Any thoughts of Solid Gold's bright buzz fading at year's end among fickle, buzz-leery local audiences were dissolved Friday night, when the acidic dance-rock band sold out First Avenue. Not that the group didn't deserve the nice little exclamation point on its wild ride of a year, but it had played just about every corner of the Twin Cities since early summer, from the Minnesota Zoo to the Walker Art Center (twice) to numerous block party/fests. Even the members of the group seemed surprised by the turnout.
"When they told us it was sold out tonight, we said, 'Well, who's playing then?' " frontman Zachary Coulter said early on in the show.
Friday's crowd was a different kind of audience for them -- more collegiate, more the kind of young partiers you see around the Warehouse District on weekends than hipsters you see at the Entry or Uptown (R.I.P.). A couple different longtime watchers of the band noticed it as well as me. Nothing wrong with that, of course. In fact, it probably bodes well as the trio-turned-quintet caters to wider and presumably collegiate crowds under its new partnership with the Mountain Dew-affiliated Green Label Sound. Some of that crowd might also be what it's going for with its New Year's Eve booking at the Marriott City Center.
Those of us who've seen some of Solid Gold's previous gigs this year didn't witness much new Friday, although the band spiced up its stage lighting and video montages (that photo above is the logo that repeatedly flashed on First Ave's TV screens). "Calm Down" and "Bible Thumper" sparked things early in the show, and "Get Over It" and "Who You Gonna Run To?" provided the pre-encore climax, the latter tunes gorgeously fleshed out with MVP input from slide-guitarist Shon Troth. The encore kicked off with an eerie, wigged-out spin on Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" -- extra funny since "Top Gun" had been showing on the screens before the concert. Thus, it was a happy ending on many fronts.