This weekend in the Twin Cities, there was definitely not a shortage of high-class music entertainment. Everything from festivals like the Basilica Block Party to dozens of concerts at popular venues like First Avenue, Amsterdam, Turf, Club, and Triple Rock, along with many more. I found myself heading to the Fine Line Music Cafe to catch much anticipated return of Michelle Branch. Upon arrival, the venue was filling quickly and drinks were cooling people off from the warm summer evening.
Haerts started the evening off. Brooklyn’s indie pop foursome, with Nini Fabi on vocal, boasted a set full of catchy songs infused with 80’s pop elements executed perfectly. The Fine Line crowd was bopping and swaying in no time. Stationary for the most of the set, Fabi’s emotive voice pierced through the loud instrumentation, and her vocal prowess shone through during the slow jams with the extended harmonies. Haerts set completed flawlessly and great crowd responses.
With such an impressive opening act, the crowd was buzzing with anticipation for Michelle Branch to hit the stage. Michelle Branch took the stage to much fanfare and, armed with her acoustic guitar, laid out a some clear fan favorites. It had been some time since Branch had played at the Fine Line, but the crowds responded with warm and loving cheers. Most of the beautifully performed songs started with “Hopeless Romantic” which is off her latest album ‘Hopeless Romantic’. From that point forward, the crowd erupted after each song.
Rarely do you find an artist that can captivate a venue and deliver a spot on performance that delivers song after song with as much affective emotion as the studio release. It was a much more intimate and quieter affair than listening to one of her albums though. Gone were all the studio effects and overdubs, and all that was present were Branch, a guitarist, bassist, drummer and keyboardist. The result were songs that were more relaxed. Branch made everyone do a double-take when she played “All You Wanted”, transforming the busy pop songs into a powerful ballad.
As the set came to an end, the crowd’s response was overwhelming, with loud cheers for more. When walking away from the Fine Line, I reflected on how deeply impress I was by the performance by the pop star. I can’t wait to see her perform again, and I’m ready to be blown away once again.