Kiss the Tiger’s Bitchin’ Performance at 331 Club

KissTheTiger 20180325 web 01
KissTheTiger 20180325 web 01

Saturday evening I was off to a slow start. I happened to be up early that morning for the march–low on sleep from Friday’s unforeseen shenanigans–and admittedly a little groggy as I made my way to Northeast’s 331 Club. But damn, little did I know that I was in for a night of hip-hop, uplifting folk, and unruly rock n’ roll reveille.

I followed up my black, gas station coffee with an IPA and scoped out a spot to settle in. I had been to this neighborhood dive bar several times before–trivia, bingo, even an adult spelling bee. However, Saturday was my first time coming to 331 specifically for live music. As expected, it drew a casual, no-frills crowd and, because there is never a cover, the place was packed.

Although the first opening act was supposed to go on at 9:30, everyone was off to a delayed start. Stage left, nestled in a booth, I was more than content with the delay (more time for the caffeine to kick in).

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

First up was local, R&B artist Thomas Gorrilla. Producer, artist and songwriter, this twenty-three-year-old has been creating his own original content since he was a teenager. P.E. teacher and 8th-grade boy’s basketball coach by day, T.G. spends his free time creating new music and performing at venues such as 508, Mill City, the U of M, and University of St. Thomas.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

It was very evident that friends, family and students came out early to see Gorrilla kick things off, but plenty of folks just stopping in for a beer found themselves bobbing their heads to this solo artist. A few sound glitches at the beginning of the set may have thrown things off a bit, but I found his stage presence to be very genuine.

Some feel-good, standout tracks I would recommend: “Only Way Is Up” and the popsy single “No Drama.”

Next up, everyone shifted gears for country-western, six-piece band Fletcher Magellan. Cowboy hats, bolo ties, pearl-button westerns–this crew was dressed to the nines. You may have caught wind of “Fletch” from their performances this past year at Midwest Music Fest in Winona or Big Turn Music Fest in Red Wing.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

Fletcher Magellan’s music is seasonal. Their music making and performances run from fall to spring with an annual hiatus during the summer. Sadly, this was their last show before members Cody Fitzpatrick and Emmalyn Kayser head back to Alaska.

Longtime friend and bandmate Danny Shaheen jokes about how it would be nearly impossible for him to finish up grad school to become a mental health counselor if it wasn’t for the band’s seasonal rhythm, but admits that it is difficult to part ways after months of “picking up steam.”

“Right now, we’re in that special place, too, where everyone is completely warmed up to each other again. We’ve re-gained the familiarity with one another that brings out the most satisfying performances. Even following a long hiatus when we come back it sounds good, but certainly not to the degree that it does now once everyone has settled in.”

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

Given that their music comes from a place that is inspired by nature–shying away from the “white collar” American dream–it makes sense that their lead songwriter Cody Fitzpatrick has this time to retreat into the wilderness.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

I have a bit of a soft spot for folk artists. I’m the kind of chick that can listen to just about any genre of music and find a way to connect on an emotional level. But folksy, back-road country (not to be mistaken for pop country) has a way of either lifting me up with Mumford-esque stomps and claps, or bringing me to tears with tales of heartbreak.

Fletcher Magellan’s song “Bicentennial Celebration,” wavers on the woeful ley lines of folk that resonate so closely with me. Now, I was not well acquainted with the band before seeing them live, but given that it was a farewell show, I got strangely emotional when this song came on.

Following a very warm performance of yodels, whistles and a tip of the hat, “Fletch” left the stage and 331’s main act, Kiss the Tiger, got into position.

At this point, the bar was at full capacity and it was impossible to move without brushing shoulders with your neighbor. Getting a beer at the bar was quite the feat. I chuckled from my spot perched on the head of the booth and watched my friends venture back with all the drinks they could carry. They were kind enough to share (“camera girl” privileges I suppose).

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

Rockin’ red leopard-print pants and a glitzy, silver blazer, lead vocalist Meghan Kreidler jumped on stage. The hair, the eyeliner–a style reminiscent to Heart’s badass babes Nancy and Ann Wilson–Kreidler’s raw stage presence seemed perfectly suited for the vibe of a dive bar.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

A visceral assault on the senses, Kiss the Tiger quickly launched into guitar-shredding attacks–powered by guitarists Andrew Berg and Michael Anderson–joined by Jay DeHut on drums and Paul DeLong on bass (also the bassist for “Fletch.”)

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

Berg’s guitar solo in “Preacher,” alongside Kreidler’s screams and growls, ushered in a scuzzy, gritty sound comparable to the unapologetic Joan Jett.

It was loud. It was fierce. And I was lovin’ it.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

Inspired by one of Minneapolis’ most resilient neighborhoods that is putting up a fight to the waves of gentrification in the area, the band just released EP “Elliot Park” this past November. One track off their EP that has gotten a lot of radio time is the slower-paced rock ballad “Starting to See You.”

About a month ago, the band dropped a music video for the song. Filmed at The Terminal Bar, the video featured a cast of female theatre performers from all over the Twin Cities lip-syncing along to Kreidler’s vocals.

Seeing Kreidler belt out “Starting to See You” in person, at a packed bar, was everything I imagined it would be.

Written by Kathleen Ambre

Photographer | Designer | Writer | Chronic Creator


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