The tiny, pitch black, one-room record store and concert venue known as the locally owned Total Drag Records in Sioux Falls rumbled and buzzed. People eagerly packed into the room like sardines in a can for headliner BRONCHO, the Oklahoman indie rock and roll band with a uniquely identifiable sound.
BRONCHO is the brainchild of vocalist and guitarist Ryan Lindsey, backed by Ben King on guitar, Penny Pitchlynn on bass and Nathan Price on drums.
The group describes its sound as “sing-along anthems that combine punk and garage-rock. Raw guitar chords and energy, plus DIY sentiment, but with hi-fi production.”
The “Do It Yourself” element was obvious from the choice of venue and the fact that they ran their own sound production for the show — drummer Nathan Price in particular doing a lot of the technical work. At the start of their set, a roadie commandeered the venue’s sound board, which is usually run by Total Drag’s co-owner Dan Nissen.
BRONCHO’s most recent album “Double Vanity” is strong, with power chords that linger in a listener’s subconscious for an empowering experience. Favorite tracks include the strutting beat and calculated feeling of “Señora Borealis,” which shook the house at Total Drag that night.
At the Aug. 30 concert, BRONCHO opened their set with standout single “Fantasy Boys.” Lindsey’s goofy howling vocals somehow work in every one of their songs, even changing how the lyrics are interpreted by the listener.
One jam that I looked forward to hearing at the show was “Class Historian,” a track from BRONCHO’s second album, “Just Enough Hip To Be Woman.” This delightful jam was stuck in my head all day, thanks to Lindsey’s machine-like hook of the opening vocals, and his memorable lyric “single mama, I wanna get that number.”
Tenenbaums, the shoegaze stars of South Dakota, were lucky enough to be the second openers for their heroes on Tuesday night. The three-piece consists of USD graduates Brandon Phrommany on guitar, Drew Helland on drums and Drew’s twin brother from Bethany Lutheran College, Mike Helland, on bass. The band members were seen headbanging during BRONCHO’s set.
Their debut record “Favorite Dreams” was such a pretty album, and it clocked in at the perfect length of 45 minutes, just right for a drive home to Sioux Falls. In fact, one of the tracks on that album is titled “45 Minutes,” and fans of Tenenbaums who have been around since they got their start at USD will often sing along to it at shows.
Tenenbaums played a few songs from their upcoming album, which local fans are eagerly waiting for. They also played their newer single “Nite Swimming,” which adds a surf-like epic vibe to their shoegazing magic.
Thought Loops is comprised of guitarist Noah Gunnarson and bassist Keaton Miller, and this local duo opened up the night with their version of smooth slacker rock. Their sound evokes that same lazy, jazzy vibe that artists like Mac Demarco and Mild High Club have found success with as of late. They ended with a song about pizza, which topped off the delicious slice of heaven that was their set.
Thought Loops are a newer band so they have only released a few singles so far, but with the dreamy way they sound, they will certainly record something bigger soon.
Overall, it was another great night at Total Drag and for South Dakota’s growing music scene.