After a long day of shopping and recovering from a wine drunk Thanksgiving, a show was exactly what I needed to get to feeling back to normal. I was clearly not the only one in that mindset and found myself surrounded by hundreds of people as I entered The Palace Theater in Saint Paul. I was excited not just for my first show in three days (yeah, I was going through withdrawals), but to see two of the bands that are making the Twin Cities indie-rock music scene extremely proud.
First to take the stage for the sold out show was Now, Now. Formerly known as Now, Now Every Children, Now, Now is one of those bands that, although local, they don’t play in the Twin Cities often. One reason could be just how damn big they have gotten over the years. Although still clearly humble about their high status in the scene, there was something about them as they performed on Friday night that screamed more national touring act than a small local band.
Now, Now has been around in some form or another since 2003. Although they seem to have just recently made their break into the mainstream, their music hasn’t changed. It still screams Minnesota indie rock with it’s up-beat and infectious beats fused with real-life lyrics without drama and with nothing but transparency. Some bands perform and you can feel the music, not just hear it. Now, Now is one of those bands. Watching vocalist Acacia “Cacie” Dalager dance around the stage with her bright pink hair bouncing along with her brought a smile to my face and those around me. There is just something so genuine about her performance that, even if you don’t love the music, you end up loving her and her bandmates.
Now, Now’s set was fairly short but definitely got the young crowd (it was an all ages show with more youngsters than usual) going and ready for what was to come. Every song was followed up cheering from the audience and every song was paired with the packed floor jumping up and down to the beat. Although I was unsure what would come next as having never caught headliners Hippo Campus before, I could tell from the vibe in the room that I was in for a treat.
Following a fairly lengthy stage turnover that was complete with multiple underagers getting caught with drinks in their hands and the unfortunate puker right in front me, the lights went down and the roaring sound of the audience’s conversations turned into a deafening sound of cheering and screaming.
As mentioned, I had never seen Hippo Campus before and, full disclosure, had really never listened to them prior to last night’s show. What had me intrigued was the name power this band has. Although local boys, their name has definitely been put up in lights. All I could think was that there had to be a reason for that and I had to know what it was. All I needed was the feeling I got as the band took the stage and jumped into their first song. Watching the people around me scream in excitement and then instantly start singing along to the words as if their life depended on it said everything that needed to be said. Although I had no emotional attachment to Hippo Campus, it was clear that the hundreds of people surrounded me did and that had me completely sold.
Their set was explosive and every song was followed by a roar of applause that was nothing short of deafening. It wasn’t surprising that the young musicians seemed to have an endless amount of energy (I mean, pretty sure the band members are young enough to be my own kids), but what was surprising was the way they were able to captivate the audience and myself included. They weren’t over the top in any way, shape or form but the somehow were able to have me eating right out of the palm of their hands. I wanted to sing along, I wanted to be a part of the set the way everyone else was involved. I wanted all of those things but was perfectly content with just standing against the side wall and letting it all hit me in waves.
What this band has accomplished is nothing short of amazing. Having only been a band since 2013 and only having two full length albums, it’s insane to think that these local boys are already to the point of selling out The Palace Theater for two nights in a row. I honestly didn’t understand why or how before I walked into the show last night but instantly figured out why. These guys are already making the Twin Cities ridiculously proud and I guarantee you that they will continue to do so.
The saying goes that curiosity killed the cat but after last night, I’m more than thankful that curiosity got the best of me. What a great freaking show.