Well, we made it through the week. Not going to lie, it was a tough one and I felt such a sense of relief as I walked into The Turf Club knowing I was not only going to get an amazing show but also that I wouldn’t have to wake up at the crack of down on Saturday. To say I was exhausted would be an understatement but there was such a sense of energy in the building from the second I walked in that I was almost able to forget about how damn tired I was (key word there is almost– I was definitely completely out of it). Regardless of how long my week had been and how many ups and downs it had, Friday night’s show was one of those shows that I just couldn’t miss.
Kicking the night off was local beat maker Medium Zach. Zach’s personality instantly shined as he explained to the crowd that they could do what they wanted. He didn’t make people guilty for sitting at the tables in the back or for carrying on conversations. He literally just stood up there and made beats for either the foreground or the background depending on how your night was going. That kind of respect for the audience gained him a sense of respect that was quite obvious. Even if people were still having their conversations, each track ended with a polite applause from the quickly filling up audience. His beats were original and unique and set a great tone for what was to come.
Video Dave (or @video_dave– he was willing to filibuster the set until he got five more followers) took the stage after a couple of tracks from Medium Zach and instantly started a short set that seemed to be more comedy than music (but that’s definitely not a complaint). Even when Video Dave performed the three tracks that he did, there was an undeniable sense of fun and personality that reigned supreme. The second song he performed was essentially just a resume and ‘about me’ where Dave talked about all of the jobs he has had in the past and his qualities. The track had the entire audience laughing to the point of tears but it was when Dave was explaining how he operates at 534% with the help of a Float Chart ™ where I was about to lose it. Sure, I was expecting a bit more music from him based on what was to come from the next two performers (who I have seen before), but his comedy was so real, genuine, and fun that his set fit in to the rest of the night in the most perfect way (I must note, during that Float Chart we learned that he isn’t really a comedian but just a little bit of one). Some of the jokes he made would come back during the final two sets of the night which mad the tour package feel like a family and, in turn, made the nearly sold out audience feel like part of the family.
Clearly Friday night’s concert was all about personality and to say I love Sammus’ personality would be an understatement. I had the honor of catching Sammus (born Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo) last September with the same headliner- Open Mike Eagle. She had me stunned and in shock then and that was only expanded on as I watched her command the audience with such ease and honesty. With lyrics that are real enough to hit just a bit too close to home, there were points in her set where I was literally about to burst into tears but, after a trying week, that honesty was exactly what I needed. From the song about people with interesting names that just wish others would make an effort to learn them (I mean, my name is Langen– tell me I can’t relate to that) to a song about trying to figure out your place after turning 30 and not quite fitting into the mold people are trying to put you in (I turn 30 in just a couple of months and am currently going through a crisis about this exact thing), there is no way to get through Sammus’ set and not feel like you’re watching a good friend. The most magical moment of the night was when Sammus performed a song about going through hell and being about ready to give everything up. She didn’t hold back and talked about having a whole plan to end her life but, she didn’t and now look at her- she’s turning heads all over the music scene. The way she broke down into tears showed the audience everything that they needed. I’ve been doing this for awhile (you know, the whole show thing) and although I’ve seen a lot of bands and performers play with passion, there’s something truly special about seeing someone be comfortable enough on stage and with the audience to show their emotions to the point of letting the tears flow. Sammus is a beautiful woman and definitely one of my favorites. I urge all of you to go check out her live show and peep at her music. It will change your life.
Closing out the clearly magical night of music was Chicago based Open Mike Eagle. Mike is one of those performers that I could watch night after night and never get bored with. Politically charged at times and emotionally charged throughout the entire set, like Sammus, Mike has a sense of raw emotion as he performs that refuses to be ignored. The way he attacks his brilliant lines of lyrics with a sense of aggression without coming off as aggressive on the stage is something that has always blown my mind. Mike has a very calm demeanor about him when he’s on stage and that was made clear by the way he freestyled over a beat by the one and only Medium Zach while restarting his computer. Clearly fun and, again, having a vibe like he’s just a friend of yours, not a touring musician, the strength in Mike’s lyrics and his delivery of said lyrics makes him feel just real and down to earth. With the audience eating up every single word of every single song, Open Mike Eagle may not be a household name for many but it was clear that up here in the Twin Cities, he is royalty.
This week was a rough one but the positivity and love that I felt in the Turf Club last night from both the performers and the audience was all I needed to remind me that everything is going to be okay and one rough week wasn’t going to be the end of the world for me.