Chris Koza Brings The Northwoods To The Icehouse


Was the universe conspiring against me or rooting for me? Between rain clouds, forgotten batteries, traffic and parking issues making it to the Icehouse on Thursday seemed like a small miracle. Was a 2nd show in 6 days tempting fate?

Despite all my troubles, The Twins of Franklin had just started their set when I arrived. To get the obvious out of the way – Becky Shaheen and Laura Lou are twins only in spirit and music. Their roots are folk with many influences weaving in and out of their songs keeping our ears on their toes. A couple of new songs made their debut including “This Life” written during the Lockdown “We all have 1, 5 or 10 new songs written”. I for one enjoyed their set.

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This was Chris Koza’s first show after the hiatus. Having seen him a few times in the past I was looking forward to his set and within the first few bars, I was right back in the net of sound and melodies he weaves. The cool summer night, the trees on the Icehouse’s Plaza and Chris’ music came together for something that felt, well PERFECT.

When Koza was struggling for a song title, his guitar player happily provided it with the comment: “You should know, you wrote it”

A special moment was the debut of a new song “On Horseshoe Lake” with the help of his niece Ellie. He introduced it by explaining how at the start of Covid he found himself in Ely, MN which became the inspiration to what he described as a “campfire song”. The audience was enlisted for the chorus and for one song, we found ourselves in the North Woods with our worry not to burn the marshmallows. Passerby found themselves drawn to the sound and I noticed a couple of “climber dudes” from the nearby rock climbing gym stopping to listen and join the chorus. And that moment summed up the power of Chris Koza’s performance perfectly.

Set List: With or Without / Wishing Well / Mountain / Be Wild / Sleepwalkers / Anagram / Divine Andro / Ponderosa Pine / Hush / Foothills / Rain Connector / Sunset Park / Radio Wave / Grapevine / Hollywood

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