Monday’s are hard. Maggie Rogers and Mallrat made this Monday night a little, well a lot better. Over the years I’ve realized that nothing really cures the Monday blues like a little live music. To say this show has been on my highly anticipated list for a few months would be an understatement. Like many – I first fell in love with Maggie Rogers when I heard her infectiously catchy breakout single Alaska. From there I was lucky enough to catch Maggie Rogers in an intimate, stripped down show hosted by local radio station Cities97 a few years back. Since there it’s clear Maggie Rogers is on the up & up. Her stop in Minneapolis is just one of many on her tour which has her zig zagging across the U.S. before popping over for a slew of shows throughout Ireland and the UK.
Opening up the evening at First Avenue however was another up & comer – 19-year-old Mallrat. Having garnered attention from The New York Times and NPR, it’s quickly becoming apparent that 2018 is the Year of the Mallrat, with the release of her highly anticipated sophomore EP, “In The Sky” via Nettwerk Records. I stumbled across Mallrat like I do most artists – somewhere in the Spotify blackhole of never ending amazing, new bands. I had been wanting to see Mallrat since the first time I heard her track Groceries. And her set at First Ave on Monday night did not disappoint. She started off her set slow & laid back. “Ok – that was the slowest song of the night, I promise I do have personality,” Mallrat joked through her thick Australian accent after her first track. But she wasn’t lying – she quickly got the energy in the room and got the crowd dancing and bopping along to song after song. Mallrat seamlessly and magically combines elements of bedroom pop, r&b and hooky beats for a Drake-inspired vibe that is absolutely infectious. “This is our first big U.S. tour,” Mallrat said, “And we got to play a couple shows in Texas, because well, this is a segway, I have a song called Texas,” she went on getting some laughs from the crowd with her dry wit. At such a young age – Mallrat puts on one hell of a set so I have a feeling we will be seeing plenty more from her in the coming months. We hope to see her back in Minneapolis very soon!
Taking to the stage shortly after 9:00 pm was Maggie Rogers. Abba’s Dancing Queen blarred through the Mainroom’s speakers. I want to preface by saying – I’ve covered and attended plenty of sold-out shows at First Avenue – but there was a contagious energy in the air leading up to Maggie Roger’s set that isn’t always felt at a sold-out show. There was just an anticipation for what the evening the would hold that was palpable throughout the room. As Maggie Rogers took to the stage for her opening track Give A Little the excitement only grew. The crowd burst into screams as Rogers took to the stage and from there danced the night away with the 24-year-old singer/songwriter as their leader. “I have a new album coming out in January, and I’ve gotten really sick of waiting to play these songs so you know, that’s what I’m going to do tonight. We’re gonna play through the entire album,” Maggie Rogers said as the room cheered. For having garnered such a following in the past few years it’s hard to believe that Roger’s doesn’t have a full length album out yet but to say it’s highly anticipated would be an understatement. Everything that Rogers has put out has been gold – from her debut EP to various singles she been sprinkling out – it’s bop after bop of folky, disco-y, indie pop gold. Even the unreleased songs that the crowd didn’t know didn’t stop anyone from dancing along. “I know it can be hard to come to a show and hear songs that you don’t know,” Maggie Rogers said emphatically. “We don’t care!!!” someone in the crowd screamed. And it was true – the crowd was so into Maggie Rogers’ every move (and rightfully so) no one really seemed to care if they knew the songs or not. Rogers rolled through her set sprinkling in both the unreleased tracks along with the beloved tracks like On + Off and Dog Years. Maggie Rogers breadth of talent was on full display on Monday night – as a singer/songwriter, a performer and just an all around artist. Not even set has the element of artistry that Rogers’ set had. Her set though a little over an hour or so felt all too short. We will be anxiously awaiting her debut album early next year and her return to the Twin Cities at what we can only guess will be a venue even bigger than First Avenue’s! In the meantime – be sure to catch Maggie Roger’s on SNL this weekend – a spot well deserved for this incredibly talented artist.
Thanks to Maggie Rogers and Mallrat for making a Monday feel a little well, less like a Monday.
Setlist: Give a Little / / Split Stones / Burning / Better / Overnight / Say It / The Knife / Retrograde / Light On / Dog Years / On + Off / Back in My Body / Fallingwater / Encore: Color Song (solo) / Angel From Montgomery / (John Prine cover) / Alaska