Boiled in Lead to brew a mix of music at this weekend’s RegattaWORTHINGTON — Boiled in Lead will bring its strange brew of well-aged stories and modern music from around the world to the stage from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday at the Unvarnished Music Festival, complete with tales of doomed lovers, demon carp and death himself visiting Hennepin Avenue.
WORTHINGTON — Boiled in Lead will bring its strange brew of well-aged stories and modern music from around the world to the stage from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday at the Unvarnished Music Festival, complete with tales of doomed lovers, demon carp and death himself visiting Hennepin Avenue.
“In high school, I started hearing traditional music of Ireland and also traditional ballads from the British Isles, and it just really got me,” said the band’s bass guitarist, Drew Miller. “There’s so much blood and gore in those ballads that it made sense to me, at least, to bring that to the punk rock scene at the time, and get people a little something extra to chew on while still keeping the horror content pretty high.”
Boiled in Lead, which is based out of the Twin Cities, has changed in its 27 years of existence, from the band members to the types of music the group plays — even the volume ranges from loud, with electric guitars, to soft acoustic performances.
The band’s battery of musical instruments includes traditional rock instruments such as harmonicas, electric and acoustic guitars as well as simply traditional instruments — fiddles, dulcimers, mandolins and the bodhran. Boiled in Lead plays Irish and English tunes, but they also play Algerian melodies, Haitian ceremonial rhythms and songs inspired by North Africa.
“It’s a mix. We’re kind of like chefs who are creating a stew. You have to put in the right ingredients and marinate them properly, and pound on that steak so it’s tender and not tough,” Miller said. “Putting all the elements together is really the band’s job — there’s a mix of original and traditional material, but what we’re known for most is how we can take a folk song that is hundreds of years old and make it contemporary.”
In “Silver Carp,” a tune from Boiled in Lead’s latest album, “Silver,” the Department of Natural Resources takes on the villainous scourge of the lakes — the Asiatic carp, which in the song not only terrorize the local fish but even stage a murderous assault on a local fisherman. “Oh the carp are coming, oh the carp are here,” warn the lyrics — all based on the true story of the silver carp, an invasive species advancing up the Mississippi river and threatening to spread to Minnesota lakes.
“Every single piece has a different story to it,” Miller said. “… the tough part is, when you’re putting originals against songs that have survived for centuries, your originals have to be pretty good to stand up to the quality of your material.”
“Death on Hennepin,” a ballad from “Silver,” is a retelling of the old story, “Death and the Maiden.” A beautiful young girl begs Death not to take her, because she’s just too young and pretty to die. In Boiled in Lead’s “Death on Hennepin,” Death drives a big Lincoln and finds the girl outside the Uptown Bar in Minneapolis.
“All of these themes and songs just keep cycling through. They’re timeless for a reason,” Miller said.
The group will play a mixture of light and dark music at the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta & Unvarnished Music Festival, with a blend of instrumentals and tunes with words and a blend of electric and acoustic elements.
“Cast away your preconceptions and come hear us play some fun music!” Miller added.