Love is the Law Concert with the Suburbs, 5/14/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Love is the Law Concert
With the Suburbs, Gay Men's Chorus, Jack Brass Band, P.O.S., Zoo Animal, and Hookers $ Blow
Ecolab Plaza, St. Paul
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Life is like a summer's evening," a lyric from the Suburbs' Tuesday performance proved to the second-most memorable statement of the night. After Governor Mark Dayton signed the gay marriage bill into law, the quickly assembled celebration show -- inspired by the Twin Cities band's 1984 hit "Love is the Law" -- was a delightfully warm, mosquito-deprived, and adoration-rich experience in downtown St. Paul.

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Slideshow: Love is the Law Concert

With temperatures soaring north of 90, and then gradually cooling, many of the Minnesotans of all ages and walks of life seemed like they were in the middle of a hazy dream as they processed from the State Capitol late Tuesday afternoon. Sure, one of the most monumentous political changes Minnesota has ever seen had just taken place, but expressing the right to bare arms (and legs) was also on a good portion of the crowd's mind. Retro rock and soul all-stars Hookers $ Blow -- introduced as the more family-friendly "H and B" -- capitalized on the positivity right away, and got a huge ovation for their rendition of Queen and David Bowie's hit "Under Pressure." Largely assembled from members of the Honeydogs, the band fed off of the packed plaza -- reportedly 7,000 people at its peak -- and delivered while the air was still hot.
Photo by Tony Nelson

Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
"How are you doing?" Zoo Animal frontwoman Holly Hansen later asked the crowd. When they responded with an uproar, she added, "Me tooooo!" From then on, she thrashed her way through a cathartic set. While her three bandmates ably constructed tight rock rhythm behind her, Hansen let her red guitar swing over her shoulder as if blown by the wind, and contorted her body as the emotion spilled from her lips. The set felt like a freedom cry, filled with Hansen's powerful voice and the spirit of the day. 

P.O.S. led off his set with an apology to the crowd, "Pardon me if I don't flip out too hard, I'm kinda sick." But even in a so-called "hampered state," he and DJ Fundo stirred a young, rowdy contingent in the crowd into a united sea of waving arms and shaking torsos. In between a mix of We Don't Even Live Here bangers, Stef introduced the crowd to his tiny cowboy dance, and a water break incited chants of "Chug, chug, chug," which were updated to "Sip, sip, sip," on his prompting. "There's all kinds of equality all of a sudden," he noted midway through. "But there's still lots of work to do" As the strains of "Purexed" wrapped up a set that was supposed to be only three songs, hugs spread like a prairie fire.

Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen
Next, the New Orleans-inspired Jack Brass Band led an onslaught of call-and-response of jams, and some of the energy from the P.O.S. set clearly hadn't worn off as some kids got wrapped up in a mosh. The eight-man band sang lustily whenever they weren't occupied with their brass instruments, and they got a large swath of the audience singing along to a cover of Mel Waiters' "Got My Whiskey." The stage was kind of crowded for their set, but it was nothing compared to what would follow when the Gay Men's Chorus squeezed about a hundred vocalists onto it and the barricaded area in front. Wearing black shirts proclaiming "Marry Us," the choir filled the air with a song of the same name, as well as a swelling version of Andy Williams's "Walk Hand in Hand."

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