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SLCR #232: Yukon Blonde (February 16, 2016)

I’ve mentioned before that this has been the winter of going to concerts without Mika. It doesn’t usually seem to make her too upset – which I understand, I can be a chore to be around – but she mentioned on a few occasions that she was disappointed to be missing out on Yukon Blonde. As she was busy being a responsible adult and writing a midterm on the night of the show, I did the only considerate thing I could and went and had fun without her while she was in school. That way she could focus on her education without having to fret about my mental well-being. She’s lucky I’m so thoughtful.

Since I left things to the last minute, I almost didn’t get to go. Tickets were sold out online, so I had to go to a store and buy a paper ticket like some sort of luddite. There were only two places one could go to buy tickets, and the first place I tried not only didn’t have any tickets, but the lady working there was a fan but didn’t know that the band was coming to town. Hope was running low. At the other place, the guy told me that they were out of tickets too, but he checked anyway, and surprise! They got more in stock! I was quite delighted considering that all this fuss was to see a band I knew pretty much nothing about. By myself.

To make this story even more pointless, they released more tickets online about an hour after I got mine.

I showed up about a half-hour after the doors opened. The guy stamped my hand with the words CUTIE PIE and told me it was so I’d be allowed back in if I went outside, but he wasn’t fooling me. I’ll wear your judgment with pride, volunteer bouncer. I’ll even make it my Facebook profile picture.

It was an all-ages show, so I got a booze wristband just to see if I’d get carded. Following the depressingly predictable result, I bought a Diet Pepsi. I found a cushy chair in the back corner, tore off my wristband, and sat down with my soda for an hour of iPhone gaming while I waited for things to begin. This was an excellent hour and that might say something about my standards or how I spend my time, maybe.

Our openers were ON AN ON from Minneapolis. Having never heard of them and their stupid capitalization before, I did research by asking CRZ – or “Minneapolis Chris” as I have to say to Mika so she can keep my internet people sorted out – if he’d ever heard of them. He said no, so I was stumped. Mostly. They did get mentioned in a local paper’s preview of the show as being “experimental,” and now that I’ve seen them, I do not understand this. What was the experimental part? They had keyboards? One dude sang in falsetto for a bit? There was a girl I could barely hear? Back in my day, “experimental” meant atonal Soviet-made synthesizers played over amplified earthworm heartbeats. This was a rock band. Kinda dreamy in parts, kinda chuggy in other parts, if that makes sense. Anyhow, they were fine.

So I said I “know pretty much nothing” about Yukon Blonde but that is a bit of an exaggeration. Mika told me that I I’d like them, and I listened to some of their stuff on Apple Music and, yeah, they were good. So I’d heard several of what Apple Music decided were their top singles. I am also reasonably certain that none of them are from the Yukon and none of them were blonde. I mean, it was a bit hard to tell with the stage lighting and all, but I’m about half confident. They were quite the set of haircuts, though.

The short version – because I’ve been putting this off for over a week and I can only seem to write these after midnight on a work night – is I dug these guys but the crowd was a little dead for them. Apart from a handful of folks right down at the front, it seemed like most everyone was just standing around politely. More so than normal, I mean. I wonder if it had something to do with the song selection – they opened and closed their main set with the aforementioned “top singles,” but I didn’t recognize much else. Not that I would, but there was one guy who yelled for them to “play the hits.” They attributed the yelling to someone named Carl (which made me feel right at home), before promising to spend the rest of the night covering Library Voices, which got a good reaction from everyone, including the folks from Library Voices who were in attendance. They did not do this, but they did close out the encore with Let’s Dance in tribute to David Bowie, where they were joined by the singer from ON AN ON.

Carl was called out to at another point after one of Yukon Blonde said that the spotlights pointing to the stage were like beams from an alien spaceship. It turns out Carl (who I don’t think was actually the yeller from earlier) had strong, detailed opinions about a recent UFO documentary. I couldn’t tell if he was serious, nor could I tell if Carl was someone I’d enjoy being around. Maybe? I did once loiter in an EB Games for 20 minutes while some kid unloaded all his alien conspiracy theories on a clerk who was either secretly really into aliens or just blessed with superhuman patience. So I think what I’m saying is, I make some bad life choices sometimes.

But going to this show was a good life choice, and that segue was slick as goose shit. I guess. I mean, I’ve never done viscosity tests, I am uneducated in the sciences, I’ve just taken farmers at their word. But I digress. Good show. Worth ticket hassle. Would go again.

• Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls w/Mo Kenney & Northcote (March 5)
• Amelia Curran (March 8)
• The Watchmen (March 25)
• Metric & Death Cab For Cutie w/Leisure Cruise (March 28)
• Spirit of the West (March 31)
• Sloan (April 9)
• Jason Collett & Zeus w/Kalle Mattson (April 19)
• I Mother Earth (April 23)
• Ben Folds & yMusic w/Dotan (May 11)
• Hawksley Workman & The Art of Time Ensemble (May 13)
• City and Colour w/Shakey Graves (June 12)
• Regina Folk Festival (August 5-7)
• “Weird Al” Yankovic (August 14)

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