Static Panic, consisting of members Eli Kapell, Ro Lorenzen and Keston Wright, will perform songs from the band’s debut release, “Chrome,” at First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry on Saturday, May 19. Submitted photo

Best Picks: May 17–30

Updated: May 17, 2018 - 4:24 pm

What to do downtown after work

Push the panic button

If you need a soundtrack to your backyard barbecue, look no further than Static Panic’s debut, “Chrome.”

The Minneapolis-based trio of Ro Lorenzen (vocals, production), Keston Wright (guitar, vocals) and Eli Kapell (drums) are set to release the six-song EP this month.

“Chrome” is a dynamic synth-glam record full of gender-neutral yet nostalgic jams straight from the 1980s. Lorenzen, Static Panic’s singer and songwriter, avoids all the tired gender trappings of the decade’s iconic music while keeping its dancey essence and over-the-top romance.

Artboard 1 copy 5“The thing that I’m really glad about in my writing is that you can have either role in the song. Anybody can have that role. It doesn’t have to be specifically a guy to a girl or vice versa,” they said.

The trio have been together for about 18 months. Lorenzen and Wright met while they studied at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, and Kapell knew Lorenzen from another, more ’90s-style band he was in.

Lorenzen describes Static Panic as “gender-neutral ’80s synth-pop meets disco funk,” which has found them an audience at Daddy, a sort of queer variety show and dance party at Icehouse and First Avenue. Wright said the night is a good fit for their spirited music and colorful attitude — or if they just want to rip of their shirts.

“We get to be as energetic as possible and fit in all our kinks,” he said. “We’ll show up cute as hell.”

“Chrome” features songs across the band’s spectrum of synth-rock seductions and electronic love songs.

“Fluid Funky Butter Sweet” is lustful, high-energy glam-funk with a mission to get people dancing and making consensual loving (“I know you’re feeling it / All those blurry lines / I know you’re into it / No need to take your time / I know it’s intimate”). Next is the Prince-esque synth-laden slow jam “The Crazy Thing” that morphs into sultry pillow talk set to a bouncy bass line. You can image Lorenzen jamming out on a keytar on “Feel It,” an ’80s rock song that gets a dose of dubstep in the style of Daft Punk.

image3The black sheep of the EP is “Anthem of the Lost,” known among the band as “Anthem of the Lost Dads,” an earlier version of the song. The more contemporary, distorted electronic indie rock was originally inspired by the feeling of growing up without a stable father figure and realizing that after all these years that it may be too late for one.

“Lose You to the Night” is an ’80s-pop earworm that’d be perfect for some sort of grunge version of “Cinderella” — but when the clock hits midnight, the object of the singer’s advances must leave the dance floor, instead. “Bottle to the Brain” harkens back to decades of British synth-pop with big and airy drums and brooding vocals.

The release of “Chrome” is a milestone for the trio. The band is set to play the EP at a release show at First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry on Saturday, May 19. The 18-plus show will feature local bands Trevor Devine and the Immaculate Beings and Love Sequence (featured earlier this year in our Jan. 25 issue).

The three call it a “stepping stone” to their next goal.

“It’s higher stakes than any time we’ve played the Entry before,” Kapell said.

“We’re really hoping to play the mainroom at some point, hopefully in the not-so-distant future,” Lorenzen said.

Artist David Machov, @demach on Instagram, created artwork for "Chrome" and its three singles depicting individual body parts and a complete person. Artwork by David Machov
Artist David Machov, @demach on Instagram, created artwork for “Chrome” and its three singles depicting individual body parts and a complete person. Artwork by David Machov


WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S webCocktails in the Bardo

Step into Bardo and you’ll regret not stepping in sooner.

Minneapolis native Remy Pettus has built out an elegant eatery in the former Rachel’s space, though I don’t blame you if that name doesn’t ring a bell. The building has felt empty for years, even if its Nicollet Island-East Bank neighborhood has changed so much around it.

But step inside and you’ll find an ornate white dining room. Belly up to the copper-topped bar for a quick seat. The cocktail menu makes up for a small number of signature drinks with a wide range of flavors.

THE OPPORTUNIST webThe Weekend at Bernie’s ($13) features mezcal, Aperol, sour apple liqueur, mango tea, lime and orange juice. There’s an internal push and pull to the drink with the smoky mezcal and bright fruit flavors.

The Opportunist ($13) is more balanced, with FEW bourbon and the pleasant smokiness of Cappelletti Amaro Sfumato on one end and Tattersall Distilling’s Americano and the slightly sour notes of Maraschino liqueur on the other.

Looking for a unique after-work drink or a fashionable hangout to meet a friend? Bardo should be near the top of your list.

Ride handsomely

Those 80-degree weekends are upon us and it’s time for Minnesotans to answer the call. This calls for breaking out the bike — if you haven’t already, I’m sure it’s been on your to-do list for weeks — and getting a summer tune up. The smart minds at Handsome Cycles have decided to bring the bike shop to you, office worker, with a Fix-It Fridays pop-up repair shop at the Grand Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Downtowners have two Fridays left, May 18 and May 25, to head over to the hotel at 7th & 2nd for full-service bike repair. Handsome Cycles is up front with the costs — $5 minimum labor charge and $60 per hour of work, plus costs for parts — and will deliver your bike to you for free if the cost is more than $50. Otherwise, just walk over to the hotel to pick up your bike later in the afternoon or the following week. Then you’ll be ready to ride by Saturday.