It is not often that I see a group of artists that love to perform and connect with fans on stage … and seemingly love every minute of it. However, this past Friday, the evening was filled with high energy performances and a genuine connection with fans. The Cabooze in Minneapolis played host to Jake Nelson, The Plott Hounds, and headliner Maiden Dixie. With these artists on the bill, there really was no way that there would be an ounce of disappointment. This statement was true in every sense of the word.
As people were still making their way into The Cabooze, Jake Nelson kicked-off the music with a great acoustic set, they were quickly engaged in his infectious sound and deep felt lyrics as Jake started his set with Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’. Playing a bunch of popular songs off his ‘Full Swing’ album, you could see that the crowd was fully engaged. He even extended his set to include Sam Hunt’s ‘Take Your Time’. Definitely a great start to the evening.
The Plott Hounds took the stage next with great enthusiasm. The Plott Hounds bring a solid Southern Rock sound that is uniquely different and consistently delivered with great finesse. With their upcoming album ‘Living Free’ ready for release in July, the band is hitting the performance circuit hard. Their set was a great mix of recognized favorites along with new songs from the upcoming album like ‘Living Free Or Dying To Try’ and ‘This Ain’t No Country Song’. The crowd draw was definitely there as front man Noah Alexander lead the band in a solid performance. Like Maiden Dixie, The Plott Hounds are made up of solid artists that are not only musically talented, but focused on engaging their fans. A high-energy set ended with favorite ‘Southbound’ and left the sea of onlookers (at this point) ready to take on Maiden Dixie.
After a short stage prep, the lights dimmed and Maiden Dixie made their way to the stage. The sounds of “An Honest Man’s Wage,” off their new album, ‘Unsafe & Sound’, played as the band gathered on stage and prepared for launch. The band immediately broke into “Love Revival”. As I looked around The Cabooze, standing room around the stage was at a premium with most dancing.
The energy between all the members of Maiden Dixie is best described as synchronous as they build off each other’s talent. There is a feeling of balance with the band. This shows through when watching the vocal harmony between Jesse Becker and Channing Himes. However, there are always surprises. Channing sang a beautiful rendition of Shania Twain’s ‘Any Man Of Mine’.
Jesse surprised the crowd when he broke into ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ to showcase that the band has soul. The full band joined together center stage to perform a harmonizing acoustic version of the Eagles’ ‘Seven Bridges Road’. After seeing Maiden Dixie several times, I must admit, my favorite is to see bassist Drew Sherman take the mic and belt out several Johnny Cash songs. This, hands down, would have made Mr Cash very proud. Even guitarist Jonathan Krentz broke his silence and offered a familiar drinking toast (“Ziggy zaggy ziggy zaggy hoi hoi hoi!!”). The crowd ate it up.
To put closure on an awesome set that capped off a seemingly perfect evening from all artists, Maiden Dixie brought openers Jake Nelson and The Plott Hounds’ Noah Alexander on stage to to help close out the night with Hank Williams, Jr.’s ‘Family Tradition’. Perfect summer evening, energetic artists, fun crowd, great venue. Be sure to catch Maiden Dixie, The Plott Hounds, and Jake Nelson live … never a disappointment.