Posts tagged "First Avenue"
Grieves @ First Avenue Mainroom
November 3rd, 2012
Seattle-based rapper Grieves paid a visit to Minneapolis over the weekend to play an all-ages show at the one and only First Avenue – his first time EVER at the historic venue. Accompanied by the multitalented Budo and a newcomer by the name of Connor on stage, the trio exceeded the expectations of die-hard Grieves fans with their energizing instrumentation and buoyant stage presence. What some people may not know about Grieves is that he is, in fact, a huge goofball. While his lyrics may lead listeners to believe that he is a downer, his charismatic stage persona showed another side of his personality. He came across as very at ease, engaging the audience with jokes as well as stories to provide background for some of his songs. Budo also chimed in from time to time, throwing in his two cents to add to the on-stage chemistry between the three performers.
Speaking of Budo, wow. That dude is talented. He played electric guitar, keys and the trumpet throughout the night, showcasing why Grieves decided to team up with him on the brink of their success several years ago. They are the perfect combo in the studio as well as on stage; Budo rocks the instruments while Grieves slays the microphone. Not only were his intricate lyrics performed with precision, his singing was pitch-perfect. The songs in their hour and a half set sounded just like the album versions, which can be considered quite an accomplishment in this day and age.
Grieves played tracks from all three of his albums, “Irreversible,” “88 Keys & Counting,” and his most recent release “Together/Apart.” I think it is safe to say that his older stuff received a vast amount of audience approval; the crowd went nuts and sang along for songs from “Irreversible,” such as “I Ate Your Soul” and “Scar Gardens.” His new stuff got the crowd moving as well. Fan favorites off his latest album like “Lightspeed” and the hit tune “On the Rocks” were very well done, and were much more exciting to hear in a live setting.
If you ever get the chance to see Grieves and Budo, do it! They are the real deal. Their performances are polished and natural. They clearly love what they do for a living, possessing an energetic outlook that allows them to connect with their audience instantly. If you have never heard of Grieves, you can check him out on the Rhymesayers website or at the independent, local hip-hop store Fifth Element in downtown Minneapolis.
Written by Luke Hochrein, Radio K volunteer
Raekwon @ First Avenue Mainroom
November 4th, 2012
With the first annual Twin Cities Sneaker.Art Xchange hosted by Studiiyo23 by day, Sunday night converged sneaker enthusiast and hip hop heads together at a First Ave after party to rock to Raekwon the Chef of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan. In a major surprise, there were relatively little in the crowd that night, not typical of a show usually done by a Wu-Tang artist. Despite First Ave not being as packed as it probably should have been, it lead Raekwon to have a crowd engaging performance, even taking requests at certain points.
The set consisted of snippets of songs from his nineteen year catalog. The Shaolin (Staten Island) rapper brought out some of his classic verses from Wu-Tang’s debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), starting off with it’s signature song and street motto, “C.R.E.A.M.” and adding “Protect Ya Neck” later down the set. Raekwon then moved onto another staple hip hop album with his solo debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..., which showcased his drug-laden mafioso verses in “Criminology,” “Heaven & Hell,” and “Glaciers of Ice” to the multisyllabic rhymes filled with hip hop quotables in “Verbal Intercourse” and to his suave fly-guy-get-gettin’-heavy-on-the-Wu-slang verse in “Ice Cream.” The set had it’s awkward moments as Raekwon pointed the mic to an unresponsive crowd hoping that they’d sing along which lead to pauses in some songs and some strange back-and-forths between Rae and the crowd. Nevertheless, he hyped the small crowd back up with shoutouts to the late great Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a fellow member of the Wu-Tang Clan, and even performed ODB’s hit, “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.”
Raekwon did provide newer songs as well, tapping into his 2009 sequel of his debut and critically acclaimed comeback album with Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, where he performed his singles “New Wu” and “Have Mercy.” He also performed the title track from his 2011 album, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang, as well songs from his latest mixtapes, 2011’s Dope On The Table EP and 2012’s Unexpected Victory. After an hour of Raekwon cooking up hot verses for his fans, living up to being called the Chef, he served up four more songs in an encore performance ending the show with “Black Mozart.”
