Howler at Triple Rock, 3/20/14
|Photo By Erik Hess|
With Frankie Teardrop and Whatever Forever
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
March 20, 2014
Those wondering where all the guitars have gone in the modern Twin Cities music scene would have been best served by heading down to the Triple Rock last night. The small club was appropriately decorated with festive balloons for Howler's record release show for World of Joy, with two other local bands in varying degrees of ascendancy there in support -- Frankie Teardrop, who added a new guitarist and is poised to hit the road with Howler in May, and Whatever Forever, Clara Salyer and Howard Hamilton's (Prissy Clerks) rambunctious new band who were playing their first show ever.
It all amounted to a fun evening filled with plenty of crunchy guitar riffs and just the right amount of attitude, as all three bands proved that Minnesota's prestigious rock 'n' roll tradition is in more than capable hands going forward.
See Also: The world of Howler's sophomore album
With Prissy Clerks on a bit of a break at the moment, Salyer and Hamilton recruited Selby Tigers drummer Dave Gatchell (who recently returned from an extended stint in Japan) and CLAPS bassist Sara Abdelaal to round out the lineup of their boisterous new band, Whatever Forever. The band rushed to get their set ready for their debut performance, but from the first song it became clear that they intended to hit the ground running.
Their material alternated between fiery, spirited garage rock with a catchy pop pulse that was reminiscent of early Superchunk, and flat-out punk songs (including an ode to Bjorn Borg) that featured emphatic guitar interplay between Hamilton and Salyer, who also deftly traded off vocals throughout their 30-minute set.
|Photo By Erik Hess|
Salyer admitted that she was still working on vocals straight up until showtime, so the punishing guitar riffs consistently drove the songs far more than the lyrics, which were frequently buried under the devastating din. In fact, the band was rocking so hard that things started falling apart all around them. First a string of balloons came off the walls, adding to the rowdy house party vibes of the night. Then Clara's pedals conked out on her for a moment, and when that got sorted Abdelaal's bass-strap came undone mid-song, which she played through admirably. Those minor issues didn't keep the band from impressing.
Frankie Teardrop expanded from a trio to a quartet for this show, adding guitarist Dan English into their rowdy, garage rock mix. The titular frontman's humorous introductions consistently added a facetious edge to the material, as he dropped a series of hilarious one-liners throughout their breakneck 25-minute set. "This song is about killing a guy" came before "Killed a Man," while he exhorted the crowd to "get fucking pissed" before "End of Summertime Blues." "This song is about my dead friend. It's an upbeat number. Yeah!" was another sardonic intro, but the uproarious, catchy songs themselves more than justified his between song shtick.
|Photos By Erik Hess|
Teardrop just finished an album that he is looking to release sometime soon, so the second half of the all-too-brief set was filled with spirited new tracks like "100%" ("It's about everything, ever"), "Bling Item" and "Raiders," which all rocked. He also invited us all to start using his new slang catch phrase, "Nice one." "You can say it every time anyone fucking does anything. Brew me a coffee - 'Nice One.' Fall on your face - 'Nice One.'"
And when he announced that they would play some new songs, on cue someone in the crowd shouted, "Nice one!" "That's my man right there!" Frankie exclaimed. "You want to join the band too? We just added this guy."