Weekday shows can be a tough get. Bands face the battle of trying to coax people who have to work early the next day out of their homes and onto the floor of a venue. But this was not a challenge for Bully and Tweens, who rocked a sold out show at the Fine Line Tuesday night. For those who either opted to stay home or couldn’t score a ticket, you surely missed out on a fun evening.
This was the first First Avenue show I have attended “post-COVID”, so I was interested to see how the entrance process was now with proof of vaccination and face masks required. And to my delight, with my COVID vaccination card and ID on hand, getting into the venue felt smooth and effortless. No problems. No hold ups. Just a nod, smile and a wrist stamp proving I was good to go.
Upon entering the doors of the Fine Line, I quickly found myself in a crowded sea of masked people. It kind of felt surreal to be back in a sold out club standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow concert goers. It felt even stranger to not be able to see smiles through masks, but it didn’t matter. I was happy to be back at First Avenue.
I managed to find a comfortable spot just in time to watch the opening band Tweens. I was mostly unfamiliar with Tweens before heading into the show, but by the time they wrapped up their set, I felt like a new fan.
There’s nothing better than an opening band who doesn’t act like an opener. And Tweens may have well been the headliner with the way they put it all on the line last night. Their set was full of energy, spunk, and badass charisma. Pure sweat and rock and roll.
Lead singer Bridget Battle appeared to be traveling at 90mph with no signs of slowing down during their short but vigorous performance. During the last song, she dropped to the floor and shredded on her guitar, seemingly transported to another dimension while she was overtaken by the music.After a quick set turn over, it was time for Bully. And I couldn’t wait to get a taste of what everyone was hyping me up about. I’ve never seen Bully before, but when I mentioned my plans to see them to friends and family, I was encouraged by many envious people who wanted to be at the show but didn’t snag a ticket.
And I wasn’t alone in my anticipation. Once the audience recognized members of the band making their way up to the stage, there was a communal captivation that overtook the crowd. Cheers and roars ensued as Minnesota native Alicia Bognanno put her guitar over her shoulder and stepped up to the microphone. I knew it was about to get electric.
Bully wasted no time pouring out the spark. Their cadence was equally mesmerizing as it was dynamic, I quickly found myself rocking my head back and forth and dancing in the small wiggle room I had in the crowd.
Bully made it through just two songs before Bognanno took a pause to acknowledge her hometown crowd. “I don’t usually talk this early on in the set….” she said, “but I’m so happy to be in my hometown of Minneapolis. Fine Line… First Ave… it’s like a chef’s kiss. This is what makes tour worth it.”
About five songs into the set, Bognanno abandoned the guitar and just started wailing into the mic, dancing around the stage. The guitar eventually returned to her, but it was so much fun to see her free, floating around, taking command of the stage.
How could I describe what I was watching ensue? It felt punk. Powerful. Hungry. This band is the real deal. While they may have been playing to a sold out room, they acted as though they were still trying to win people over with their grit and desire to rock your socks off.
Before the set was over Bognanno took another moment to reflect and pause. “My best friend is here… my dad is here… look at all the people that came to my show dad.” She modestly beamed with delight.
This show not only felt like a homecoming after a long year and a half away from live music, but it felt like an energized statement to the sold out crowd in attendance. The statement was this — take notice, Minneapolis. Bognanno may hail from our home state of Minnesota, but she and the band are bigger than the state line. And their presence and momentum is felt well outside of the walls of the Fire Line. Just look at the other sold out dates this tour. If you don’t spring on the chance to see them now, you may be surprised at how much a ticket at a larger venue may cost you. This band is showing no signs of slowing down, and I’m happy I got to experience a glimpse of their ride to the top.