RUN IT AGAIN AND AGAIN
TWIN PEAKS AT HIGH NOON - SALOON IN MADISON, WI
With the city of Chicago behind them, the boys of Twin Peaks are hurling themselves all over the world and continuing to win hearts and critical acclaim along the way. Following the much anticipated release of their third album, Down in Heaven, just this past May, the band has gained a great amount of new exposure while opening for Cage the Elephant and Portugal. the Man on their biggest tour yet, playing pavilions and arenas all over the US. They’ve also made a debut appearance on Conan O’Brien, and most recently, crafted their own beer (titled Natural Villain) alongside Chi-based Goose-Island Brewing to then be sold at Chi-based Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago, Chicago, Chicago!). Their fine lager had of course sold out completely by the end of the three days…
I am here tonight just one day after Pitchfork’s end at a small club in Madison, Wisconsin to watch the boys tear it up for a special show live on Pitchfork Radio’s “Migration Week” broadcast. Now, before I get to the show, I must say that I’ve been to many Twin Peaks concerts under many different circumstances, on an array of different stages, in warehouses, at festivals, at DIY Halloween parties, and sponsored events like this one. Nonetheless, to see them in a small club like the High Noon Saloon is the way any talented band is meant to be seen, which is why I go in as excited for my eighth TP show as excited as I was for my first.
Now, to the show, the band kicked off with “Stand in the Sand”, a fast paced, fast sung banger about marijuana and hot-dog stands from their first album, Sunken. This was sung by one of their many lead vocalists, Cadien Lake James. Yep! Multiple lead singers and writers in the band, including Cadien as well as guitarist Clay Frankel, bassist Jack Dolan, keyboardist/ guitarist Colin Croom on the occasional backup, and let’s not forget to mention their drummer, Connor Brodner! Oh, and all of them play instruments (if not multiple) during a standard Twin Peaks set. Sorry, but what more could you ask for? Throughout the course of the song and for the entirety of the night, Cadien also executed one of his well-known stage antics, an all out body spasm where he flails his legs and face back and forth, mouth wide open and hair everywhere, a real precursor to the rest of the show.
So, what I’m about to say may seem like a huge exaggeration, but watching Clay Frankel lead vocals in the band’s new song, “Butterfly” is something I couldn’t help but compare while watching to someone experiencing explosive diarrhea with twisted facial expressions, gleaming sweat, and lots of screeching, and I DO mean that in the best way possible! Point being, there are not many bands out there right now that can match the dynamic energy that Twin Peaks garner with each of their members.
Everything finally dipped down a bit for another new tune played eighth called “Getting Better” and then on into a sentimental “Irene”- but the band does NOT ever cool down for long. The band’s utilizing every corner of the stage, they’re into it, and the crowd’s into it. Things took a turn for the better during what many would consider Twin Peak’s most recognizable song off Wild Onion, you guessed it, it’s “Making Breakfast”. The crowd was bobbing back and forth, beers in hand, when a small opening began to take shape behind me. It wasn’t long until I felt the shove of bodies on my back as I turned from my spot to see a group of (at first) burly guys slamming into each other as I and a good chunk of the crowd quickly joined in. This carried through for the rest of the set, but what made me happiest, as corny as it is, was to see more than one member of the band glance to smile at the other or smile to themselves during “Wanted You” led by Clay Frankel, with some shockingly high backup vocals coming from Colin Croom . I watched during the song as all of them looked up, beaming and appearing genuinely joyful to have lugged themselves up three hours away from home with all their gear to play a free show. And that’s what it’s about!
The show ended fittingly coming in at seventeen songs with one led by Jack Dolan, another fast paced song with rambling guitar bridges called “Strawberry Smoothie”, baby! The small crowd moshing and dancing, Jack fearlessly jumped down from the stage and got knocked off his shit the second time he entered the pit with his guitar, a cluster fans tipping over and lovingly piling on top of him. Readers, music lovers, concert goers, please, if you haven’t gotten to hear these songs and experience them up close, you’re truly missing out on something so genuine that all the mp3s and streams and recordings you can imagine would not suffice. Although they are surely on the rise, you can be sure that the boys of Twin Peaks never stray far from the DIY scene, and will be back to play a show near you before you can say “run it agaaain!”.
by ALEX MANLEY