Ashe Makes All Worries Melt Away With First Avenue Performance


Although there was really no line or wait to get into First Avenue on Sunday night, there was an undeniable sense of excitement in the air. It drifted from inside the club to the outside and, as I got through security and showed my ID to get in, it just got stronger and stronger. The first thing I noticed once inside was the line for the band merch that nearly reached the main door. I may have not known what I was getting into but the kids inside surely did and they were excited.

Kicking the early show off was The Brook & the Bluff. Although not typically one to follow the trends or even attempt to keep up with what the youth are listening to these days, I was instantly in love with this five-piece band. Sure, them walking out to a Harry Styles show was a bit over my head but as soon as they started playing their originals, I was in love with their overall sound and style. It almost had an old soul vibe to it with nods to everything from jazz to funk to jam band. I guess, overall, you could call this band an indie-pop band but their sound is seriously so much more than that and they definitely deserve a listen and your attention.

Beyond the overall sound of this truly amazing band was their stage presence. They definitely came off as feeling honored to be playing the mainroom after having just played the smaller 7th Street Entry stage a few months ago but they didn’t seem to come off as shy or timid about the new and bigger stage and setting. They came to the stage with a plan and stuck to that plan even with a few technical difficulties throughout their set. They had this feeling of being seasoned professionals which has me thinking they will absolutely be a household name in no time. I would be remiss to not mention the connection these guys have with their audience. Even if you didn’t know who this band was while standing there and watching them, they had this uncanny way of forming a connection with you that was only emphasized by the quirky dancing that all of the members took part in. They just really came off as “your buddy’s band” and I loved that so much and truly cannot wait to see them thrive.

As mentioned, I knew nothing about the headliner Ashe as I walked into First Avenue on Sunday night but it was clear that I was a bit out of my element as I staked my claim on my normal spot on the floor and realized I was one of the oldest ones there outside of the flock of parents. At 29 years old, I was a bit shocked by just how young Ashe’s crowd was but, as she jumped into her set, it all made sense. Ashe’s music speaks to the youth. With lyrics relating back to living through a global pandemic and the typical love and love lost, she really does have a way with words. Even though geared to the kids, I feel like there’s a little something for everyone to take away from her music which made her show feel more dynamic than many of the pop shows I have found myself at lately.

Although the stage setup seemed a bit extreme with a giant light-up arch which Ashe frequently sang from, there was really no smoke and mirrors to her live show which I so appreciated. Relying strictly on her connection to her fans and the pure talent that she has, I found myself falling deeper and deeper in love with this woman with every word she sang. Beyond her talent was her true appreciation for being where she was and who she was singing for. Her personality shined bright as she accepted bouquets of flowers from fans with a giant smile on her face. She seemed genuinely surprised and thankful for the reception which, in turn, made her feel so accessible as a fan. To expand on the accessibility, every time she addressed the audience, she came off as normal. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all but she just had this way of making you feel comfortable with your surroundings in such a beautiful way.

Ashe’s music may be a bit too commercial and pop for me but what she brought to the stage outside of the music hit me in just the right spot and her beauty both inside and out was not lost on me. Out of all of the many moments that made up the Sunday night concert, it was when she encouraged the audience to bring their baggage to the show that really spoke to me. Most performers urge you to leave your problems at the door but Ashe encouraged you to bring them to the floor and scream, shout, sing, and cry them out. The power behind that message was absolutely what I needed for my Sunday night.