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Peter Wolf Crier and Retribution Gospel Choir at The Echo Last Night: Live Review

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Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 7:29 AM

click to enlarge Brian Moen's Bass Drum, Lying To You About His Name - HEATHER SHAUGHNESSY
  • Heather Shaughnessy
  • Brian Moen's Bass Drum, Lying To You About His Name

What: Peter Wolf Crier With Retribution Gospel Choir

When: 01/21/2011

Where: The Echo

We want to start by assuring you that Peter Wolf Crier are excellent. They turned in a fantastic 50ish minute performance and proved that doing 'nothing' is often more interesting that the most elaborate choreography. We want you to keep that fact in mind for the first few paragraphs, because it's going to pay off later. We promise. But before we get there, we have to talk about Retribution Gospel Choir, the band Peter Wolf Crier is currently touring with, and who shared the stage with them last night at the Echo.

Retribution Gospel Choir is fucking awful.

They're latest boring musical project of Alan Sparkawk, tedious lead singer of incredibly dull band Low, and they just might possibly have already turned in 2011's most redundant live show. From the tired, mid 90s musical droning, to the smart suits that don't quite make up for the lack anything resembling energy, to the fact that they're called Retribution Gospel Choir, there was nothing on display that wasn't a cliche.

click to enlarge HEATHER SHAUGHNESSY
  • Heather Shaughnessy

Their set consisted of song after song - and we use the word 'song' loosely here, as they didn't seem to have anything particularly melodic - of trite lyrics (obfuscated by lazily vague imagery), set to seemingly endless iterations of boring stoner rock-meets boring Pearl Jam that differed from one another only in tempo. It was like walking into a dark room and finding your drunken uncle belting out acoustic covers of songs from Now That's What I Call Music #17. (Judge for yourself here.)

Yes, yes, we admit they have fans, who showed up in something resembling full force, and we're not hating on them. Far be it from us to suggest that enjoyment of such unremarkable music is a waste of someone's time. So if any of them reading this now cares to chime in and explain why you like them, we're all ears. Pending that explanation, we'll stick to our story. Their set sucked, forcing us as far from the stage as we could get, where we had the happy opportunity to spend a good deal of it commiserating with similarly traumatized attendees, there to see Peter Wolf Crier, wondering what the hell with the first band.

click to enlarge HEATHER SHAUGHNESSY
  • Heather Shaughnessy

QOTD: "You ever notice how good bands don't do that weird side twitch thing?" said by this guy about Retribution Gospel Choir. And he's right. Alan Sparkawk seems to have perfected that tic.

click to enlarge HEATHER SHAUGHNESSY
  • Heather Shaughnessy


Look, we're sure Alan is a perfectly nice person, so we almost feel a bit guilty hating his band with the fiery heat of 5,000 suns. Plus, more importantly, it was their name recognition that got the tour booked, and the fact that they're from Minnesota means that fellow Minnesotans Peter Wolf Crier were the beneficiaries of their decision to share the stage with some home town homies. So please accept our begrudging thanks, OK guys?

The semi-tragic thing about Peter Wolf Crier's performance last night is that despite the fact that they are objectively more interesting than their predecessors in every measurable way, the crowd nearly halved when Retribution Gospel Choir's inexplicably applauded set ended; here's how it looked by showtime:

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