With the show having its odd moments and surprising tiny audience, it probably wasn’t the best experience for Raekwon and fans alike expecting a hyped up performance. Although, the show felt more like an after party than a concert, Raekwon still showed First Ave some of his talents and provided us with some of that raw and showed how Wu-Tang still throws down.
Written by Mahad Mohamed, Radio K volunteer
P.O.S. @ First Avenue Mainroom
October 26th, 2012
As if it wasn’t already known that Minneapolis is home to one of the most distinctive, inspiring and supportive hip hop communities in the nation, everyone in attendance at First Avenue on Friday for the “We Don’t Even Live Here” release party reasserted that fact to one another by rocking out and having a great time. Despite his ailing kidneys, P.O.S. delivered yet another hand-raising, jaw-dropping performance. He had to cancel the rest of his tour but P.O.S. still brought his A-game to First Ave, performing new tracks and also a few old favorites.
Less than a week had gone by since the release of his latest album “We Don’t Even Live Here,” yetalmost everyone knew the words to the new songs and sang/rapped along. It seemed like everyone had one of his singles, “F**k Your Stuff,” memorized from start to finish. The crowd went nuts when fellow Doomtree member Sims made his first appearance of the night to perform “They Can’t Come” with the rapper of the evening.The song of the night, no question, had to be “Get Down” featuring Mike Mictlan, who was also one of the opening acts. P.O.S. and Mictlan got the entire crowd to jump up and down together, turning what was already one hell of a rap show into an all-out dance party.
After performing “We Don’t Even Live Here” front to back (with the exception of a pair of songs), P.O.S. dug deep into his repertoire of songs and busted out “Music for Shoplifting,” a classic from his first album. He was then accompanied by the entire Doomtree squad for “Low Light Low Life” as well as a few songs from Doomtree’s latest, “No Kings,” such as “Bolt Cutter” and “Bangarang.” P.O.S. closed out his show with “Purexed,” leaving all of those in attendance elated and quite satisfied.
It must also be mentioned that openers the Tribe and Big Cats!, Audio Perm, and Mike Mictlan all did a great job. There is no doubt that P.O.S. is one of the best live performers around, and it requires a lot of courage and passion to be able to open for him and rap in front of an audience with such high standards for hip hop music. For those of you have never seen a P.O.S. show, I highly encourage you to go to one when he is back at full strength. For those of you who have seen a P.O.S. show, but just couldn’t make it to First Avenue last Friday night and need a fix, do not fret. Doomtree Blowout VIII is just around the corner.Everyone here at Radio K is wishing P.O.S. a speedy recovery so he can get back out on tour and up on stage.
Written by Luke Hochrein, Radio K Volunteer
Beach House @ First Avenue Mainroom
October 9th, 2012
Baltimore-based duet Beach House entranced a sold out crowd at First Avenue’s Mainroom on Tuesday. If you weren’t in attendance, you could probably hear lead singer Victoria Legrand’s transcendent vocals from your St. Paul apartment.
Despite her dominating voice, Legrand spent the entire show towards the back of the stage, saying few words to the crowd. Guitarist Alex Scally was equally modest with his guitar work, cutting loose on his baby blue stratocaster for just a few brief moments. Older songs such as “Gila” and “Zebra” were warmly received. “Walk in the Park” was the slowest beat of the night, yet everyone still nodded in satisfaction throughout. It all built up to the highly danceable “Myth”, the single from their latest release.
In their encore, Beach House played “10 Mile Stereo” and “Irene”, two of their louder, more aggressive songs. On “Irene”, Legrand began headbanging like an eighties metalhead, and rightfully so. Beach House has come a long way from their humble debut in 2006. Get your tickets early next time; they’ll be selling out First Avenue for many years to come.
