By the time I got into The Turf Club on Friday night, I was in a haze and beyond spent for the day. It’s not that my day was bad or anything like that but I got a text earlier in the evening that will completely change my day to day and overall life. It wasn’t a particularly bad or good text, more just one of those, “what have I done?” type texts. One of my favorite bartenders at The Turf Club could tell that something was wrong. He offered me coffee, food, Advil and a slew of other things that could maybe shake me out of my funk but all I wanted was a show. I wanted live music pumping through my body and soul because I knew it was the only thing that would get me out of my head.
First up was Laamar. Although a new name to me, Laamar isn’t quite a new project or full of new names in the scene. The latest project led by Minneapolis-based Geofrey Lamar Wilson, this band wasted no time whisking me away from my inner thoughts. Elements of folk, soul, R&B and a million other styles all wrapped up in a bow of indie-pop perfection, Laamar’s sound was approachable and easy to listen to. It’s the type of music that, regardless of how your day has been going, puts a smile on your face due to the infectious and carefree nature of it. Although I was with a couple of friends, one of which I hadn’t seen in awhile, which led to a constant flow of conversation between us, there were moments throughout Laamar’s set where I couldn’t help but get lost in the music and then have to frantically catch up in the conversation. Although I didn’t catch many of the lyrics throughout the set because of the conversation happening around me, I have a feeling that the words were just as impactful as the actual sound of this band and I can’t wait to dig into their material a little bit more today.
Following Laamar was a personal favorite of mine, Faith Boblett. Joined by her amazing band (featuring her dad on bass), Faith’s set was another one of those kinds of sets where I didn’t care what my friends were talking about and frequently had to just nod and smile as they continued to talk and I continued to have my ears glued to the stage. Faith’s music, like Laamar’s, is full of life and passion but comes in the form of a more singer-songwriter folksy style. One of the things I like the most about seeing Faith live is the charisma that she shows on stage. With little stories between songs that truly remind listeners that she is just a young woman trying to get through this thing called life, to her homemade jokes that, in all honesty, are pretty terrible but still get the entire audience roaring in laughter just because of the sweet innocence behind them, I felt like her being on stage on this particular night when I was so in my head was just fate.
I’ve seen Faith multiple times at this point and I feel like everytime I see her, she has evolved in one way or another. Maybe it’s a particular song or maybe it’s just the way she interacts with the crowd– something is always changing with her or hitting me in a different way and Friday was no different. There was something a bit more mature about her delivery of some of her tracks during her set. Maybe that was me and the headspace I was in but I just felt like, although her music was still infectiously full of life, they just hit a bit differently. There’s a depth to Faith that you don’t necessarily have to dig for but I feel like, on certain nights, she really lets you into the depth and that was what was happening on Friday. Again, it was absolutely perfect for what I needed.
Both Laamar and Faith Boblett were absolutely amazing and radiant on Friday night but we were all there to celebrate the vinyl release of James Eugene Russell’s ‘As/Is’ album. James is one of those musicians that, on my first introduction to him, I was obsessed with (not in a creepy way, of course). I saw him back in March of last year when he opened for Dave Hause and I remember how hard his music hit me that night (which is a tall order when I feel like Dave Hause is one of those “you just get me” kind of musicians). I was so ready to feel James’ music hit me right in the gut as he and his highly talented band took the stage and, within a couple of seconds, I got that feeling that I longed for.
The last time I saw James was a solo project so seeing him with a full band was a true treat. What sweetened the deal was the time that Faith Boblett joined the band on stage to help out with vocals. Although James’ vocals are stunning on their own, the way they melted together with Faith’s was something that should probably just be a thing at this point. With a more folk-country-indie style than the previous acts of the night, James had the audience in the palm of this hand. Whereas there was a constant roar of conversations during the two opening sets, as soon as James kicked into his part of the night, the audience went silent. I mean dead silent. I mean you could hear a pin drop silent. It was almost a little creepy but it also made my heart so happy knowing that so many people were there to support James and his vinyl release.
I’ve said it before but I’m going to keep harping on it. Going to national shows is awesome. It truly is and seeing bands with a stellar and intense production behind them will always be a thrill but if you want the music to really hit you. If you want to feel words and notes in your soul– go to a local show. The passion that comes with a show like the on Friday night is something that I will never get sick of and will always choose over a national tour.
Venue: Turf Club
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Sausage Fest Meter: 6 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd: 32
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: 0 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember):
Laamar – 0
Faith Boblett – 5
James Eugene Russell – 1
Celebrity Sightings: Ann of Mostly MN Music; Krista of Elephants & Flowers; Andy of Whiskey Rock N Roll Club MPLS
Overall Score: 7.9 out of 10
Show on Deck: Sunny Day Real Estate / The Appleseed Cast
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