Thursday night was the place to be in Minneapolis. Though there were a handful of great shows happening around the city (including legendary Conor Oberst at The Palace Theater), there was something special in the air at 7th Street Entry – and no not the smell of $3 PBR tallboys. Thursday night, the Entry played host to one of the buzziest bands of the year – Middle Kids.
If you’re not familiar with Middle Kids yet – it’s just a matter of time before this four-piece becomes a household name. With just an EP under their belt and a full-length record in the works, Middle Kids has already been building quite the resume for themselves. Record deal with the world-famous Domino Records, light night performance with Conon O’Brien, accolades from Rolling Stone and Billboard. And after Thursday – they can add “playing the iconic First Avenue 7th Street Entry to their list.”
“We’re a long way from home,” frontwoman Hannah Joy said with a grin through her thick Aussie accent (something we find charming as hell up here in the ole’ Midwest). A long way from home they were, but the energy in the room made it feel like a hometown show.
Part of this “hometown feel” of the evening was thanks in part to Mankato-based quartet Good Night Gold Dust. This isn’t our first time covering these four at Twin Cities, but each time we see them we seem to find something new to love. Without limiting the magic of Good Night Gold Dust to comparisons, their sound is a mix of Bon Iver meets CHRVCHES-esque glitchy synth and Tanlines-esque hooky, guitar driven, feel good rock. Guitarist Colin Scharf was captivating to watch, his quirky dancey moves on stage partnered with frontwoman Laura Schultz energy didn’t leave room for a dull moment in their set. Zachary Arney held things down on keys with a drummer (whose name I didn’t catch – so sorry) filling in for their normal drummer Michelle Roche. Together this four piece turned the Entry into a Thursday-night dance party, the perfect precursor to Middle Kids
By the time Middle Kids took the stage 7th Street Entry was damn near packed. Presale tickets for the show were near 200, almost near capacity for the sister room to First Ave. Middle Kids were one of the most talked about bands out of SXSW this year and since then have been experiencing a buzz that is well deserved to say the least. What’s that saying again? The hype is real. The hype around Middle Kids is real to.
The second they took to the stage, eyes and ears were locked on the quartet. Middle Kids wasted no time diving into hits off their debut self titled EP including Never Start, Your Love and Old River. A undeniable standout moment from the set was the hooky Edge of Town – which has flung them into the post SXSW blogosphere spotlight. This is a song that will be stuck in your head for days after listening. The Entry was singing and dancing along to song after song, which is not always the case for the sometimes stoic Midwestern city. “I thought like the Midwest was suppose to be nice, but you guys are nasty. I’m on your level tonight,” guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Tim Fitz joked as plenty of drinks flowed from the tiny corner bar of the Entry.
Getting to hear the infectious tunes of Middle Kids live really showed the complexity of this band. Their songs have that feel that just need to be experienced live. The EP is amazing, but their energy and charisma on stage is unmatched.
In addition to the tracks off the EP Middle Kids also played a handful of unreleased (and some unrecorded songs), leaving the crowd with a feeling of tangible excitement for what’s to come from these guys next. It felt like the right night to be at The Entry because no doubt the next time Middle Kids roll through town it will be to an even bigger crowd than what was packed in 7th Street Entry on Thursday.