Once again Friday night was chalked full of great live music happening around the Twin Cities. As pretty much every weekend, there was no shortage of shows to catch. However, I found myself across the river from my normal Minneapolis stomping grounds at the Amsterdam Bar in St. Paul to catch Abisha Uhl’s tour kick-off show. Many might know Abisha Uhl as the front person from Sick of Sarah, but more recently she has been embarking on a solo project. Friday, Uhl kicked off her Uhl Be Fine Tour with a little help from some other great Minnesotan bands.
Warming up the stage was 5-piece rockers Creatures of Habit, hailing from just north of the Twin Cities from St. Cloud. I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about the music scene in St. Cloud but if Creatures of Habit is any indicator, I want to know more. Creatures of Habit took to the stage shortly before 9:00 pm and played a roughly 45-minute set. Their set was a mix of original songs as well as some covers that they put a unique spin. “This is definitely going to be one you all know, this for all you Jett heads,” the frontwoman said before launching into a cover of Do You Wanna Touch Me. Other covers included Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics and Cherry Bomb by The Runaways. The covers definitely had the crowd singing and dancing along, but Creatures of Habit really did shine on their own songs. A standout from the set was their new song Careless Reputation, which definitely left me wanting to see more from these guys. Strong vocals, catchy hooks and good chemistry between the band made from an engaging performance.Situated in the middle of the bill was fellow Minnesotan Strange Daze. Strange Daze was definitely the heaviest band on the ticket for the evening, but brought a good mix to the evening. Strange Daze is a four piece rock band, made for fans of Pearl Jam, 3 Doors Down, etc. Their set featured only original songs. Frontman Eric Moudry’s strong vocals definitely were a centerpiece of the set. Collectively however there was a cohesiveness to the band. Standouts from the set were the tracks I and Home, which the band dedicates to anyone who was ever served in the armed service. This is something I don’t see too much at shows anymore, so it was a nice homage to include in their set. Again, though most of Strange Daze aired on the heavy side, they mixed in a few more ballad-type songs, adding some good variety to the set. And finally, shortly after 11:00 pm, Abisha Uhl and her four-piece band took to the stage to a highly energetic (and slightly intoxicated) crowd. I had been hearing about Uhl for a few months now, but this was my first chance to catch her life. From the moment she took to the stage, I could tell there is truly something special about her – both as a musician and as a person. She instantly connected with the crowd and her fans, in a way I really haven’t seen before. She seems to have such an acute awareness of her fans. A moment from the set that really stuck with me was when Uhl took the time to call out a new face in the crowd she didn’t recognize. She introduced herself to the new fan and called her by name. There is a truly special connection between Uhl and her fans.
Uhl played through her roughly hour long set with true starpower. Calling for shots, sharing drinks with her band and the crowd, Uhl was definitely about having a good time. “This is the tour kick-off, we’re gonna go hard tonight!” she said at one point. Her playful energy and 0-fucks given attitude is contagious. There was really no way not to have fun with as much fun as Uhl and her band was having. However, Uhl seamlessly mixes a seriousness with her playfulness and feel good tunes. Uhl is supported on stage with a band that is deeply talented in their own right, and musically all blend together seamlessly – Kace on guitar, Johnny on bass and Danny on drums. The set was mainly Uhl originals, even featuring a mashup with Tumble and Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing. Uhl also did probably one of the most original covers I’ve heard, a Tiffany cover of I Think We’re Alone Now. Before the encore, Uhl closed out her set with a Jackson Cover of I Want You Back. She came back on stage to close with Autograph.
And if it wasn’t enough of a magical evening, there was even a proposal on stage to end the evening, with a little help from Uhl herself.
Minneapolis is lucky to claim Abisha Uhl as our own and are excited to see what is next after the Uhl Be Fine tour.Set list: Simple Parts / Wore Me Down / Just Can’t Sleep / Paint Like That / Cigarettes / I Think We’re Alone / Letter / Tumble / Don’t Look Back / El Paso Blue / I Want You Back (cover) / Encore: Autograph