Scrunchies 'Stunner' Release ShowJun 02, 2018
We arrived in time to catch most of Zina’s set! She stood alone on stage, swaying and singing into the mic while hammering out some percussive rhythms over dreamy and dance-worthy soundscapes. Her music seemed almost like it was from a far away world, with dreamy pop melodies and slower, introspective ballads. As Zina performed, the room began to fill and buzz with excitement. She thanked everyone for coming out, and returned to the crowd to support the upcoming bands with a smile and positive energy.
Let’s talk about 26 BATS! I’ve seen this band before, and am always thoroughly impressed with their flair, style, and musical talent. The band is formed of members of a jazz, blues, and soul-punk inspired collective, featuring Bailey, Karl, Christian, Warren, and Daniel, who usually plays trumpet but was on an exclusive vacation to sunny Mexico. Let’s talk about keyboardist and vocalist Bailey Cogan for a second - they are fantastic, and were smiling the whole time as they engaged the crowd, teaching audience members parts of their songs and grinning as we all danced along. Also, I have now found myself really wanting a sparkly bat hat. They wished everyone a happy pride month, and played dance-anthems “Call Me Daddy” and “Touch Mai Face” - the crowd ate it up, and wanted more. The bassist, complete with his Kurt Cobain style sunglasses, was grooving just as had as I was. In one of the final songs, Warren performed an amazing drum solo that had the crowd screaming. When 26 BATS! left the stage, the audience was sad to see them go, but buzzed with excitement in anticipation of Scrunchies.
So, let’s talk about tonight’s headliner, celebrating their debut album release: Scrunchies. They are a new grunge punk band to from out of the Twin Cities, featuring prominent members of the DIY and feminist music communities. You know these women - they’re all icons in their own right. Punk whirlwind Laura (Kitten Forever) and pure-talent virtuoso Stephanie (Sass, Tony Peachka) crushed the stage with their fuzzy, overdriven guitar riffs and powerful, yet at times ironically sweet, vocals while Bree (Double Grave) held it all down with solid bass lines that carved into your chest and a pair of very fashionable sunglasses. Tying it all together with a scrunchie-shaped bow was Danielle (Bruise Violet, Tony Peachka) on drums, an honest-to-god powerhouse. The entire band was completely in their element, and unstoppable amidst the silver stars and streamers that bannered the stage. Did I mention that they actually sold scrunchies at their merch table?
They began with the crowd-favorite hit, “Wichita.” Let me tell you, I’ve waited months to hear this song live and it was completely worth the wait. I think the girl next to me hit her head on a monitor. That’s how hard we were all headbanging. This segued into heavy-hitter, “The Prize,” and with that, the “Stunner” album was performed in its entirety for its first audience. Scrunchies commanded the audience with confidence and punk stage-presence. The band also played two unreleased songs, “Black Egg” and “Wildlife”, both of which were received well received by the crowd. A few of my favorite moments from this show were Stephanie’s praying-mantis-esque moves during “Black Egg” and Danielle’s contagious energy as she counted in each song - once pausing to yell about how she was just too excited to play a particular song. That energy was contagious!
I’ve already spent all morning flipping this cassette tape from side A to side B. I cannot stop listening and I don’t know if I ever will. My personal favorite tracks are “Wichita,” “Double Vision,” and “The Prize,” and the album is very cohesive, with great flow and new takes on classic punk methodologies. The 22 minutes that are “Stunner” are just that: stunning, and with incredible creative and technical precision.This album, and this band, have been long awaited. Scrunchies have hit the scene hard, and we know they won’t be going out of style any time soon.