“This is Rock n’ Roll in the 21st Century.” That’s how this four-part, foot-stompin,’ high-velocity band describes their brand of modern-day rock n’ roll.
Minnesota-born and bred, 4onthefloor is probably best-known for one thing: their pounding bass drums. Each member has a kick drum–alongside their respective instrument–and every song is written in 4/4 time.
Now, this is not a quartet known for pretty, complicated arrangements. Raw, crude, loud, furious–4OTF’s set was full of bluesy, slide-guitar throttles and guttural howls. I had never seen them live before they released a live album (recorded at the deceased Triple Rock) and celebrated at the Turf Club last week. But, I’ve heard Triple Rock tales of their head-banger shows.
I don’t know why it took me so long to see them live, but now I’m hooked.
Six-piece, Dallas-based band, the Vandoliers warmed up the Turf for that 4OTF rockin’ 4/4. Feel-good, backroad country with a bluesy flair, the band was visibly excited to be up there on stage. Josh Fleming, Vandoliers’ vocalist, often took pause to look out and smile at the energetic crowd. Between bandmates, there were plenty of playful eye-brow raises and laughs. It seemed like they were just goofing around in a jam session, and we got to be a part of it. Truly, a very genuine crew of southern gentlemen. I did not expect such a strong opener.
You would think after a couple hour set on a Wednesday night people would call it quits halfway through, but 4OTF had a packed bar grooving and howling along to drunken call-and-response choruses late into the night. There were a lot of random air guitar solos from your tipsier bar patrons, plenty of raised glasses, and an overwhelming sense of buddy-buddy crowd camaraderie that I haven’t felt at a live show in a long time.
After midnight, with no sign of the Turf Club winding down anytime soon, I chatted with frontman Gabriel Douglas. I walked up to the rim of the stage just after Gabriel had a heart-to-heart with his dad, who had come out to see him that night. Sweaty and a bit winded, Gabriel shook my hand and thanked me for coming. He even remembered my name from the guest list! What a classy dude. This weekend, Gabriel and his fellow bandmates were kind enough to answer a few questions and talk about music, love, and rock n’ roll.
Interview with 4onthefloor (4OTF):
MIM: “For those that are not familiar with you guys, how would you describe your sound and namesake ‘4onthefloor’? And, I always love to ask this question, how did the four of you meet and decide to create music together? In other words, ‘how did the magic happen?'”
4OTF: “It is war of the worlds in audio form during the 21st Century. It is the calm in the eye of the storm and then every single layer of an F5 tornado hitting you. The four of us met in a wide-array of resources. Matty was initially a guitar player with 4OTF and through the folds in history, he lays down our low-end now. Jake was a spitfire drummer in many other bands and when we lit the light tower for somebody to take the sticks, he was one of the initial horsemen to heed the call. Nick shreds. Nobody has ever called in Shredder him before because anytime TMNT comes up, he immediately starts telling tales of Casey Jones. He STILL shreds though, and he does so under the 4onthefloor banner… The magic happens every time we get to count off the first song. It is camaraderie in the highest regard.”
MIM: “Being a bluesy, rock and roll band for nearly 10 years, you’ve been making music and performing for a long time now! What are some of your most memorable performances to date? (I am sure you are partial to performing right here in your hometown though!)”
4OTF: “We have been honored to sell out First Avenue numerous times in our tenure, the main room holds a special place in our hearts. We’ve also shared the stage with Willie Nelson, ZZ Top, and the Evening Rig. All amazing acts in their own regard.”
MIM: “I saw that your live album ‘Live at the Triple Rock’ was just released! If I remember correctly, one of you was rocking a Triple Rock t-shirt Wednesday night haha. I’m sure it was hard to say goodbye to the iconic venue when it officially closed its doors this past November. How has that venue influenced you as a band?”
4OTF: “It gave us our teeth. It is the only club to take our joyous, fun music serious enough to grow with us in our early years. Erik & The D4 guys continue to inspire and show us the path on how to have fun and still bring the most furious delivery to every crowd you find yourself in front of. It also showed us the importance of brunch. And 2nd brunch. And 3rd brunch. And… 4th brunch. These lessons simply aren’t taught enough in Minneapolis or anywhere else in the universe. We’ve seen so many great acts throughout the years there, it is always so much joy to see tour buds come into your town and take a grand slam swing in a club like the Triple Rock Social Club.”
MIM: “At the Turf Club on 4/4 (I see what you did there, haha) you announced that you were recording a live album! Why do you think it is so essential that music lovers hear and experience 4onthefloor live?”
4OTF: “We bring joy. We bring merriment. We bring rock ‘n roll. It can be brooding and grueling, it can be lightning bright and fast, and it lives in all of us.”
MIM: “It was my first time seeing the Vandoliers last week! They were a blast! How has the tour been so far, traveling through Texas and the Midwest? How did you initially cross paths with the Vandoliers and decide to tour together?”
4OTF: “We had heard a mixtape in a truck in Denton, TX. After we spent a long while traversing the suburban expanse of the Dallas / Fort Worth area, we Shazam’d the song, and it was the Vandoliers. Their booking agent then was in communication with our booking agent. You see, when our people talk to your people, things can happen in 4OTF world.”
MIM: “One more question… Gabriel, why did you shave that glorious beard of yours?”
The 4onthefloor shredding it at the Turf Club | Music In Minnesotawith Dan Aamodt"We bring joy. We bring merriment. We bring rock 'n roll. It can be brooding and grueling, it can be lightning bright and fast, and it lives in all of us." -Gabriel Douglas
Posted by Kathleen Ambre on Sunday, April 8, 2018