Hundred Waters @ 7th Street EntryJul 22, 2014
A very warm and sticky night in Minneapolis gave way to some awesome music at the 7th Street Entry, beginning with Har-di-Har, a local duo that does a tremendous job of blending dreamy ambience with danceable pop. The husband/wife duo not only shared responsibility of percussion, using a single kit between the two, which looks to require some serious dexterity, but also the vocal assignments. Besides having nearly the same haircut, their vocal styles were also very similar, and when combined create some extraordinary harmonies.
Having only two members, Har-di-Har used their voices often as melodic instruments, not just lyric creators. And boy can they craft a melody. Pairing their voices with the bass or acoustic guitar of Andrew, and Julie’s strength on her synthesizer, they create a sound much fuller than what you’d expect from a two-piece band. The synthesizer was causing some problems for the band, however, and required a rare mid-song cable change by one of the 7th Street’s fine sound technicians. Despite the change, the crowd was still called upon to banish the keyboard demon by collectively shouting “get the hell off the stage!” which seemed to work, as the last song went on without a hitch. Haunted keyboard or not, this is a band very worthy of following.
I honestly don’t have much to say about Vacation Dad except that he puts on a seriously fun show. Using a simple setup of a MicroKorg synth and a few loop pedals and electronic drums, soloist Andrew Todryk can start a party. He lost his ponytail holder after the second song, but the crowd held on through the entire set, which consisted of song after song of grooves and beats. No one in attendance was having more fun than Todryk, which made the performance that much more captivating, and his constant head-banging even inspiring a little booty shake of my own. A regular performer around the Twin Cities, Vacation Dad is a man to look forward to seeing when you’re looking for a good time.
FORT WILSON RIOT
Still hot off the release of their most recent album trIllIun, local avant pop five-piece Fort Wilson Riot treated the 7th Street to a supremely groovy set of tunes from their aforementioned album. Beginning with a beautiful rendition of my favorite track off the album, Out of the Ocean, FWR was off and running and kept up the pace throughout most of the set, slowing only a few times for ballads. Their transitions between fast and slow were seamless, however, and kept the set interesting.
Receiving help from Phantom Tails member Logan Kerkhof on trumpet on 3 songs, FWR showed how well they can mix different genre elements into a very accessible pop tunes that can tickle anyone’s fancy. The final song of their set was Hiway, which propelled forward with a full head of steam, and climaxed into a serious jam that had the entire venue moving. This was a great showing from a great local band. For a taste of FWR, check out the in-studio they did for Off the Record here at Radio K.
After three incredibly solid openers, Florida natives Hundred Waters was set to take the stage. The crowd waited anxiously as a smoke machine slowly filled the room with a dense haze in anticipation of the band’s arrival. When the first notes were struck, you could tell this was a performance you didn’t want to miss. Despite playing the relatively small 7th Street Entry, the group brought with a light technician to prepare a very, very cool light show that played extremely well with the thick smoke that had accumulated on stage. After only a few songs however, there were some technical difficulties that made for an unfortunately lengthy hiatus.
For a frustratingly long time, the crowd was forced to sit through a bit of awkward silence, a dirty joke from Vacation Dad, screams from drunken underagers, a few half-hearted solo songs from vocalist/keyboardist Nicole Miglis, and one Mariah Carey song while the failed equipment was repaired offstage. After the hiatus, the band regrouped for a condensed set of songs from their terrific 2014 album The Moon Rang Like a Bell.
Although seeming a bit deflated after the equipment fiasco, Hundred Waters mustered up a very impressive set of songs ranging from deep, heavy ballads to bumping jams like album-standout "Out Alee." Each of these songs was augmented rather significantly by the light show they brought with them. Two projectors mounted behind the band on either side of the stage created a space-like atmosphere that truly transported the crowd. Miglis ability to make her voice jump around makes her performance very special, and it was made even more special when she picked up her flute, adding another texture to an already thick sonic experience.
Despite the technological snafu, and having to watch two members of the band continually tap-tap-tap on their MPC drum machines (pretty boring in a live setting) for the majority of the set, Hundred Waters was able to salvage the night and put on a captivate, yet brief, performance. Unfortunately, even in the land of Minnesota nice, an encore was not to be had, but at the same time, it wasn’t needed.