I came for Retribution Gospel Choir, impatiently waited an hour for the tardy five-piece Tolchock Trio to open, and left after the second act, Peter Wolf Crier. I knew it wouldn’t get any better than that.
With the energy of four pent-up seven-year-olds overdosed on adderall, the Minneapolis-based duo stole the show. The band is comprised of Peter Pisano on guitar and vocals and Brian Moen on drums. Pisano said he thought his exuberance was reciprocated. One of us is delusional. The crowd I saw consisted of one guy bantering with the duo, three people rhythmically shifting a leg in time, and, at most, two dozen people watching from stools, slowly trickling onto the dance floor.
Regardless, Peter Wolf Crier went big with their brand of basement folk-rock that has front porch sentimentalities—as heard on their debut LP Inter-Be, released in 2010. That collection of tunes was feverishly cranked out by Pisano in one evening. Live, the 11 songs benefit from that similar fiery attitude but in stripped-down, less-symphonic renderings, Rapid jolts. Reverb-ed howling. Lumberjack falsetto. Crunchy chords.
Take “Crutch and Crane.” On the album, it sounds like an M. Ward rip-off but in concert it exudes a more unpolished, raw energy. “You’re So High” also exemplifies this simple approach. If you dig into the album, check out opener “Crutch and Cane,” which captures the band’s spirit.
As Moen hammered his drums with mallets, Pisano, limbs akimbo, worked effect pedals numbering in the double digits. Sometime mid-set Pisano, beating the hell out of his guitar, began to bleed from his picking digits. Licking it off after the song he said it tastes like Super Glue—this must be a frequent occurrence. Throughout their 40 minute set, the band paced themselves as if they had played one more song, both might have collapsed.