The breakdown for the night was simple, Mister opening for Sepia Tone. SJU’s local favorites had a friend in from the cities on saxophone, walking the razor’s edge after 36 hours without sleep.

Mister burned right through their set at high speed; drummer Grant Gibeau’s warmup diet of bear-related snacks had him popping along in a private war between himself and his sweatband. The band has translated well into electric. Scott Heins showed grace under pressure as a soloist, rhythm guitarist, and backing vocalist. The sax is a rock instrument, let there be no doubt, and at the end of the day a crowd just wants to hear it scream. Although Mister’s earlier work better compliments vocal harmonies than adjacent improvisation, they opened up the latter half of some songs to make the best of their setup, and the response at Brother Willie’s affirmed the choice. The show was as energetic as the band has ever been.

Sepia Tone had a bleak start with half the crowd headed for the doors and balconies and a microphone crapping out on them (later to be salvaged; I believe the credit is to Cooper Lund?). The group rose to the occasion with ‘Superstition’. Sepia Tone uses covers the right way: do the songs justice, break the ice, gain momentum. Bassist Jason Mclean was fabulous — the man knows how to find and fill a break. It became evident as the night wore on in the two hour set that the band had no weak members. Aaron Brostrom’s voice is, to be frank, hot. Both Nick Johnson and Kyle Tennis (a firm backbone for the band) can shred, and Anthony Bloch demonstrated for everyone that drum solos aren’t just about beating the bejesus out of your kit. All of them can sing. As a whole, Sepia Tone held tight and had an intuition for grooves. Anyone that stuck around can confirm that it’s a fun show; they’re welcome back any time.

Hopefully there won’t be any pyrotechnics from the speakers in the future.

Advertisements

Hey, everybody! Giles Monsoon here to announce the end of a great concert! This year’s battle of the bands was nothing short of a radical success, with all sorts of drama along the way! Let’s have our own breakdown right now (weedly-weedly-wee, *pinch harmonic*): 

The night started off with a bang, featuring a back-to-back performance by Helio and The B.S. Band, that night synthesized under the moniker Helio and The B.S. After a monstrous twenty-minute bass solo by Joe Carr, the group opened up with Helio’s campus hit ‘To Write Love On Her Arms’. Swoon! Forty seconds into the song, the judges from the JEC produced a perfect 10 across the board and announced their winner for the night. Although their frontman doesn’t like to cut things short, H&BS then closed with an achingly beautiful cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The River’, with nothing more than Ben “S” Crist at his signature series Yamaha keyboard. If you haven’t joined a good old Irish kickline at a Helio show, man, you haven’t lived.

This was followed by the school’s own indie rock gods OK Go, with an awesome set featuring ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’ and ‘Eat You Alive’ off their latest album release, Results May Vary. I’ve never seen such masterful and creative use of a fog machine for a choreographed dance number.

Look out, all you theocrats! Here come All The King’s Men (sorry for the inaccuracy of the corresponding photograph above, which is the groups’ side project The Gypsy Kings). These guys know how to make mythology hip for the Joe Six-pack, and what better way to close than by paying homage to their idols with an electric powerhouse, nigh Ragnarokal performance of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in double time!!! Great googly moogly! It’s hard not to be left breathless when a band exits via rocket longboats through the windows while splitting the kneecaps of obstructive fans with hand-carved tomahawks! I tell you what, it’s worth the pain: these things are meticulously crafted and the cryptic verses they cry out during eclipses are wonderfully soothing.

The audience then reconvened into St. John’s Abbey for Jamison Murphy and that other guy in Blue Sky Canopy, marveling as they wrapped their arms about each other for a duet performance of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. This is an interesting change of pace for the group, who has often held a firm grip on their own critical reception with complex themes of solipsistic horror and the nature of consciousness on the outskirts of the new global village. Not that there was anything left to be desired in their return to their brooding roots in metaphysical considerations through music.

Closing the night’s performance was Mister. Pardon my French, but I think this folie à quatre is starting to lose its cool. I mean, first we have Pat Sitzer break out into a Rick Banjo Roll in the middle of 3 a.m., and then the percussionist Grant Gibeau, currently upset about the recent loss of his girlfriend to All The King’s Men’s Ladies’ Man Nick Palmquist, made an announcement for the promotion of the Hammerskins before bringing in the wooden cross from outside of the refectory and setting it on fire a la Jimi Hendrix. He has since vowed to submit a written apology through the Record and pay for a substitute cross. Things started to come undone when Dylan decided to descend into the audience and encourage onlookers to sing along, jumping theatrically and doing synchronized kicks with the beat of ‘Days Go By’. The band’s vocalist and lead guitarist was removed from the night’s festivities after trying to hug a child at the bar and loan her his microphone, breaking his instrument over a stool in sudden rage when she buried her face in her mother’s chest and sobbed out of fear and panic.

Whew! It doesn’t get much better than that, folks! And now for the eager anticipation of Helio’s performance at Woodstock ’09 opening for R.E.M.! Don’t worry, I’ll be at the front lines as always. This is Giles Monsoon signing off; you make yourself comfortable, Collegeville, or I’ll do it for ya! Hahah, that’s me yanking your chain!