Downtown Minneapolis was an absolute zoo last night. My typically calm walk from the parking ramp to the venue last night was interrupted by the buzz from Minneapolis celebrating Pride. The energy was electric as I walked past drunk people and rainbow flags. I loved it. The feeling I got when walking through the streets was something that left me nearly speechless. This Iowa girl is living in a city and last night was a very nice reminder of that. Although I loved the energy, I was thankful as I dipped away from the crowd and into The Fine Line where The Horrors were headlining. I didn’t know what the night was going to hold but after my walk to the show, I knew it was going to be a good night.
Local band Chatham Rise kicked off the show promptly at 8PM. You know when people say that they were born in the wrong time period? Chatham Rise is a band that may have become victim to the same thing. With a very 70’s psychedelic sound, they lulled the crowd into a sense of calm and beauty with their laid back jams. There was some sort of liquid imagery going on behind them (think lava lamp) that matched the movement of the music perfectly. Although calm and chill, there were bursts of energy that keep their thirty minute set chugging along. Without much to watch as the members of this band just stood in their spots, Chatham Rise’s set was the perfect opportunity for the modest audience to close their eyes and just get lost in the music. I hope they took that opportunity. I know I did and I loved every moment of it.
The keyboardist/guitarist of Chatham Rise, Sean Levine, is a kid I went to college with. I went to McNally Smith (recently closed) here in Saint Paul. It was a super cool music college where everyone, staff and students alike, was out there doing their thing in the scene when they weren’t in class. Years have passed and I feel like majority of my friends gave up and hung up their guitars and drums for corporate jobs. It was super refreshing to see Sean up on that stage doing what he has always done- creating music. I never knew Sean all that well but seeing him up on stage was like seeing a good friend that you hadn’t seen in awhile. Do you care about any of this? Probably not but it added a whole side to Chatham Rise’s set that left me with the warm fuzzies.
Following the quick set from Chatham Rise was headlining act The Horrors. I knew nothing about this group walking into last night’s show but, come on, with a name like The Horrors? I just couldn’t resist. Since the mid 2000’s, The Horrors have been treating audiences around the world with their unique blend of goth, industrial, rock, shoegaze, psychedelic music. With five albums out, this English band is definitely not a new thing. That was also obvious by the excitement in the crowd. Prior to the show, my photographer and I were chatting up strangers trying to get a feel for what we were getting ourselves into. Although nobody seemed to be able to explain the music to us, they were all able to explain their excitement. There was one couple that drove hours just for this show– okay, I was intrigued.
The Horrors were mysterious and dark. The room was dark and the lights only flashed on and off creating an almost spooky scene when mixed with the ridiculous amount of fog that was taking over the entire venue. I watched with intrigued as singer Faris Badwan thrashed his body back and forth creating a truly impressive visual when combined with everything else. Although the rest of the band just kind of stood in their spots throughout the set, Faris moved around enough for all of them. It wasn’t over the top or distracting but it was a lot and somehow it worked. The movements would move from jolts to something more fluid matching wherever the music was going. Intentional or not, it created an energy and visual that I will not soon forget.
As mentioned, the music of The Horrors is kind of all over the place. Overall, it’s dark. Think basement goth bar with everyone drinking vodka cranberries (because it looks like blood— duh!). With heavy synths and obvious effects on the vocals, the music easily transported the audience into a different place. It wasn’t the type of music that you move around much to. Sure, everyone in the crowd seemed to be bobbing their heads and tapping their toes but nobody seemed to be moving. I’m thankful for that. All of the elements in the music of The Horrors were enough for me. I was so busy trying to figure out influences and sounds that adding a rowdy crowd on top of that would have just been too much. Everything about this band intrigued me and, had this been about fifteen years earlier and my inner goth raging, The Horrors would have easily taken the crown as my favorite band ever. Alas, it’s not fifteen years ago and my goth tendencies have been replaced by a million other things but watching The Horrors on Saturday night was a nice reminder that that stuff is still out there and still thriving. Time to jump back in!
After it was said and done, I walked out of the venue and found myself in the bustling streets of Minneapolis once again. My brisk walk back to the ramp was plagued with drunk people who don’t know how to walk but I didn’t care. I was in my happy place because I had just seen a killer show.