MUSIC | Brit rock ferries ‘cross the Mississippi and lands at the 400 Bar


“Maybe he’s Brody McCoy.” My friend pointed to a tall man sporting slicked-back hair and a tan woolen coat, standing near a table at the 400 Bar and chatting idly with a female companion.

“I don’t think so,” I said. That guy just didn’t quite fit my image of the man who runs the boisterous blog Brit Rock at the Top.

Whomever Brody McCoy was, he had reason to be proud. Last night’s show, the first ever presented by Brit Rock at the Top, was a great success. McCoy is a Shoreview native, but as its name suggests his blog celebrates all things British and rockin’; the thread meant to tie the night’s three acts—Joey Ryan and the Inks, Sika, and Victory Ship—was a degree of trans-Atlantic affinity.

Unfortunately I missed Joey Ryan’s set; when I arrived, Sika were onstage. As promised, their music reflected a range of British influences—notably the more theatrical Brit rockers, from Queen to Radiohead. Frontman Alexsey Zharinov fearlessly deployed his falsetto, while keyboardist John Torgerson ran through a range of riffs that, in the band’s final number, momentarily recalled the distinctly un-British “Gangster’s Paradise.” (The association may have been partially prompted by Torgerson’s Coolio-esque dreads; Sika seem to be a band who care about coiffure.)

Concluding their set, Sika cleared their gear—to the audible frustration of at least one fan who clamored loudly for an encore. Closing the bill were Victory Ship, the bulk of whose set comprised pleasant, decorous folk-pop that reminded me more of Big Star or Matthew Sweet than any British band. (The Faces are an influence often cited by the band and other listeners, and the opening track of Victory Ship’s latest album is titled “Rod Stewart.”) Towards the end of the show, however, the band’s sound became more aggressive and vocalists Derek Helland and Pat Mazurek began to veer into Johnny Rotten territory. By the set’s exuberant end, the stage was crowded with supporting vocalists and the audience had pressed near the stage.

It was at about this point that a guy with curly blond hair, wearing a short black jacket and a Union Jack t-shirt, ran excitedly past our table pulling a woman by the hand. He stationed himself near the stage and began taking photos of the band. I walked up and tapped him on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” I said, “but do you know Brody?”

Brody extended his hand and thanked me for coming to the show. “We’ll talk later,” he promised. “Right now”—he pointed to the stage—“enjoy this.”

Jay Gabler ( is the Daily Planet’s arts editor.