Thursday night was yet another night when there were a million shows going on that I wanted to be at. Blitzen Trapper was playing at the Turf Club. Brother Ali was at First Avenue Mainroom. The Chris Robinson Brotherhood was playing at The Fine Line. All three of those groups kill it on stage and I would have loved to see them all for a second, third or, in Brother Ali’s case, millionth time. That being said, there was a show going on at The 7th Street Entry that I knew nothing about other than it had been buzzing and sold out earlier in the day. So what show did I go to? A tried and true favorite of mine? Or did I take a shot in the dark?
The Entry was pretty quiet as my friend (and photographer) made our way inside. There were people scattered throughout the intimate venue saying their hellos and making new friends. Peach Pit kicked off the night of music right at 8:30 but the crowd didn’t seem to really notice. The band’s music quickly became the soundtrack to getting a beer at the bar and hugging friends you hadn’t seen in a couple of days. It was easy to see that the band had caught on but they refused to overpower the roaring conversations going on throughout the quickly growing crowd. I was annoyed, not just by the crowd, but also by the band. Were they really going to let this audience runaway with what could be an amazing show? The music stayed at a low rumble below the chatting and I gave my friend the “I’m over this” look. As we started to debate heading outside for some good old fashioned people watching, singer Neil Smith finally addressed the crowd and from that moment on, their entire set changed for me and I found myself in love with this band.
Neil’s dry sense of humor sold me and seemed to hook much of the rest of the crowd. It matched the almost dark and depressing lyrics that didn’t quite go with the upbeat pop sounds coming out of the instruments on stage. The juxtaposition of everything going on was absolutely perfect. Sure, people were bobbing their heads to the music and drinks were starting to get sloshed out of cups but there was no ignoring the almost dark messages in the music. If you listen carefully, there was nods to mental health and self medication but, if you’re just listening in passing, you wouldn’t quite catch them. The music itself is far too catchy and upbeat for anyone to really think twice about the lyrics but the complexity of that left Peach Pit with an unforgettable sound. Yeah, their set started off a little quiet and reserved but in no time the band seemed to open up to the crowd leaving all of us with a shockingly good opening set.
Quickly following Peach Pit was Chicago based Post Animal. Just like the other two bands of the night. I knew nothing about this group but I had been seeing their name a hell of a lot lately. I’m not a fan of Stranger Things but, if you are, the name Post Animal may mean something to you. Ex- member Joe Keery is also known as Steve Harrington- a popular character from Stranger Things. Clearly, the TV show took off and Joe seemed to have made his choice of committing to the show, not the band (I would have done the same) so there was no sign of him last night and his name is no longer on the band’s roster. I had it stuck in my mind that majority of the crowd would be bummed, disappointed, and even a little pissed off when they didn’t get Steve Harrington and his band– just Post Animal– a psych-pop band from Chicago but that’s now how it went down at all.
As soon as the band exploded into their quick set, the crowd turned into a mess. People were pushing and shoving their way around the floor (in the most Minnesota Nice way possible of course) and, when that energy swirled around with the powerful music pumping through the speakers, I found myself in the middle of a good old fashioned rock show. Much like Peach Pit, the music of Post Animal is upbeat and almost dancey while still keeping a very rock & roll, almost punk, vibe about it. Even though they are from Chicago, I got a very California feel from them. The music was whispy and free while still having a sense of structure that made it very radio-friendly. There was a sense of intensity that came through the speakers too and, when you add the pure energy that all of the members seemed to have (every picture I took was blurry due to the non-stop movement), you were left with another set of amazing music and energy that was impossible to ignore.
Louisville based White Reaper closed out the night with their garage-punk sounds and even more energy. It may have been closing in on 11 PM on a Thursday night but there was no stopping the crowd or band from having a hell of a night. Although White Reaper’s music leaned more towards the punk side of things, there was this radio-friendly vibe about them. You could stand there and just bob your head to the music or you could join in on the sweaty mess that was happening closer to the stage. Both things would have made sense to the music and that wide range of interpretation says more about the music than my words ever could.
At the beginning of the night I could hear the bass bumping from the Brother Ali show happening up in the Mainroom. I would be lying if I said my case of FOMO (fear of missing out) wasn’t kicking in. At first I thought I had made the wrong choice in show but, within just a couple of songs from the opening act, I had completely forgotten about the other shows going on.
If you’re having a hard time deciding what show to go to, might I suggest going to the one you know the least about. It will go amazingly well (like this show) or absolutely terribly but at least it will be something new.