Article and Photos by Elizabeth Mann
As I arrive home safely from the Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis, I am not sure whether I have returned from a mellow Sunday in Minneapolis, or a cool funk-rock concert which transported me, along with some hundred other patrons, in and out of several decades of music awesomeness.
First to jump on stage was a Duo known as CAPYAC, for a performance I can only describe as an experimental, techno-alien abduction. A smooth blend of stage banter and smiling at the crowd created a shock of dancing through the audience. Playing with a spread of instruments and synthesizing vocal sounds worked towards an atmosphere of unexpected madness. From a corner of the second story balcony I watched as small groups of friends & lovers slipped into the fantasy of this ultramodern pair. Keeping the set short & sweet allowed just enough time to enjoy their music while leaving newbies curious to explore their profile after the show.
Those who chose to dig deeper might find the history of these French musicians a bit bizarre. In the rare occasion of an interview, they refer to themselves as ‘Pablo Dingo’ and ‘Queen Zaza’- pals since high school. Although they openly profess their modalities of metaphysically journeying through space, they leave much to the imagination when it comes to their literal presence in this universe. The visual representation of their sound is equally stimulating to the mind and soul.
If you want to see what I’m talking about, checkout their Youtube:
A lengthy intermission followed the first set.
As I stumbled to the front of the crowd I noticed a younger feel to those who had gathered to listen to the headliner, Magic City Hippies. Likely to be heard across the several college campuses of the Twin Cities, Magic City Hippies (MCH) describes their music as “a mosaic of poolside grooves and lingering, sun-kissed melodies”. I may argue that description is a bit dated, as their performance teetered closer to the edge of an electrifying rock festival than a chill day waterside.
Nonetheless, no one seemed disappointed. From the moment they sprang up to the stage, through the end of their extended set, they kept the energy alive. As is to be expected from a band nearly ten years in the making, they knew how to hold a presence. It gave freshness, it gave funk and it gave freedom from the confines of a subliminal night in the cities. Fine Line proved to be a well accommodating venue as the intimacy of the first floor withheld vibrancy from the lofty observers above.
As a completely independent artist their music did not seem to fit into any realm of pop culture. At the same time it could be enjoyed by just about any audience. As the core of the band: Pat Howard, John Franco and Robby Hunter get older, they keep the beats young by playing classic hits like ‘Fanfare’ and ‘Limestone’ while mixing in singles from their latest album ‘Water Your Garden’. Stories behind the Hippie Castle/Modern Animals are endless, and can be heard via Podcast interviews and YouTube shorts.
As the concert drew to a close, many lingered to support the two groups by lining up for merch. It may have been a chilly night in Minnesota, but it is no doubt these performances warmed the hearts of most who were brave enough to bear the cold. If you were not lucky enough to catch them last night, check out their upcoming Westbound shows- the tour is just taking off!