Little did I know, that my schedule on Friday evening would prove to be a showcase of five women led bands, each unique in their style, and each absolutely brilliant. I started at the Skyway Theatre where PVRIS was headlining. As I walked by the venue at 6 PM from another gig, there already was a line of concert goers halfway around the block an hour away from doors.
Starting the show was Detroit’s Flint Eastwood. Wearing her signature hat (who had a dedicated a dedicated stand on stage) she stormed the stage and delivered a torrent of energy on stage. When she called for the crowd to sing along, she pointed out that her photographer (Brian) was singing louder than the front row. That lead to a fan calling you a good natured “STFU Brian” that had the room erupting in laughter. The rest of her short set, was as she put it “Loud, not Pretty”. I for one look forward to her next show in tow.
I had seen the next artist, Lights a couple of times before, but a series of unfortunate events would lead to last night’s set that can be summarized in two word: Brilliant & Beautiful. The band’s tour bus broke down twice on the way to Minneapolis and somehow Lights, her guitar player, 2 guitars and 4 boxes of merch made it to the Skyway by plane. What followed was a stripped down acoustic set, that left my jaw on the floor. The songs she played were different from her usual setlist and one, as she put it, went back to the Myspace days. She thanked the couple who had bought her dinner before the show and requested a song. The response shouted out from the crowd? “That’s my sister!!” – and laughter again filled the Skyway. It was an impressive showcase of Lights’ skill as a musician and performer.
Set List: Skydiving / February Air / Same Sea / Cactus In the Valley / New Fears / Savage / Up We Go / Giants / Toes / Banner
PVRIS just released their sophomore album “All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell” in late August and Saturday’s show was the one of the last of the North American leg of their tour as they are headed for Europe. Singer Lynn Gunn had recently shared her coming out story, and it became quickly clear that for many fans this was as much about getting a chance to see a role model as it was about the music. It’s hard to put it in words, but the fans singing along the first song “Heaven” just felt a bit more intense and joyful than I normally see with bands. At a show of hands, one fan had seen the band 7 times and a bouquet of red roses was handed to Gunn from the crowd.
PVRIS’ Sound and lights were great with lots of white light from all sides. All said, 3 bands brought 3 very different sets each fun and memorable.
Heaven / St. Patrick / Smoke / Half / Fire / Holy / You and I / Same Soul( only lynn and Alex) / What’s Wrong / Winter / Separate / Anyone Else / My House Encore: No Mercy