Mineral became an enigma of the underground scene during the second wave emo in the late 90s through the 2000s. Not to be confused with the emo pop rock of eyeliner-clad Fall Out Boy & My Chemical Romance, Mineral blew us away with fast strumming, punk drumming, and slightly grungy yet melodic vocals over loud/quiet dynamics. The lyrics maintain a stream of consciousness, detailing emotional hopes & pinnings.
The enigma lies in their break up after just a few years of being together, and the subsequent cult-like following that occurred a couple years too late. The band was almost frozen in a time where music was still discovered by rummaging through cds at the local music store or by the hope of finding a download thread on Napster. Now, their music lives on after all these years, preserved by streaming services and loads of dedicated fans.
The Turf club parking lot was packed before the show even began, an unusual occurrence in our fashionably late culture. Cars scrambled to get any last parking spots on the street in hopeful attempts to shorten the blistering cold walk outside with wind chills at -15°F. Neither parking woes or frozen toes stopped fans from parading into the Turf club with their emo required black concert wear. The frigid air also brought on a wave of cold weather jokes throughout the concert.
Much of the show reminded me of a mini-phenomenon wherein emo pop-punk bands from the late 90s and early 2000s recorded their albums in a fairly simplistic way- toned down guitar and drums with an emphasis on the vocals brimming with emotion. However, played live these same tracks were usually a much different experience, as guitar distortion and heavy sounds provided the desired concert experience. Still, this was not a mosh pit/going-crazy type of rocking out, but rather a brimming, understated, always-holding-back type of rocking out.
Tancred delivered this type of grungy, alt-rock experience to fans that night. The effect was much heavier than the melodic chill of their albums. With distortion on the guitars and a steady drumbeat, many of us bobbed our heads along to the music.
The crowd wasn’t entirely receptive to Tancred, despite being an ideal opener for Mineral. These die-hards were focused on one thing and one thing only – hearing Mineral play. However, it seemed like Tancred barely noticed. Laughing at the crowd’s silence after a few jokes, Jess Abbott still sang her heart out, belting lyrics while strumming her guitar. The band played fast and heavy with much-deserved, loud applause after each song, despite failed attempts to engage the crowd further.
One thing Tancred did particularly well was building up to a big pause followed by rocking out. Their alternating between the heavy fuzz of guitar/bass and slow paced songs with quiet, calm vocals kept me engaged and entertained throughout their performance.
The song “Hot Star,” from their 2018 release, Nightstand, was notably catchy yet still within the moody style they maintain.
They finished strong with two more heavy songs. The last song was a punk-esque way of saying goodbye. A great last impression, leaving me hoping I would be able to see them live again in the future.
The crowd filled in and people accidentally bumped into one another, claiming their spot to experience the coveted sound of Mineral. They, thankfully, didn’t have to wait long.
Mineral quietly took the stage and within the first few seconds the crowd yelled out in glee for “Five, Eight, Ten.” One young female fan screamed in pure delight. The crowd couldn’t seem to believe what they were seeing.
As a huge fan of The Promise Ring and The Get Up Kids, I was floored to be watching Mineral perform in a way reminiscent of one of my favorite genres of music. Not to say they didn’t have their own sound. They clearly had a raw sound that blended many aspects of musical styles in the 90s. The guitar solos, fast rhythmic guitar strumming, strong drum beat, and melodic vocal style that dominated my music player for several years were all accounted for.
The guitarist Scott McCarver impressively jammed the entire time, maintaining extreme energy and strumming so hard I wondered if his fingers bled. The drummer Gabriel Wiley held his own and contributed to the music in the most of vital of ways. It was one of the loudest shows I’ve been to in a while.
The crowd oozed gratitude, thanking the band throughout the set. Every face watched Mineral’s every move, bobbing their heads to every beat. Another fan constantly yelled out crude yet appreciative exclamations. Chris Simpson, the lead singer, never missed a beat. His witty responses earned bonus points to this crowd’s already high adoration.
Someone yelled out, asking if Mineral remembered playing 20 years ago in Minneapolis. Simpson calmly states he did indeed. He recounted that it was very, very cold (about “-83,” he was sure) and that they played in a couple basement shows, one in the basement of what was perhaps a dental office.
Mineral’s set was filled with heavy guitar and bass and constant intensity. There were many moments of pure instrumental rocking out, with vocals weaved in the later parts of the songs. They played their two new songs, “Aurora” and “Your Body Is The World,” which fit right in with their songs from their two albums EndSerenading and The Power of Failing. Over an hour flew by, and the fans were just as engaged as in the beginning.
At the end of “&Serenading,” Simpson laid down his guitar while the rest of his bandmates walked off stage. He stared down at his guitar as the distorted sound continued and bumped it with his foot. He walked off stage and left it going as fans quickly leaned over and snapped pictures of the sounding guitar lying next to the set list.
Simpson came back on as quickly as he left and started up the song “Love Letter Typewriter.” McCarver came on next, joining in with his guitar. While the audience sang along, the rest of the band walked back on stage to play two more songs, one of which was the popular “Parking Lot.” The loud cheering closed out the show as fans stood and stared at what they had just witnessed.