Local Radio station Go 96.3 has really put together some great Go Shows for their fans, but they really outdid themselves with the winning lineup they put on the floor at the Amsterdam Friday night. This trifecta of The Score, The Unlikely Candidates, and The Orphan The Poet was the handiwork of Christy Taylor, who has done a whale of a job in her first year as program director at Go 96.3. If you’ve been listening to Go 96.3, as I’m sure you have, you know they promoted the hell out of this show which packed the Amsterdam for an energetic show. All three bands could give lessons on stage presence and crowd interaction to many of those other limp handshake bands we’ve all seen go through the motions. Like I tell my hockey players, sweaty heads and smiles are what we want to see and we saw plenty of both at the Go Show.
THE ORPHAN THE POET
Arriving a little later than I hoped I felt fortunate to find a 2nd row spot ahead of the opening act. Not only because this is the place to be, but so I could share some photos of the show with you. Ben and Dana from the Go 96.3 Morning Show got the show started with Ben discussing his fondness for Summit beer and introducing The Orphan The Poet. The Columbus, Ohio trio of singer/guitarist David Eselgroth, bassist Jake Floyd, and drummer Sam Gordon took the stage and opened with their fun single “Money” which quickly set the tone for a great evening. There are plenty of songs about money but theirs is about having something more important. It’s lyrics go, “All my other friends got money, money, money, money, money. But none of my friends got you.” They quickly involved fans and had them singing along to the “Oh, oh, oh…oh, oh, oh” part and getting them jumping during the first song. Their music video for the song will give you a pretty good idea of what we saw at the Amsterdam.
Telling us this was our first test of the night, frontman had us repeat their “Ooh, cha, cha,” tagline before saying, “What does that even mean?” But there was no nonsense when he told us the next song was a rock song as he strapped on his guitar for the title song from their 2016 EP, Terrible Things. Clearly enjoying himself so far, Eselgroth told us it’s been too long since they’ve been here, before admitting he didn’t even know when they were here last. I think it was just last December at the Fine Line.
“We just put out some new music,” Eselgroth told us. It was their new EP, Queen Cobra, just released in October. They would play all four songs on the EP, beginning with “All Messed Up”. Another was “Birthday” who Eselgroth said went out to his grandma, adding, ” My grandma always was a freak.” Wearing his yellow jumpsuit, the singer ventured out into the crowd to stand atop a table. After introducing their drummer Sam and bassist Jake, Eselgroth divided the crowd into “Team Sam” and “Team Jake” based on their respective sides of the hall, to compete in singing the “Ah, ah…. ah, ah” that would be in “Headstone”, another from the new EP. This one is so Weezer-esque! They played a fun cover of Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance With Me” before playing the title track from Queen Cobra, dedicating to their friends in The Score. Their finale was “Still Buzzin'” which you may know from their distinctive music video featuring Eselgroth singing the song while covered with over 10,000 honeybees. Yikes! During this finale, Eselgroth climbed up on a speaker and left us with these words, “St. Paul, you are a triple threat. You are beautiful, you can sing, and can dance!”
Money / Terrible Things / All Messed Up / Birthday / Headstone / Shut Up and Dance With Me / Queen Cobra / Still Buzzin’.
THE UNLIKELY CANDIDATES
I’ve been anxiously waiting for one of my favorite bands, The Unlikely Candidates, to return to the Twin Cities since seeing them most recently at the 7th Street Entry on a crazy Saturday night when the NCAA semi-finals were being played in downtown Minneapolis. The quintet made it work on the Entry’s small stage. For this show they had a little more room on stage which just meant energetic frontman, Kyle Morris, would cover more miles tonight roaming from side to side. After Ben and Dana took the stage again for introductions and for Ben to joke that the bar was now out of Summit Pale Ale, the band took the stage. They opened with a song I hoped they would play tonight, “Violence”. You know it, “Bang, bang, bang. I’m just running from the violence.” Funny, I just heard it on a promo for the show “Ray Donovan”. They continued with “Best Things in Life Aren’t Free”, making it two in a row from their 2017 album, Bed of Liars. Then it was “Fingers Crossed”, which Morris explained is about needing something to believe in. Needing some hope.
Morris asked the crowd if they wanted to hear a scary story in introducing “Call My Name”. The song is patterned after Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Telltale Heart”. The song that starts “I keep my heart under the floor boards” really got the zaniness going with Morris somehow keeping his burgundy coat on as he was sweating profusely. The singer dedicated “Danger to Myself”, the title track from their most recent EP, to all of the drunk assholes like himself. This popular song had everyone singing to it’s simple lines and Morris flipping his microphone, teetering, and regaining balance as he roamed back and forth.
“Follow My Feet” is the song that put The Unlikely Candidates on the map back in 2013 and every time I’ve seen the band in concert it has set Morris motion. Tonight he ventured out into the audience in search of someone that knew the words, first holding a microphone to a startled female before some less reluctant guys put their arms around him to join in singing and trotting around the bar. “Ringer” is another song that always goes over well in the Twin Cities, thinking back to their show here with Holy White Hounds a few years ago at the Entry. He told the crowd to make his day by yelling a loud “Hey” after he sang “She’s a ringer” each time during the song.
