Photo from www.rocketclub.info

A few thoughts on Rocket Club, the Twin Cities indie country band with mainstream aspirations, and its CD release party Thursday at the Varsity Theater:

 

* These six guys work well together onstage. They are tight, their vocal harmonies are impressive and they have a strong sense of how to entertain a crowd.

* Adding pedal steel guitarist Joe Savage and banjo/dobro player Kenny Wilson for the night was a smart move.

* The dance-off competition between high-spirited frontman Chris Hawkey and fun-loving K102 morning DJ Muss during "I Can’t Dance" was a hoot and a highlight. And that song could be a hit.

* "Four Letter World" sure sounded like a country hit, in the spirit of Toby Keith’s "Red Solo Cup." Yes, it’s a novelty tune but it’s clever and catchy. It could be a career-making song.

* The stand-out selections on Rocket Club’s third album are "Every Silver Lining," "Living Out Loud" and the aforementioned "I Can’t Dance" and "Four Letter World."

* "North Country," the title tune of the new album and a modest local hit, proved to a galvanizing live regional anthem with its "Indian Outlaw"-like stomp. Too bad that the Varsity was only half full for this finale.

* Three consecutive slow songs (and then one medium-tempo tune) is longer than any concertgoer needs for a restroom break. In a bar, one slow number is enough for the night, thank you.

* Playing for nearly two hours was probably too long — especially since a significant portion of the crowd had left before show’s end. One word: Pacing.

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