The combination of politics and music in '08 certainly has a notable pulling power; it seems nearly every young, Democratic-leaning person in the Twin Cities came out to the Turf Club last night to support Barack Obama on the eve of the Republican National Convention, which happens here next week.
Josh Grier and Jeremy Hanson of Tapes 'n Tapes opened the show (as "Tape n' Tape," Grier cracked), playing pared down but powerful material from The Loon (2005) and the band's latest set, Walk it Off (2008). The two Tapes were on top of their game, notably with Hanson's staccato drumming. And in the politically charged atmosphere, Grier's howled chorus of, "Do you still fight for lover's rights?" on "Insistor," took on an added dimension of defiance.
The night continued as avant-garde rap duo Kill the Vultures offered their dark boom-bap and film noir stories, experimental electro wonder dosh played a set of his ambient, jazz-inflected soundscapes, and slowcore band Low brought the club to a simmer with their building, reverb drenched blues. Overheard in the crowd: "This feels like a special moment in time. It feels almost spiritual." Agreed.
Next up, rapper P.O.S. of the Doomtree crew had the audience roaring and has never been one to shy away from politics. His 2006 breakthrough, Audition, opens with the line, "First of all, fuck Bush / That's all, that's the end of it" -- a lyric that got him barred from playing the House of Blues at Disneyland while on tour.Disneyland may not appreciate his political diatribes, but last night the crowd was behind him all the way.
Hard rock acts STNNG and Skoal Kodiak rounded out the night with flailing arms and mosh pits, celebrating their freedom to party. As STNNG vocalist Chris Besinger put it, "You've never seen a Republican rock like this." Amen.
Check out pictures from last night on page 2.