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Glenrustles, Kingdom of Ghosts, Lunar Crest (Friday, February 4th, 2005, Turf Club, St. Paul)

The Glenrustles reunited at the Turf Club Friday night - Photo by David de Young
By Cyn Collins

The Mattson's from Evelyth, Minnesota, are a talented family. They threw a musical 35th birthday bash for Glen at the Turf Club on Friday, February 4th that was really rockin'! Unfortunately I missed the first band Lunar Crest, (fronted by Rich and Glen's nephew.) But, he's young; and if he's anything like his uncles, he's got a strong musical future to look forward to. I hope to see Lunar Crest in the future.

The Turf Club was filled with the Mattson’s friends and family, and it was a festive environment. There were even “The Mattson’s” t-shirts sported by some in the crowd.

Birthday boy Glen entertained us with his wild, hard rock band, Kingdom of Ghosts. A serious guitarist with a really good voice that at times reminded me of Michael Stipe of REM, Glen (guitar/vocals) and his two mates put on a fast, heavy metal/punk driven, high-octane show, culling songs from his 2004 CD, Shakedown. Kingdom of Ghosts also features Kurt Allis on drums and vocals, and Keith St. Louis on bass. Glen ventured into experimental territory brazenly and frequently.

Then, the Glenrustles' Reunion! I was excited to see this show, because it had been several years since I'd seen this band who were a Twin Cities mainstay from 1988 to 1999, and still perform once or twice a year. The Glenrustles featured Rich Mattson on guitar and vocals, Graham Gregorich, guitar/vocals, Greg McAloon, bass, and Glen Mattson on drums.

The Glenrustles music rocks harder and faster than Ol' Yeller, Rich Mattson’s band since 2000 (which also features McAloon.) That's saying a lot, since Ol' Yeller really blew me away at the Rock for Democracy show in July and I've seen every show I can since. Ol' Yeller became an instant favorite band of mine, and reinvigorated my hope in rock music, encouraging me to get out and see a lot more shows! The Glenrustles put on a high energy, powerful show. I loved being able to note the differences between the Glenrustles and Ol' Yeller even though Rich writes all the songs for both. It’s as if you could hear Ol' Yeller in the making via some of the songs. Mattson’s heart is really in his music, and he sings of things we can all relate to. His wry humor and portrayal of experiences are refreshing.

HowWasTheShow editor David de Young, who was in at the Turf taking photos, noted to me that "the Glenrustles look and sound tougher than Ol' Yeller", and I agree. They really tore it up. The Glenrustles really get into your bloodstream and give you that needed fix of playful yet poignant songs with hooks, poetic lyrics and great guitar riffs.

Live, Mattson’s shows are made more exciting and fervent by his signature poses and leg splits and jumps as well as his alternating yelling with his rich baritone voice. Some of my favorite songs of the 27+ songs! they performed included: Little Stingers, Pris'ner Again, Whole Lotta Nothing, Pretty Pretty, Tumbellina, Voodoo Pin, Smoke My Lungs Out, Rain on the Trailer. . . well, actually I shouldn't say these are the favorites because I loved everything they did. They ranged from Alt-Country/Americana Neil Young and '80's southern rock to the Brit rock bands like the Byrds and the Beatles inspired (a few of Mattson's absolute favorite references.) Of Mattson’s lyrics, one person at a recent Uptown performance said, "He makes our pain poignant and somehow pleasant". The Glenrustles were a great pleasure all the way through their closing with a Beatle's cover, "I Want You". Many of the songs they did can be found on their CD's In Stone, Fire at Night, and Honey Grease and Neptune, which may be difficult to find these days, but for more info. go to:

Cyn Collins is

Related links:

Tom Hallet interview with Glen Mattson: