One of the photographers that I work with at Twin Cities Media had work stuff come up and couldn’t make it to last night’s show. Being the great friend I am (and being hopelessly addicted to live music) I offered to cover the show for him. I knew it wasn’t going to be my typical cup of tea. With a tour title of “Coffee House Live”, I knew there wasn’t going to be a mosh pit to write about and no guys in black skinny jeans screaming at the top of their lungs… it was going to be some people with guitars singing softly and putting me to sleep. So what did I do? I grabbed one of my metalhead friends and we made our way downtown for, what we thought would be, a sleeper of a show.
The show started out with Brandon Jenner (yes, he is related to the famous Jenner family… he is Caitlyn Jenner’s son and my mind was blown when I found that out this morning while reading up on him) and my friend and I were instantly mesmerized. Brandon had one of the smoothest voices I had ever heard. Even though it was silky enough to lull you to sleep, it had a sense of energy that kept you wanting to hear what would come next.
Within the first song, Brandon had already showed his true talent by creating multiple layers of sounds using a looping machine. I love being able to watch music being made right in front of me and he did it flawlessly. As he added layers of beat-boxed drums, angelic background vocals, and simple yet beautiful guitar chords, I fell deeper in love with this man’s music and charm. His stories of this being his first time away from his two year old daughter and his heartfelt thank you’s to the nearly sold out crowd humanized him to the point where you couldn’t help but fall head over heels for Brandon. Even though this was a show that wasn’t quite up my alley, I was more than happy I had stumbled into it and was suddenly optimistic about how this concert was going to go.
Closing out the night was another beautiful soul with a beautiful voice- Joshua Radin. Hailing from Ohio, this forty-something singer songwriter is apparently a thing but, being stuck in my own world of metal and pop-punk music, I had never heard of him– shame on me. With seven full length albums out and music on nearly every hit show that has been on TV in the past couple of years (including Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy, House and more), you would probably recognize Joshua’s voice without even knowing who he is.
Much like Brandon, Joshua’s voice is as smooth as butter. It has that comforting feel to it and, as soon as he started singing, I was instantly mesmerized by his aura. His songs were extremely heartfelt and you could definitely feel the passion he had for his craft. The goosebumps hit me hard as Joshua stepped away from the microphone and continued singing out to the dead quiet crowd and I was able to hear every word perfectly. Sure, I’ve been in quiet crowds before but last night’s packed house was eerily quiet and the way that Joshua’s voice flooded into every corner of the room was breathtaking to say the least.
In between Brandon and Joshua’s sets was Rachael Yamagata. Much like the other two musicians who played last night, as soon as Rachael started her set I was falling head over heels for her. With totally relatable lyrics for a single twenty-something like myself, I found Rachael to be charming and completely honest. I loved how she didn’t seem to be trying to be anything other than what she was. Her music wasn’t overly upbeat or optimistic, it was actually a bit dark and heart breaking when you really listened to the lyrics, but that was one of the many reasons why I found myself loving her set.
Rachael’s personality shined throughout the set with her awkward brand of comedy that didn’t seems to hit every time. The crowd roared with laughter as she was talking about how she didn’t even recognize Minneapolis without the snow and spoke of the time she got lost in the “tunnels of winter” the past couple of times she was here. (Obviously the “tunnels of winter” is just a fancy word for the skyway.) She didn’t care if her jokes flopped or if she got a response out of the crowd, it was easy to see that she was just having fun and enjoying her time on stage.
Rachael was joined on stage by a one man band (unfortunately I did not catch his name and I am so so sorry!) who was a great addition to the sound. There were times when I really wanted Rachael to be backed by a whole rock band but this one man band definitely did the trick. I think having him behind her was a good choice. It made it feel more like a rock show than an acoustic show and, as someone who isn’t typically into the whole singer/songwriter thing, I really appreciated it. Rachael’s set ended with an original song that led into a cover of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” that had the crowd going wild. Before she had started the last song, she asked the crowd sitting in the balcony to stand up for her– but only if she earned it. If you ask me, those people should have been standing the whole time.
Last night definitely wasn’t my usual show and my friend and I definitely stuck out like sore thumbs. That being said, when all three of these brilliant musicians took the stage at the end, I felt goosebumps creeping up my arms and the hair on the back of my neck standing straight up. I’m more than glad that I decided to cover the show last night.
Go to a show tonight. I don’t care which one and neither should you. Just go.
Venue: Fine Line
Sausage Fest Meter- 5 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 29
Crowd Surfers- 0
Broken Bones- 0
Spotted Flying Through The Air- None
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 0
Celebrity Sightings- 0
Overall Score- 7 out of 10
Show on Deck- Billy Joel/ Gavin DeGraw