10 Thousand Sounds Festival 2014 rocked downtown Minneapolis

Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen

City Pages 10 Thousand Sounds Festival
Featuring Poliça, Sylvan Esso, Allan Kingdom, Carroll, Frankie Teardrop, and Tree Blood
Downtown Minneapolis
Saturday, July 26, 2014

On a day that started out sweltering and gradually cooled comfortably in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, a talented cross-section of local bands -- some on the verge of breaking out, and others nationally recognized -- delivered disparate but inspired sets at the second annual 10 Thousand Sounds festival. With the city skyline towering majestically over the proceedings, the intensity built all day long until Poliça's last area show of the year.

See also:
The Music of 10 Thousand Sounds 2014

As the day's first arrivals slowly filtered in, Minneapolis punk trio Tree Blood played one of their first outdoor performances in broad daylight. The group has reared its forceful sound and impressive reputation through a series of rousing basement and club shows, but the festival allowed for the band to win over a new set of fans. During their rapid-fire 20-minute set, Tree Blood tore through tracks from their First and self-titled cassettes, as well as the new tape they were selling at the festival.

Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen

Guitarists Simon Brooks and Colin Wilkinson traded off vocals throughout the breakneck performance, while a shirtless Walker Neudorff played his drums standing up. Their volatile sound is reminiscent of Strap It On-era Helmet, and the band does a great job carrying on the proud hardcore pedigree of their Amphetamine Reptile forebears. After their 20 minutes of fury, the band exclaimed, "Stick around, there's a lot of cool shit happening. Support local music." While there was indeed a lot of cool shit going down throughout the day, Tree Blood emphatically ignited the festivities.

The members of Frankie Teardrop were dancing around while watching their buddies in Tree Blood, and the front of the stage was filled with their own friends when the garage-rock quartet took the stage. After an impressive opening set at Howler's record release party, Frankie Teardrop hit the road for a lengthy tour, and those shows really honed their rollicking, riff-heavy sound. The group consistently teeters on the ramshackle edge during their shows, so you can never quite call a Frankie T performance tight, but the band was clearly focused as they stormed through their impressive set.

Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen

Frankie sardonically introduced the band as they took the stage, "Hey, what's up? We're Poliça," before leading the band through a series of catchy, simply titled jams like "Lines," "Chicago," and "Stop." Frankie kept the banter to a minimum, just briefly introducing each song and taking a moment to say, "We played a dirty, sweaty house show last night. There's a little bit different vibe here today." The band delivered some impressive renditions from their just-released Raiders EP, including the title track, "100%," and "It Takes Time," but it was their rousing, set-closing cover of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" that got everyone's attention. The band stretched the song out nearly twice as long as the original version, soloing away on their backs as they relished their moment on the big stage. Petty's classic summertime anthem proved to be a great way to end the performance and add to the celebratory spirit of the day, especially when Frankie announced "Tom Not Bombs" as they left the stage -- in reference to Low's infamous 2013 RTG set.

After the blistering start to the festival, Carroll's measured indie-pop sound gracefully slowed things down a bit as the hot afternoon sun began to weigh heavily on the swelling crowd. The quartet played a set of songs drawn predominantly from their forthcoming record, so the unfamiliarity of the numbers played a part in the material not resonating as much as the recognizable tracks from their Needs EP. But fans of the band -- on both a local and national level -- will know these new songs by heart soon enough, as their textured, keys-laden sound elegantly serenaded the crowd.

Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen

The band really hit their stride at the midway point of their set, as a spirited version of "Alligator" gave way to the Current hit "Bad Water," which got the crowd grooving. But it was their expansive, experimental take on the set-closing "Easy Target" that proved to be the highlight of the set, as the band locked in on a psych-rock jam that stretched on intoxicatingly. Carroll's set was a great first taste of many of their new songs, and big things are clearly on the horizon for this emerging young band -- including a big show at First Avenue on August 8 with last year's 10K Sounds stars, Strange Names.

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