The Sounds | Mississippi Nights | 04.25.06

w/Morningwood, Action Action, and Lapush

First, some background. Both the Sounds and Morningwood have been known for their reluctance of showing modesty at their shows. April 25 was no exception-there were examples of striptease, drunkenness, and general debauchery. While at times this proved to make certain members of the audience uncomfortable, it always proved to be an enjoyable, entertaining experience.

After a short set by St. Louis natives Lapush, New York-based four-piece Action Action took the stage, shouting, "How the fuck are ya?!" The audience emitted a huge response, of course, and the band proceeded to begin their set with a screamo song that sounded as if it could be the soundtrack to a summer night's drag race.

Next up was Morningwood, a funky, shameless NYC foursome led by dynamic frontwoman Chantal Claret. Jumping and pouncing on the stage, Claret chatted with the audience: "We've never met each other. It's like the first time having sex with you!" The insanity continued throughout their set, with a grind pit replacing a mosh pit, and perhaps the most memorable event of the evening: a live striptease. For the band's song, "Take Off Your Clothes," Claret asked, "Who is 18, a hot piece of ass, and wants to take their clothes off?" An overwhelming response erupted from the crowd, with a petite female handpicked by Claret herself. After throwing a dog collar around the girl's neck, Claret began to slowly untie this unassuming woman's shirt, ultimately discarding the rest of her clothes (within reason, of course). During the aforementioned events, the rest of the band-male, all three-were in deep concentration. The boys' texturized playing definitely brings out the grittiness and growl of Claret's voice. In all, Morningwood brought perhaps the kinkiest set to Mississippi Nights (at least in this writer's time).

Lastly, the Sounds took the stage. Not only did they have an extensive setup of instruments (including, but not limited to, a synth, keyboard, and numerous cowbells), but there was also a spectacular lightshow for such a small space. Maja Ivarrson, the band's leading lady, appeared with her trademark platinum blonde hair and a black wrap dress, flexing her arms and blowing kisses to the audience. The first song that the rockish quintet burst into was "24 Hours," a tune with hard vocals and heart-wrenching lyrics. They then sped right into "Hit Me," a catchy hit from their first album, Living in America. As the band roared through "Song With a Mission," light yellow and blue lights rotated among the wisps of secondhand smoke, creating a hazy effect onstage. The lights took on a more significant symbolism with, "Living in America," as the colors swirled in red, white, and blue. Ivarrson sang and crowd surfed simultaneously until she was rushed back onstage by the closest Mississippi Nights attendant. She promptly cried out to the audience, "You're the reason why we do this over and over again. I fuckin' love it!"

What a great way to end an amazing night.

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