2:54 at the Triple Rock, 6/18/12
|Photo By Erik Hess|
With Plastic Believers
The Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
June 18, 2012
View a slideshow here.
The hotly tipped London band 2:54 made their first Minneapolis appearance at the Triple Rock on Monday night, and while the growing buzz that surrounds them across the pond wasn't quite enough to make for a large turnout, the band still delivered a captivating, but rather cursory, nine song, 40-minute set that hopefully serves as just a brief introduction to the Twin Cities during their burgeoning music career.
The group is led by sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow, and their somewhat inscrutable band name comes from their favorite moment of a Melvins song, "A History Of Bad Men." But while their moniker is inspired by the sludgy doom of the alt-rock veterans, their sound is far more ethereal and edgy, with plenty of moody textures within their evocative songs. And while the depth and flourishes that are so prevalent on their self-titled debut don't necessarily translate as well in a live setting, Colette's smoky vocals and Hannah's razor-sharp guitar riffs are enough to send their songs soaring.
The band (rounded out by Joel Porter on bass and Alex Robbins on drums) are currently in the middle of their first large-scale North American tour, hitting 14 cities spread out between the U.S. and Canada, and they haven't quite found their stage legs as of yet. They didn't have much of a stage presence, with just a few shy but heartfelt words of thanks coming from Colette as the show wore on, leaving only their music to fully connect with the audience. And while that was typically enough based on the strength of their material, as they grow more comfortable on tour their sound and live show will only flourish.
Somewhat tentative versions of "Circuitry" and "Sugar" started out the set, but it wasn't until "On A Wire" before the show caught a spark. That single initially caught the attention of much of the UK music scene, with influential Radio One DJ Zane Lowe singing 2:54's praises as the band's profile grew. "On A Wire" is indeed quite massive, and took on a volatile urgency in a live setting as it delivered a much needed jolt to the start of the set.
|Photos By Erik Hess|
The audience was certainly appreciative of the band's efforts, but seemed somewhat sleepy straight from the start, and Colette tried to snap them out of it by jumping off the stage to dance a bit with the audience during a riveting version of "You're Early." But the crowd wasn't having it, so she returned to the sanctuary of the stage to dance by herself. A couple of tracks from the Scarlet EP soon followed, as "Dawn" and the title-track both took flight in the small club.
"A Salute" and "Easy Undercover" were both slow burning and capricious, but ultimately paled in comparison to the massive set closer, "Creeping," which is clearly the best song in 2:54's growing arsenal of hits. It was truly a great live moment as the tempestuous song completely filled the club, and was certainly the highlight of their all-too-brief, encoreless set. Colette sheepishly addressed the crowd as she introduced "Creeping" by saying, "Thank you so much for coming out tonight. It's our first time here." And hopefully, it won't be the last we see of 2:54 either.
Personal Bias: 2:54's debut is one of my favorite records of the year. And while, as of now, the band sounds a bit better on record than they do live, it was great to see these stirring songs come to life.
The Crowd: Perhaps the Twin Cities were still hung over from a music-packed weekend, but there still should have been more people at the Triple Rock.
Overheard In The Crowd: Strangely, not much of anything. It was eerily silent between songs.
Random Notebook Dump: The originally scheduled opener, Widowspeak, had van troubles outside of Chicago, so they had to cancel (which might partially explain the small turnout). The local electropop duo, Plastic Believers, filled in admirably, especially since they found out about the gig at four o'clock that afternoon. As they grew more comfortable on the stage, their textured, synth-driven songs eventually began to soar as they set the stage quite well for the headliners.
On A Wire
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