Written by Alex Simpson, Radio K volunteer
A$AP Rocky @ First Avenue Mainroom
October 13th, 2012
Saturday night at First Avenue's mainroom featured one of the most exciting hip-hop bills Minneapolis will see in 2012: Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q, and A$AP Rocky with the entire A$AP Mob. All are relative newcomers with few releases under their collective belts but all received substantial acclaim for releases in 2011 and 2012. Many were there to see Detroit native Brown, who played plenty of selections from his fantastically explicit mixtape XXX with such passion and energy that most around me agreed that he would probably be the finest performer of the evening. Schoolboy Q came out shortly thereafter and ran through a set that would be great by any other standard but paled in comparison to the ferocious performance before it. Shortly before 11 the house lights went dim for Harlem native A$AP Rocky in his first ever Minneapolis date. Two members of his crew, dubbed the A$AP Mob, entered the stage wearing gas masks. A figure in an orange facemask ran out and quickly rattled off a few verses before pulling the mask up to reveal that it was Rocky himself. The rest of the Mob emerged shortly thereafter and breezed through songs from the tepidly received mixtape Lords Never Worry, which generally failed to excite the crowd, who were primarily there to see the performer whose name was on the bill: Rocky. After clearing the stage for a brief interlude segment which continued the theme of warfare, Rocky emerged to finally perform some favorites off of his 2011 mixtape LiveLoveA$AP which finally ignited the sold-out crowd. Tracks like "Wassup", "Brand New Guy" and "Kissin Pink" sounded massive through the venue's new Electro-Voice sound system. There were a couple other choice cuts from the mixtape that were performed before Rocky left the stage and the house lights abruptly went up, making it apparent that there would be no encore. Rocky's set halfway delivered on what myself and the audience hoped for, and the unfamiliar material was at least performed with a lot of chutzpah, but it was difficult to stand up next to the brilliantly spirited set that began the evening from Danny Brown.
Written by Tom Steffes, Radio K volunteer.
Grizzly Bear @ First Avenue Mainroom
October 1st, 2012
On October 1st, the baroque-pop quartet, Grizzly Bear returned to Minneapolis to play a show at First Avenue. Known for their lush orchestrations, lulling melodies, and tight harmonies, Grizzly Bear began their set with just what the crowd expected. The four members quickly sank into their years of gig experience and delivered sheer energy while maintaining precise execution.
Grizzly Bear’s power comes from their ingenuity. This ingenuity was a trait that was explored and showcased in the show. Midway through the set, the band played one of their most epic tunes, “Lullabye”. The juxtaposition of the odd, rhythmic, melodic fragments layered on top of the low shelf drones surely warmed the hearts of the audience. Although the complexity in their music has caused several people’s minds to twist into knots, a concert goer can still nod his or her head to the rhythm.
Above all, the lasting impression that the band made on the crowd was their ability to play different instruments. All four members of Grizzly Bear sang at one point in the set (if not all at the same time). Chis Taylor frequently switched from bass to clarinet to flute and back. Furthermore, Ed Droste switched from autoharp to guitar to omnichord from song to song. Who knows what more this band can do in the future?
All in all, this concert was a fantastic one that consisted of great musicians who were able to fully meld their orchestrations into hum-able pop songs. It was one of the best concerts I’ve witnessed so far and I urge you to attend their concert when they next stop in town.
Written by Ben Chin, Radio K volunteer
Built To Spill @ First Avenue Mainroom
Setepmber 19th, 2012
With no introduction, Built To Spill launched directly into their set Wednesday night after sound-checking their own instruments in clear view of the audience. The show kicked off with “Traces,” the second track from the bands 2006 release, You In Reverse. Doug Martsch, arguably the heart and soul of Built To Spill, took center stage and played the majority of the show with his head down and eyes closed, only popping up to sing vocals while his rapidly-tapping right leg sent a wiggle through his body that left his head bobbling. At one point during “Reasons,” a pleased smirk washed across his face as the crowd roared for more.
A full house packed with people of varying ages cheered loudly between songs, with some of the loudest outbursts heard during fan favorites such as “The Plan” and “You Were Right” from 1999’s Keep It Like A Secret. Only one of the songs in the setlist , the frenetic “Pat,” came from the bands most recent studio effort, There Is No Enemy, released in 2009. Otherwise, long-time fans got a healthy dose of well-played classics mixed with extended jams such as “Virginia Reel Around The Fountain,” from the live record Built To Spill released over 12 years ago.
