Over the Weekend: 2/15-2/17

If you read our interview with Romeo Castellucci, you know we were expecting tremendous things from the famed Italian artist. Jeff Severns Guntzel says his show "Hey Girl" delivered and then some during its run at the Walker this weekend.

Meanwhile, outside, Powderhorn Park saw local creatives making sleds from cardboard, wood and frozen peas (?) for an afternoon rally that was part sledding, part art.

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Some were large, some were small, and all the art sleds can be seen in the slideshow with photos by Tony Nelson.

Musically, an infestation of Super Furry Animals was spotted all over town, from the Electric Fetus to the Varsity. The Welsh band used celery as an instrument and made it morphin' time, all of which we have photographic evidence of. James Tran captured this gentleman outside the show, and remarkably enough, he is neither a member of the band (though their costumes were staggering as well) nor a show-goer. He's just a dude walking around Dinkytown in a bear suit.

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Hello, Sunshine: come inside the show, you'll fit right in. If you don't believe us, check out the slideshow.

Over at the Entry, three buzzed-about local acts showed their stuff. None, so far as we are aware, dressed in furry costumes. Desiree Weber reports.

KOZA, ROMANTICA, ALARMISTS: LOCAL BOYS MAKE GOOD

Saturday night’s show at the 7th St. Entry featured Chris Koza, Romantica and The Alarmists –- local acts that have risen to acclaim over the last two years. The house was packed even before the opener took the stage. To a cynic, it was a night of grown-up boys living out their rock and roll fantasies. But who can blame them – with adoring local fans, and some family thrown in, the crowd was even more amped up than Koza and his “90 cups of coffee.”

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The Alarmists were one of three local acts at the Entry on Saturday. More photos by Daniel Corrigan here.

Chris Koza kicked things off right with an upbeat mix of equal parts acoustic and electric guitar, with the occasional harmonica thrown in for flavor. His indie rock sensibilities shine through on songs like “Adjust” and “Redwood Skyline,” off his new(est) EP A Friend of a Friend. His versatility is on display in songs like “Morning Moon,” which channels a Cash-like bass part, or the title track from his last full-length “Patterns,” which holds closer to a sound reminiscent of Iron & Wine. With a new angle on commonplace soundscapes, Koza proves himself accessible without ever succumbing to clichés – refreshing, upbeat indie rock the way it’s supposed to be.

Next up, Romantica.

Headed up by Irish lad Ben Kyle, Romantica fits squarely in the alt-country genre, for better or worse. Songs off their latest release America dominated the set, ranging from melancholy songs of lead-singer introspection to more upbeat songs that sound like things you’ve heard before – Ryan Adams and Jeff Tweedy, to name two. While they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they also say that variety – or in this case originality – is the spice of life. Perhaps their inevitably romantic view of the world is best described in lyrics from “On My Mind,” which predictably declare that “love can make it right.” Their literalist lyrics invoke images we’ve seen before and while the tunes may be catchy, it’s certainly not a new strain.

The Alarmists finally took the stage and rocked the house but good. Fronted by Eric Lovold, the infectious energy of this quintet was apparent even from the first riffs, if not the bobbing heads of Ryan McMillan (guitar/vocals), Jorge Raasch (keys), Derek Jackson (drums) and Tony Najm (bass). Ranging in influence from indie-pop to brit-rock, their songs often feature dueling guitar parts with consistent bass/drum backing. In fact, despite being planted behind walls of sound, The Alarmists put the brilliance of uniform drum/bass downbeats on display and made sure that everyone knew when to tap their feet. Songs like “Light a Smoke,” which features an eerie synth loop, prove a strong backbone goes a long way to making a song interesting. The set also featured soon-to-be-released songs like “Rhyme & Reason” and “You’re Right” – available only in mp3 form. While the subtlety and (relative) nuance of some of their songs from The Ghost and the Hired Gun was lost somewhere around volume 11, the crafty lyrics and sheer exuberance made The Alarmists hard to tune out.
--Desiree Weber


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