Wolf Alice with The Big Pink @ First Ave 3/27/18

Words by Hannah Hubbell, photos by Maia

After having seen Wolf Alice once in a tiny theater with an even tinier audience and once as a quick opening act, I had justifiably high expectations this time around. First Avenue is one of Minneapolis residents’ most coveted privileges, and I was ready to dance. Since the last time I saw them, the band had nearly doubled their discography and I had reached the legal age of 21. There were new songs and new adult beverages in my future.

Wolf Alice opened with “Heavenward,” one of their dreamiest tunes yet. The group looked suave and steady, with bassist Theo in his vintage black and white suit and frontwoman Ellie rocking leopard print. Their set featured angelic ballads like “St. Purple and Green,” and loud, sharp numbers like “Fluffy.” In between, there were some real emotional highlights. Remembering long drives and post-breakup nights listening to “Silk.” Cuddling up to Maia during “Bros:” “Oh, I’m so lucky, you are my best friend.” Shouting all the words to “Your Love’s Whore.” The night was a perfect meeting place for nostalgia and euphoria.

Cliché as it may be, the sounds and stories of the first Wolf Alice record comprise much of my soundtrack for all the years leading up to the release of their second album. They make music about simple things: love, friendship, and the heartbreak that comes from both. Somewhere in the mess I believed I was living in, I found poetry and emotion and realness, and it was Wolf Alice.

I’ll remember this show for a few reasons, the first being that it reminded me how genuinely happy it makes me to be in a room full of people with a genuine love for rock and roll. The second reason is that I’m convinced there will never be a more badass closing song than “Giant Peach,” though I wish they would’ve played it all the way to the end. And the third reason is that the whole time I knew both Maia and I were thinking about how much our dads would’ve enjoyed the show, which is just funny.

Wolf Alice at First Avenue was one for the books. If you love a band that can make you cry as quickly as they can have your head banging, be sure to catch them on their next tour (and buy their records!).

The Big Pink

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Wolf Alice

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Alvvays with Jay Som @ First Ave 11/02/17

Another late one, woo! Ms. Hannah, Got Any Tunes’s Alvvays expert, shared a notebook dump of observations and below are some photos I shot – Enjoy!

  • Alvvays is the type of band you’d bring home to your mom– cordial and collected with a sprinkling of comedy.
  • If you can believe it, “Archie, Marry Me” actually sounds better when it’s accompanied by a singing audience.
  • With Molly in her jazzy janitor suit and Kerri in her teacher-y plaid trousers, the two ladies tag-teamed the Grade School Faculty™ look. If you know me, you know I ate it right up.
  • The lights really corresponded with the mood of every song, especially “Party Police” (a personal fave). Emotion is so raw in color.
  • Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties during their set, but watching how they worked through them and supported each other was extra heartwarming.
  • Definitely saw Monica Laplante as I was waiting in line! Always fun to get an idea about what inspires our very own local scene here in Minneapolis.
  • What was that cover they closed with?! Such a fun song for them. Tried and failed to find it on the Internet though. Wondering if it came from friends of theirs?
  • Jay Som gave us a beautiful introduction to an overall fantastic night. I walked in right as they started “I Think You’re Alright.” Check them out if you haven’t!

 

 

Jay Som

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Alvvays

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Dead Cross @ First Ave 09/19/17

I will do my best not to get too lengthy with this but there is a lot of history and some major players involved.

Dead Cross is a new band with two very influential members. If you are unaware of who Faith No More are then shame the F*CK on you. They are hands-down one of the most influential bands in music. The frontman for Faith No More, Mike Patton, just happens to be the front man for Dead Cross and several other bands – Mr. Bungle, Lovage, Fantomas. Patton is one of the most versatile singers in music history and his vocal range can and will go from a smooth jam to a complete spastic lunatic. I encourage any younger readers to check out some of the above-mentioned bands.

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Dave Lombardo is formally of the band Slayer and current drummer for Suicidal Tendencies. Slayer is without question the most influential band in heavy music. Dave is also one of the most revered and badass drummers of all time.

Without intention, Maia and I made it in time to catch the opening act Secret Chiefs 3. I’m going to be short: They’re really f*cking loud – the drummer hits like a freight train. Also, an electric mandolin?

As the main room began to fill up, I was not concerned about coming out of mosh retirement tonight. I questioned whether this was going to be worth the late night with having to work at 5 am and Maia having classes the next day. As the infamous screen in the main room rolls up, Dead Cross came out swinging hard. Patton led the charge with his Hawaiian shirt, menacing lurch and spastic vocals. Lombardo was tucked behind a modest Tama drum kit in comparison to his days in Slayer, nonetheless, he beat those skins into utter submission. They blasted through their entire album in all of 40 minutes.

As the band took the stage for the encore, Lombardo started to play the opening to “Raining Blood” which is one of Slayers biggest songs. This got the room all worked up in frenzy. Just as the main guitar hook comes in, they stop and go right into “Epic”, Faith No More’s biggest hit. Patton utters the vocal hook and stops, moving right into their now famous rendition of the classic Dead Kennedys’ song “Trump Nazi Punks F*ck Off” to end the night. To answer my earlier question about a late show on a weekday night, f*cking right it was worth it.

I would like to thank my baby girl, Maia, for enduring yet another one of my concerts. You’re a good sport and good company. And to Dead Cross, for the tickets and allowing Maia to get some truly rad pictures!

Words by Joel Jacobson. Photos by Maia.

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Sylvan Esso @ First Ave 08/07/17

I have so much I want to say about this show, but I feel like I won’t be able to find the right words to do it justice. Sylvan Esso has meant a lot to me over the years, their first album especially carries a lot of high school memories.

