There was a haze hanging over the downtown Minneapolis skyline as I made the trek from my house to Target Field. It had me a bit worried about what the stadium would be like for day two of TC Summerfest but, as I entered the field, it was as if Target Field was untouchable. There was no haze or smell of the Canadian wildfires in the air– only excitement and anticipation in the air.

Although I just caught TALK a couple of weeks ago when he opened for Young the Giant at Surly Festival Field, I was excited to catch him as the opening act on Saturday afternoon. (I won’t get into the background of this band as I literally just covered him but feel free to read up HERE!) Nicholas Durocher (the real name behind TALK) was up to his usual antics and, within the first song, he was already distracted by the fact that he was walking on a catwalk that branched out of the stage and into general admission. “I’ve never been on one of these before! It feels kind of weird!” Even with those quirky moments scattered throughout the set, Nicholas and his band never missed a beat and had the modest yet growing crowd right where they wanted them throughout the set. Although I thought his “Olympic Croc Kicks” (it’s a “real” sport that Nicholas invented where he literally just sees how far he can kick his crocs off his feet) were a bit lackluster compared to what he did at Surly, I felt that Talk’s set was the perfect way to get the day started.

You know when you hear a song and it just hits you to the point where you find yourself listening to it on repeat for literal hours? That’s how I fell in love with the lovely Em Beihold. Her song “Numb Little Bug” hit me and it hit me hard to the point where, even to this day, I can’t help but get super lost in the track, the words, and the overall vibe of the track. Saturday was my first chance seeing this young songstress live and she did not disappoint. That fateful song that got me hooked on Em is super raw, full of emotion, and that’s exactly what I got throughout her performance Saturday afternoon. She and her band played through the set with a sense of grace and playfulness that was absolutely addicting.

Following Em Beihold was Chelsea Cutler. Although Chelsea Cutler isn’t quite yet a household name, she truly should be and is on her way to it. Much like there was something super raw about Em’s set, I got that again from Chelsea Cutler. There was just something so genuine about her overall being. Instead of being all dolled up, she danced around the stage with a long sleeve shirt and shorts on. I know I rarely talk about fashion in these blogs but I felt like it gave Chelsea’s set a bit of an understated vibe that I was not expecting but also truly appreciated. Even the way she addressed the crowd and spoke about her excitement about the rest of the line-up for the day– it just felt super real and innocent and although not super familiar with Chelsea Cutler’s music or live performances but, after seeing her on Saturday, that’s all I want to do from here on out– listen to her beautiful music and soak in her beautiful energy.

I was super bummed when I found out that AJR was not going to be playing on Saturday as planned. Honestly, they were a big selling point for me when it came to the line-up on Saturday and they are one of those bands that I have somehow never caught live. They had a good reason to cancel the performance and my heart goes out to them as they deal with the devastating loss of their father. Personally, I would have loved to see the last minute opening on this festival to be filled with a local act or two. I mean, come on, we are in Minneapolis and, as I always say, this town has the best music scene in the country. Sadly that’s not the choice that was made. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised that instead of filling the spot with local talent, the people behind the festival chose another big name artist but, again, just a bit bummed at the missed opportunity.

Enter the big name artist who swooped in and saved the day- Oliver Tree. Oliver is a strange character. When you see him, the first thing you may notice is his over-exaggerated bowl cut/ mullet hybrid hair cut or maybe it’s the eccentric outfits– regardless– you notice him. I’ve been wanting to see Oliver Tree ever since he came across my radar due to a late night (and maybe intoxicated) trip into the YouTube rabbit hole. He intrigued me and, even though I didn’t particularly like his sound or style, I liked his persona that I saw being portrayed in the videos. As I sat there watching him perform on Saturday night, I felt that same sense of intrigue wash over me. Honestly, I spent the majority of his set still trying to figure out if he’s serious or not. From the haircut to the outfits to the strange videos playing behind him to his quirky dance moves and the rest of his band on Saturday, it was truly a bit hard to decipher.

Whether Oliver Tree is trolling us all or not, he knows how to put on a show. I may have not loved the music blaring throughout the stadium but I could not turn away from the stage. He was a visual kind of act. From the quirky dancing to the way he and all of his bandmates were always wearing the exact same outfit even with multiple wardrobe changes to the confusing videos playing on the giant screen behind him, there was just always something to watch and to keep you in his Oliver’s world.

Between Oliver Tree and the headliner of the night (Imagine Dragons), I had a chance to meet up with my cousin, her husband, and her three kids. It was the first concert for two of the three kids and at first I wanted to judge my cousin for making this their first show but then I thought about it. I knew what was coming and knew that, although not quite my thing, it was perfect for a family outing and the perfect gateway into live music for the kids.

I’m not sure how they did it but Imagine Dragons had a much larger crowd than The Killers. Maybe it’s the mass appeal of this band or the fact that it was a Saturday night and there were way more families wandering around the stadium. Regardless, I was surprised but, as Imagine Dragons played through their epic set, it made sense. Imagine Dragons is one of those bands that I love to make fun of but, when push comes to shove, I find my way to their shows every time they come to town. Stylistically, their sound is the furthest away from what I typically like but, when it comes to their live show, they give me everything I could ever ask for from a live band: energy, talent, and, more importantly, passion.

“Tonight is a night where you can feel anything you want!” It’s a cliche statement but there’s something about the way that Dan Reynolds said it on Saturday night. I believed it. I felt it. I felt as if I could do whatever I wanted to do during their set without judgement. Yeah, so Imagine Dragons may not be my thing but they make me feel something special and strong every time I see them and them playing the enormous venue that is Target Field didn’t change that at all.

The biggest difference between Friday and Saturday at this festival was, as mentioned, the average age of the audience. It was clear that there were more kids and families on Saturday night and I loved the way that Imagine Dragons vocalist Dan Reynolds acknowledged that. From the energy they brought on stage to the things Dan said between songs, I feel like the band did an insanely good job of playing for their crowd and truly creating a future generation of concert goers that I wouldn’t mind being surrounded by in the future. There was a sense of respect and admiration that radiated from the kids in the audience to the stage that I wish I felt more at my nightly shows. I know I’ve shared my fair share of complaints about music and concerts these days but Saturday night gave me hope.

All in all, TC Summer Fest was clearly a success. Sure, there were things that could have been done better or had been changed to make it feel more like the “festival” that I think the organizers were going for but, at the end of Saturday night, I walked away floored by how much fun I had throughout the two days. I’m not sure what the future holds for TC Summer Fest but I know that I truly hope it continues long into the future.

Line Up:

TALK

Em Beihold

Chelsea Cutler

Oliver Tree

Imagine Dragons

Venue: Target Field

Smell-O-Meter: Nothing

Average Age of the Crowd: 14 (okay, that’s dramatic, but I really want to emphasize how many kids were there on Saturday)

Crowd Surfers- None spotted

Stage Divers- 0

Mosh-ability- 1 out of 10

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

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)-

TALK– 1

Em Beihold– 0

Chelsea Cutler – 0

Oliver Tree – 0

Imagine Dragons – 3

Celebrity Sightings – None

Overall Score – 9 out of 10

Show on Deck — Dead Tooth / Dino Gala / Time Room

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