I love going to shows that are completely out of my normal wheelhouse and where I know nothing about the performers. I love it more when I do that with a friend who is fairly immersed in that scene. Being able to see the excitement that live show brings to someone instead of feeling it myself is somehow just as gratifying and that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night at The Palace Theatre in Saint Paul.

The California Honeydrops from (you guessed it) California were the one and only opening act for the show. The second they started their hour long set, I was transported away from all of the stresses in my life but also dunked into a whole new world. With a genre-blend of everything from roots to blues to soul to big band, I found The California Honeydrops’ music to be super interesting. Every song seemed to bring a different vibe to the beautiful theatre and each vibe seemed to be better than the last.

Led by Lech Wierzynski, The California Honeydrops have a bit of an old soul kind of vibe to their music. There’s just something weathered and retro about their sound but it didn’t feel dated or overplayed at the same time. They definitely put a twist on every song that they played which kept the set feeling fresh while still giving you a sense of comfort that some of the music from decades gone by can give you. Beyond that was the composition of the tracks. There were moments where it felt like pure chaos and, with a giant band on stage and everyone playing at what seemed like all times, it only made sense but there was a beauty in the chaos and it felt so well orchestrated that, when you tried to sort through the chaos, you realized that it wasn’t chaos at all– in fact it was true musicianship blaring through the speakers in a way that left my jaw on the ground and my heart fluttering.

You could feel the excitement in the air as the stage was quickly turned over for the headlining act, Trevor Hall & The Great In-Between. Although I had no clue what I was about to get from Trevor and his band, it was impossible to not get wrapped up in the excitement surrounding me. It was clear that I was about to experience something that means the world to so many people. I was undoubtedly a bit bummed that I wasn’t going to get the same experience as everyone else but I was so excited to witness it from and outsider’s perspective. As soon as Trevor and his amazing band took the stage, the audience roared with applause and, just like that, the band leapt into a set that would end up leaving me fairly speechless.

Trevor’s (I’m just going to refer to the band as Trevor or Trevor Hall from here on out because it just feels so wordy to put ‘Trevor Hall & The Great In-Between’ each time but please know I mean the whole band!) sounds, like The California Honeydrops, is a bit all over the place but if I had to nail it down, I would say it’s sun-drenched and tender music with a very spiritual mood to it. It jumps between a singer-songwriter vibe and a more full indie-rock vibe in the blink of an eye. Although the spotlight was on Trevor for the majority of the nearly two hour long set, the entire band was truly spectacular. Everyone had their place, had their notes, but they all played in unison as if they had been playing together their entire lives and all of those parts came together to make a sound that wouldn’t be the same without each of the members.

My friend (who actually knew who Trevor Hall was prior to this show and was super excited to see him perform but more on that later) quickly pointed out that the violinist, Tim Snider, had played with Nahko & Medicine For the People. That meant very little to me but a lot to her and, as I stood there completely captivated by Tim’s playing, I realized that I wanted to know everything I could about not only this band, but also Nahko. Much like the overall sound of Trevor Hall, Tim’s playing felt completely organic yet somehow perfectly put together. From slower moments where he would just linger on one string to moments of a slight freakout that would leave him pulling loose threads from his bow, I felt like Tim was truly one of the more dynamic players on the stage (but again, everyone in the band was great).

As mentioned, I was a bit of an outsider at this show and was more at it because I knew it was going to be something different. This gave me a chance to witness everyone else in the audience just take it all in instead of being stuck there with my eyes glued to the stage. Sure, watching the band was great but I think I had more interest in watching the people in the audience. It was truly like a religious experience for a lot of people there and although my friend wouldn’t admit it, watching her take it all in gave me such a warm heart. Trevor Hall somehow mixes a sense of spirituality into his music without it being blatantly obvious and I loved the way that translated into the audience. I’m going to say something and it’s going to sound mean but I swear I don’t mean it like that– it honestly felt a bit like being at a church camp. Again, I don’t mean anything bad by that and it’s more of a reflection on the connection that fans of Trevor Hall have with the amazing musician. There was just something about the way people were swaying to the beat with their hands up in the air that screamed church to me.

Regardless of how you spent Trevor Hall’s set on Wednesday night, I’m willing to bet you left with a full heart and a sense of calm that you had been longing for. Whether you spent the night having a religious experience, spent it singing along to the peaceful words, or, like me, just spent it taking everything in, it was a truly beautiful adventure.

Line Up:

The California Honeydrops

Trevor Hall & The Great In-Between

Venue: Palace Theatre

Smell-O-Meter: Small whiffs of the devil’s lettuce

Average Age of the Crowd: 34

Crowd Surfers- None

Stage Divers- 0

Mosh-ability- 0 out of 10

Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $1.23

Broken Bones- None

Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing

Fights- None Witnessed

Pukers- 0

Passed Out Kids- 0

Idiots Taken Out By Security – 0

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)-

The California Honeydrops– 0

Trevor Hall & The Great In-Between– 0

Celebrity Sightings – None

Overall Score – 7.8 out of 10

Show on Deck — Lit / Gin Blossoms

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