Suzie “Tour Kick Off” at 7th Street with Chalk & Murf

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Here’s the thing I love about Suzie…you never quite know what you are going to get. Since following Suzie, the brainchild of Mark Ritsema, I’ve been intrigued. Even after a few year stint in Los Angeles, I always managed to keep a pulse on what the former guitarist of Night Moves was up to musically. Ritsema’s neon drenched and chardonnay soaked world has a way of pulling you. Like that scene in Willy Wonka where Augutus Gloop falls in the chocolate river and gets sucked up in that tube, Suzie’s music sucks you in for a psychedelic, glammy, trippy ride through his sugary sweet world.

Wednesday night at 7th Street Entry was just that. A colorful and at times chaotic evening of music.  Ritsema brought his current project, Suzie, as well as few other solid local acts along to kick off his massive 7-day tour. Suzie is fresh off the release of their newest album Chardonnay. The tour kicked off to an intimate but energetic crowd at The Entry on Wednesday night. And in true Ritsema fashion – it was once again a show for the books.

Kicking off the evening was Minneapolis based 5-piece Chalk. This quintet is self-proclaimed “Post-drake romantics” and according to frontman Michael Voller, “probably one of the weirdest bands in Minneapolis.” Their roughly 40 minute set featured jangly guitars, catchy harmonies and a surf-rock feel. Voller took center stage with his 12-string guitar and an intriguing frontman presence you couldn’t help but watch. Their set had that signature dreamy synthy sound mixed with heavier guitars and punchy basslines. Chalks’ set featured tracks from their most recent album Water as well as a handful of older tracks. There is a definite polished element to Chalk mixed with extended jam sessions and hooky chord progressions and riffs. As Chalk themselves put it, it was the most “lit” of starts to the evening.

While Travis Scott’s Antidote blared from the Entry’s speakers, the next band of the evening Murf began setting up. I shot a text off to my friend who was over at The Triple Rock that the show was going well. Coming off of Chalks’ set it seemed to be a fairly chill and vibey evening. However, I quickly fired off a “I may have spoken too soon” text when I saw Murf setting up.

One part metal, one part Uncle Tickle Torture, and two parts chaos. Mix that all together, stir in a heavy serving of costumes, confetti and fake blood. Let that simmer for 45-minutes, and the product is a delicious helping of Murf. Honestly, as a music writer, I’m at a loss for words to describe Murf’s set. It was chaos. It was theatrical. It was utterly hilarious absurdity. And it was possibly one of my favorite sets of 2017 so far. Want to know more? Peep the pictures below because they will say more about this set than my words ever will. Hats off to you Murf.

And finally, closing out the evening was the darlings of the evening themselves – Suzie. With twinkle lights and a chiffon draped mic-stand, Ritsema took center stage to kick off the set. Everytime I see Suzie live, it’s something a little different – whether it’s a pink wig and tights or a baseball cap and jeans, one thing is consistent. They put on a hell of a live show. Suzie is sexy, sad, end of summer jams. It’s glammy, lo-fi sound is the soundtrack to summer evenings when the sun hangs low in the sky, hanging with good friends and drinking until dark. With summer on the horizon, Suzie’s set was just what the doctor ordered to get those vibey summer feelings churning. Ritsema commanded the Entry with his signature witty banter and zero-f’s given attitude. Again, having followed Suzie for a few years now, I can honestly say last night was the best I’ve heard these guys sound. They even pulled out an old favorite, the song that made me fall in love with this band Coffin in Houston. They set also featured Don’t Wanna Know, I’m Not Done Yet, Backseat, and Burn off the new album. Now Suzie is off “to see the world” on their massive 7-day tour, as Ritsema himself put it. We can’t wait to have Suzie back in the Twin Cities for what hopefully will be plenty more new music and live shows like Wednesday night at the Entry.

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