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Vicious Vicious CD Release Party (Friday, June 17th, 2005)
Erik Appelwick of Vicious Vicious at the VV CD Release Party at the Entry Friday night - Photo by David de Young (Click for full version)

By David de Young

Vicious Vicious took the stage at the 7th Street Entry Friday night to celebrate the release of their brand new CD, Don’t Look So Surprised. (Redemption Recording, Co., 2005) The band then proceeded to play one of the best shows I’ve seen them play to date – studied yet relaxed, sweet, soulful, and chock full of something I can only describe as an all around good vibe. I think it’s safe to say that everyone on hand Friday to root for what is likely one of the best bands playing Minneapolis right now not only enjoyed the music but also had a great time.

Opening with “Oh, I Would Do Anything For My Girl,” from their 2003 album Blood & Clover, on this night the core band of Erik Appelwick on guitar and vocals, Heath Henjum on bass, Martin Dosh on piano, and Adrien Suarez also featured Josh Grier of Tapes N Tapes on tambourine and occasional flute as well as Marisa Collins on backup vocals. By their second song, the taut and soulful “Blue Tuesday” it was already clear that this show was headed in a great direction.

You know that thing that’s impossible to put your finger on that separates really good bands from great ones? Vicious Vicious has got it. And they held their own easily on a day when I’d already seen a phenomenal local show -- the Walt Mink re-union at the Triple Rock.

“We’re going to play a few songs off the new record now,” Appelwick said. “I hope you like ‘em,” he added before heading into “It’s a Serious Thing,” the bouncy opener from the new disc. Vicious Vicious proceeded to play straight through their entire new 7-song album.

Though the dance didn’t quite break out as it had at the HWTS party where Vicious Vicious had played just two weeks before, I think it might have been because people were so mesmerized by the new material. Though the band has been playing many of these new songs for several months, I’m not sure they’d ever played them all in the course of a single show before, and surely not back to back as they did Friday. It demonstrates the strength of the new album that this could be done with such success. 7 songs. All good. Zero percent fat.

Listening attentively, I noticed how beautifully all the parts of these new songs fit together. It is a testament not only to Appelwick’s first-rate songwriting and the talent of the musicians he has assembled, but the faith he has in his band to bring the unique creations of their own personalities to the metaphoric group table. For example, Martin Dosh would twiddle the volume knob on his piano while playing riffs that were at times playfully weird, yet still perfectly fit the songs. It’s exactly these sorts of nuances that make already good live performances even more memorable.

“How are you guys doing tonight?” Appelwick asked. “Seriously,” he deadpanned moments later. “Ya feel good? Ya look good.” This cliché’d in between song banter, instead of sounding lame as it likely would have if delivered by any number of bar band frontmen, instead came off as the impeccably well-timed remark of a seasoned performer who knew how well his show was going. He also dryly mentioned that if we the audience liked any of these songs, that “they'res purchasable in Compact Disc format” over at the merch table.

Vicious Vicious finished their set, and left the stage. Appelwick came back a couple minutes later and said, “Do you guys care if we do more songs?”

Their 3 encores were the bouncy Donovan-like “Gate 14” a from the first album, “Sinister Summer” and “Shake That Ass On The Dancefloor.”