Roster McCabe at the Cabooze, 4/19/13
Photo by Erik Hess
With Wiping Out Thousands, Steez
The Cabooze, Minneapolis
Friday, April 19, 2013
Roster McCabe has that unmistakable, indescribable festival vibe, the kind that says everything's going to be okay -- even though the rain is threatening to flood your campsite. At their first show in Minneapolis in a while, the foursome dished out plenty of reasons to ignore any recent unpleasant winter weather under the warm glow of the house lights at the Cabooze.
The band has consistently proved to Minnesotan fans that they've got the dexterity and talent to show up just about anybody on the local stage. Of course, they wouldn't want you to view it that way. Roster just clicks, no matter how many genres they choose to stuff into their repertoire. There's quite a few too: rock, dance, R&B, electronic, reggae. It's precisely this ability to cross boundaries that allows them to move deftly between covers of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir," Ginuwine's "My Pony" and, my personal favorite, Warren G's "Regulate," for which they're fairly selective about on any given night.
The night began with crowd-warming support from Madison-based Steez, a five-piece groovy funk band that looks like a corporate IT team dogged from a long week at the office, ready to de-stress alongside those seeking the same. With moments of heavy saxophone and scathing instrumental solos, not to mention a finale featuring the guilty pleasure of a talk box, they filled out the suit nicely. Hell, their domain name alone, creepfunk.com, should be enough to coax promoters everywhere to add them to their bill.
Photos by Erik Hess
Spectators, for the most part, weren't prepared for what came next in Wiping Out Thousands, the beautifully nasty electro-rocking duo and real-life couple Taylor Nelson and Alaine Dickman from St. Paul. Having become recently engaged, it's not difficult to feel the blossoming, limitless ambition driving these two on each cut. On stage, we're witnessing chemists about to stumble upon a career-changing find, vigorously poring over their respective recipes (consoles), Nelson with the tough presence of a Dan Auerbach on guitar, Dickman with the sweetness and vocal mystique of a Regina Spektor or Channy Leaneagh.
The unexpected is where WOT thrive the most. Take "Closer" for example, the group's map-marking pop track that's already received ample airtime on 89.3 the Current since it was released in late 2012. The lead-in riff is lifted straight from the catchiest of '90s songs. But a gander at, say, "Follow Me Into the Wake" from their most recent album reveals the modern equivalent of Pink Floyd's "A Saucerful of Secrets."
Friday's Roster set was saturated with a thousand colors and shapes, many of which illuminated the darkness in the form of frenetic projections on an assortment of large blocks hanging in the background. Strobes cast a silhouette of lead guitarist Michael Daum as he surged through new tracks with tenderly sustained, extended breaks, while lead vocalist and keyboard madman Alex Steele sang on point and happily pranced around center stage -- a semi-departure from some past performances when he's opted to sit.
Photos by Erik Hess
High atop the drum kit in the back sat Jeff Peterson, who along with Steele shares an affinity for the bouncy afro look. Scott Muellenberg rounded out the full lineup on bass. One of the original founders Drew Preiner voluntarily exited the band earlier this year.
The sea of onlookers struck up their usual positions in true Cabooze fashion, brandishing pounders of Red Stripe and PBR while soaking up Roster's resulting steam. About mid-set, it seemed appropriate for Steele to lead the room in a funked-out version of Willy Wonka's "Pure Imagination" as the lights danced - think trippy boat scene. Even Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity" made an early appearance, stoking the crowd while it was hot.
The headliners introduced a barrage of new tracks including the all-instrumental "Get Sexy" and "Black Rose," as well as older favorites "The Traveler" and "Stargazer" to keep the good times rolling well past the midnight mark. In closing with "Kashmir," it was clear the band is not only unafraid, but courageous when becoming whoever they want to be.
Personal Bias: Completely sold when I heard their live cover of Warren G's "Regulate" a few years ago.
The Crowd: "Festies" old and young, college kids and a man clad in a necklace of plush teddy bears and monkeys.
Overheard in the Crowd: In reference to Wiping Out Thousands: "I worked with Taylor [Nelson] at Apple and was probably one of the first ten people to hear them. Some L.A. producer is going to scoop them up. I knew right away they were the shit."
Random Notebook Dump: No matter what show you attend, if the lead singer says, "Y'all are some sexy motherfuckers tonight," dammit, he's right.
1.Make My Move
3.Take A Breath
4. Virtual Insanity*
5.The Only Truth**
10.Nothing To Lose
14.In Our Hands**