I feel like tour managers need to start giving bands a pep talk if they are going to play Minneapolis in the middle of winter. The pep talk would basically be the talk our parents gave us a kids, “it’s cold, zip up your jacket and don’t forget your mittens.” Although it makes for some good banter hearing bands muse over how cold it is here in the Twin Cities – especially bands like who hail from warmer parts as both Cereus Bright and Susto do. And although it was frigid last night (perhaps the coldest night of the week), both bands brought a hefty dose of Southern charm and heat to 7th Street Entry.
Kicking off the evening shortly after 8:00 pm was Knoxville’s finest – Cereus Bright. This was their third time in the Twin Cities. Cereus Bright gets their name from the night blooming desert flower. “For us it’s a symbol of hope, that something can bloom out of the darkest of places,” said frontman Tyler Anthony. That theme of hope and positivity really did radiate their set, even in the midst of their self-proclaimed “political songs.” “So we have a new president, please keep your thoughts to yourself,” Anthony said ahead of American Dream, a track off their latest album Excuses. Later in the set Evan Ford (mandolin, electric guitar, vocals), said “you know how Tyler said that was our only political song? Well we actually have one more,” before launching into their perfectly executed cover of The Beatles’ Revolution. Yesterday marked the 53rd Anniversary of when The Beatles first landed in New York, so that cover couldn’t have been more timely.
The band played with a chemistry and energy that was absolutely refreshing. Their set included Stella which has one of the catchiest chorus’ I’ve heard in awhile, definitely the makings of a radio hit. Other highlights included Excuses, the title track off their album, and Wasted Time, a track about being in a relationship and not knowing how to end it, a feeling all too familiar. Cereus Bright just seemed like five incredibly talented musicians doing what they love, and grateful to be doing so. Tyler Anthony and Evan Ford’s chillingly beautiful harmonies alone were enough to warm up The Entry, no cheap beer needed.
“Thanks for listening so politely, and for coming out on a Mon-Tuesday night. Going up on a Tuesday,” joked Anthony.And headlining the evening, for their first time in Minneapolis, was Susto. Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, Susto also brought a dose of Southern comfort to The Entry last night. Seriously – local Twin Cities bands, I love you guys, but there was something about Susto and Cereus Bright that just had such a charming feel, I see a trip South in my near future.
“So yeah it’s cold here. I think this is the furthest North we’ve ever been. But we like you guys – you’re like whatever it’s cold,” said frontman Justin Osborne, “we’re the same way with the heat, like yeah, it’s hot, whatever.” For their first time in Minneapolis, there was no shortage of good energy last night. From the couple singing along to every song and buying the band shots, to the couples chilling in the back, it was a good night to just kick back and enjoy the sweetly sarcastic tunes from Susto. Susto kicked off their set with the track “Waves” of their sophomore LP.
Susto is currently touring in support album, entitled “& I’m Fine Today,” also the name of the tour. They’ve even secured a few spots in support of The Lumineers. A friend of mine spread the gospel of Susto after catching them in DC earlier this year and I’m sure glad she did. From top to bottom of their set, Susto blew me away. Osborne’s vocals definitely were a highlight. Fellow TCMer who joined me last night dubbed their sound, “alt-country.” I couldn’t help but be reminded of some of the greats such as Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Marshall Tucker Band and America while watching Susto’s set.
Osborne and the five-piece band joked back and forth on stage, “I know it’s Tuesday, so you’re not here for the banter, but for the music,” Osborne said. “Banter, banter, banter!” the crowd joked back. “Ok now you’re just being polite. My mom told me to talk less and sing more,” Osborne said ahead of Friends, Lovers, Ex-Lovers: Whatever. Susto definitely hit their stride last night, getting the crowd going with Jah Werx, Gay In The South, and Hard Drugs.
Just when it seemed like Susto’s set was over, the crowd had other plans. Cheering for another song, Susto stuck around for two more, Black Jesus and Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wine, both of which are certified bangers and are sure to be on heavy rotation the new few months. I felt luckily to be among the crowd seeing Susto for the first time in Minneapolis, because from last night’s performance, it seems like they will have graduated to a much larger venue the next time they roll through the Twin Cities.