Monday night saw 2 New York and one Minneapolis band at First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry. Not having shot there since December, my photographer’s heart was delighted at the changes the venue made to its lighting. Well placed LED lights kept the club’s intimacy but eliminate the hard shadows at the front of the stage.
First up was newly re-named band Ex-Mazed, previously known as – you guessed it – Mazed! Cause for the name change was a Swedish band by the same name. The duo has a synth and a drum kit manned by Joseph Stickney. Certainly a minimalistic approach but they make it work. They sound is heavy on electronics and effects with singer Cristi Jo Zambri’s voice being sampled and played back the create the chorus at time. It’s not a sound for casual listening, one has to pay attention but overall a very interesting band.
NYC music scene veteran Noel Heroux started Mass Gothic as a new beginning. Despite the name, their sound is actually quite lively and does not – as Noisey puts it – spiral into sadsackism (my new favorite word). The band is cool to watch. Here is a contrast between Noel (looking the cool alt rock star), and the more energetic band members on stage. Unexpected moment of their set was a cover of Enya’s “Caribbean Blue” that sounded a lot like Nirvana had taken a journey into the Easy Listening genre. It worked quite well.
Standout of their set for me was the almost pop feeling “Every Night You’ve got to Save Me” complete with “Uh Uh” backing vocals. I quite enjoyed their set.
Set List: Nice Night \ Mind is Probably \ Money Counter \ Pier Pressure \ Want to, Bad \ Every Night You’ve got to Save Me \ Territory \ Caribbean Blues \ Soul \ Subway Phone
Minneapolis dream pop group Bora York closed out the evening. The band released their sophomore album last summer. Technical issues caused them to have a rocky start but the band overcame the challenges “I think we lost our keys somewhere” and joking referred to their first two songs as their sound check.
Once they hit “Secret Youth” the synths were back and Bora York hit their stride. The full-on synth-pop sound took over the Entry and I think a few Minnesotans were even dancing! All in all, a great set by a local favorite.
Set List: Way you Groove these Eyes \ Midnight Glow \ Secret Youth \ Ghost Lights \ Let Loose \ Arrest Me \ Open Tales \ Silver Fields \ So Heavenly \ Waterfall \ Vibes \ Forever Ocean