Priests at Hexagon, 6/9/14
Hexagon Bar, Minneapolis
Monday, June 9, 2014
In a world with no shortage of politically fueled punk and hardcore bands, how do you keep your sound fresh? For Priests' lead vocalist, Katie Alice Greer, the answer is simple -- you abandon all fears of losing your shit on stage. You never stop moving, questioning, or fighting back. You spit at the critics who say it's been done before and retort, "Well, now we're doing it our own way."
On Monday night, the Washington, D.C.-based post-punks played back-to-back shows in Minneapolis, starting with an all-ages early show at Extreme Noise and ending with a late show at the Hexagon.
Priests are on tour promoting their newest EP, Bodies and Control and Money and Power, a name reminiscent of Foucault's entire collection rolled into one. The album is a fast-paced post-punk powerhouse that delves into cliched political sentiments while still managing to stimulate with help from Greer's in-your-face vocals and the band's endless pool of energy. And let's be real -- the problems Priests' lyrics confront haven't been solved, so why should they stop singing about them? Capitalism, racism, sexism, and homophobia remain very real things. Until changes are made, bands across genres will continue to sing, scream, and pig squeal about them.
Waveless started the night out on an introspective note with their high-intensity, reverb-heavy breed of shoegaze, in which the vocals are barely discernable from the instruments.
"Priests will be here soon," guitarist Dustin McChesney announced before the set, effectively humbling himself and the band. Modesty, though appreciated, was unnecessary. The kid can shred. As McChesney played a particularly technical solo, a man in the front row turned and looked around at the audience with an open mouth, wordlessly inquiring, "Are you guys seeing this shit?" We were. McChesney knows his way around a set of guitar strings.
Whatever Forever, fronted by Prissy Clerks' Clara Salyer, was up next. Their infectious, fast-paced pop-punk inspired some particularly aggressive headbanging from Frankie Teardrop's drummer, Gunnar Kauth, who stood mesmerized in the front row. It appeared that people wanted to dance, but it was too early for anyone to break through their social anxiety and indulge -- anyone, that is, but the the lone, off-beat dancer in the empty space near the front of the stage.
Monday night marked Trash Swans' third show. The New Orleans duo have an endearingly sloppy but powerful style, reminiscent of Two Gallants for grade schoolers. Before their last song of the evening, the guitarist and singer announced, "We both teach kindergarten and just got out of school about a day before we left. The important thing about being a child or adult is that you've got to know how to wiggle." His announcement transitioned into a rollicking song during which the crowd was commanded to wiggle. Many obliged.