While it has been a little while since I’ve been down to Amsterdam Bar & Hall for a show, the coziness of the venue always made me feel warm and at home. I wasn’t sure how crowded this show would be, but I went to St. Paul early to catch every moment of the SiriusXM Alt Nation Advanced Placement Tour. Even though none of the artists on the bill for the night were very familiar to me, I could tell from the excitement trickling through the crowd before the show that it was going to be good.
First up for the night was Australian based band Mansionair, and as the crowd gathered close to the stage, the atmospheric vibe of this band started pouring through the sound system. I listened to this band on my way into the venue but their live performance blows the recorded versions of their songs out of the water. Mansionair was able to create a sonically whimsical ambiance, evoking an emotive performance from the band members. While their songs had a tendency to blend in together for me, there was something captivating about their performance that kept both myself and the crowd hooked and excited for their return to the Twin Cities.
Next up for the night was Nashville based post-pop artist Mikky Ekko. For an artist who’s listed musical influences range between Underoath and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, not knowing what exactly to expect from his performance was an understatement for me. To my pleasant surprise, Mikky Ekko & Co. played a charming and soulful set, blending rock and pop influences beautifully. Mikky Ekko has an incredible vocal range that is complemented by intricate music, leading to an impeccable performance. Complete with a solo performance of “Stay” (originally by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko) performed entirely in the crowd, Mikky Ekko left both myself and the crowd in awe.
NoMBe, the headliner of the evening, took the stage shortly after 9 to an eager Amsterdam Bar & Hall. Currently out on tour supporting their debut album “They Might’ve Even Loved Me,” this was another artist that blends influences of rock and pop wonderfully, NoMBe put on a magnificent and eclectic set. Self proclaimed electric soul music, NoMBe lived up to that description with heartfelt and emotive music and complementary lyrics. It get as though both Mansionair and Mikky Ekko’s performances built up perfectly to NoMBe’s expressive and soulful set, making this a night I would gladly repeat.