Paramount a worthy rock ‘n’ roll venue

Published 6:30 pm Saturday, March 19, 2011

Arrows At Dawn bassist Patrick Zak plays Friday night at the Paramount Theatre. - Eric Johnson/

Don’t let the Paramount Theatre’s castle-facade fool you. The theater can rock.

A March 11 concert featuring Arrows At Dawn, Tepetricy, My Lady Four and Electric Anthem marked the first rock ‘n’ roll concert at the Paramount since a sold-out show on April 8, 2010, headlined by Brian “Head” Welch, formerly of Korn.

Last week’s show filled only about half the main floor, but the bands played like it was sold out.

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Tepetricy’s set was so loud, it sent at least one concert-goer to buy ear plugs, and a few others went to the main lobby holding their ears. The rest of the crowd was left with ringing ears, which is what you expect from a rock show.

The Paramount’s acoustics — and much of the lighting — is just as good as concert venues in the Twin Cities and Rochester. Crowd favorites Arrows At Dawn provided their own lighting system for their performance.

Arrows At Dawn, which features members from Blooming Prairie and Owatonna, overcame a minor speaker glitch to power through the final set of the night.

Along with debuting a few new songs such as “Break Free,” the group covered “There Goes My Hero” by the Foo Fighters, which was appropriate because the band showcased a similar sound with Tim Andrews’ raspy vocals.

The concert opened with Electric Anthem, a fitting name for the Minneapolis band. The band blended toe-tapping pop-punk with overlapping vocals over many choruses, much like Taking Back Sunday.

My Lady Four’s set started with a pounding drum beat, and drummer Brian “Carp” Carpenter’s rhythms provided a perfect background for the band’s sound throughout the set. The band cranked up the distortion and lived up to a reputation that includes a performance on the Ball Stage at the Vans Warped Tour.

While Tepetricy provided the night’s loudest and hardest performance, the veteran Minneapolis band wasn’t afraid to show a softer side. Tepetricy blended synthesizer-like keyboard rhythms with head-banging rock and a few throat-cracking screams.

The show’s best moments came when the crowd ventured from its seats and lined the stage in front of the bands and interacted with the performers. The musicians fed off the energy, often venturing into the crowd and mingling with fans during guitar solos.

Brian Underhill, who organized the concert as part of Underhill Promotions, said the show was one for the local youth. Those who didn’t attend missed out on a show with energy not often featured in this area.

But more opportunities are on the way. Underhill is already organizing the next concert at the Paramount. After a strong opener, Underhill may have a promising set of shows ahead of him if he’s able to pull a larger crowd from surrounding communities.

“Angles” by the Strokes 4.3 of 5

Don’t fear the dance beat that opens The Strokes new album “Angles.”

“Machu Picchu” and other tracks on “Angles” may startle a few avid fans. But don’t fret, The Strokes didn’t abandon guitar-driven rock.

The first album from The Strokes since 2006 blends a clean ‘80s sound with its trademark garage sound. Despite a cover — and often a sound — that reminds you of Tetris, the band is still all about the guitars, and they jam their way to some of their best songs in years.

Vocalist Julian Casablancas croons and mumbles across the album’s 10 tracks, but Casablancas lets his voice show more emotion than he has on past albums.

For those who thought Radiohead’s “The King of Limbs” was short at 37 minutes, 24 seconds, be warned “Angles” comes in a few minutes shorter at 34 minutes, 43 seconds.

Like “The King of Limbs,” The Strokes turn in a powerful and concise album with “Angles.”

“Angels” is released March 22, but it’s streaming online at