Of course, what would a Built To Spill show be without an encore? Martsch and crew came back to the stage and were joined by the vocalists from their supporting acts, Terra Lopez of Sister Crayon and Jason Albertini of Helvetia (formerly of Duster) to play a cover of “Crimson and Clover,” made famous by Tommy James and the Shondells.
Though the band are not much for crowd work, Martsch did take a moment to thank the long-time fans who were around for the first show Built To Spill played in the Twin Cities 15 years ago at the 7th Street Entry. The show closed on a jammed-out version of “Broken Chairs,” the closing track on both Keep It Like A Secret and the Live record.
Since Built To Spill haven’t released a new record in nearly three years it might be hard to know when they will grace the stage of First Avenue again. But if the fact that the last time they played Minneapolis was just over a year ago, chances are pretty good that the combination of great music and a band that clearly love to play will bring Built To Spill back to our fair city in no time.
Written by Noel Clark, Radio K volunteer
Shellac @ First Avenue Mainroom
September 1st, 2012
Saturday night was an evening of pulverizing rhythms and jagged atonality at First Avenue's Mainroom. Local quintet STNNNG began the night with abandon, channeling the Jesus Lizard in sound as well as attitude and stage presence. Their set ended with a surprising cover of AC/DC's "Have A Drink On Me". Bellini took the stage next, a group hailing from Catania, Sicily, Italy. Their only non-Italian member is Alexis Fleisig, better known as the drummer for Girls Against Boys. They had a presence like none other - middle-aged Italians playing noise rock that sounds like it's straight from New York in the 80's.
Shellac emerged promptly at 9 p.m. and swiftly ran through a set of songs that spanned practically their entire discography to a venue that was near capacity. I should backtrack to mention that the premise of this show is as a part of their "20th Anniversary Tour" - but since this is Shellac and they do it their way, the tour was composed of three dates in their hometown of Chicago and one date in Minneapolis (most likely because drummer Todd Trainer hails from here and the Twins are one of Steve Albini's favorite baseball teams). Despite the exclusive nature of the show, the ticket was still a mere $12. Between songs bassist Bob Weston would ask the audience if anyone had a question, creating some amusing and snappy banter including Albini obliging to tell his favorite joke (which I wouldn't dare reprint here) as well as ridiculing a fan for requesting a song by one of his previous endeavors. Albini and Weston had nearly identical gear rigs: each had an Electrical Guitar Company instrument, an amp composed of two cabs with a head that only had one knob. Albini had only two pedals. The stage lights stayed on the entire time; there was no light show to speak of. They didn't have a setlist, instead opting to convene at the center of the stage between songs to discuss what should be played next. It's easy to understand why they refer to themselves as a "minimalist rock trio". Their final song ended with Albini and Weston setting their instruments down and deconstructing Trainer's drumset as he played it until he was left with just his sticks. They then moved their gear off the stage and jumped down in to the gap between the crowd barrier and the stage to interact directly with fans. Albini personally handled the merchandise sales. They're cocky and snarky, sure, but there really isn't any rock star attitude going on here. In an era when indie bands with one album under their belt can charge over twice as much for a ticket, a show such as this one was surprisingly refreshing. It's just difficult not to admire their steadfast commitment to the DIY aesthetic that they've now maintained for two decades. Happy birthday, Shellac.
Written by Tom Steffes, Radio K volunteer
St. Vincent and Shearwater @ the First Avenue Mainroom
May 12th, 2012
Final examinations made their long-awaited exit and summer was officially inaugurated on May 12th, 2012 with Shearwater and St. Vincent to help celebrate at First Avenue.
Shearwater opened with dark falsettos ringing in, “You As You Were” complemented by a thriving syncopated beat. Shearwater gloriously roars its outstanding stage presence and communication within the group that draws you in to pay closer attention. Lead singer and songwriter, Johnathan Meiburg crouches down to tune his guitar fixedly listening. Slowly, a smile unravels across his face while Shearwater’s members exchange wild-eyed glances while slightly upturning their lips like they’re about to erupt in laughter like they have some sort of inside joke. You know these guys are enjoying what they do according to Meiburg, “It’s an honor for us to play here at First Avenue.”
