Snow was falling all day on Sunday, so by the time doors opened at 7th St. Entry the roads were barren and packed with crunchy snow. That didn’t stop Eisley fans from coming to sip beer, buy merch and sing along to both new and old favorite songs, though. I stepped out of my Uber (who wants to drive in the snow? Not me!) and was immediately greeted by the warmth of an eager crowd.
First up was Backwards Dancer, a four piece giving off Brand New and Nirvana vibes with an indie twist. Backwards Dancer shares a record label with Eisley and many other greats, Equal Vision Records, so I suspected before they even hit the stage that I was in for a treat, and I totally was right. Although their sound was more rock and roll, their lyrics lost no meaning or gravity during their heavier delivery. Even though they were the first openers and were not necessarily known to everyone in the crowd, everyone seemed to be entranced and politely listened and swayed to the music throughout their set. They were thankful to Eisley for bringing them on tour and to the audience for being so into their songs. After their set and throughout the rest of the night, Backwards Dancers’ merch table was very lively, so clearly I wasn’t the only person wanting to hear more.
Next was Civilian, hailing from Nashville, TN. Another perfect complement to the evening’s lineup, they sounded similar to Modest Mouse with narrative and emotion-packed lyrics. Towards the end of the set, Civilian paused to ask if there were any Doomtree fans in the house. “I discovered them a few years ago, and I think what they’re doing is really awesome. Just a bunch of friends with a record label supporting each other,” they mused. “I always tell all my friends about Doomtree, so I guess I’m solely responsible for all of their success.” As the crowd chuckled and cheered, Civilian played the rest of their set with multiple stops to thank the crowd and tell everyone how badass they think Minneapolis is. Not only do I agree that Minneapolis is pretty badass, but Civilian is too.
Finally, around 9:45, Eisley hit the stage. The band has had quite a few lineups in the past, many of which I’ve seen live, but Sunday’s was quite possibly my favorite so far. With the adorable and almost mythical Sherri DuPree-Bemis on lead vocals, Elle Puckett on backup vocals/guitar, Garron DuPree on bass, Remi DuPree on drums, and Jedidiah Lachmann on keys, there were still major family vibes going on but with a refreshing new twist. Sherri stopped a few times throughout the night to interact with the audience, the first to acknowledge an 8 year old in the front row, and later to talk about the weather. “I can’t believe y’all actually came! It’s a snow storm out there!” she said while tuning her black Rickenbacker. “Are you all gonna get home safely? Please drive slow!”
Eisley’s set comprised of a slew of beloved old songs, like Millstone, I Wasn’t Prepared, and Ambulance. Standing in the middle of the crowd, singing my heart out, I felt like I was in 8th grade, singing along with my friends at a slumber party all over again. *That’s* how long I’ve been loving this band. They also played some awesome jams from their new album, “I’m Only Dreaming,” like their single Louder Than A Lion. The single features Circa Survive’s Anthony Green, but when performed live included lots of beautiful extra “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” from Sherri in place of his verse. After a pretend end of the set, Eisley played their last three encore songs and left the stage in a sea of bubbles and strobing blue lights.
As the show came to an end everyone finished their PBR’s, put on their jackets, and trekked back out into the snow to prepare for the coming Monday morning. I left with a warm and fuzzy feeling despite the freezing temperatures and a thankfulness for the fact that Eisley always makes a spot for Minneapolis on their tours.