CHVRCHES @ The Palace Theater 10/02/18

“Get two beers in me and I’m up for anything,” Logan said to me last night, and apparently anything includes going to a capital P, Pop concert on a Tuesday night. After last minute confirmation, we ended up going and turned out to be some of the youngest there. The average age of audience members was probably 29 and everyone seemed to be drinking more than I think is necessary for a Tuesday night. Nevertheless! It was a great show and 16 year old Maia was peeing her pants so excited that I was this close to Lauren Mayberry. Photos below (I went a little over board, but JUST LOOK AT THEM!).

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SALES @ 7th St Entry 09/05/18

SALES and I go way back, not in a one-on-one, friendly sort of way, but in the way that their music has been the soundtrack to so much of my conscious, music-seeking/listening part of life. I remember hearing “Chinese New Year” way back during my junior year of high school and thinking, “wow, this sounds like summer.” Still today, it’s one of my favorite songs to play when the weather starts getting warm.

“Renee” and “Getting It On” is the beach in Florida, “Jamz” is community college, “For You” is a summer romance, “Thurs 6-25” is starting at the U, “Off and On” is last winter, and “You Look Well” is finishing finals last spring.

I’ve waited ages to see this band it seems and I was a bit nervous that they wouldn’t hold up live just because of the pedestal they’re on inside my head, but boy did they. What a good night. Wow.

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Beach Bunny, Unturned, Why Not @ Fallout Urban Arts Center 08/21/18

Boy howdy, Beach Bunny finally had another MPLS gig before they embark on a west coast tour opening for Remo Drive. Super proud of Lili and the boys, and it was really warming to hear all those people singing along to her songs, brought tears to my eyes! Why Not opened the show with high energy as always even though they had just gotten back from their second tour of the summer only hours before. (They released a new single that night also, listen to it below!) Unturned is a band I’ve heard a lot about but hadn’t seen yet nor had I ever listened to their music, and if you’re thinking, like I was, “wow, Unturned sounds like an emo band name,” you would be correct! Think Retirement Party-ish – lots of fun. Here are some photos!

Why Not

 

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Unturned

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Beach Bunny

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Ghost @ The Palace Theater 06/01/18

These are really late, but I worked all weekend and haven’t been feeling great so we’ll pretend those are valid excuses. BUT last Friday I got to shoot for Ghost, the Swedish pop-metal band, on the day of their fourth album release. This show had been sold out for quite some time, and while I’m not a huge fan of their music (it should be way heavier considering their whole occult image, in my opinion) the theatrics and novelty of their performance made up for it. I’m glad nobody died at the Minneapolis show, Cardinal Copia paid respects to the passed fan from Milwaukee just two songs into the first set. Sad my dad couldn’t be there with me to people watch, but enjoy the photos, they were fun to shoot!

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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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Cigarettes After Sex @ Grenada Theater 3/25/18

All words and photos by Mia Smith.

As a teen girl who loves to cry about love and things of that sort, Cigarettes After Sex is a great band to listen to for that pastime. Their beautiful songs about love and romance really remind me of that “sad girl leaving on a train” type of movie scene. Each song tells a story and they leave space for everyone to interpret it in their own way.

Seeing them live was just as amazing as I thought it would be. My friend and I got there super early and waited and waited, and it was so worth it. We were in the very front row. It almost seemed unreal – I just looked up and they were right there. Seeing the people behind the music you listen to so often is a cathartic experience, in a good way.

When it hits 8:30 the lights go down, and then they walk out and grab their instruments. No opening acts, no visuals, no colored lights. Just some smoke, plain low white lights, and good music. The simplicity of the band and how they present themselves makes the music come alive even more. The instruments and lyrics paint a vivid picture more than any lights or effects ever could. They don’t need anything flashy, just the good, simple stuff.

Their ambient pop tunes are so smooth and easy going. From the steady bass lines, the dreamy keyboard, the drums that fill in those empty spaces, and the extra dreamy vocals, Cigarettes AfterSex puts on a perfectly understated show that lets the music stand on its own.

They opened with “Sweet” and then played through most of the songs from their EP and album, and then end with “Apocalypse.” But that wasn’t the end, we demanded an encore and we got one. The actual end was “Dreaming Of You.” Then they bowed, thanked us, and walked off stage.

It’s impossible to stand still during this concert. You just have to sway. You have to. If you listen to the band, you know what I mean. If you don’t, check them out. You’ll be swaying. The atmosphere is full of so many wonderful things. There’s the sound of everyone singing along, the soft movements of everyone swaying along, and the tender moments of young couples.

Not only did Cigarettes After Sex deliver an amazing performance, they went next door to the Sundown at Grenada and had a signing. They happily signed a whole line of posters, vinyl, and took pictures with everyone who wanted one. They are very genuine people, and you can tell they’re just having a good time doing what they love to do.

Words and photos by Mia Smith (Twitter: @miamsmithh)

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