Friday, September 16, 2005

Aqua City Motel

My co-worker Erik once played guitar for the band Plissken, named for Snake Plissken, anti-hero from Escape from New York. That was almost three years ago. My whole family was at that show, even my daughter was swimming around Pooteewheet's womb and appreciating the ambiance so close to Frogtown. After some time, the band has finally reformed, but with a new name, Aqua City Motel, a new keyboardist, and a new sound (and a new guitar for Erik, he moved to bass). This time, rather than taking my wife and daughter, I took my (retired) father - you can see his arm in the second picture below. We went early and caught a 7:40 p.m. breakfast at the Dinkytowner - they have a damn fine omelet that goes nicely with a Summit EPA, mind you (and my project lead and her husband met up with us after the food). I'd have more pictures of the band, but Pooteewheet left me a camera without much juice - my own fault, I should know to haul along a spare set of AA batteries if I'm anxious for pictures. Anyway, the new sound was nothing like the old sound, as was soon to be obvious when Erik showed up in his cowboy hat and cowboy boots. While I feared the worst...hillybilly hip hop...that wasn't the case. The band's sound was more like a mixture of Neil Young and Randy Newman (their keyboardist, who also played guitar and banjo, sounded exactly like a younger, edgy Randy Newman). Not country, and not even pseudo-close to country like The Eagles, though the song about the skies might have qualified. As far as I'm concerned, a fine change from their folkier St. Croix Girl sound when they were Plissken, and my Dad enjoyed himself. His single criticism was that their last song was really upbeat and one you could dance to and the band should play more songs in that style, because it was obvious the audience wanted to dance and it really perked everyone up.

If there was anything I thought was strange, it was the band's insistence that all their songs revolve around states and cities. There were songs about Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Mexico, Chicago, and a dozen other places - it made you feel as though it were time to immediately get up and go on vacation. Erik's solo was an exception to the city/state/country rule and was a great song. When you could hear his voice, it fit perfectly with the song style, and I only wish he had belted it out a bit so it was obvious he can sing. I'm not sure of the names of most of the songs unless they were specifically named after the cities and states, but the first song in the set and the last song were stand outs, and the pianist's (do they prefer keyboardist?) songs were good just because he was so damn enthusiastic that it was somewhat contagious.

I noticed today that Minnesota Public Radio has a wiki up to categorize local bands and musicians and Aqua City Motel was already listed as a band related to Exempt (from Death), the lead singer for Aqua City Motel's old band (Dan Tanz, third picture below). So if any of you out there are into updating Wikis, you now have at least one review to work from. And don't forget to mention that Dan was once an intern for MST3K and was once quoted as stating in reference to the most recent album by "VH1 darlings and Minnesota rock icons Semisonic":
"Anyone who is ‘feeling strangely fine’ for long enough to make an album shouldn’t be making albums anymore."

Dinkytowner Promotional notice for Aqua City Motel:

Erik visiting John and I pre-performance and feeling a bit sheepish about his hat and boots.

The stage - Erik center, Dan Tanz on the right.

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