Multi-colored lights and flickering strobes cloak Annie Clark of St. Vincent as she enters with the highly charged “Marrow,” known for its sharp beats and bassy undercurrent. Clark articulated her movements in addition to her music as she glided across the stage in a twitchy, robotic, but strangely graceful manner. Towards the end of the night, she treaded along the edge of the stage, swinging her microphone, then nodded at one of the staff. All of the sudden, she jumped on his shoulders blaring “Krokodil,” a track from St. Vincent’s Record Store Day release. Annie Clark held on to my friend and I for balance at one point and then to our surprise, she stage dove into the crowd and hands reached up to carry her throughout the mainroom’s sea of fans.
Written by Abbie Gobeli, Radio K volunteer
Meshuggah @ the First Avenue Mainroom
May 13th, 2012
Last Sunday, Swedish metal band Meshuggah took the stage at First Avenue in a brutal display of what has brought them to be one of the more respected acts in metal today. Joining them on tour was Poland's technical death metal standard-bearers Decapitated and Georgia band Baroness. Rarely must one distinguish between America's Georgia and Europe's Georgia, but with two other European acts, it makes sense to emphasise that Baroness hails from Savannah.
Unfortunately, my mental autopilot got the best of me, and I failed to realize that the show started a couple hours before I thought it did. Because of this, I didn't get to see Decapitated or Baroness - a sincere disappointment - but I got to see about an hour of the headliner's performance, which very much met the expectations of the band's reputation.
From the very beginning, you can tell why the band is considered to be one of the forefathers of the genre Djent. Djent is a really cool name for a genre because it is derived from the onomatopoeic description of the high-gain, palm-muted guitar tones that Meshuggah is known for. On display were thundering bass lines, commanding guitar lines, and double-bass rhythms that can only be described as dozens of bags of popcorn popping in perfect rhythmic unison.
The show evoked a feeling that is a commendable aspect of lots of metal and many other forms of music. Meshuggah shirks pleasant-sounding melodies in favor of a loud, abrasive sound, but in this disharmony, there is sort of an elegant craftsmanship. The rhythms they play really resonate with the listener. This effect usually manifests itself with toe-tapping, but in this instance, it's headbanging. The metal fan can't help but at least bob his or her head to the music, and that says a lot about the band's skill to take an otherwise ugly-sounding style of music and make it fairly sophisticated. The shear technical precision of the musicians, the varied time signatures, and the one-of-a-kind syncopation they use connects with the metal fan on a subconscious, visceral level, where the heart of great music pumps like double bass drums on stage.
While Meshuggah has a great style and great songs, they suffer, I believe, from what I like to call the AC/DC syndrome, meaning that all of their songs sound more-or-less like one song, but it's a GREAT song. This is a criticism I often have with various metal acts, especially those which prefer the technical side of the genre. For a band, however, that chooses to ignore traditional melodies and hooks, this aspect may not be much of a detriment. The technical prowess that the band has and the way they evoke (sometimes aggressive) physical reactions in the listeners points to their staying-power as a titan of metal.
Written by Ross Crandall, Radio K volunteer
Neon Indian @ First Avenue Mainroom
May 4th, 2012
It’s a muggy, Minneapolis night at First Avenue and before Neon Indian takes the stage, Austin, TX duo Silent Diane opens with an electrocuting, space-age sound that blanketed the crowd with a heavy layer of synth. Up next: Lemonade, a band too sweet for my taste. Lemonade is comprised of three guys with poppy drums, bubbly synth chords, and bright vocals whining out lyrics such as “Put your cool hands on me,” which made me reminisce about my middle school days when kids listened to bands like Simple Plan. Alas, the opener storm passed and Neon Indian graced the stage with an astronomical presence highlighted by fog machines and psychedelic colored visuals projected in the main room. Everyone in the audience danced along with frontman, Alan Palomo as he performed electronically charged songs such as, “Fallout,” “Polish Girl,” and “Deadbeat Summer.” The audience became pretty rowdy as people crowd surfed towards the stage. My friend and I had the misfortune of getting hit in the head by these surfers multiple times. But the throbbing headaches were worth Alan asking us if we were all right and giving us a nod saying, “These last few songs are for you.”
Written by Abbie Gobeli, Radio K volunteer