Music & Movies In Loring Park :: Photo credit: Walker Art Center
Seeing a rock band perform live outside of its natural element always provides an interesting litmus test of skill. Pretty much any group with decent command of their instruments can get a soused bar crowd fired up on a weekend night; it takes considerably more finesse to get bodies moving on a lazy summer evening when most concert attendees are content to loll about in the grass or stare absentmindedly at the sky. Those were the long odds faced by longtime local heroes The Plastic Constellations yesterday evening in Loring Park while playing as part of the Walker Art Center’s Music and Movies in the Park series, and the group proved up to the challenge.
Plowing through a blistering 50 minute set starting shortly after 7 p.m., the Plastics were a little rough around the edges after spending a few months away from live performance while working on their forthcoming fourth album, due in early 2008 on French Kiss records. What the overlapping vocals of guitarists Jeff Allen (the red headed shout/singer) and Aaron Mader (the brown haired talk/singer) may have lacked in precision, however, was more than made up for in passion. Refusing to let the heat quell their usual pogo heavy stage antics, Mader and Allen both bounced around the stage like men possessed and sang with throat-singeing fury. Their barbed wire electric guitars bouncedshards of notes off one another in a symbiotic union that made distinctions between rhythm and lead completely pointless. Allen and Mader gleefully alternated who was tackling the high-speed, high-note riffage that sounded their rock ‘n’ roll battle call and frequently doubled each other’s parts. As always the unsung hero of the night was bassist Jordan Roske, whose slowly rolling and menacing notes provided the perfect ballast for the high wire antics of his band mates.
Peppering their set with five new jams, it appears that the next chapter in The Plastic Constellations musical story will be much like what’s preceded it. The newer material occasionally found TPC opting for calmer verse structures and Allen attempting a more conventional—and surprisingly effective—pop croon, but the calm seas never lasted for long. Judging by the two dozen or so young indie-rockers TPC managed to coax up from their blankets to the front of the stage and the legions of blanket dwellers who head bopped fervently Twin Citizens have plenty more quality tunes to look forward to.