Sunday night at The Icehouse was one of those unassuming kind of nights. I only say that because of the sheer legends that were both on stage and in the audience but how understated the show was when thinking about that. From The Suburbs to Soul Asylum, many legendary Minnesota based acts were represented on stage but the audience and overall ambiance of the night was chill and intimate. What I’m trying to say is my Sunday night was truly a special night.
Opening up the show was Willie Wisely. Although I was unfamiliar with Willie as he and his band took the stage, I instantly wanted to know everything there was to know about this man. He instantly caught my attention with his stereotypical rockstar vibe and seasoned performance. It was clear that Willie has been gracing stages for years just with the aura and energy he was putting off and that was mirrored with the rest of his band. It would take me too long to go into all of the acts that he and his band mates have been associated with so I won’t bore you with all of that but I definitely think that’s a reason that they had me hooked so quickly and so intensely.
That was truly a highlight of Willie’s set for me– the true professionalism yet fun that was experienced while sitting with my crew of friends. Although the entire audience was sitting which can sometimes make for a stuffy show, Willie didn’t hold back on the energy and, at one point, somehow went from sitting on the edge of the stage to singing from between guitarist Steve Brantseg’s legs. I’m not sure how he did it as my view was a bit obstructed by the amps on stage but it was something that made the entire table I was with belly laugh. Even with moments like that that had the entire table laughing, there was a sense of professionalism that came from Willie Wisley’s set. All of the band members were up on stage to do a job and they all did it so flawlessly.
Sunday was a beautiful day in Minneapolis. Sure, it was still fairly chilly for those who don’t live in the great north but, for us, the 40 degrees and sun hitting faces just seemed to have everyone feeling a bit more energetic. The music of Willie Wisely matched this perfectly. His sound has an old school California rock vibe which just enhanced optimism of the audience as we watched the sun slowly set behind the windows of The Icehouse. With an ode to Burt Bacharach and then an absolutely amazing cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Good times Bad Times”, I loved how Willie gave everyone in the audience a little something to truly enjoy whether you knew who he was or not.
Headlining the show on Sunday night was The Scarlet Goodbye. It was a celebration of sorts as they were releasing their new full length album ‘Hope’s Eternal’ on vinyl on Sunday. Being a bit new to this side of the local scene, I had to do some research this morning to make sure I got names and associations correct. Everything I found called The Scarlet Goodbye “the most unlikely mash-up in Minnesota music history” which surprised me. Honestly, the way the whole band worked together on Sunday night was perfect and their sound was distinct, unique, yet very familiar at the same time. This all makes sense due to the two vocalists being Daniel Murphy (of Soul Asylum and Golden Smog fame) and Jeff Arundel (a staple in the Minnesota music scene for decades). Whether or not you find this to be a weird pairing, the way they worked together throughout the hour-long set was absolutely captivating.
I loved how each member of The Scarlet Goodbye clearly brought something different to the table. Song sung by Jeff Arundel definitely had a more singer-songwriter vibe to them whereas the songs sung by Daniel Murphy had a bit more of a 90s feeling to them. Maybe that’s why people call them an unlikely mash-up but I thought it made for a truly enjoyable set that never felt redundant or boring. Regardless of the style of song that the band was playing, the members brought a sense of chill vibes yet undeniable energy to the modest audience that had come out. From moments where the violin rang above everything else to moments where the emotion coming from the stage was almost too much to bear, I felt like I was on the edge of my seat throughout their set and, when it was said and done, I was left wanting so much more.
The Scarlet Goodbye’s new album ‘Hope’s Eternal’ has been sitting on my desk for some time just waiting to be reviewed and I realized within the first couple of songs that that was a huge mistake. I wish I could tell you particular songs that stood out to me and why or at least tell you if they played any new tracks that weren’t featured on this album. Sadly, I can’t do any of that. I did catch a cover of “Sylvia’s Mother” from Dr. Hook that was done with a staggering amount of emotion and power but, beyond that, I’m lost for song titles. That was kind of the point of Sunday night for me and something that I walked away with truly loving.
I love the local scene here in the Twin Cities but it’s vast and full of so many amazing bands. I don’t have to be that person that knows all of the faces or all of the song names. All I need to know is that I experienced true magic on Sunday night and am already waiting for another night like it where I am surrounded by legends in an ambiance that feels more like a living room than anything else.
Venue: The Icehouse
Average Age of the Crowd: 47
Crowd Surfers- 0
Mosh-ability- 0 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 5 out of 10
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0
Broken Bones- None spotted
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Witnessed
Randomly Shirtless Men – 0
Passed Out Kids- 0
Idiots Taken Out By Security – None Spotted
How Irritated I Was With The Audience – 0 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Willie Wisely – 0
The Scarlet Goodbye – 0
Celebrity Sightings – Too many to list. This was seriously a who’s who of the local scene
Overall Score- 8 out of 10
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