  • “Coffee” : Always reminds me of S and Ahoy Sexy!
  • “Hey Mami”: raging in the car after dance team practice
  • “Dreamy Bruises”: hiding in the darkroom for hours
  • “Could I Be”: Dancing in Iz’s bedroom too late at night

After managing a small crisis of almost not having someone to go with, I think I would have had almost as much fun by myself. Flock of Dimes put on a gorgeous set and I really wish the audience was more considerate, there was a lot of talking over her music from the people around me.

I am incredibly envious of Amelia’s sick dance moves and her energy that kept her going 110% the entire show; that girl effing killed it. There’s something so sneaky and elusive about Sylvan Esso’s slinky, electro folk-pop that it was such a wild feeling being in the pit during “Could I Be” with the entire audience singing along. Both Nick and Amelia were some of the most kind and humble artists I’ve ever been privileged enough to see perform live, I mean I don’t think Nick stopped smiling the whole set.

Sylvan Esso played a great mix of tracks off both of their albums, including some quieter ones that I hadn’t expected to make the set list. There was so much dancing. So. Much. Closing their set with arguably the biggest hit off What Now, “Radio,” They came back on stage shortly after to play a couple more songs for the enthusiastic crowd. And just like that, with a single blow of a kiss and a beautiful bow to the crowd, they were gone. Never before has a show seemed so long and so short at the same time – I’m still trying to figure it out. But for now, here are some photos!

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Testament, Sepultura, and Prong @ First Ave Mainroom 5/3/17

I had the opportunity to shoot the First Ave Mainroom for the first time a few nights ago for one of my dad’s favorite bands actually. Although he couldn’t be there with me, it was still a very cool experience and I felt like such a badass being not only the youngest, but also the only female photographer that night. Also I saw a girl punch a man in the face for trying to keep her from going into the mosh pit and that was pretty cool too.

Catfish and the Bottlemen @ First Ave Mainroom Minneapolis, MN

AHHHH! So I came Home (Minnesota) earlier this month for a couple weeks to visit family, friends, the city, etcetera. I love Minneapolis and all my people so much, and being away from it all for the past six months has only made my love grow stronger. So thanks to everyone for being the greatest people, and thanks to Minnesota for having the best public radio, being green, and not deathly humid in the summer (*cough cough* Florida. *death staring out my bedroom window at our one sad, tiny palm tree in the front yard*). Anyway, now that the fan-girling over Home is over, lets begin with Catfish!

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I saw Catfish and the Bottlemen on my eighteenth birthday last year, it was a gift to myself. Unlike other freshly 18 year olds buying scratch-offs and cigarettes, I celebrated by finally going to an 18+ show! They played Varsity Theater and were greater than I had expected music wise, but we got there late, so we were pretty far back in the crowd. We had trouble seeing and there was a ton of fog, so that didn’t help with the visibility either.

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Catfish and the Bottlemen // Varsity Theater 6/9/2015

This year, The Bottlemen announced their U.S. tour and they just so happened to have a stop in MPLS while I was back home. I bought a ticket before I flew back, not really knowing who I’d go with. fast forward to me in MN, and it turns out a bunch of people I knew were going, so I bummed a ride with Marge and Syd and off we went! ( s/o to Maggie Yetzer and Sydney Rezac who, aside from being the coolest grrrls out there, came and visited me in FL this past spring. Bless their hearts!)

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Marge and Syd and I after the concert, holding hands to keep the magic flowing. 

The band was playing to a considerably larger crowd at the Mainroom of First Ave with the capacity for over 500 more people than last year’s Varsity show. They had the Worn Flints (who’s lead singer made it clear they were from Ohio) opening on their tour for the past few shows. I was impressed being that it was the first I’d heard of them. Their lead, Kenny Steigele, was a little weird in a comical way, very much like Jack Black in School of Rock.

Shortly after the Worn Flints left the stage, Catfish and the Bottlemen casually appeared on stage and jumped right into “Kathleen” off their first album, The Balcony. Van McCann, one of my many musician crushes, seemed to be a fan of this little move where he leaned into the mic stand during the verses, almost to the point of it falling. Crowd favorites were definitely the gems off the first album, and their new singles off The Ride.

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yes I know this is a crappy phone picture, don’t yell at me I didn’t have a photo pass

Marge, Syd, and I were standing only a few rows of people back, stage left. The majority of those around us were parents who were there with their too-young-to-get-in-alone kids, so nobody was moving. Marge, Syd, and I were dancing and bouncing like a bunch of crazy fan-girls (but I swear we’re cool, honest), and Marge was belting the lyrics with all her might. We caught the attention of Van, and between songs in his dreamy Welsh accent he said to us, and more specifically Marge, “I see you all dancing over there! You [Marge] singing all the words, you having a good time?!” We flipped out about it later.

I had really been hoping for them to do “Glasgow”, sadly though they didn’t. Mid-set we did get an acoustic rendition of “Hourglass”, which sufficed just as well because Van has the voice of an angel and it was just magic.

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photo cred to Margie

The rest of the show was #lit as the kids say it these days. Catfish finished their show sweaty as hell with an extremely charged “Tyrants”, everyone was screaming along. At the end of the song, Van climbed the amps on stage and hung  his guitar from the lights. This one went down in my book as one of the best concerts since The Wombats last year, it just might have topped that show. You can catch Catfish on their fall U.S. tour in most major cities. They won’t be stopping in MN, but they will be in Chicago, thats close enough, right?!

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