Photos by Jessica Boldt.
A couple of months ago I heard a song on the radio that instantly caught me. It was dancey, catchy, poppy and new. Okay, that last word isn’t quite true. I thought this was a hot new single from a fairly new band that had finally hit it big but, after raving to my friend about the song, I found it was anything but new and from a band that has been around for years. Although embarrassed to admit that I was a bit behind when it comes to music on the radio, I was in love with ‘Henrietta’ by The Fratellis and was super excited when they announced a Minneapolis date for their tour.
English duo Blood Red Shoes kicked off the night in the best way possible. I had never heard of the group prior to last night’s show but I was in love within the first song. Singer/ guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer/ vocalist Steven Ansell were effortlessly captivating. They didn’t do anything to command the packed venue’s attention but they got it anyway. Although their music fits into many generic categories such as indie-rock, garage-rock, etc., their music is anything but generic. There was something so distinct about them yet so familiar which created a super enjoyable set.
With four albums out that date back to 2008, Blood Red Shoes is not a new band. Between the releases and the way some of the crowd was singing along to every word of their nearly forty-five minute set, it was clear that I had really missed the boat when it comes to this group. Their energy was electric without being over the top and, with my current string of shows, that was exactly what I needed to get through my Thursday night. It seemed like I fell a little bit more in love with these two musicians with every passing song and, when it was said and done, I was left wishing they could stay up on that stage all night.
You could feel the anticipation in the air as the stage was turned over for headlining act The Fratellis. Being from Scotland, it’s been awhile since this trio (although they were a four piece last night with the addition of a keyboard player) has made their way to The Twin Cities and it was obvious that the audience had been waiting for their chance to catch this band. As soon as the band members were spotted taking the legendary stage at First Avenue, the crowd went nuts applauding and screaming with excitement. Although I only knew a couple of songs by this group, it was hard for me to not get wrapped up in the energy in the room. I may not have known much about this group but the feel I got from the rest of the audience made it clear that I was going to have a fun night.
The band kicked into their set playing my new favorite song first. As the opening notes of ‘Henrietta’ rang through the speakers, I found myself instantly moving and grooving along to the infectious beats that were vibrating through the venue. Choosing to play this song first was clearly a good move on the band’s part. It truly got the audience going and caught the attention of anyone who was unsure of why they were at the show. Although a quick song, the energy didn’t stop and the band continued to play through over twenty songs including a couple songs as an encore. Although the songs were changing every couple of minutes, the energy was not. Throughout the lengthy set there was a sense of excitement that radiated off the stage and from the crowd that was impossible to ignore. Even if you had been dragged to this show by a drunk friend, chances are you stood through it with a smile on your face. I mean, there was really no way to not smile as the band played through their set.
Unlike many of the shows I go to where it’s obvious what songs were radio hits and what ones were not, it seemed like majority of the packed crowd was singing along to majority of the songs played. Sure, it was obvious that ‘Henrietta’ and ‘Chelsea Dagger’ were favorites of the crowd, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the songs that didn’t hit the radio waves get just as much love from the audience. When the night was done and final note of the final song was left hanging in the room, it was obvious that people weren’t quite ready to leave. It’s always amazing to be at a show where, when it’s all said and done, you are left with an indescribable wave of energy that you just can’t shake. I may have been exhausted by the time my head finally hit the pillow last night but it was the best kind of exhaustion.