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One, Two, Three, Floor!

Minneapolis rockers The 4onthefloor get to stomping.
One, Two, Three, Floor!

What: The 4onthefloor vinyl release show

When: 9 p.m.,Saturday

Where: Triple Rock Social Club, 629 S. Cedar Ave., Minneapolis

The whisky-tinged tracks of Minneapolis rockers The 4onthfloor likely stick with an audience a bit longer than the next local band in a city with high creative turnover.

Their trademark staging, which places each member in front of a bass drum, is not only their namesake; it is a memento. But the group doesnâÄôt have to rely on a spectatorâÄôs initial fascination with the four stomp-heavy feet. They draw their brash and boozy output from a well much deeper than gimmickry.

Founded in 2009, The 4onthefloor have built their songs and shows around a four-four time restriction, hence the embellished stomps that pulse through every song. It is a limitation, however, that the group views as an invitation for other aural focal points.

âÄúItâÄôs a rule that limits you, but you become more creative because of it,âÄù drummer and fourth bass drum kicker Mark Larson said. âÄúItâÄôs a nice limitation.âÄù

Simply put, that deep beat gives a sense of identity to the group less so than it dictates their output. Their diverse February debut, aptly titled âÄú4×4,âÄù rarely lulls in 16 tracks.

The marching percussion of âÄúWorkinâÄô Man ZombieâÄù intensifies the restrained John Lee Hooker-iindebted riff until it cyclically boils over into a hot, raucous mess. As is the case with blues rockâÄôs public-domain attitude toward chord progressions and structure, The 4onthefloor werenâÄôt creating without their influences heavily in mind.

âÄúA lot of the songs that came from that album âÄî and the influences we brought in âÄî were of a pretty wide array,âÄù frontman and first bass drum kicker Gabe Douglas said. âÄúOn âÄòBricklayer,âÄô weâÄôve got some very good slides and delta-style stuff. Then âÄòUndertowâÄô is kind of more of a Sam Roberts, Pete Yorn or Neil Young song.âÄù

In similar heyday tradition, the group sought a walled sound for the record, which was hammered out at MinneapolisâÄô Creation Audio.

âÄúThe thing about creation is that they have a huge A room, so we can track everything live,âÄù Douglas said. âÄúWeâÄôre a live band, so it really helped us capture a lot of the songs.âÄù

TheyâÄôve been clocking some substantial practice time as a live band as well. Their set during Vita.mnâÄôs âÄúAre You Local?âÄù showcase was an evening highlight. They also were one of many Minneapolis bands to make the South by Southwest pilgrimage earlier in the month, which had them naturally honing in on their live show intricacies.

âÄúWith the showcases, theyâÄôre actually shorter sets than we usually play so we have to be a bit more nitpicky about what weâÄôre going to do,âÄù Douglas said.

A band like The 4onthefloor kind of hinges on this attention to detail. That unison thump through every measure of their songs demands fluidity, and it is a good thing. That inherent gelling of the four percussive parts seems to fuel a supplemental comfort in the harmonic complexities or vocal chants on a track like âÄúBricklayer.âÄù

They have strong dictation over their sound; it could explain their desire for a rule in the first place. It also explains their strong desire to offer a vinyl release for âÄú4×4,âÄù which SaturdayâÄôs show at the Triple Rock Social Club will celebrate.

âÄúWhen you listen to something on vinyl, you listen to it more closely,âÄù bassist and third bass kicker Holm said. âÄúItâÄôs less easy to skip ahead.âÄù

Regardless of any apparent limitations or structural safety nets, The 4onthefloor build walls of blues around their singular restriction. That lasting visual image also proves that musical novelty is not always confining.

âÄúEven as weâÄôve been coming up in the Twin Cities, there have been friends of friends who have said, âÄòHave you seen those guys with the four bass drums?âÄôâÄù***** Douglas said. âÄúWhispers on the streets, man.âÄù

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