The Wrecks and Badflower 2-For-1 Special at The Garage


Photos by Lindsay Barrett

A long line of teens braved the chilly 20-degree temps anxiously waiting for The Garage to open the doors for a rare chance to see two hugely popular bands in one night.  I was fortunate to be grabbed from the cold for a pre-show interview with Badflower as The Wrecks were concluding their meet-and-greet. The stage was all set for Deal Casino to open the show.  If The Wrecks and Badflower were the 2-for-1 special, then the third band was at least the free tire rotation (OK, and balancing.)

Deal Casino opened with my favorite, the energetic “My Gun,” quickly showing fans they belonged on the same stage as the other bands. Lead singer Joe Parella bobbed his head as he started “Red Balloon” which got the crowd’s heads bobbing too. The final four songs of the set were from the band’s new nine-track album “LLC,” released just three days earlier. Can you say hot off the press?  The first new one, “French Blonde,” with its unique rhythm, was a great introduction to the new album.  Before tonight, the New Jersey band was largely unknown to Twin Cities attendees. Parella proved this when he asked the crowd, “Is anyone here to see Badflower?  The Wrecks?  Us?”  When a handful cheered for Deal Casino, he fired back, “That’s a lie!”   They also played “Happy People” and “Chocolate Cake” from “LLC” before thanking The Wrecks for including them on the tour. “The best tour we’ve done,” he stated.  Before launching into their final number, “Color TV,” Parella taught the crowd the last part so they could sing along. Concluding the opening set, he then climbed on top of a speaker to take some video of the crowd.

Badflower opened their set with “Soap.”  It made me wonder if it had anything to do with the interview I just concluded as we tackled a topic no interviewer has been brave (stupid) enough to ask, “Does music need to contain so many expletives?”  You will have to check back here at later this week for the interview that also covers better topics like how Josh deals with anxiety and the band’s upcoming 13-track album “OK, I’m Sick.”  I did learn they wouldn’t have time during their abbreviated supporting set to play any new songs beyond “Ghost.”  Darn, but they would play all five stellar songs from 2015’s “Temper,” beginning with “Drop Dead,” which got the heads banging.

When lead singer Josh Katz took a breather, he yelled, “Hey what’s up Burnsville!  How many here actually live in Burnsville?” With only a dozen hands raised, he proudly concluded, “That’s what I thought!  What’s up Twin Cities?”  After “White Noise” it was time for Badflower’s hit song “Ghost” which reached #1 on the Active Rock Radio Chart and peaked recently at #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.  Hearing it live was even better than the recorded track as all you live music fans know so well.  After generous applause, Katz asked the crowd, “Will you come see us again? Even a third or fourth time?”  See, the band had just been in town eight days earlier opening for A Perfect Circle at The Armory in Minneapolis.  The band told me in our pre-show chat that they really enjoy playing smaller venue’s like this.  Even after what had sounded like concluding remarks, the band fit in the three remaining songs from “Temper,”: “Heroin,” “Animal,” and “Let the Band Play.” It was a strong culmination of the middle set.  I can’t wait to hear Badflower’s new album which is scheduled to be released February 22nd.  Here’s to hoping a headlining tour will follow and stop here.  Here is the SETLIST from the show.

The Wrecks were up next and clearly the band the throng of teen girls were here to see.  Sure, there were plenty of male teens, and more mature attendees, but most definitely a much younger, female-heavy crowd.  Thankfully the show was at The Garage, which is a teen center and under-age venue, to allow these diehard fans to attend. The front stage girls began to sing along to “All Star” before the pre-show recording shifted to “Killing in the Name” and then the entire crowd singing “Sweet Caroline.” Loud synthesized music signaled the band’s entrance and they kicked off with “Figure This Out.”  The energetic music style (some might use the term “boy band,” but I won’t) instantly created more crowd participation with the shrieking teens. Singer Nick Anderson, sporting an orange sweater and his signature glasses, interacted with fans immediately and got them involved. He was all over the place, even helping grab crowd surfers as they were fed up on stage.  The catchy “I Don’t Like You” was another fan favorite before they played “Panic Vertigo,” the namesake of their most recent EP and Tour.  This one included more crowd surfing and drummer Billy Nally losing his shirt. “This Life I Have” was one Anderson said they had been working on this summer.  “You won’t know it, so you need to let your body feel it. And it starts slow, then fast, then slow, then fast, slow, fast. Got it?” Anderson joked.

As they finished another popular song, “Way with Words,” Anderson teased tiring guitarist Nick Schmidt, asking if he could keep playing that ending riff like six more times. Then, to Schmidt’s relief he dismissed the band for a break.  Anderson would give them time to recover by thanking the crowd for attending the show even though they only have eight songs out in the world; just 32 minutes of music.  And last time here (right here at The Garage) they only had three songs out.  “What were you thinking, coming to that show?” he questioned. The band’s breather continued as their leader picked up a guitar and played a solo version of “Rely” and also “Revolution,” with some enjoyable guitar work by the lead singer.  The band returned just in time to put the full-band finishing touches on ”Revolution.”  The crowd seemed to know “James Dean” was up next and the band obliged by jumping right into their popular Weezer-esque song.

“Freaking Out” was another new song before turning back the clock to “Turn It Up” and “Favorite Liar” from their debut EP “We Are the Wrecks.”  The band then exited the stage, but ever so briefly, before returning for an encore.  As Anderson held a tambourine, many in the crowd asked if they could come up and play it.  After patiently contemplating that, he playfully snapped, “Everyone, shut the f__ up!”  Then they launched into a crowd-crazy version of the cover they love to play, Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.”  Before singing the final verse, he noticed someone in the crowd FaceTiming the show to a friend. Busted! The phone was handed to him so he could hold it to the microphone and all could hear if the remote viewer thought it was fair to paying customers. The enjoyable, yet strangely still unreleased, “Life” wrapped up the one-hour set with Anderson going back and forth on the stage to make sure everyone knew how much the band appreciated them.   I posted the full setlist HERE

Have The Wrecks grown as a band since their last visit here in December 2017?  Let’s see.  Their number of released songs went from 3 to 8 in that time.  Their setlist grew from 9 songs in that show to 13 tonight (even requiring a breather for the band). If my powers of trend analysis and forecasting are accurate, they should have 21 songs released and a healthy 18-song setlist when they return to the Twin Cities next year.  I will need a ticket for that show!