Photos by Langen Goldstien
Monday night was another double-header kind of night. It’s just too hard to resist working two shows when they are literally just a couple of stairs away from each other. As I walked into the First Avenue Mainroom already wearing my 7th Street Entry wristband and stamp, people gave me a bit of a funny look. The comments ranged in everything from, “What are you doing?!” to “Are you freaking crazy?” I couldn’t help but chuckle. I honestly didn’t know what I was doing and yes I may be slightly crazy but working two shows on Monday mixed with the stark contrast in styles, sounds, and people made for a super fun evening full of live music. Let’s dive into what happened in the main room first.
Starting things off in the main room was Husbands from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I was instantly struck by the cleanliness of their set. Their sound was crisp and clean and the members held themselves as being very professional and like seasoned musicians. Their sound dabbled in the lo-fi indie-power-pop vibe of things which, although not quite my thing, was done so well that it was hard to not fall into their world. Even though I found their sound to be a bit run-of-the-mill, this band played their tracks with a sense of passion and fury that, again, had me sold on them.
I appreciate the way the audience was paying attention to this band. It became quite clear that the sold-out crowd was here solely for the headlining act but that didn’t stop the room from going mostly silent as Husbands played through their set. Even song was followed up by a roar of applause from the crowd and it was clear by the end of the opening set that Husbands had done what they came there to do– gained new fans and an appreciation from the Minneapolis audience. As far as I can tell, Husbands is a fairly new act to hit the scene but what I witnessed and heard on Monday night told me that they have a long and storied career ahead of them. Although I would say that they make music for the masses, they do it well and I am super excited to see what the future has in store for them.
Long story short, I was left thoroughly impressed by Goth Babe’s performance. Much like the sound of Husbands, Goth Babe’s sound leaned far into the indie-pop-rock vein of things but was done with a sense of passion and perfection that I feel like you typically don’t get from a band like this. Frontman and mastermind Griffin Washburn had this way of making you feel as if you were the only person in the room with the way he was performing. It was a very strange feeling but a welcome one at that and it made me instantly fall in love with the music.
Another way Goth Babe connected with the audience was all of the audience interaction. Sure, I could talk about the way the audience instantly started shouting along to every word as the band jumped into their first track and didn’t stop until the very end but it was so much more than that. Within the first few songs, the band laid out two inflatable floaties into the audience and allowed two lucky audience members to spend an entire song surfing across the crowd. Sure, that’s nothing new. I’ve seen bands do this since the early years I spent at Warped Tour but it was just one of those moments that brought Goth Babe a bit closer to the audience. Then there were cupcakes. That’s right– the band was handing out cupcakes at one point. It was a bizarre moment but another one that seemed to break that barrier down between stage and audience.
Although his personality brought something a bit more intimate to the stage, Goth Babe’s show felt a bit larger than life. The light setup Griffin and his band had was enormous and gave the stage a much bigger feeling than what I typically get from shows at the First Avenue Mainroom even though, when looking at it, it didn’t seem like that much. The bright colors seemed to match the warmth and boppiness of the music in a perfect way and all of that was just the cherry on top of a flawless set from Goth Babe.