Smiles, juice bars, and Jesus

By Charlie White

I guess the first thing I should say is that I didn’t go to Club 3 Degrees on purpose. I mean, I did, but I really didn’t know quite what I was getting into. I suppose, however, in light of last week’s feature on conservatives here at Macalester, it’s appropriate to reveal some alternative ideas and activities for those who don’t quite fall in with the mass of heathen liberals that make up our general population.

Sometime in the middle of March, I received an e-mail from a mysterious man named Peter who was affiliated with Skyscraper Media, a music-publishing company out of Boulder, Co. Peter was very friendly, and wanted me to cover a show that happened to be going down on April 20 at a venue in Minneapolis called Club 3 Degrees. I knew he was serious when he sent me two free CDs by the two groups performing that night – Cool Hand Luke and The Myriad. After glancing briefly at some reviews and giving the CDs a quick listen, I agreed to go to the show. The music wasn’t quite my style but I thought it could be cool to see live, especially with a free spot on the guest list.

Let’s just say I didn’t read between the lines. Looking back, I can’t see how I possibly missed it. Club “3 Degrees?” All ages admitted? Music inspired by Jeff Buckley and faith? You guessed it: I accidentally walked into a Christian hipster club.

I knew something was amiss when I was greeted with a smile at the door and told where to go for entry. My suspicions became more significant when I saw the “bar” selling everything but beer – smoothies, Jones Soda, a variety of expensive soda…it was like nothing I had ever seen at a show.

As a self described “modern club-like church,” Club 3 Degrees was really quite nice—plenty of seating and tables as well as a good-sized floor space for those Christian moshers, low ambient lighting with candles on every table, and a visible stage even for those in the back.

Ok, enough good things. There was an announcer who got up on the stage in between the bands. He was quite similar to the guy in that movie Saved! who came on stage and was all like, “let’s hear it for God!” except this dude was all like, “let’s hear it for… the MYRIAAAAAAAAAAD!!!!” He also said other happy announcer-like things with his veins popping out of his neck with sheer enthusiasm. Christian rock aside, this character was so annoying and absurd that he would have ruined Radiohead for me.

So, on came the Myriad. According to Wikipedia, a “Myriad” is a classical Greek term for the number 104, or 10,000, usually used to describe a group of 10,000 people. Sadly, there are only five members of the Myriad, making for a much less interesting show. But, I suppose, if you follow their beliefs and enjoy simple alternative rock (with powerful, driving vocals I must say), the Myriad could be a cool underground Christian rock band to impress your friends with. Coming from Seattle, however, they of course found it necessary to tell a lame story about their time in the Midwest. As I recall, their trailer broke somewhere in the middle of Iowa, and was quickly fixed up by a friendly mechanic. And they made it to Minneapolis safely. Midwest, woot.

Their show was mostly in support of their most recent album, You Can’t Trust a Ladder (Floodgate, 2005). Although I spent much of their show rolling my eyes and feeling uncomfortable about my surroundings, I did find myself enjoying their last song “Disappointed Together,” which was accompanied by some sweet fog and color effects. For such a well-priced show ($10), Club 3 Degrees was really geared up.

Following the Myriad and another interlude with the atrocious yelling man was Cool Hand Luke, playing in support of their latest release The Fires of Life (Floodgate, 2004). Now you may immediately think of that 60s movie with Paul Newman of the same name. I believe it can be assumed that the band’s name is based on Newman’s character Luke – a rebel refusing to conform to the system, while allegorically representing Jesus Christ and subtly telling his story.

The sound of Cool Hand Luke was similar to that of the Myriad, but better. Although I was still uncomfortable with the atmosphere and messages, I found myself enjoying the melodically complex riffs and rhythms. The vocals were also very smooth and musical. However, Cool Hand Luke made their religious affiliation a little more obvious than the Myriad, saying they were doing all of this for Jesus and that mattered the most. I have no problem with this (though it did make me feel uncomfortable that I was one of the few not cheering at the mention of the name “Jesus”), but I do feel that somebody with some sort of religious affiliation would get a lot more out of Cool Hand Luke than I did.

Although I stumbled upon Club 3 Degrees by mistake, it would be a great place for any Christian here at Macalester who is sick of being surrounded by people who disagree with them. Not only do they host shows, but one could also enjoy the benefits of the lounge complete with juice bar and pool tables. With its clean, friendly atmosphere and ability to attract talented musicians and charge minimal admission, Club 3 Degrees deserves the respect of both Christians and atheists alike. Cool Hand Luke and the Myriad, although talented and catchy, are best reserved for those sharing similar beliefs. Shoot me an e-mail if you want to borrow either of their albums.

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