The ever-popular “Oh My Dear Lord” may have been the climax to this energized set and I just love the part late in the song when Morris sings several time “Is anyone listening?” before returning to the chorus. They concluded with two more of their most popular songs, first “Your Love Could Start a War” and then gave us insight into their latest hit “Novocaine” and slackers anthem, telling us, “It’s for all the pizza-stained, Netflix bingers like me.” Don’t miss The Unlikely Candidates and their chaotic live show the next time they are in town and watch for their upcoming album expected to be released very soon.
Violence / Best Things in Life Aren’t Free / Fingers Crossed / Call My Name / Danger to Myself / Follow My Feet / Ringer / Oh My Dear Lord / Your Love Could Start a War / Novocaine.
Reed and Christy Taylor from Go 96.3 had the honor of introducing The Score. This was my first time seeing the duo of Eddie Anthony and Edan Dover in concert. My daughter was super excited to come to the show and filled me in on their background. How cool is it that two guys that were content writing songs for other artists decided to start their own band after working together on a project. It looks like it was a great decision as they have come up with a formula and sound that is not only popular with fans, but designed for commercial success. With their heavy beat, great production, and inspiring lyrics they hit the sweet spot for use in movies, television, professional sports, and of course video games. But like I said, they also have a growing fan base especially in the twenty-something age group which dominated the crowd at the Amsterdam tonight.
Dover took his place behind his keyboards and Anthony grabbed his microphone to start their set with “In My Bones” from their latest six-song EP, Stay. A drummer and guitarist join the LA duo in concert. It didn’t take long to figure out the attraction. Then it was back to their first full-length album, 2017’s Atlas. They would play seven of the album’s dozen songs tonight, beginning with “Higher”. “Born For This” was next, off of their other six-song EP, Pressure, which was also released in 2019, back in February. It’s universal theme had the crowd pulsing together and singing loudly along with Anthony. “Who I Am” has a soulful sound and goes “I have my flaws, I make mistakes, but I’m myself, I’m not ashamed, that’s who I am.”
Anthony told us this is their second week on tour and this is their best crowd yet. He also thanked Christy Taylor and Go 96.3 before starting “Run Like a Rebel” with the crowd clapping along to its western beat. Anthony also told us that the last few months they’ve traveled all over the world, including Europe, China, and now St. Paul. What they learned is that wherever you go, we are all really the same. We all feel “Strange”. Dover started the song distorting his vocals with his synthesizer, The song concluded with a drum solo, getting the crowd clapping with the drummer, Logan, as he kept quickening the pace until ending, visibly exhausted. After “Miracle” Dover would pick up a bass for “Rush” after Anthony again told us this was one of their most fun shows. He thanked Go 96.3 for playing their music but thanked us for liking their music and being here. He continued, “You guys are sick of hearing me say this, but this is one of our coolest shows. This next song we did with one of our friends in LA, blackbear.” This was one I knew well and I couldn’t resist singing along with everyone else to “They ain’t takin’ over, over.”
Following that hit, Anthony picked up a guitar and joked about the awkward silence that sometimes follows a song and solved that by doing an impromptu sing along of “Aye, oh… Ay, oh” before teaching us the sing along part of “Revolution” which goes, “Can you hear the drumming? There’s revolution coming.” The level of crowd participation made this one of the best songs of the night for sure. Anthony joked that he was still waiting for his Summit beer but now they needed four, which arrived soon after.
Anthony told us, “This next song is really important to us. We’d be lying if we said with the ups don’t come the downs.” It was their song about staying true to yourself and their current radio hit and EP title track, “Stay”. They finished their main set with one of their 2017 rock anthems that had massive success, “Unstoppable”. Quickly returning to the stage for their pre-planned encore, Anthony admitted, “It’s cliché as f… but oh well. We have three songs for you. You should all know the words to this one.” It was “Stronger” and Dover started the song with an impressive keyboard intro for yet another commercially popular hit that really showcases Dover’s production work. They also played a cover of Blur’s fun “Song 2”. You may better recognize it as the “Woooo hoooo” song and the crowd certainly had fun jumping and singing to this one. The grand finale was The Score’s biggest moneymaker, “Legend”, and they did it up right with a very extended version with Anthony going out into the audience before returning to jam in front of the stage with their guitarist and Dover bringing his tablet out to play his synthesizer parts. Anthony even climbed atop a speaker and leapt down to wrap up their impressive set.
Yet another outstanding Go Show in the books. Plenty of sweaty heads and smiles. Thanks Go 96.3 for bringing in such energetic, all-in performers. FYI, coming up very soon on November 24th will be Go 96.3’s annual Snow Show at the Myth, featuring Third Eye Blind, Smallpools, Dreamers, and local band, Gully Boys. It will be tough to top tonight’s show but should be close.
In My Bones / Higher / Born For This / Who I Am / Run Like a Rebel / Strange / Miracle / Rush / Dreamin / Revolution / Stay / Unstoppable. Encore: Stronger / Song 2 / Legend.