I’m still recovering from Northern Invasion this past weekend. My legs aren’t quite back to normal yet and I’m still coughing up dust but we are in the thick of concert season and there are very few things that will make me miss a show. After chugging a final cup of coffee, I grabbed my stuff, walked out the door and headed to my home away from home with a little skip in my step. Festivals are awesome but I was truly looking forward to the feeling of normalcy that being at First Avenue brings to my life.
First up was Spirit Animal– a band that I actually caught over the weekend at Northern Invasion. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed by the two songs I had caught over the weekend. Their sound was good but their show left something to be desired. I’ve found that most bands are way better in a festival setting than a smaller indoor venue and, because of that, I was a bit pessimistic about what Spirit Animal’s thirty minute set would bring. Within the first song from this group I was wondering if this was really the same band that I saw over the weekend or if I was completely loosing it (which is entirely possibly) and have gotten them confused with someone else.
Spirit Animal’s set was upbeat and electric. Singer Steve Cooper had a voice that seemed to change styles completely with each changing song. At times he had a voice that was worthy of top-40 radio and, at other times, there was a sense of being an indie-pop king behind his voice. That every-changing vocal style made their thirty-minute set seem to fly by since was I was so busy trying to label exactly what this band is. Maybe it was the change of venue or maybe it was the fact that they were on a bill that actually fit their style a bit more than a hard-rock festival– regardless, Spirit Animal absolutely killed it on Tuesday night and I truly can’t wait to catch this band again. Having just dropped their first single, I expect big things from this New York based band and expect to see them here in the Twin Cities again soon!
Ontario based The Glorious Sons were second to take the stage and to say that their set was highly anticipated for not only me, but also the crowd, would be an understatement. These guys seem to be taking the southern-indie-rock scene by storm. A friend of mine caught them in Ohio a couple weeks ago and has been harping on me to check them out ever since. Once I checked into the show on Facebook, my messenger started blowing up of people telling me that I absolutely had to tell them what I thought of The Glorious Sons (which is when I shamelessly plugged my blog and told them to feel free to read my thoughts here). The Glorious Sons were under a lot of pressure to deliver a kick-ass show due to all of the chatter they have been causing and they did not disappoint.
With only two albums and an EP out, it’s okay to consider these guys a newer band but it’s unfair to call them unknown. As the band took the stage, something was wrong with the sound and there were no vocals blaring through the speakers. The five piece didn’t miss and beat and continued on through the song with the audience helping out when it came to the vocals. Here I was thinking this was a fairly underground group but I was instantly proven wrong. The Glorious Sons’ music is very Southern influenced with almost a country-twang to it but it still fit perfectly with the overall indie- rock vibe of the night. “He seems really fucked up… but he definitely has a voice!” is what I heard over my shoulder just a couple of songs in and honestly, I think that describes The Glorious Sons perfectly. Their live set seems a bit out there especially with the quirky mannerisms of singer Brett Emmons but, that quirkiness aside, there’s no denying the vocal and musical strength of this band. Much like Spirit Animal, I’m super excited to see where this band ends up in the coming months.
With two already amazing bands under my belt for the night, I honestly didn’t care what the headliner came out and did. I was so impressed with what I had already gotten that I had already chalked the night up to a wine… that’s when The Struts came on stage.
The Struts are a band that is quirky in every right way. Hailing from England, The Struts have a very retro vibe that instantly transported me to a different time the second they stepped onto the stage. Singer Luke Spiller took the stage wearing a bright red outfit with a fringe game that was nothing short of on point. The long white fringe hanging from his sleeves moved with the music as he blasted through what felt like a super short set. More than just the leather looks of the four piece, the music seemed to be from a forgotten time. With a power rock sound and classic rock vibe, The Struts had a very energetic and exciting set that kept me entertained until the bitter end. Whether it was watching Luke dance around the stage like a complete fool or the way the audience was reacting to everything going on, there was something to watch at all times during The Struts’ set making it truly fly by faster than I would have liked it to. Although exhaustion is a thing for me right now (but, let’s be honest, when is it not) I could have stayed up all night watching the band play.
“This is one of our favorite spots in the country!” explained Luke. “No, I take that back– this is our favorite spot in the WORLD!” Although phrases like that seem to get a bit redundant at First Avenue, it never gets old to hear a musician say that about a place that you consider a home away from home. Luke went on to explain that, because this is their favorite spot, they would treat the completely sold out audience to some new songs. Although new, it was easy to spot out some superfans in the audience who had clearly done their research and were able to sing along. It’s those superfans and the energy that they produced along with the rest of the jumping crowd that made last night’s performance more than just a concert– it was a show.
As great as seeing nearly forty bands over two days is, it was truly nice to get back to a normal show. The bread and butter if you may. So maybe there wasn’t a fancy press tent with free drinks and literal rockstars walking in and out but there was music and people a sold out crowd that was truly happy to be where they were at that given moment and sometimes that’s leaves more of an impact on you than fancy press credentials.
Venue: First Avenue
Sausage Fest Meter- 6 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 23
Crowd Surfers- 0
Stage Divers- 0
Broken Bones- 0
Spotted Flying Through The Air- None
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 0
Celebrity Sightings- Members of Johnny Yuma, If Eye May, and Colin Campbell of The Shackletons
Overall Score- 7 out of 10
Show on Deck- Hinds/ Tights/ Goodbye Honolulu
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