Best New Bands @ First AvenueFeb 14, 2014
First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2013 proved to be quite memorable for its eclectic array of artists and audience members alike.
It’s a pretty daunting task to properly recount a night with a concert bill of seven different artists. However, First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2013 proved to be quite memorable for its eclectic array of artists and audience members alike.
Southwire was the first to perform for a mainroom audience that was still accumulating. The four-piece hails form Duluth, and brought a folksy sound with a more modern twist to the smorgasbord of bands. Multi-instrumentalists and vocalists of the group, Jerree Small and Ben Larson, took turns playing keyboard and guitar. Their seamless switches really demonstrated their musicianship. At times, the melodies became quite eerie, which was only enhanced by spoken word styled speaking in lieu of singing. An upright bass served as a reminder that this was, in fact, a fairly folksy band, but not without rhythm and an experimental approach in blending genres.
The second band of the night was three-piece, Fury Things, of Minneapolis. The fuzzy-rockers played a powerful set at a high decibel. Their sound can be described as nineties pop-punk meets noise-rock, which brought me back to my Blink-182 days in junior high. Drummer, Andrew Neil Carson, was all smiles for the entirety of the performance and may have been having more fun than anyone else in the room.
After the folk and the rock, came the funk. Six-piece Minneapolis group, Black Diet, stole my heart with their vivacious and crowd participatory performance. Lead vocalist and wicked dancer, Jonathan Tolliver, gave an incredibly soulful performance. His stage presence was captivating; he tried to walk around the audience near the end of the set, but unfortunately was not allowed to for what I assume to be safety reasons. He then stayed in the photographer’s pit to remain close to the audience members. Black Diet definitely gave me a new appreciation for soul/R&B.
Minneapolis Rock n’ Roll band, BBGUN, was the fourth group to take the stage. They released a bunch of balloons near the beginning of their performance; all sporting their name written with marker. They even made one balloon for GRRRL Party. Their alt-country vibes drew in many of their fans that sang along to their songs.
Allan Kingdom was accompanied by producer, Plain Pat, as he took the stage. His very unique style of rapping and musical accompaniment immediately made his vision quite clear. His vibe lies somewhere between the soul of Frank Ocean and the oddity of Chance the Rapper, who is also just 20 years old. Many fans made their way to the front of the audience to support the local star.
As expected, rap trio, GRRRL PRTY, did not fail to amp up everyone in the crowd. They showcased songs written to the electronic/hip-hop music of TNGHT, who are now on hiatus. Lizzo, Sophia Eris and Manchita rotated through verses while staying in sync with choreography. The restless set was brimming with energy and power from all three ladies and their DJ.
Last, but certainly not least, was Frankie Teardrop, and it was bloody awesome… but actually, pretty bloody. The trio’s bassist, Jack Woolsey, also in Gloss, found himself bleeding all over his gorgeous white bass after only a few songs. Any other band would probably pause their set to nurse their wounds and clean their gear, but not Frankie Teardrop. Jack played fiercely as ever in his classic Gumby stance, only taking a few bewildered glances at his hand between songs. Whatever, it’s just a little blood right? Aside from the hardcore blood-fest, Frankie put on a killer set as usual, playing songs off of their debut album, Tough Guy.
By Samantha Sacks