As my friend and I navigated our way through Downtown Minneapolis this past Saturday night to catch LIGHTS at Music Hall Minneapolis, I felt a huge relief of not being in St. Paul. It’s not that I didn’t want to partake in St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but more that I wanted to do so without having to wade through a sea of people either before or after the show. Little did I know that the venue would be just about as crowded as the streets of downtown and I would instead be gently making my way through the crowd for the rest of the night.
The only artist that I had seen prior to this show was LIGHTS; DCF and Chase Atlantic were both new to me and I was far from sure about what to expect. DCF took the stage right at 8pm and the first thing I noticed was a DJ setup right in the front of the stage. It’s been a while since I’ve photographed a DJ and depending on the individual it can either be fun and engaging or more or less than intriguing. To my surprise, DCF came out with a quiet confidence for his first show in Minneapolis, decked out in a marching band ensemble topped off with a plastic crown. DCF effortlessly stormed through his set with intense enthusiasm, only to throw in an acoustic cover of Paramore’s “Misery Business” as a surprise ending to his short set.
After a very quick set change, Chase Atlantic took the stage to a roar of applause from the audience. I have heard rumblings about either liking or disliking this band, with little to no in between, piquing my interest on what my own take would be. As the band sauntered on stage and the drummer leading them off, the start of the first song already had me blown away. A healthy mix of R&B and pop rock filled the venue, accompanied by smooth vocals from both the lead singer, an individual with an insane amount of charisma and star presence, and the guitarist. Chase Atlantic’s set truly showcased the range of talent in the band, with one of the highlights being one of the guitarists switching his guitar for a saxophone. The only disappointment for me was how short their set was for a band in a direct support slot, as their stellar performance left me wanting to experience more from them. This is a band I have slept on for a little while and one I definitely will not be missing next time the stop in the Twin Cities.
Finally, after Chase Atlantic departed and the set change was completed, the house lights dimmed and the silhouette of LIGHTS appeared on stage as she stood in front of a giant LCD screen, belting out the beginning of “New Fears.” LIGHTS commanded the stage, only letting up to slow things down for a trio of acoustic songs right in the middle of her set. The Canadian electro pop artist utilized the LCD screen to help give her songs life on stage, utilizing imagery from her comic book series as a backdrop to songs off of “Skin & Earth.” When LIGHTS slowed down her set for acoustic renditions of “Drive My Soul,” “a cover of “Believe,” and “Muscle Memory,” it brought me back to her emergency acoustic set at the Skyway Theater last fall, when she barely made it to the venue for her performance and leaving me hungry for a full band set. Playing an excellent selection of songs from “Skin & Earth” as well as old favorites, LIGHTS dominated Music Hall Minneapolis, leaving both myself and a majority of the crowd excited for her next stop in the cities.