In my efforts to see live music in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, I end up at a lot of shows alone. Not lonely, necessarily, and usually with good music to keep me company, but one too many nights either shouldered between annoying strangers with nothing to do during set breaks or just hanging by myself at the bar is a recipe for isolation and doubt in the process. Then there are the nights when I end up selling merch for a favorite band, end up helping them take down their set before grabbing pizza, or we get brunch the next day and swap life stories and it's all worth it. But those are the highlights, the national touring groups, the rarities. And when the flash of fame is gone, I end up a bit blinded by the light; my local music scene sometimes doesn't seem like enough of a big deal.
So it really means something to say that at The Dirty Banks EP release show last Thursday at Turf Club, there was a moment when I thought, "this is enough." The Dirty Banks are a group of Minneapolis coworkers and friends (Danaca Booth, Tim DeYoung, Jon Heinz, Holly Rud, and David Smith) who decided to finally make something together, starting in 2013. This first release, their Coda EP, is a well-crafted and fresh take on low-key 90's alternative, with guitar-driven melodies, and a subtle indie rock undercurrent throughout. Danaca and Jon trade off on vocals and guitar, with Holly on bass, and Tim's keys and David on drums rounding out the sound. Listen to any track more than twice, and I guarantee it will be stuck in your head for the week.
The Dirty Banks' talent does not proclaim itself with bright flashing colors or costumes, fancy electronics, or a table of overpriced merch. It's in Danaca's pleasing hazy vocals, the fact that every member of the band sings, the genuine stage presence that Jon projects, and how focused they are on making the music they call their own. What really counts in live music is the genuine attendance and interest of fans, the stranger at your table who becomes a friend over the course of the night, and the moment when the music makes you forget there is anyone else on earth but the band and their sound ("Histories"). And in this case, there was more than enough of all three.
A special thank you to Danaca and The Dirty Banks for inviting me.