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The Lift (Wednesday, November 25th, 2004, Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis)
Matt Docter performs with the Lift on Thanksgiving Day at the Cabooze - Photo by David de Young

By Cyn Collins

At first, all I could see over the sold-out crowd’s heads was a giant video screen filled with surreal time-lapse images of flower growth and decay. I was further drawn in by a clear and joyful vocal, bringing back memories of my favorite live show ever (the Super Furry Animals in March of 2004 at The Fine Line) which also featured large video, golden harmonies and weighty lyrics. When you put it all together the Lift wouldn’t have been out of place if this had been an opening spot at an arena rock show instead of at the Triple Rock.

I was caught in the spell of L.A.-based band’s four charismatic musicians by their singing and tight instrumentation, impressed by wild red-haired Matt Docter’s emotive singing range, his twin Jason’s beautiful keyboards, and the intense playfulness of bassist Todd Beeson, who at one point exuberantly leapt high into the air with a scissor kick. Drummer Chris O'Brien, a relative newcomer to the group, provides the backbone off of which the other members play.

Docter sang, “Tell me once again I’m happy, happy like the never-ending Rain” with a bittersweet twist, tugging at my heart increasingly as his lyrics continued to invoke the elements and forces of nature. The strong Radiohead influence I discerned was later confirmed by Beeson. His face lit up in delight when I mentioned that their live show reminded me of the SFA whose show he had also loved. Invoking nostalgia as they incorporate Beatles-esque “Lucy in the Sky” and Magical Mystery Tour style intros, melodies, and harmonies, as well as echoes of Golden Earring on “War Parade,” The Lift also counts the Flaming Lips and REM as influences.

Beeson, from Minneapolis, who’s toured with Trip Shakespeare’s Matt Wilson, relayed “It’s spine-tingling to be back home. It’s great connecting with the audience, because that’s what it’s about -- the abundance, the beauty, seeking joy. I love making people dance.”

When speaking of their first tour together, Drummer O’Brien told me that there’s been no fighting, always a sense of humor. He also said that he had willed it to the universe to join the band when he saw The Lift’s live show in their huge studio, with all the effects. Within a month there was a need for a drummer and he was in. O’Brien himself is an award-winning composer who has done session work for years and composed for various TV shows including Entertainment Tonight, Insider, and Dr. Phil.

The Lift’s CD, Road to Hana is fantastic throughout and won’t be leaving my CD player for a while. Their website is: