally got her home and could head to the show.
To say I was a bit shaken up and was in need of a show more now than before the cat fiasco would be an understatement. As soon as I walked into the Triple Rock and saw the typical door guy, all of the stress of the past half hour fell to the wayside. I love how no matter how bad or weird your day got, as soon as you step into a venue everything is fine. Maybe it’s a familiar face waiting for you at the door to check your ID or maybe it’s the smell of spilled beer that didn’t really get cleaned up from the night before… whatever it is, the amount of comfort I find when walking into a venue is immeasurable.
Not only was Tuesday night one of the few nights where a Triple Rock show started on time, but I was also running late and unfortunately missed opening act ExactlyNo. My apologies to this local act and I hope they don’t hate me too much. I mean, how could you… I was saving a cat! I promise to catch ExactlyNo soon! From the chatter in the room, I missed a hell of a good set.
Second to take the stage was Another Heaven, also from the Twin Cities. I was instantly struck but the sludgey sound of their music and the way it still felt a bit poppy. Sure, I’ve heard sludge metal before and I love the sound of heavy distortion behind dark and sinister lyrics but I had never heard the pop version of this until Another Heaven’s set last night. Apparently this is an actual thing and is called gloom-pop. I’m definitely a fan. It wasn’t overly optimistic and generic like so much of the pop music out there but it also wasn’t too dark and depressing like some of the gloomy metal crap I listen to. It was truly a perfect balance of the two and seeing it live was an amazing experience.
Beyond the unfamiliar but thoroughly enjoyable music was these guys’ stage show. There was nothing super exciting about it at first glance but when you started realizing what was going on on the stage, it was a bit mesmerizing. The four members had a very cohesive and concise sound when playing together. You could tell that they had been playing together for years and weren’t new to this game but what was amazing was, even realizing how tight this group was, you couldn’t help but notice how each member seemed to be in their own little world. The bassist barely faced the audience and was typically found standing on the side of the stage looking in at the other members as he fidgeted with his pedal board. Sometimes that whole avoiding the audience thing would piss me off but for some reason, it worked and fit the music. It was eye opening to realize that each member seemed to be in their own little space but still come together to create something truly beautiful. After just a couple of songs, I was sold and I truly can’t wait to drag all of my friends to catch Another Heaven soon.
Wrapping up the night was Kansas City, MO based The Life and Times. I have to be honest, I hadn’t thought about these guys in years and was a bit surprised to see they were still going and touring. Since the early 2000’s, this band seems to have been constantly touring and constantly producing great music. Even though I have always been a fan of this group, I never really followed them as closely as I should have. When last night’s show was announced, I couldn’t help but dig back into my record collection and revisit this influential indie rock band.
As the trio took the stage to their theme music, all of the lights were dark and we were left with just a single bright light shining on the drummer. When the intro music ended and the band started, the single light on the drummer went out and was replaced with two of the brightest lights I had ever seen on the bassist and guitarist. Why am I telling you all of this? Because it definitely added something to The Life and Times’ live show and, as simple as the lighting was, it was memorable and perfect.
The music that emanated from the stage was exactly what I had remembered. It was definitely indie rock but it had an edge to it that many bands fail to pull off. Singer Allen Epley’s distinctive voice instantly took me back to a simpler time and just added to the comfort that I found in the Triple Rock last night. The surprisingly large crowd (well, surprisingly large for a Tuesday night with beautiful weather) was very polite as the band played through songs that spanned nearly all five of their full length albums. Regardless of what the group was playing, the crowd was into it in a very deep way.
You could tell just by watching the crowd that this group had a special place in the hearts of everyone in the crowd and that made it a super memorable set and show. People weren’t rambunctious or hooting and hollering. They were just standing there, nodding their heads along to the beat and sipping their drinks. There was no shouting, no real commotion at all throughout the night. Just people standing there clearly getting lost deep in the music. Even though I go to a show nearly every night, it’s rare to find a show where people are truly just that into the music, not into the “event” of going to a show and that’s what can make a concert an experience.
Tuesday night was an experience and when I got home, I got a text from the stray cat’s mom saying how thankful she was for me finding her cat.
I’ll chalk that up to a good day.