Despite the rain, cool weather, Art-a-Whirl and dozen other events happening around the Twin Cities this weekend, Tall Heights and Henry Jamison pulled a crowd to 7th Street Entry on Sunday. Even my favorite bartender remarked how surprised she was to see The Entry so full on a Sunday night. Though not quite sold out, it was a packed house for an evening of music to close out the weekend right.
Warming up the stage was New Englander Henry Jamison. “Singer songwriter” feels like too cheap of description to describe the music of Jamison. Poet with guitar seems more apt. Oh and not his own guitar by the way, well at least not last night. Jamison joked about his guitar being out of commission and borrowing one of the Tall Heights guy’s guitar. Brainy wit and charm was sprinkled in between Jamison’s heartfelt, acoustic tracks. “So this is the 12th day of tour. The 12th day is when you really feel like you’re on tour. It’s the day that I’m glad the venue is across the street from the Mayo Clinic. I feel safe” Jamison joked. “We were in Des Moines last night, and I’m not saying anything bad about Des Moines but it was scary,” Jamison went on. Further proof that if you want to bond with Minnesotans just make a joke about Iowa (or Wisconsin will do too). The crowd at 7th Street seemed absolutely smitten with Jamison’s set. Quiet, acoustic tracks, drenched with poetic imagery and earnest lyrics that hit you like a punch to the gut – Jamison seems to be one of those musicians with an antenna to God. Standouts from his set included Real Peach, The Rains (Jamison’s self-described “Mr. Brightside”) and Through A Glass.Right around 9:00 pm, Boston-based Tall Heights took to the stage with a quiet confidence. “We feel like assholes. We keep coming here on Sunday nights. But you guys keep coming. So thank you – our enthusiasm rides on you guys,” vocalist/cellist Paul Wright said at the beginning of the set. And he was right – Sunday night did not stop the crowd from turning out for Tall Heights. These guys played through their set with poise and ease. Much like Jamison – they are those musicians that make it look so effortless and easy. However, Tall Heights journey as a band has been anything but. Starting as street performers in Boston, these guys seem to have a genuine sense of humility, with those days at street performers in the not so distant past.
Again, like Jamison, Tall Heights are as brainy witty as they are talented musicians. Vocalist/guitarist Tim Harrington and Wright told a story about the night before in Des Moines when the guys were just trying to get some street tacos when they were accosted by a inebriated girl. The girl was trying to get them to give money to a street performer near the food truck and proceeded to give them a lecture about how good music isn’t appreciated, not knowing who they were. “Like what kind of music do you guys like,” the girl asked. “Then our tour manager said we like this band Tall Heights,” Wright said. “She had never heard of them,” Harrington laughed.
As Tall Heights continued through their set it was hard to believe that they started as street performers, something that seems to have become part of their ethos as band. Their entire set was polished from to bottom. Harrington and Wright’s harmonies were chillingly beautiful live, perhaps even better than recorded. Their pure, raw talent was on full display at The Entry on Sunday. Harrington and Wright were supported on stage by percussionist/singer Paul Dumas, who perfectly rounded out the set. We look forward to seeing these guys back in Minneapolis soon.
Their tour continues in Grand Rapids, Michigan tomorrow night.
Set List: Growing / Two Blue Eyes/ Infrared / Backwards and Forwards/ Only / Horse to Water / River Wider / Heirloom / Iron in the Fire / Spirit Cold / No Man Alive / Cross My Mind / The Runaway