There were a handful of shows that I wanted to check out on Monday night. Both Wiz Khalifa at The Armory and Covet at Amsterdam were probably awesome shows but I was intrigued by the name of the headliner at The Turf Club. I mean, come on, how am I supposed to say no to a band called “The Band of Heathens”? I know that basing a band off of their name is a bit like judging a book by its cover but, when you do this night after night, walking into a show completely blind is a true thrill and I feel like it helps me from becoming complacent and going to see the same thing night after night so, there I was, alone and ready to be amazed at a sold out Turf Club show on Monday night.
Kicking the night off was local act Luke Callen. If that name sounds familiar, good on you. I actually just saw Luke in February when he opened for Buffalo Nichols at the same venue. Luke’s sound and style is just as distinct as it is beautiful. A little folk, a little southern, a lot of heart– Luke has a way with both guitar playing and words. Unfortunately, the older audience seemed more interested in the roaring conversations they were having rather than Luke’s magical music but that didn’t stop Luke from giving the sold-out Turf Club everything he possibly could.
As mentioned, in my last review of Luke, he has been all over the place. He is originally from La Crosse, spent some time in Colorado, and has now landed in the Twin Cities. I love that you can hear those travels in his music both in his story-telling styled lyrics and also in the intricate guitarwork that comes with it. Another thing that I truly love about Luke Callen’s style is the way he plays his guitar with the same amount of heart as he puts into his vocals. I feel like a lot of singer-songwriters that I watch focus more on the words and vocals that they are presenting and almost forget that guitar playing is also a craft. Not Luke– he does both things with a sense of staggering emotion that makes it impossible to not fall in love with him.
Before I move onto the headliner of the Monday night show, I want to mention the residency that Luke mentioned before leaving the stage. Starting next month, Luke will be playing every fourth Friday of the month at Palmer’s over on the west bank. He will be bringing a slew of locals with him to each show and will surely be killing it every time. Please consider checking it out! The residency will be running through September (or thereabout) so you have plenty of chances to check this amazing local musician out at a super cool local bar.
Okay, Luke was great but I know, he knows, and the rest of the audience knows that he was not the reason for the sold-out show on Monday night. The reason was The Band of Heathens. As mentioned, I knew nothing about this band when walking into the show. I knew that I liked their name and I knew that one of my best friends and her husband were super jealous that I was at this show because they had waited too long to get tickets and ultimately didn’t get them in time. Based on all of those things, I still had no clue what I was going to get as the stage was turned over for the headliner but I had a guess. Based on the fact that this particular friends husband was super into this band and based on the demographic of the older audience, I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be for me but there I go judging a book by its cover again.
Hailing from Austin, TX, The Band of Heathens is a staple in the Americana-Bluesy-Folksy-Jam-Rock scene (and yes, that’s a scene). They have been around for decades having gotten their start in 2005 and haven’t slowed down since then. Doing my research this morning, I am a bit stunned at the amount of releases this band and some of the individual artists have under their belt. The list is truly extensive and, after learning that and seeing them on Monday, I understand the hype.
As mentioned, The Band of Heathens’ sound blends everything from Americana to blues to folk to jam rock to good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll to… okay, you get it. Their sound is all over the place and that made their set super accessible and enjoyable for me. There were moments throughout the set where I felt like I was listening to something super familiar whether it was a string of words or a particular guitar riff or drum fill and then there were moments where I could literally see the innovation of this band unwrap on the stage in front of me. Although I was one of the few in the audience that wasn’t singing and dancing along to the memorable tracks, I loved how I was able to just get lost in everyone else’s excitement therefor making me excited about the choice I had made for my Monday night entertainment.
One of the many things about The Band of Heathens’ set was how every song felt constructed and perfectly composed yet also had an organic almost jam feeling. Being that I am super unfamiliar with their recordings, I can not confirm or deny if they actually broke into jams throughout their set on Monday or if that was just their music but I loved the fact that I couldn’t tell. I feel like this goes to show not only the true musicianship that was on stage in front of me, but also the chemistry between all of the members of this group. I saw a quote this morning as I was digging to the band, “We play different set lists night to night and we’ll play songs differently over time and they will evolve.” I think there’s something so beautiful in that statement but the beauty comes with seeing that live and right in front of you which is exactly what I got to do on Monday.
Much like how I went to the Daisy the Great show on Sunday just to hear one song and ended up leaving having gotten so much more, I walked into The Band of Heathens’ show on Monday just because I liked their band name and ended up getting way more than I expected. Monday night was the first night of their current tour so check their schedule and see if they are coming to your neighborhood. I truly encourage you to go check this amazing group of humans out even if you don’t think their style is quite your thing.
Venue: The Turf Club
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Sausage Fest Meter: 4 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd: 56
Crowd Surfers: 0
Stage Divers: 0
Mosh-Ability: 0 out of 10
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me: $0
Spotted Flying Through the Air: Nothing
Pukers: None Spotted
Idiots Taken Out By Security: 0
How Irritated I Was With Audience: 8 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember):
Luke Callen – 1
The Band of Heathens – 0
Celebrity Sightings: None
Overall Score: 8 out of 10
Show on Deck: Screaming Females / Generacion Suicida / The Mimes
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