A couple of months ago I heard a song on the radio that instantly caught me. It was dancey, catchy, poppy and new. Okay, that last word isn’t quite true. I thought this was a hot new single from a fairly new band that had finally hit it big but, after raving to my friend about the song, I found it was anything but new and from a band that has been around for years. Although embarrassed to admit that I was a bit behind when it comes to music on the radio, I was in love with ‘Henrietta’ by The Fratellis and was super excited when they announced a Minneapolis date for their tour.
English duo Blood Red Shoes kicked off the night in the best way possible. I had never heard of the group prior to last night’s show but I was in love within the first song. Singer/ guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer/ vocalist Steven Ansell were effortlessly captivating. They didn’t do anything to command the packed venue’s attention but they got it anyway. Although their music fits into many generic categories such as indie-rock, garage-rock, etc., their music is anything but generic. There was something so distinct about them yet so familiar which created a super enjoyable set.
With four albums out that date back to 2008, Blood Red Shoes is not a new band. Between the releases and the way some of the crowd was singing along to every word of their nearly forty-five minute set, it was clear that I had really missed the boat when it comes to this group. Their energy was electric without being over the top and, with my current string of shows, that was exactly what I needed to get through my Thursday night. It seemed like I fell a little bit more in love with these two musicians with every passing song and, when it was said and done, I was left wishing they could stay up on that stage all night.
You could feel the anticipation in the air as the stage was turned over for headlining act The Fratellis. Being from Scotland, it’s been awhile since this trio (although they were a four piece last night with the addition of a keyboard player) has made their way to The Twin Cities and it was obvious that the audience had been waiting for their chance to catch this band. As soon as the band members were spotted taking the legendary stage at First Avenue, the crowd went nuts applauding and screaming with excitement. Although I only knew a couple of songs by this group, it was hard for me to not get wrapped up in the energy in the room. I may not have known much about this group but the feeling I got from the rest of the audience made it clear that I was going to have a fun night… at least that’s what I thought.
The Fratellis opened with that ‘Henrietta’ song that I had recently fallen in love with. The energy in the nearly sold out First Avenue was electric as the entire crowd bounced along to the infectious beat of the opening song. I was instantly lost in the crowd and the energy as I danced my heart out for the three and a half minute long song. After the first song ended, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sing along to anything else but was optimistic that I was still going to have the time of my life. As the second song turned into third, which turned into the fourth, and so on and so forth, my excitement faded and by the fifth song I was ready to tap out.
It’s not that the music was bad, because it wasn’t. The Fratellis sounded clean and crisp with a sense of perfection while still keeping things light-hearted. That being said, there wasn’t a sense of passion that I crave from live shows. I was bored and by the time the band rolled into their sixth song, I was done. I looked at my friend and we made the decision that we were both kind of over it and ready to go home. Again, The Fratellis sounded great but a live show is so much more than just the music and nothing seemed to be changing with the set. Sure, I wanted to stick it out to hear their hit song ‘Chelsea Dagger’ but I wasn’t about to ruin a perfectly good Thursday night to hear one stupid song that would inevitably get stuck in my head for days to come.
My friend and I left. We wound up at an ‘Emo night’ at a club on the other side of the river. Although it was just a drag queen pressing the spacebar on a computer as songs from our childhood blared through the speakers, there was something there. I felt more passion from the queen behind the computer and the drunken idiots dancing around (no judgement, I was one of them) to songs that will stand the test of time for a whole generation than I did from the band I was supposed to be seeing. I regret nothing about last night. You can’t force things to be fun and you can’t force bands to be amazing live. I think it’s fair to be disappointed about it, but you have to move on. There are too many shows and music events going on around you to dwell on the bad. If you don’t like the show you’re at… go somewhere else. They all can’t be winners but there can be a winner every night. You just have to find it.
Why do I love concerts so much? It’s the passion, the energy, the love… it’s honestly everything but the music. I would rather see a band that sounds like crap but has passion running through their veins than a band that sounds amazing but with no passion. If a band can’t make you feel the passion in the air, they aren’t doing their job.
Venue: First Avenue
Sausage Fest Meter- 6 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 26
Crowd Surfers- 0
Stage Divers- 0
Broken Bones- 0
Spotted Flying Through The Air- None
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 0
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 3 out of 10
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