There was a fateful night last April where I stumbled into a show and fell head over heels in love with the acts. One of those acts was Flint Eastwood who I have had the pleasure of seeing multiple times since that fateful night. The other acts was Michigander who hadn’t been back to the Twin Cities since that fateful night. I had been dreaming of the day I would get to see them again and that dream finally came true last night.
Last night’s show was at The Icehouse which is conveniently within walking distance of my apartment so, of course, I had to turn it into a girl’s night. After a couple of drinks and pizzas, my friends I stumbled up to The Icehouse for the 11PM show (okay, a little past our bedtimes but don’t worry, we made vodka Red Bulls for the walk up there). As we entered security, we were greeted with a setting that was a bit foreign to me. There were tables complete with candles all over the venue. Now, I’m never one to sit at shows but honestly, with such a late start time, the thought of just sitting sounded super nice so the three of us grabbed a table right by the side of the stage and waited for the show to start.
Kicking off the night was local songstress Lydia Liza. Lydia had an absolutely stunning voice that made the various conversations going on around the venue instantly stop. Her sweet sing-song voice mixed with her infectious smile made for a very easy set to listen to while keeping a smile on your face. I was not familiar with Lydia’s solo material but had seen her perform with her old group Bomba de Luz in the past. Bomba de Luz became a force in the scene and I was surprised when she announced she was going out on her own but, after seeing her last night, it’s clear that she made the right decision. Although Lydia didn’t play her uber-popular re-write of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (when I say ‘uber-popular, I mean it. This song catapulted Lydia into the national spotlight), her set was still full of songs that could easily make it on the radio and sneak into households across the country. Her set seemed short but that could have also been due to the sheer amount of enjoyment my friends and I were getting out of watching her perform.
After a quick set chance over and another bottle of Prosecco for the table, Michigander took the stage. As I mentioned, I completely fell in love with this group the first time I saw them so the anticipation was real as I watched the three members take their spots behind their instruments. Singer Jason Singer wasted no time and jumped right into their set full of anthemic yet lush indie rock songs. Although Michigander would be nothing without Jason’s band mates, Michigander comes off as a bit of a solo project. Part of the reason for this is the way that Jason effortlessly stole the spotlight from the other two men on stage. It didn’t seem like a power trip in any way, more just a thing of respect from the other members. Jason doesn’t just steal the spotlight– he makes it sparkle which just adds to the feeling of this being more of a “Jason” thing than a band.
Having been listening to Michigander for some time now, the lyrics are something that truly drew me to the music. It’s one thing to listen to the songs while in the car or at work but seeing Jason perform those words live changes everything. The amount of integrity and passion that radiated from Jason as he sang through his short set was truly impressive and one of the things that caught me the first time I saw him perform. Lyrics are clearly something where you are able to interpret them however you want and the way Jason sings them seems to really nail that idea home. That passion the flows out of his mouth with each word seems to give your interpretation of the lyrics a new sense of life just due to the care he uses with each note, beat, and word.
After pleading with Jason for a couple more songs, he gave us two more and then quietly left the stage. There was no big to do about it. He just left. Being that it was 1AM at this point, I should have been happy that I could finally go home and go to bed but I truly just wanted more from him. After we poured the last drops from our bottle, the three of us made our way (okay, we stumbled) to the modest merch table that was set up. After buying our t-shirts, Jennifer started bugging the merch guy to have Jason sign her shirt. The merch guy humored her and grabbed Jason who seemed very surprised and shy by the signature request. If things keep going the way they are going for Jason and Michigander, signing merchandise is something that is going to be just a way of life for him. Michigander isn’t a household name yet– but will be. Mark my words.
Last night was different but perfect. Instead of standing and drinking a couple of beers with friends, my two girlfriends and I sat at a table and sipped on a couple bottles of Prosecco as Michigander serenaded us with an undeniable sense of passion. Last night ended up being the best girl’s night ever.