Friday night’s show was super chill. Gregory Alan Isakov had me lost in a dream world with his calming music and it was truly beautiful but it definitely wasn’t my normal kind of show. Saturday was definitely more my speed. A fairly busy Saturday night at The Turf Club, my ears were treated to the sounds of some of the best up and coming punk-inspired bands that the Twin Cities have to offer and it was just as perfect as Friday– just in a different way.
green, was the first band to take the stage. They were a last minute addition to the line-up but that didn’t mean that people were willing to ignore their set. There was already a good crowd at The Turf Club in Saint Paul as green, took the stage for their quick opening set. It felt as if it took the band a couple of songs to really get comfortable on stage. For the first few songs, the vocalist came off as almost nervous and the rest of the band seemed just a bit all over the place but, by the third song, this band had pulled it together and was giving the audience their unique blend of 90s grunge meets garage punk. It was energetic and powerful but there was also something a bit laid back about their sound that I found to be a bit surprising but a super nice distinction from other bands in the genre. Sets were short on Saturday night and sadly, just as I felt this band was hitting their speed and getting comfortable, the show was over.
Following green, was Basketball Divorce Court from both Minneapolis and Iowa City. The instant this four-piece took the stage, I saw the audience move a bit closer to the stage as if they were being pulled in and the reason was obvious. Basketball Divorce Court’s sound is powerful as are the messages in their music. Their songs are fairly short much like their set was but everything they did packed a punch. The vocal styling of this band had me super intrigued and in love. It was almost a bit spoken word at times while the instrumentation powered behind the vocals. At other times, the vocals were a complete and beautiful assault on the ears with powerful screams that left me rattled in all of the right ways.
There was something a bit rough around the edges when it came to their set but I don’t at all mean that in a bad way. They had an undeniable sense of attitude and passion with every song that just so badly screamed “house show material” to me. That’s not to say they weren’t deserving of the Turf Club stage, they absolutely were, there was just something about the power that they brought on Saturday night that made me want to catch them in a more DIY punk vibe rather than a bar.
Things moved ridiculously fast on Saturday night and, before I knew it, Minneapolis based Civil Decline was taking the stage. After the power I was given by Basketball Divorce Court, I was hoping for something just as intense and in my face but, instead, was given a flawless grunge sound. I mean, really, this band should have been around in the 90s because they absolutely would have filled the void after Nirvana. When I say that their sound was flawless, I mean it. Although the night had a very DIY-punk vibe to it, Civil Decline stood out just due to the professionalism and cleanliness felt and heard throughout their set. Although the 90s grunge sound has never really quite been my thing, I definitely see myself making it a point to see Civil Decline again sooner rather than later.
Closing out the fast-paced show were local legends– MURF. I have sadly only ever caught MURF once and that was all the way back in July of 2018 as part of Dillinger Four’s D4th of July. I was stunned that day and instantly in love but, for some reason, just have never made it to their set again since. That’s not for their lack of grinding. This band is constantly playing out, constantly putting music out– essentially– constantly killing it so it was a true honor to be able to catch them on Saturday night.
This band is quirky from the outfits they wear, to the antics they pull on stage, all the way to the music. I’m not going to spoil their whole thing because they are just one of those bands that you have to see live to really appreciate but I will say that their set on Friday night felt a bit understated from what I remember and what my friends continuously tell me about these guys. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of their set.
I’ll be the first to admit that MURF’s music is not for everyone. I had invited my friend and her boyfriend to join me at the show and they ultimately decided not to come due to other things going on but there was a comment from her boyfriend that the music made his head hurt and although I’d like to defend the music, I get it– it’s just not for everyone but it is absolutely for me and the rest of the people who crowded into the front of the Turf Club on Saturday. It’s aggressive and in your face. The best describing words I can think of would be: brash; chaotic; aggressive; loud; screamy; did I mention chaotic? If any of you were like me and were constantly looking for obscure music in the early 2000’s you may have run into a band called Kane Hodder– well, that’s who MURF reminds me of.
There’s something almost comical about MURF but this band is anything but a joke. From the outfits to some of the faces that the vocalist makes throughout the set all the way to the random comments made throughout their set (which, on Saturday, seemed to completely revolve around Avatar 2), I love the way this band doesn’t take themselves too seriously. It makes everything feel just so organic, fun and genuine but the chaos and overall sound keeps this band from going into the campy world. The way MURF balances quirky and professionalism is something that I will never understand but why question perfection, you know?
The audience, myself included, was eating up every note that MURF was giving us. From people standing towards the back just watching it all go down to the kids who had taken over right in front of the stage and were pushing and shoving their way through the set, it was clear that all of the people who were there were there to have a good time and MURF was giving them just that.
Venue: Turf Club
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd: 23
Crowd Surfers- None Spotted
Stage Divers- None
Mosh-ability- 9 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 7 out of 10
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Witnessed
Randomly Shirtless Men – 0
Passed Out Kids- 0
Idiots Taken Out By Security – None Spotted
How Irritated I Was With The Audience – 0 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
green, – 0
Basketball Divorce Court – 0
Civil Decline – 0
MURF – 1
Celebrity Sightings – None
Overall Score- 9 out of 10
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