It was the smiles being worn on stage and in the audience on Thursday that let me know that I had made the right choice on what show to go to. I could have been singing my heart out at the Matisyahu show or dancing my feet off at Lauv but, instead, I opted to do another local show and I regret absolutely nothing.

Big Salt was the first band to take the stage but, instead of just taking it, they destroyed it. What a powerhouse of a band and there’s really nothing more that I can say about it. The pipes on Sally, the vocalist, left me absolutely stunned and when mixed with the rest of this amazing four-piece band, you were left with a truly stunning set that was a great example of just good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll. I don’t remember which of the following acts said it but someone just made a passing comment about how long has it been since you’ve just heard some good straight-up rock and it was a point that was driven home after reflecting back on Big Salt’s set. Thursday night was my first time catching Big Salt live but it absolutely will not be my last. Seeing them perform lit a fire in my soul and, like the show on Wednesday night, was an instant reminder that we really do have the best music scene up here in the Twin Cities.

Much like the opening set from Big Salt, I was completely captivated by the set from Getting By but was less surprised by this one as I had seen them the last time I saw headlining act Zaq Baker and fell head over heels for them that night. Their perfect pop-punk sound soared through the speakers and right into my heart. I remember the first time I saw them that their vocals felt a bit quiet but that was not the case on Thursday night. The vocals were honestly my favorite part of their whole set (outside of the nod to Blink 182 with a quick sing-a-long to “I Miss You” in the middle of one of their originals). They had a sense of power and confidence in them that I just didn’t get last July when I saw them and I couldn’t have been happier. It showed me that these guys are just getting started when it really comes down to it. They are constantly evolving, practicing, and getting better and better. It won’t be long before they break out of this local scene and I can not wait for them to make the Twin Cities proud as they take their perfect sound out to other towns.

I absolutely fell in love with Zaq Baker, the headliner on Thursday night, when I stumbled into his show last summer. He was fun, sweet, and full of personality so I was so excited to get a chance to experience it all over again. Taking the stage just a hair after 10 PM, Zaq and his band wasted no time in jumping into a set full of anthemic and fun tracks. I talked a lot about Zaq’s boppy and ear-wormy music the first time just because I was so enamored with it but now that I knew what I was going to get, I was able to focus more on him as a person than a musician and I was loving it so much. Much like his music, Zaq comes off as very upbeat, fun, and personable. From the faces he was making while jamming away on the piano to the story-telling type songs that hit right to the core regardless of who you are, where you come from, or what you’re going through, it was song after song that just filled me with so much joy.

As a pianist myself, I have always envied people who can not only play dazzling strings of notes on my beloved instrument but also sing with an undeniable sense of heart while doing it. Zaq does that while adding a flare of personality with every note and every word in a seemingly effortless way. To say I was jealous would be an understatement but that jealousy didn’t last long and quickly turned into that familiar feeling of awe that I had been feeling throughout the show. Although the audience wasn’t huge (not surprising with how much was going on throughout town and it being a Thursday night), everyone throughout the crowd was being affected by Zaq’s music and soul in all of the right ways creating the perfect atmosphere for the night.

There were decisions to be made on Thursday night and, as usual, all I could do was go with my gut. My gut said to spend another night immersed in the local music scene and it was absolutely perfect. Always go with your gut!

Line Up:

Big Salt

Getting By

Zaq Baker

Venue: 7th Street Entry

Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable

Average Age of the Crowd: 25

Crowd Surfers- None

Mosh-ability- 4 out of 10

Sausage-Fest Meter- 5 out of 10

Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0

Broken Bones- None

Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing

Fights- None

Pukers- 0

Randomly Shirtless Men – 0

Passed Out Kids- None

Idiots Taken Out By Security- 0

How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-

Big Salt – 0

Getting By – 1

Zaq Baker – 1

Celebrity Sightings – John of GOWNS

Overall Score- 7.7 out of 10

Show on Deck- Murder By Death / Amigo the Devil / Samantha Crain

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