There's a lot of ebb and flow in our local scene, as bands rise to popularity and fade back into the fold, and at any given time there seems to be a handful of bands that are thrown into the spotlight and lavished with attention from the entire community at large. A friend of mine has a theory that there is a music mafia in Minneapolis -- a collection of writers, tweeters, and movers-and-shakers that seem to have an unspoken agreement to promote certain events and musicians at certain times -- but in reality, it seems that our scene is small enough that we are able to dote on a couple of bands at a time and that a few blog posts, videos, and reviews (what the jaded would call hype) are enough to push them to the forefront of our collective consciousness.
Long story short, for whatever reason Lookbook have become the
band these days, and their CD-release show at the Kitty Cat Klub had an
air immediacy and importance. By the time opener Shahs finished
his set, the place had sold out and even guest-listed patrons were
being turned away at the door at the order of the fire marshall.
Photo by Nikki Miller
The warm-up acts selected for the CD-release show were expertly placed. Shahs, a one-man-band featuring Tom Helgerson from To Kill A Petty Bougouisie, entranced the audience with his experimental electro wizardry, ratcheting his sounds from barely audible murmurs to loudly crashing vibrations at the twitch of a knob. Zoo Animal, who were featured this week in the #2 slot of our Picked to Click issue, lived up to their title of best new band by playing a dynamic, spot-on set of minimalist rock 'n' roll and undoubtedly gaining a whole new slew of fans, as the packed room reacted enthusiastically to their every calculated move.
Photo by Nikki Miller
And then there was Lookbook, the stars of the evening, who transformed the venue into a strobing dance club. It's not easy to get a crowd of Midwestern indie rock fans to shake their money makers, but as their set wore on lead singer Maggie Morrison issued a plea that people start moving their feet. Despite their modesty, people eventually started to comply, as Lookbook's more dancey new tunes off of their first full-length, Wild At Heart, seemed to shake the very foundation of the club.
Both Morrison and musical partner Grant Cutler were in top form, with Cutler multi-tasking near the back of the stage to provide drum tracks, synth rhythms and live guitar parts while Morrison's voice grew from a coy whisper into a pop diva's throaty wail. The duo even took the opportunity to debut an unperformed song -- the closing track off of Wild At Heart, "Surprise" -- which you can sample in this video clip shot by Justin Andert of Above the Fold: