There was a lot of confusion at the doors of The Turf Club on Sunday night. People were coming up, ready to show their IDs and pay for their tickets only to be turned away since the show was sold out. I felt so bad for those that hadn’t gotten a ticket ahead of time but, honestly, didn’t blame them. It was a local showcase and, typically, those do not sell out especially on a Sunday night in Saint Paul but there I was, watching people slowly saunter back to their cars with a look of disappointment, frustration, and confusion plastered across their face. Although I felt empathy for them, I was beyond excited that the show had sold out because, again, it was a local showcase. There was no “big name headliner” or anything like that— just a bunch of local characters doing what they love which led to a truly amazing night.
First up was Socktopus and to say I was in love almost instantly would be an understatement. This band took the stage with all members wearing red beanies on their heads and red bowties around their neck. It wasn’t an “out there” look or anything like that but it caught my attention. As soon as the group jumped into their music, that intrigue that I got from their overall look turned to admiration and obsession. With a blend of hip-hop, indie rock, infectious beats and vocals that, at times, felt a bit campy and reminded me of The Aquabats, I found Socktopus to be one of those “you just have to see it” kind of bands. They were so fun to watch from their synchronized dance moves to just the smiles that each of them had throughout their opening set.
Following Socktopus was LVNDSCVPES. Originally from Ohio but currently calling Minneapolis home, LVNDSCVPES had a more straight up hip-hop vibe when compared to Socktopus. Their music was just as gorgeous as their performance but it was the heart that they had in every word and every note that had me absolutely stunned throughout their all-too-quick performance. There were moments when they had a real sense of tenderness to their words and other moments where I felt the angst they were presenting and seemed to internalize it in a super magical way. I felt like I went through a rollercoaster ride of emotions during their time on stage and I was not alone. The audience was hanging onto every word LVNDSCVPES was putting out their much like I was. It created a super beautiful atmosphere that truly was the icing on the cake to their stunning set.
I mean it when I say that Sunday was an epic showing of local talent. As if Socktopus and LVNDSCVPES wasn’t enough, we still had OKnice to go through before the headlining set of the night but, if I’m being honest, I think that OKnice may have stolen the show completely. Much like the act before him, OKnice has a more straight up hip-hop sound when compared to Socktopus or the ending set on Sunday night but it had a twist. Oknice’s twist was a Midwest emo sensibility to his rap which, to the surprise of no one, made it a stand out set of the night for me. I found not only his words but also his compositions to be super relatable and familiar just due to that Midwest emo vibe but it was also something completely unlike anything I’ve ever heard of before.
I felt like I was just in a bit of a haze throughout OKnice. Much like the energy of LVNDSCVPES, I found myself on a rollercoaster of emotions as I watched OKnice and his DJ blast through their set. It was cathartic and perfect but also made it hard for me to take notes throughout his set. I feel bad as I truly wish I had more words to describe the set and music but I think the magic of OKnice’s set on Sunday is that it left me lost for words and feeling that familiar sense of comfort that I typically only get when looking back on the soundtrack of my life and those songs that I had playing on repeat for so many years. The fact that his music gave me that same feeling upon my first listen says more than descriptive words ever could.
The three openers were great on Sunday night but we still had one act to go. Without a proper name, I will be calling the final act the “Gorillaz Demon Days Ensemble” (If I’m being honest, I think I heard someone say that during the show so not taking the credit here). As you may have guessed, this was a cover band celebrating the genius that is the album ‘Demon Days’ from Gorillaz. Why the celebration? Well, it was to celebrate the 18th birthday of this truly iconic album.
Full disclosure, Gorillaz is one of those bands that I never quite dug my heels into like other acts. Sure, put on ‘Demon Days’ and I will be one happy camper but I just never really dug or paid attention to the album the way other people did. My novice on the album was made clear as the giant ensemble kicked into their playthrough but, unlike at other shows where not knowing what was going on would make me feel uncomfortable, I spent the set feeling beyond comfortable and with a smile on my face that, even this morning, hasn’t moved.
There’s no sense in me telling you about the music. Is was an album playthrough and it was a cover band vibe. That wasn’t the magical part of the evening. The magical part was seeing so many familiar faces both on stage and off. It’s no surprise that I spend a lot of time at First Avenue, The Turf Club, 7th Street Entry and other clubs owned by First Avenue throughout the Twin Cities. Because of this, I’ve turned into a bit of an “extended family member” type of character at the clubs. The staff members and other regulars at these clubs have become some of my best friends. Hell, there are some weeks where I spend more time with them than my cats and boyfriend. Seeing the faces of those that so often check my ID when walking into shows and those that say hi to me when I’m alone at a show just because doing the thing that they love the most– performing– was truly a special thing.
Sure, there were moments throughout the set where I definitely felt like maybe things were a bit rough musically and I did see a couple of people storm out of the club shaking their heads and wondering what the heck was going on but those were people who just didn’t understand the true magic. It was one of those nights where there could have been literal whale sounds coming off the stage or just a bunch of people yodeling and I still would have loved every moment of it due to who I was watching and who was around me.
The Gorillaz Demon Days Ensemble
Venue: The Turf Club
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd: 32
Crowd Surfers- None Spotted
Stage Divers- None
Mosh-ability- 1 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 4 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
Passed Out Kids- 0
Idiots Taken Out By Security – 0
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)-
Socktopus – 0
LVNDSCVPES – 0
OKnice – 0
The Gorillaz Demon Days Ensemble
Celebrity Sightings – Everyone who was there on Sunday was a celebrity
Overall Score – 8.3 out of 10
Show on Deck — Cold / Divide the Fall / Sygnal to Noise
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