A Beastly Show

Backstage Concert Series to feature Laarks, Zoo Animal

Andy Plank |

Minneapolis’ Zoo Animal, shown here wielding weaponized sparrows.
Minneapolis’ Zoo Animal, shown here wielding weaponized sparrows.

Whoever said, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing,” must have had his good things and bad things all mixed up. Or he was tricking people so he could hoard good things for himself. Correct addition of things from the upcoming Backstage Concert Series show, featuring Laarks and Zoo Animal, clearly demonstrates that two good bands + one good venue = one really good show. One of Eau Claire’s best successes in the past few years, Laarks’ album An Exaltation of Laarks earned the band a multi-record deal with California-based label Absolutely Kosher. A batch of new songs, presumably for their next album, has found its way into recent performances. They show off a similar keyboard-driven, post-punk rock sound, but with pleasantly more expansive and powerful themes and arrangements. Minneapolis’ Zoo Animal is familiar at first listen. The minimalist three-piece plays grungy rock influenced heavily by early 90s bands. Their most lasting impression is a refreshing uniqueness, however, and it comes from the surprising ease with which they tweak and stretch the genre. Lead singer Holly Newsom’s smoky croons carry short songs that can quickly slide from their moody grunge roots into jazzy and sometimes even dance-heavy variations. Two full-length albums have given Zoo Animal national attention, and the band’s been highly acclaimed as one of the Twin Cities’ best by an impressive list of media. With so much good, this show is going to be really good.

Backstage Concert Series: Zoo Animal + Laarks • Feb. 11 • Stage Door Entrance of State Theatre, 316 Eau Claire St. • 7pm • $5 • all ages •