Many Keller Bar patrons’ eardrums were ringing after an explosive Saturday night of diverse rock and roll. St.Cloud punk rockers The New Suns hosted Minneapolis bands Flavor Crystals and Still Pacific on Feb. 24 at the Keller Bar in downtown St. Cloud.
The show, beginning at 10 p.m., started off a three band set with Minneapolis electro-pop rockers Still Pacific. They had a dynamic set-up of instruments positioned across the Keller Bar stage. Aside from having a guitarist, bassist and drummer, Still Pacific’s Tracy Tabery-Weller sported two keyboards including an authentic Moog Opus 3. This solidified the new wave undercurrents of this band and helped create a substantial wall of sound effect.
At times, Still Pacific would be sweetly jangling through one of their New Order influenced jams only to slow down temporarily and then explode into a wall of distortion and synth that would widen the many eyes upon them. While on other songs it sounded as if The Beach Boys had been reborn into the new wave age. It was this kind of playful movement in their sound that really started to get the crowd on their feet.
Just before the show, some of the band was unsure how their sound was going to survive in the basement bar of The Red Carpet.
“I like this bar a lot,” singer and keyboardist Tabery-Weller yelled to the crowd.
Most of the Still Pacific seemed to be grinning by the end of their set.
After a short break to switch equipment around on the Keller Bar stage, psychedelic drone rockers Flavor Crystals took the stage. Front man, Josh Richardson, was grinning from ear to ear while saying hello to the crowd and thanking The New Suns for having them.
After the warm hello the band dove head first into their deep and atmospheric set. Most of their songs starting out slow, featured smartly timed drumming, serpentine bass lines, and the gentle overlapping of duel electric guitars.
Flavor Crystals, having toured with the likes of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, are self-described as heavily influenced by Krautrock pioneers Neu!. Their sound on Saturday night also recalled to mind the sounds of The Black Angels, but with the swagger of The Black Keys.
Their song arrangements would slowly swell, accompanied by the vocals of Josh Richardson which seemed to be coming from within some sort of weightless and smoky dream. The music would swell until suddenly the band would change from a slow burn to a fierce fire storm, Richardson’s work with the feedback of of his guitar rivaling that of Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore.
During this set the dancing of the crowd had all but ceased, but this was not because they were bored. The music fans at this point seemed entranced, slowly swaying to the psychedelic storm that was being created by the Flavor Crystals.
Now it was time for the hometown punk rock sluggers, The New Suns, to take the stage. Wasting little time, the band gave a short introduction before encasing the Keller Bar in sound once more.
Just before The New Suns set, guitarist Shane Jurek was really excited about how the night turned out. At last count, Keller Bar staff reported that just before The New Suns took stage at least 120 people had paid to see the line-up.
“This is the kind of night that keeps me wanting to do this,” Jurek said.
Dancing came back with vengeance when The New Suns started their set. The crowd surged towards the front of the stage, fists flying through the air.
The New Suns’ set was a blitzkrieg of fast guitars, and dynamic punk rock drumming. Fearless in their delivery, they are anything but predictable. The New Suns once crafted a new song in front of fans at an Electric Fetus in-store performance. This local band has been turning heads the last few years and is responsible for a moderate, but growing punk scene in St. Cloud. Having frequented the Keller Bar stage many times previous, many of the fans seemed quite familiar with the band, engaging in playful banter with Jurek the guitarist and singer.
“Yeah, I know we suck,” Jurek said. “That is why we are playing last after everyone goes home.”
This was obviously not the case, as there were still well over 100 people still present as he said this before opening fire with another guitar pick melting tune.