Story of the Sea opened the night, with over 50 people on hand in the audience. The indie-rock quartet played tight, disciplined power pop with teary, emo-indie-rock vocals. The band is Damon Kalar (guitar), John McEwen (bass), Adam Prince (guitar/vocals), and Ian Prince (drums)—with Kalar and McEwen taking turns singing back-up.
With the exception of singer Adam Prince, the band appeared loose—they were comfortable playing together, and they were having fun rocking out. Bassist McEwen grooved in a goofy, sometimes flailing, funk two-step; colorful Kalar clowned in silly, guitar hero struts.
Only singer Prince affected a serious pose throughout the set, fitting his sad and moody lyrics—and matching the look of a huddle of teenagers standing near the back of the patio, sporting Story of the Sea t-shirts and lavishly styled, face-concealing haircuts. Prince’s vocal style is a flat, nasally drone; yet even in this narrow range, he seemed pressed at times to hit or hold notes.
The highlight of the act was drummer Ian Prince, formerly of Kid Dakota. Prince used a very simple drum kit, but he beat the living hell out of it. His face appeared wild—like a mad-dog convict with a smuggled pair of spoons and thirty unsupervised minutes near the prison wall.
After intermission, the crowd swelled to around 80 for Kid Dakota. Since the departure of Ian Prince, Kid Dakota is Darren Jackson on guitar and vocals. Joining Jackson for the show were a drummer, who had a thick cord of beard under his mouth adorned with several inches of beads and baubles, and a bassist, cloned from a stray hair of Buzz Osborne from the Melvins. Kid Dakota’s set flashed with personality and attitude, but the best part was the mean and growling bass lines. Unfortunately, this hardworking bassist must remain nameless for now; the bio on Kid Dakota’s website hasn’t been updated since Ian Prince left.
The man who plans the Patio Nights line-up, MMAA Events Coordinator Phil Borreson, told me he’s working to reeducate a public conditioned to think St. Paul is devoid of good music venues. He’s working to lure people over, he said—and the top-shelf bands who have been playing in this series make a compelling case to visit.
|Patio Nights in the Daily Planet:|
• Melissa Slachetka on Awesome Snakes and Dance Band
• Jason Ericson on Spaghetti Western String Co.