Last night I went to what just might've been the most Minnesotan concert ever. Trampled by Turtles was in Minneapolis to reward 350 fans for pre-ordering their to-be-released album, Wild Animals, in person from the Electric Fetus. Check "supporting local record shops" on the "most Minnesotan concert ever" tally.
The show itself was somewhere between concert and listening party, with the band playing the new album straight through sans major explanation. It was an intimate show, made more so by the rabidity of the fans in attendance.
Speaking of whom, they were bearded and lot of them rode their bikes to the show: two more checks! Oh, and add another check on the "most Minnesotan concert ever" tally because they were nice: When I moved toward the stage for a better angle, the 20-something standing in front of me turned around to ask, "Sorry, can you see okay?"
The loyal fans were rewarded by TBT's formidable talent, though they also seemed maybe less than thrilled with the gentler pace of most of the album. The first five songs brought soft swaying and chatter to the crowd, while the quintet was intensely focused on virtuosity, stepping away from their mics in unison at every musical interlude. Flickering was the flame during the charming "Hollow" and the haunting first single, "Wild Animals", but given time it intensified into a blaze as they launched into "Come Back Home," the kind of foot-stomping barn burner that made them famous for mile-a-minute fingers on strings. Yips and furious head bobbing all around!
A somber and joyous mix rounded out the night including "Lucy," the lilting lullaby and sure highlight of the night (the lyrics to which were taped onto the floor of the stage for band members to remember, that's how new it was).
Then, just like that, it was over, less than an hour before it began. I hadn't even finished a beer! And, sticking around to do so, I was rewarded with the sight of not one but two Minnesota mayors (former and current): R.T. Rybak and Duluth's Don Ness chatting and shaking hands with band members who, final check on the tally, had remained on stage . . . to clean up after themselves.
I like this state.