The Current's 7th birthday party at First Avenue, 1/28/12

Categories: Last Night

Some of their lyrics sounded a bit funny coming from three guys who are now in their 50s, but they are three of the coolest guys in their 50s you'll ever see. All the favorites were in the set -- "Mr. Dr.," "Shock Appeal," and the rest -- plus guests Kevin Calhoun and the Suburbs' Hugo Klaers jumped onstage for a couple of cover songs toward the end. There would be no Hüsker Dü, no Replacements, no punk scene in general in Minneapolis without the Suicide Commandos, and it made me wistful for the Longhorn Bar.

And finally, after a long wait, the Minneapolis it-band of the moment began to play to their biggest crowd yet. Equipped with two drum kits, a sampler and bass, Poliça was infectious, funky, electronically-driven music that sounded as organically-grown as the Commandos' did just minutes before. Songs that were introspective and at times so heartwrenching it seemed as if the mainroom might collectively burst.

Photo by Erik Hess

Lead singer Channy Leaneagh's voice was at once both ethereal and cutting, distorted and elasticized by Auto-Tune -- but not in the crass way Auto-Tune is usually utilized. Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson's dual drum work was precise and jaw-drop worthy on songs like "Dark Star" and "Lay Your Cards Out. These songs were of the type that stick with you for longer than you'd like, making your mind spin, stirring up memories both good and bad. It was quite an end to a spectacular night, everyone's birthday should be this cool.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I like all of these acts for different reasons and seeing them all on the same bill was quite a treat.

The Crowd: More subdued (read: less drunk) than Friday's and I was happy that so many of them got on board with the Suicide Commandos.

Overheard: "Good to see [the Suicide Commandos'] Chris Osgood wearing a Super Mario Bros. 1UP hat to connect with today's kids."

Random Notebook Dump: Poliça makes the kind of music that haunts your dreams.

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