It’s a good thing Lawrencians brought their dancing shoes to the Jackpot on Friday. As part of I Heart Local Music’s September showcase, we called upon two local acts with mad skills that got the masses moving.

Just a few short days ago, Brain Food changed their name to Middle Twin. It’s fitting, considering the band’s sound has severely developed over the past few weeks with favorable results for anyone looking to cut a rug. Middle Twin is heavy on the synths and the beats, procuring a wide range of electronic and organic sounds in order to achieve the best possible dance music. Their dizzying sound lured in folks off the street, and they were happily flanked by fancy-footworking fans while their set grew with intensity.

They debuted a brand new song on Friday as well. It’s important to understand just how charming Middle Twin’s frontwoman is. Behind those Lisa Loeb glasses is a powerful voice with impressive range, belting out throughout the venue. It’ll knock you off your feet if you let it, but don’t be surprised if her enchanting voice (as well as the gorgeous backup vocals) moves you and gives you chills.

The chorus is especially entrancing.

Dean Monkey and the Dropouts is one of the most eccentric acts you’ll find in this part of the state. Where else can you find a band that gets down and gritty while simultaneously echoing out pitch perfect doo-wop vocal stylings you haven’t heard since the 1950’s?

The oddball performers are also well-loved for their dedication to coordinated costumes. They’ve never performed a show unless some outlandish outfits were involved. In fact, just this summer we’ve seen them perform in both superhero and angel costumes.

On this night, we were treated to a real surprise. In an unfathomable gesture of flattery, the band decided to perform dressed as none other than I Heart Local Music’s editor-in-chief while clad in denim jackets, red bandanas, and gaudy makeup.

Fashion statements aside, those pitch perfect high notes at about 1:20 in are to die for.

Friday night’s crowd was particularly fond of just how foul Dean Monkey and the Dropouts’ lyrics can get. The band likes to get cute, but keeps that vulgar charm handy. Songs overflowing with sexual tension and innuendoes were met with wild cheers and hollers from the crowd. There’s no limit to crude sex acts with this band, and they even acknowledged its role in the songwriting process. “That’s how we know this song was perfect,” guitarist Max Yoder said. “We all got boners.”

Here’s a song that is likely to give you a stiff one. You’ll admire just how intense the vocal stylings get towards the end of the song (those high notes at about five minutes in slay us).



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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