you're livin' in a f**kin' fantasy, woah

I know I've been piling on the RANA of late, but I need to do so once more.

RANA - 5/31/05 - 7th Street Entry @ First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN
Replacements, Waitin' To Fall In, New Juice, One Good Eye, I'm Comin' Correct, Loves It Automatic, Charm Bracelet, Girl U Want (Devo cover), Buy Sell or Break, Backstabbing World, Silver Not Gold > Ring in the Sand, Butter My Roll, I Waste It, Carbombed Again, Swingin' (Tom Petty cover), Wally, Anton, 84th Precinct, Bloodshed, Backstage Pass, Ghetto Queen, Why Can't I Touch It? (Buzzcocks cover)

Tuesday was a great f**king day. I don't have really good days all that often, but Tuesday was so great that I'm already lamenting the fact that it'll be quite some time before I have another one that measures up. After climbing back on the blogging-horse Monday, on Tuesday I finally got myself a jobby-job. That might not seem like such a big deal, but for a kid who's been spinning his wheels for 3-4 years, it's a step in the right direction.

MP3 Sam Champion - "Too Broke"
So I come home that afternoon, and what do I have waiting for me upon my arrival? Thanks to the kindness & generosity of Noah Chernin, I finally got my hands on an advance copy of (RANA sister-band) Sam Champion's debut album, Slow Rewind. Guess what? It's really friggin' good, and I'm sure I'll have more to say about it in coming months. Despite what I wrote a couple weeks back (scroll down), Slow Rewind will be out this fall on Razor & Tie. This track, which RANA/Sam Champion drummer Ryan "Tugboat" Thornton mentioned as one of his favorites, closes out the album.

After loading Sam Champion up on the iPod, I headed over to the Rosens', where Sam & I repeated Monday's grillout (leftovers & all) & chilled out while watching the playoffs. After Mrs. Rosen came home & got dolled up for the nite, we headed downtown to First Avenue. Upon our arrival, we saw that RANA wouldn't be going on until 11:30pm, but luckily our admission for RANA at the Entry also got us into the adjoining main room, where some serious (not that serious) professional wrestling was going down.

It was beyond odd to see a boxing ring in the middle of First Avenue's main room floor, and some of the folks in attendance were even odder. I had never been to any sort of wrestling event before, so the whole beefcake atmosphere was new to me. As if the presence of well-oiled musclebound men in tights wasn't surreal enough, the unique crowd that came out to see them bodyslam each other on an otherwise pleasant Tuesday nite just made the experience more memorable. Overly persistent autograph hounds in Star Wars t-shirts, rowdy drunken yokels, old folks in wheelchairs, even local rocker Mike Gunther & his posse (who taunted wrestlers from the gallery) all made for an intriguing mix of people. Our favorite wrestler had an Australian theme, and he even brought a boomerang with him.

Just as we had reached our fill of hulking men & were heading back over to the Entry, we ran into Tugboat & guitarist Scott "Boots Mc" Metzger also gawking at the sweaty goings-on. It was good to have the guys, who I hadn't seen since last summer in NYC, finally back in my hometown. They advised us to check out openers & fellow friends-of-Ween & loud-playing New Yorkers Sound of Urchin (not pictured), who performed an entertaining blend of quirky punk & jam-metal with great enthusiasm & (often drug-related) humor. I should have brought earplugs, but my hearing seems to have recovered nicely. Sound of Urchin played past 11pm, which meant the headliners was only going to play one set & it was going to be a late nite for all (especially Sam, with his 8am meeting the next day). But the RANA boys did not disappoint, which made our eventual lack of sleep still worth any grogginess we would surely experience the following morning.

A small but devoted group of fans were in attendance for Sound of Urchin, though they seemed to disperse after their set concluded. I told Rachel that I feared RANA would be playing to just the three of us, but thankfully a number of people came back & stuck around for my favorite Jersey boys. A friend of the band's who was passing through town (sorry, I forgot your name) also showed up, with a bunch of girls taboot, which helped fatten the Tuesday nite audience to an acceptable size. I just hate seeing a great band perform for too few people, but I was alright with the turnout. All you Mpls folk who didn't make it out because you had to "wake up" and "go to work" in order to "pay the rent" missed out on a helluva good time, but hopefully it won't be another two years before they return to the Twin Cities again.

RANA took the stage around 11:45pm & opened their set with three relatively new songs, leading off with one of my faves, "Replacements." The song began as a demo on keyboardist Matt Durant's blog in January, and I posted a live, full band version of it back in March (scroll down). Next up was "Waitin' To Fall In," a powerful rocker that's jokingly been referred to as the song that will get them on MTV. Boots broke a string during "New Juice," so they slowed it down with "One Good Eye" while Scott fixed his guitar.

MP3 RANA - "Butter My Roll" (2/3/05)
The band then played a couple older tunes, including a "Buy Sell or Break" that left me gasping for air (as per usual) and enjoyable romp through "Silver Not Gold" into "Ring in the Sand." Up next was "Butter My Roll," another song that began as a Leafcutter demo by Durant, but was fleshed out into a simple but jittery, Velvet Underground-esque RANA rocker. While this version is pretty straightforward (once again, recorded live at Tribeca Rock Club - I need to get some more recent stuff from Rockslide), the band stretched it out a bit at the Entry, with Durant going off on one of his patented rants introducing "THE RANAROCK" to any & all newcomers.

A few more new songs were played in the back half of the set, including an interesting version of the funky "84th Precinct" (that's in Brooklyn, yo) that even Durant said, "I don't where that came from" (or something to that effect). A blistering "Bloodshed" was played by request, which featured more searing guitarwork from Boots, who was tearing up all nite long. Despite a somewhat raspy voice, Metzger lead the band through a balls out (as always) "Backstage Pass," which I guess I sorta requested on Monday. Scott could have rested his voice, as I would have been happy with a Durant-sung "Baby's Got A New Bike" or "Phillippe Petit," but I'll never turn down a good "Backstage." While that could have closed out the set, Sound of Urchin drummer Tomato demanded they continue playing. To Rachel's delight, Boots broke his falsetto out for "Ghetto Queen" & bassist Andrew Southern laid down the catchy-ass rhythm for the "Why Can't I Touch It?" Buzzcocks cover that closed out the event. Durant thanked the residents of "Skinny Minny" (which must be ironic, because this city is total sprawl), and the show was over around 1:30am. Who needs a second set, anyway?

We chatted with the guys after the show for a bit, with Ryan saying that it was the best they had played all tour (he must say that to all the cities) & Rachel pleading with Andrew to come back to Mpls soon. I was in sort of a haze by the end, because of both a lack of sleep & having been totally worn out by whole nite, but I was happy dammit. I said my goodbyes & headed home, satisfied with myself for a change. Of course, I was in the hurtbox when Wednesday morning creeped in, but that was to be expected.

BTW: If I haven't said it before, I'll say it again. These mp3's won't give you a real idea of what RANA is all about - you have got to see them live, folks.

As Ice Cube once said, that was a good day (may there be more like it).

ETA: Check out Durant's latest article at Loose Record (via itsmatt).
| we had a good time at the beginning »
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| things are easy, here in the usa »
| "dumb is dyin' when you ain't gotta" »
| mother's day grill-out extravaganza »
| get the kids out of the room, mom »
| mixtapes, meloy, music, matthews »

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