The STNNNG and the Hypstrz give shelter from the storm at the Turf

Categories: Concert Review
Photo by Adam Bubolz
Christmas in Minnesota: expatriates and deserters return home from LA and New York and wherever else they're hiding; it's a last chance for people to hang out before it gets really cold in January; and the alternating stress and cheer of Christmas brings a weird look to everyone's eye that says "enough with the gift giving, I just want to see old friends" that only a few beers can solve.

Okay, perhaps I am projecting, just a bit. But looking around the Turf Club last night at the  folks old(er) and young(ish) who braved the first (but probably not the last) "Storm of the Century" of the season, I saw a room full of old friends drawn out for a night of partying and great rock and roll.

Photo by Adam Bubolz
The Floorshakers
First up were the Floorshakers, who cranked out a set of solid, '60s style garage-pop that culminated with a cover of "Train Kept A'Rollin." Members of the Floorshakers have been playing together for almost 15 years, and at any other show, that would definitely make them the seasoned veterans of the night. But when you're playing with the Hypstrz, all bets are off. Brothers Bill and Ernie Batson and crew have been honing their supercharged nitrous-in-the-carburetor bag of old school proto-punk nuggets for over 30 years, and do it with a reckless cut-the-crap abandon that put kids half their age to shame.

Photo by Adam Bubolz
The Hypstrz
This night was no exception, as the band ripped through a set of songs both obscure and legendary, from the Small Faces to 13th Floor Elevators, pausing only between songs to give singer Bill a chance to comb his hair.

All that was left, then, was for the STNNNG to shake the Turf's foundation. This was my first chance to see them with new drummer Ben Ivascu, and they haven't lost a single step in their knife-edge post-punk attack. While the late hour and snow chased some of the crowd away, those left were treated to a relentless set featuring new songs as well as material from their albums Fake Fake and Dignified Sissy. Ivascu and bassist Jesse Kwakenat locked in a seamless low-end groove for guitarists Nate Nelson and Adam Burt's guitar squeal while vocalist Chris Besinger spit lyrics from the floor as much as the stage.

Photo by Adam Bubolz
The Hypstrz and the STNNNG: two radically different styles but a shared intensity and rock and roll smarts. As the STNNNG set came to its crashing conclusion, I noticed Bill Batson watching from the end of the bar, his ever-present smile on his face, like he'd passed the baton for the evening and was pleased to see the STNNNG finish the last leg out so strongly.

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