“Are You Local” with Nick Jordan, Gramma’s Boyfriend, and The Suburbs at First Avenue

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The Star Tribune’s “Are You Local” contest crowned its winner Friday night at First Avenue: Nick Jordan. And to showcase the Minnesota Music scene they lined up artists that span 40 years of great local music.

Nick Jordan won the competition at the Turf Club narrowly beating out Kiss The Tiger. For Friday’s show, he and his band pulled out all the stops. 2 dancers and some serious moves by Jordan himself, 2 more for one song and personality by the truckload. He has one EP “NJ” released in 2015 and a new one in the works. The power of his voice and the energy radiating from stage were impressive. That chap is one hell of a performer. Co-host Chris Riemenschneider (Star Tribune) brought up a memory from last year when Prince watched the contest winner from First Avenue’s owners box and how he much Prince would have enjoyed watching Nick Jordan’s set. One lasting impression for me was the joy and excitement of the young band after their set as they hugged and celebrated on the side of the stage. If you haven’t yet, give Nick Jordan a closer look, you will be seeing a lot more of him.

Following an act like Jordan is a challenge but if I had to pick a band to be up to the task Gramma’s Boyfriend would certainly be on my short list. Haley Bonar’s choice of outfits is always a good topic of speculation and she delivered a double punch. First a Stars and Stripes dress that gave her a “Punk Lady Liberty” vibe, then a shirt depicting a man’s hair chest that would have felt at home at peopleofwalmart.com. Gramma’s Boyfriend’s set included a new song,  “Is the Terrorist” a protest song as subtle as an Iowa class battleship clearing its broadside.  Personally, I love the variety of sound coming from the stage from catchy songs to ones that seem to dissolve into random noise only the reemerge.

Set List: Down In A Bucket / I Forgot / The Eat / Forgiven / I Make You Feel / I Live My Broken Dreams / Legends / Sugar Crash / Hola Senor / Deep V / Is The Terrorist / We R Control / Glitter / Bury The Hatchet

Returning to First Avenue for the first time in almost 3 years The Suburbs brought rounded out 3 generations of Minneapolis bands. But if you think they are ready to pass the torch and live out their lives in assisted living, you got another thing coming. Chan Poling and Hugo Klaers remain from the original lineup, and they picked great musicians to play with retaining much of the band’s original vibe. A new record ““Hey Muse” is ready to be released and fans got a preview of some of the new songs on it. Despite their punk roots, The Suburbs were always snazzy dressers and did not disappoint. The band sounded tight and seemed to have a lot of fun on stage. The crowd certainly was into their set singing along, dancing and a few small mosh pits formed for “Rattle My Bones”. When we spoke to Polling earlier this week, he mentioned how much they feel like a band again and that clearly showed in their performance. I for one, am greatly looking forward to their new record and seeing more of them live. 

Set List: When We Were Young / Music for Boys / Life Is Like / Hobnobbin / Waiting / Hesus Is Strange / Dish it Up / This Monkey / Spring Came / Dumb Ass Kids / Good Sign / Lost You On The Dance Floor / Turn The Radio On / Hey Muse / Love is the Law Encore: COWS / Rattle My Bones

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