Several past and present Minneapolis bands are famous, if not notorious, for their crude and confrontational stage presence.
Shannon Selberg of the Minneapolis ’90s noise-rock group The Cows, for example, once played a show with an inflatable sex doll tied to his body – not as a political statement or act of foolishness, but merely because he wanted to play the show surrounded by a synthetic bosom. Can you blame him?
Other bands have picked up on the theatrical show experience, namely the controversial Minneapolis gay-rock group Faggot, while others have taken this energy and converted it to something all their own.
STNNNG is one such band. They create a layered and heavy mishmash of energy in their live show without the use of props, their sweaty, lanky bodies writhing on stage in puddles of cheap beer.
Grasping the microphone with leather-glove-clad fists, lead singer Chris Besinger doesn’t sing, he draws forth lyrical demons that swirl throughout the audience, or headphones if that’s the case, casting the spell of his off-kilter voice on those who listen.
ALBUM: Fake Fake
LABEL: Modern Radio
Behind Besinger is a sweaty, muscular militia, vicious and mad, whose rhythm section crafts a temple-pounding sound you feel more than hear. It’s all woven together with two blazing guitars that create an aggressive and chaotic oomph.
STNNNG recreates this live energy on their newest album “Fake Fake.” It sounds sweaty and feels smoky, releasing every ounce of built-up aggression poured into it.
“Fake Fake” opens with the track “Grand Island, Neb.,” a song that starts out driven by slow and steady bass drum and high-pitched repetitive guitar notes. Besinger barks out spoken lyrics that every-so-often are crowded out by the layered noise, forming a sound that’s as forceful as his demand to, “Row! Keep rowing!”
The next track, “Dubbed Warehousing” plays with the same slow and steady beat, this time created from the high-pitched guitars rather than the bass drum and instantly accelerates to the fast tempo maintained throughout the rest of the album.
The 4th Annual Lunch Show with Signal to Trust and STNNNG
WHEN: Noon Saturday
WHERE: 7th Street Entry, 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis
TICKETS: $6, all ages, (612) 338-8388
The last 30 seconds of “Dubbed Warehousing” is a recording of Besinger laughing – or crying. We can’t tell which, since laugher or tears influenced by this music would undoubtedly sound the same, but either way it must be the band’s reaction to music so energetic they just can’t take it anymore.
Even though most critics claim that Besinger’s words are like bullets hitting your ears, it seems that throughout “Fake Fake,” his spitting remarks are the most rational element in the cloud of noise.
In songs like “Tactics” and “The Id is a Dude,” the guitar shreds in rapid eighth-notes, soon joined by haunting and spastic drumbeats. But in front of it all are growled vocals, confident and angry, that somehow make sense of the chaos behind them.
CD Release Show for Signal to Trust (“Golden Armor”) and STNNNG (“Fake Fake”) with Vampire Hands
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: 7th Street Entry
TICKETS: $6, 21-plus
There are times on “Fake Fake” when Besinger’s voice is just as spastic as the guitars he’s singing over. “Dead Sex” is one of these instances, when the vocals stutter and almost fall into a scat. The fit of madness finally ends when Besinger barks, “Kafka had the same problem. He just needed to get laid.”
With “Fake Fake,” STNNNG again proves that their forte is in-your-face aggressive post-punk that sounds like it’s in the middle of a temper tantrum.