Concert Coverage: Modern Radio 10th Anniversary at the Turf Club
(Review by Tigger Lunney, Photos by Adam Bubolz)
There’s a weird vibe, a reservation, in the air. Maybe it’s the non-stop ice that means every crosstown cab’s going to be delayed and half the room will be nursing sore butts from falls before the night is through. Maybe it’s the weird crew of birthday partiers that prompts someone in the crowd so say, “Holy shit, Jersey Shore just invaded the Turf.” Maybe it’s the delicious-looking cookies my misguided New Year’s Catholic boy self-punishment resolution won’t let me have.
But more than anything it’s the anticipation, the build-up, the expectations that such a celebration demands. After all, ten years officially makes Modern Radio a local institution. Ten years of successful releases by acts both local and national, too many to name, means you lose the young upstart status. So it’s no wonder that as I watch people trickle in the door while Chris and Holly Besinger spin records, record nerds, punks, drunks and hipsters rubbing elbows with Midway denizens and the aforementioned bruised asses with the aforementioned Party Bus people, that I worry, lost in my head, that this show can’t hope to hit the mark demanded by its own existence.
Then, Double Bird took the stage and all worries, concerns, reservations, slick ice and slicker haircuts, all that broke wide louder than a stroke and harder than a heart attack. Partying was at hand.
Double Bird was the only of the five bands on the bill I’d seen lately, but I was blown away at how locked in the were for this particular show. I’ve been a champion of their brand of smart 70’s power-pop since their early shows, and have not been disappointed since, but this night was spectacular: tighter, better paced, and vocally stronger than any show I’d seen before.
The Chambermaids were next, the Post- to Double Bird’s Punk. Half a song in, I had to draw a diagram to determine the best way to kick myself for not seeing them in the past couple years. It’s embarrassing when you miss out on something so great, and I was definitely late to the party. Always a solid band with a keen sense of melody and the occasional sharp left turn, the songs Neil and Martha Weir have written over the past couple years, combined with the addition of Nate Nelson and Mickey Kahleck, make them one of the most distinctive bands in the Twin Cities.
After The Chambermaids, I retreated to the packed Clown Lounge to catch the tail end of Sheridan Fox’s solo set, just him, an acoustic guitar, and occasional drummer, knocking out a solid set of catchy songs more “indie” than “pop” without the yesterday’s garbage connotations of “indie-pop.”