I had big plans for my Saturday. I was going to clean the house, get caught up on work, and run some errands. Although I got my errands done, that was about it and I spent the rest of my day feeling lazy and watching movies. I know it was Saturday and technically the weekend but, when you’re self-employed, days of the week really don’t seem to matter anymore so I was feeling a bit defeated and just a bit down on myself. Thankfully, that turned around quickly as I entered First Avenue.
Kicking things off was Nat Myers from Kentucky. Nat’s southern drawl made it a bit hard for me to understand what he was saying in between songs throughout his nearly forty-five-minute set but it didn’t stop me from falling head over heels for his music. There was a super annoying constant roar throughout the audience as Nat played which took me a little time to learn to drown out but, once I did, I was given a true treat with his music. It was a bluesy and country-drenched folk sound with an undeniable sense of heart and passion behind every single note and word. Nat didn’t seem to mind the audience and just continued to blast through his set. Nat’s music was fairly slow and steady but I found myself completely captivated by his flawless guitar playing. The way his fingers danced over the frets of his guitar matched the way his voice flowed above the notes being played was just pure perfection.
Nat did a couple of covers through the set but I honestly didn’t catch the name of the original players that he was covering just due to the roar in the audience and the accent. That being said, I loved hearing him talk about the history of some of the music he was playing. At one point he made a comment that he wasn’t the smartest person in the room but, later on, he went on about some amazing female blues musician that just didn’t seem to get as much credit as she was due. Hearing him talk was like hearing him perform– it was full of heart and passion which was super refreshing to hear and experience.
Although Nat was great, the anticipation in the room was high as the crowd grew just in time for headliners G. Love and Donavon Frankenreiter to take the stage. I have seen G. Love multiple times with his band “The Special Sauce” so I was familiar with his style and vibe but I had never heard or even heard of Donavon Frankenreiter. I was stuck in this world of anticipation as the screen concealing the stage went up and revealed the two men and two other band members. I was so excited to see what these two men were all about.
First, let’s go over G. Love just because he’s the one I’m more familiar with. If you have never caught G. Love live (in any form), I truly encourage you to change that. The amount of love and hope that this man brings to a stage and venue is staggering. His sound is unique with the way he blends a very classic blues sound with a more new-school hip-hop style. Stylistically, it’s all over the place which already makes his performances feel super dynamic but, when you add his shining personality, it truly becomes something that I lack the words to describe.
Donavon Frankenreiter, like G. Love, has a super distinct and unique sound only his leans to more of a surf rock vibe which lent super nicely to G. Love’s overall feel. Donavon is not a new musician in any way. He has been all around the world touring as a professional surfer and now, a professional musician. With a super extensive discography of both solo material and material that is done with a small band, it was just a matter of time before Donavon and G. Love hooked up to do something together.
G. Love and Donovan’s fifteen-song set was spent switching between each other’s material along with a surprise cover along the way. I loved the way that the two men not only let each other shine depending on whose song was being played but also how they let their other two band members steal the spotlight throughout the night. Another thing I absolutely loved about the set was how every song seemed to turn into a bit of a jam. I honestly don’t know the material well enough to know if it was spontaneous improvisation or if it just felt that way to me but that doesn’t matter. It had me enthralled throughout each track which lasted much longer than most of the songs I listen to on a daily basis.
The audience’s overall feel matched that on the stage. Everyone was smiling and doing their own dance that matched however the music was hitting them. It was one of those very “free love” type moments that, although I thoroughly enjoy, I don’t get much of when at my typical metal shows. People were there to just have a good time and enjoy the chill music and I think it’s safe to say that it was mission accomplished. A stranger struck up a conversation with me asking me what brought me out to the show on Saturday. I kind of took a minute to answer him but then just waved my hand over the audience and said “This!”. The conversation started to dwindle a bit after that and I’m pretty sure this guy had no clue what I was talking about but I really feel like it was the best way to answer his question.
I may not have gotten everything done on Saturday that I wanted to do but I got to experience a live show that brought me back to life in a way and gave me new hope. I think that’s a pretty good way to spend a Saturday.