There’s no way of avoiding it people…winter is officially upon us in the Twin Cities. The days of block parties, patio happy hours and bike rides around Lake Calhoun are but a distant memory. Oh, sweet days of summer, how I miss you so.
But fear not, don’t succumb to that seasonal depression just yet. The fall concert schedule is in full swing and here to save the day. And nothing brightens up the cold, dark nights of November like a packed show at the iconic First Avenue Mainroom. Last night the star-covered venue played host to Alvvays with support from Jay Som. If you’re not familiar with Alvvays yet, I kindly request you stop reading this article and go give their new album Antisocialites a listen.
This Toronto-based five-piece is quickly becoming one of indies’ biggest darlings of the year (and likely no strangers to dark, cold winter nights). Though the group has been making music for nearly eight-years, they’ve hit a sweet spot with their latest full length-album.
Alvvays has been racking up the accolades from the industry powerhouses such as Pitchfork & NPR – but they’ve also been getting some love from local tastemakers The Current. As Alvvays took to the stage shortly after 9:15 pm, the venue was filled with screams, especially for frontwoman Molly Rankin. “Oh my gosh, there she is,” some iPhone gripping girls screamed from the front row. I was taken aback by the reception Alvvays received. I know there two albums have kicked ass, but there was definite cult-following vibe I wasn’t expecting. Earlier in the evening, a girl told me about meeting Rankin (or Molly, as they lovingly call her) in Dallas. From the chatter in the crowd to the screams to the swarms around the merch table – it’s clear Alvvays has brewed up a magical elixir and fans can’t get enough.
Shortly into their set, a big, red bouquet of flowers made its’ way to the front of the crowd and onto the stage, into Rankin’s hands. “Flowers?! No one ever gives me flowers,” she said with a laugh. Alvvays might still be learning to deal with their new-found status as darlings of the year, but they sure know how to put on a hell of a show.
The loud, sometimes dissonant guitars layered with Rankins ethereal vocals were the cornerstone of the set. Alvvays has a way of taking you up and spinning you around in lo-fi, melancholic cloud on songs like Dreams Tonite and Not My Baby before kicking it back up with surf rocky bangers like Party Police and Archie, Marry Me. Alvvays warm, surfy, nostalgia-laden set was just what the Twin Cities needed to warm up on a cold, Thursday night.
Set List: Hey / Adult Diversion / In Undertow / Plimsoll Punks / Lollipop (Ode to Jim) / The Agency Group/ Not My Baby / Saved By A Waif / Atop a Cake / Forget About Life / Your Type / Archie, Marry Me / Dreams Tonite / Party Police / Encore: Next of Kin / Trying to be Kind (The Motorcycle Boy cover)
Opening up the evening for Alvvays was Oakland, California-based Jay Som. Jay Som is the project of singer/songwriter Melina Duterte. Not as familiar with Jay Som’s work before last night, I immediately found myself taken with Jay Som’s jangly, Mac DeMarco-esque sound. Jay Som’s shoegaze meets bedroom pop, seamlessly blends elements from across genres – surf rock, hooky folk pop, and lo-fi. Elements of My Bloody Valentine to Carly Rae Jepsen could be heard in Jay Som’s sound. A standout from her set was the infectiously catchy The Bus Song. If last night was any indication, it won’t be long before Jay Som is headlining her own tour and swinging through the frozen tundra of Minneapolis.