A trio of bespectacled rock and roll musicians recently recorded an album together, and they released it to the world with a kickass rock and roll show last Friday at Redstar Lounge. The Farsights unleashed their self-titled album in style as they shared the night with the experimental sounds from The Horror, and really loud Minnesota rock music from The Tisdales.
“You can buy our cd with a nickel if you have a lot of them,” Farsights drummer, Ryan Nelson, told the crowd from behind a transparent blue drum kit. “If you have five rolls of nickels you could buy it.”
I did the math; it checks out. For around $10, you can buy the album from them personally by telling them you want one on any of their various social media channels. Or you can wait around until it appears on the shelves at Electric Fetus. If you're a penny-pinching tightwad, you can just listen to it here. Either way, it’s available, and it should be listened to, by you, at once.
The Horror set the bar high for the night with a pretty spectacular performance. This three-piece experimental band consists of Joe Conaway on guitar, Billy Wagness on the microKORG synth, and Anders Jefferson taking up drums.
It always freaks me out just how much sound can come from only three people at one time. All dressed up in nice shirts and ties, like they just got out of a job interview, they put on a high-energy show full of crazed, psychedelic freak-outs, with terrifying highs and lows from the tiny synthesizer.
Every time I see The Horror play live, I find myself watching Wagness the most, and I stand there trying to figure out just how the hell he’s doing that, and that, and that. He’s entirely abusive towards that poor microKORG of his, pretty much punching the keyboard into dust for every show. By the end of their set on Friday, he was ripping the keys off the board and throwing them into the crowd, like Tootsie Rolls at a Fourth of July parade.
The Farsights took the stage after The Horror. This trio consists of Phil Jents on guitar, Brynn Sias on bass, and Ryan Nelson on drums. The Farsights deliver a fairly straightforward alt-rock sound with loud, distorted guitar, melodic bass lines, and fast, driving drumbeats. Jents provides most of the vocals for the band. He sings clearly, and with a deeper tone than one would expect to come from the music that’s playing underneath. It sort of sounds like Ward Cleaver is in a punk band. I mean that in a good way.
The Farsights played hard, and sounded great. Hell, it was their party after all. What were they going to do, not bring it? There appears to be a strong chemistry between the members of this band. They clearly love doing what they do, and it shows every time they play out. They’re happy to be there, and that makes me happy to be there too.
The Tisdales closed out the show with some good old-fashioned rock and roll. The Tisdales are another in a line of projects to come from Minnesota music staple, Rich Mattson. Along with Mattson, Tony Derrick, Derek Lee, and Jason Kokal make up the rest of the band. They played with loud guitars in melodious chord progressions that would fit right in at a 1970s, or 1990s high school dance, and it would be sure to piss off the parental chaperones. While I don’t think anyone in the band would argue that they are getting any younger, they play music like they were still just kids, and it is awesome.
And that was that. The Farsights cd release show had come and gone. Make sure you check out The Farsights new cd. Maybe buy a shirt from them while you're at it. Support local music.
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Huge thanks to Laramie Carlson for sharing some of his photos from the night.
Graham Hakala is the current editor in chief of Lake Voice News. He writes about Duluth music and arts. Follow him on twitter @grahamhakala