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(Sandy) Alex G

Jun 28, 2017

Shuffling into the sold out show at the entry on the night of the 27th, I was buzzing with excitement. For the most part, I was unaware of what was in store for one of the three acts. What followed was an entirely dynamic show filled with fairly diverse acts, showcasing the songwriting ability of the figureheads for each talented group of real rock n’ rollers.

Cende

Cende, the Brooklyn-based power pop-punk foursome, absolutely rocked the buzzing, packed, and restless crowd. Their music was a huge surprise for me. I was unaware of their music up until about three hours prior to show time. From what little I heard, their live performances of songs like “Don’t Want To” and “What I Want” furthered the rocking factor of their power pop influenced sound. It is always refreshing when bands can so effectively combine punk and pop without sounding overly corny. Their latest record, #1 Hit Single, released on May 26th, is a must listen. By the end of their set, which featured Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast sneaking on stage for a short verse, the crowd was properly hyped for her return to the Twin Cities.

Japanese Breakfast

Since I had dearly missed Japanese Breakfast open for Slowdive back in May at the Palace Theater, I would miss another opportunity to see the dreamy, introspective pop group. Michelle, the spearhead and principal songwriter, started the group back in 2015 after taking a break from her east coast rock-oriented group Little Big League to record dreamier pop songs in Eugene, Oregon. Following 2016’s Psychopomp and the batch of recently released singles, the group’s diverse catalog of music has only widened. Michelle was very engaged with the crowd, even going so far as to say we are one of her favorite cities to play. Mixing in jams from Psychopomp, including “In Heaven” and the dark disco-tinged “Woman that Loves You” with new material was very welcome. While not necessarily as rowdy as Cende, the performances were still captivating the packed in crowd. When Michelle wasn’t jamming out with her fellow guitarist, she made the stage her own playground, jumping around and belting out her tunes. Standout new single “Boyish” highlights her crooning vocals and the jangly, dreamy guitar sounds they so expertly played. The dynamic set was perfect for setting up the accomplished (Sandy) Alex G.



(Sandy) Alex G

Harking from similar Philadelphian roots as Michelle Zauner, Alex Giannascoli’s music is comparably personal, with a heavier tinge to his songs. His new record, Rocket, was a diverse set of songs ranging from head banging anthems like “Bug” and the weirdly crafted “Brick”, to heartland inspired hits like “Proud”. His backing band was all equally to task with this wide range of music. The crowd loved it. One could sense the restlessness of the crowd as they were waiting for the group to take the stage, and their payoff was sublime. During “Brick”, there was even a mosh pit, to my surprise. It was a welcome burst of energy as we had been standing for just about three hours with little to no movement besides the occasional busted dance move. By the end of their 45 minute set and a long, disjointed jam session, Alex G’s group started taking recommendations from the crowd, and added at least an extra 40 minutes to their set list. This included the dark power ballad “Mary” (shouted by everyone as soon as he was fielding requests), and “Black Hair”. Michelle again featured on a song to close out the set and the night at the entry, filled with diverse songs and passionate songwriters who absolutely killed it.


Reilly Tegan