Everyone seemed to be hunkered in last night for the start of the new Game of Thrones season last night. Now, I have to be honest, I haven’t seen a single episode of that show. I’m sure I’d love it but I’m still trying to power through a binge of the entire E.R. series and recently made the mistake of starting CSI over from the beginning at the same time so let’s just say that my TV viewing time is already claimed and I already can’t keep up. While my friends were settling in for the night, I was packing up to head to a show that was more my speed– a concert.
I was a bit surprised when I entered The 7th Street Entry to see that I wasn’t the only one not partaking in the GOT phenomenon. It was honestly heart warming. Sunday night’s show wasn’t a huge artist (although he’s huge to me and the other people around me) so it was nice to see some people made the choice to support live music rather than sitting around a TV. There was a slight roar of conversations going on around me and a sense of anticipation in the air that just couldn’t be ignored. That roar of conversation instantly settled into a hush as the lights went down and opening act Ahem took the stage.
The stage was empty except for the trio of musicians. With no drum set behind them, I was a little bit bummed. Sunday night shows definitely set the tone of the week for me and I love when they are a bit more upbeat and rocking than subdued and calm. Wasting no time, the group jumped into their opening set and any worry I had about this show being subdued and calm and pushed to the side. I don’t know how they did but these three musicians had a sound that was bigger than some of the metal bands I see. I obviously don’t mean volume wise but the energy and the passion that was so clearly felt through their music was truly staggering. The trio had such a connection that, other than a few glances here and there, the way they were able to communicate just through the notes and other small nuances had me absolutely in love with this group.
After just a couple of songs, Erik the vocalist explained that this was the first time they had ever done such a stripped down set. From the perfection of the small cajón (also known as the box drum that you sit on thing) to the pure bliss of the two vocalists’ voice swirling together to create the perfect sound, I honestly thought this was just their thing and this is how the trio always performed. I would definitely love to see this band amped up as their potential as my new favorite pop-punk-ish local band is there but I also fell so head over heels for their scaled back performance on Sunday that why change a good thing. I had never heard of Ahem prior to last night’s show but this is a band I will definitely be keeping my eye on.
The only other performer on the Sunday night soiree was the one and only Mike Kinsella who is currently performing as his solo project called Owen. Mike is definitely one of those legends that you have never heard of. Growing up on his various groups like Joan of Arc, Thier/ They’re/ There and, my personal favorite, American Football, being able to see and hear him perform solo was truly a dream come true. Add to the fact that we were in one of the more intimate venues in the Twin Cities and you could hear a pin drop through the silence in the audience and I was left with a goosebump inducing set from Mike.
Mike’s soft voice and tender guitar playing created the most calming atmosphere I had felt in a long awhile. It was the calmness that I didn’t know I needed to start my week off on the right foot. Although calm and soothing, the energy that came from Mike’s voice and the way he was so informally formal was beyond perfect. “I wonder if someone can pour beer in my mouth while I play,” he questioned out loud. Before long a member of the audience had hopped up on stage and started pouring a beer in Mike’s mouth. After just a couple of songs, “I wonder if someone can pour beer in my mouth while I tune.” After a glance at the same guy that had poured the beer into his mouth while playing, Mike tried the experiment while the crowd laughed. The entire night was made up of funny moments like this and even during the most serious of Mike’s songs there was this unspoken sense of lightheartedness that you wouldn’t expect from such a calm show.
The set was too quick for my liking. Mike has one of those voices that I could listen to for hours on end and never get bored. From this complex lyrics to the guitar skills that matched, there was so much to take in but not enough time. As mentioned earlier, the audience was dead silent throughout the set only breaking the silence to applaud between songs. I don’t think any of us in the audience wanted to leave when it was all said and done.
I always though that my Sunday night shows should be upbeat and a bit crazy in order to get me ready for the upcoming week but Ahem and Owen proved me wrong. What a beautiful night and a truly amazing way to kick off what is sure to be a long week of work and shows.