Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tapes N' Tapes @ Johnny Brenda's

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Minneapolis band Tapes n' Tapes. Beyond simply sharing a hometown my connection to T n' T goes back to my college days when I watched lead singer Josh Grier rock out with Tape's original line up at the Cave, our on campus bar. While ironically the runner up two years in a row in Carleton's battle of the bands Josh has certainly shown them.

When The Loon dropped in 2005 I saw all of their local Minneapolis shows which were basically mini reunions and always a lot of fun. But I was really curious what a show would be like outside the hometown crowd and admittedly a wee surprised that they sold out JB's.

Openers were The Subjects - who were excellent (enough so to warrant a little additional TWIPC love in a eminent post)- and WildLight who weren't horrible but not notable (beyond mentioning their skin grafted jeans).

The band line up has settled into Josh, Jeremy (insanely good drummer) Matt (ambidextrous trumpeter & keyboardist) and Eric (beautiful bassist). It is this quartet that released last years Walk It Off, which thankfully suffered not from the dreaded sophomore slump and who graced the stage last night.

The set list was a mix of old, new and unreleased. It was really awesome to see how they have embraced their rock side with a little more confidence. I had noticed it when I heard Walk it Off and I guess I passed it off as exploring a harder sound but after seeing them perform I think it is simply the result of touring and finding their comfort zone. Older songs like Ten Gallon Ascot and Manitoba were given new life by funkier and more aggressive guitars. The pure rock out on new songs like Hang Them All and Say Back Something was totally felt by the many many plaid clad college boys busting a move in the crowd.

The fella's of Tapes n' Tapes were wickedly talented in their own right to begin with but I got a sense of complete togetherness last night that made their show much tighter and entertaining than I was expecting. Erik's delight was visible, seeing someone who clearly enjoys what they do contributes greatly to a live show and his head boppin grin inducing bass playing pushed the rhythm while adding some depth on the slow building jazzy Ten Gallon Ascot. Jeremy's drumming is the product of someone who obviously appreciates the little things. He breaks apart the typical percussive riff and infuses a little jazz pattern or simply his own little touch. Hearing his style develop floors me considering he is still quite young. Matt seemed to be adding a touch of playfulness to the trumpet and keyboard action. I can hardly walk and text so seeing someone so comfortable playing two totally different instruments flawlessly is something I can't help but respect. And Josh, what an artist and showman he has become. His voice has aged well (despite his claims that his throat was weak) allowing him to nail some pretty authentic rock vocals. Its cool to see someone develop like he has and I really look forward to seeing what is yet to come.

On the whole the crowd was feeling them. Towards the end of their set their sound got much richer and the slow walking jazz-flavor carried us right to the edge of their raunchier rock side. They capped it strong and left me looking forward to my next chance to catchem live, as you should too.

some sounds for your pleasure
Ten Gallon Ascot
Hang Them All

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