Concert review: 2:54 (opening for The XX) at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN – October 19, 2012
Published by Noah Slocum, October 20, 2012
The dark, grungy, and intimately somber brand of shoe gaze played by London’s 2:54 is nothing new in the world of today’s indie rock. At a passing glance, the band could easily be cast in to the ranks of the many other similar but less talented bands that have sprung up in the past few years playing the same 90’s alt rock revival; however, what 2:54 proved at their first Minneapolis appearance was that they very much belong in a league all of their own. The band’s fiery Friday night set was more than anything else an indication of a group with the potential to rise above the monotony of their peers.
Essential to the band’s dynamic was the voice of singer Collette Thurlow,whose impressive vocals majestically commanded each song from start to finish. Shy and subdued one moment, and a powerful growl the next, Thurlow’s Karen-O-meets-Ann-Wilson contralto proved to be the band’s secret weapon for the night. The careful guitar work of her sister Hannah beautifully layered the set with much needed texture, while the band’s all-so-familiar, bass-heavy, shoe gaze groove stalked on effortlessly.
Like any young group, 2:54’s songwriting can at times leave something to be desired; yet, what makes this band unique among their contemporaries is the deeply personal way in which they perform their songs. In a live setting especially,it’s readily apparent that the Thurlow sisters are holding nothing back. Throughout the band’s entire set, the two women attacked their respective instruments with unadulterated emotional might, compelling the listener with their complete impartiality and prowess. Highlight “Sugar”, with its anxious guitar-bass chug and menacingly raw vocals, was just one song of many proving that this is a band playing from somewhere intimate, somewhere meaningful, and that this is a band worth paying attention to.
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