As I pulled up to the Varsity Theater last night I was greeted by a line of fans wrapped around the block all the way to University Ave. No surprise, both grandson and Royal and the Serpent both have become household names during the live performance starved shutdown. And opener Nova Twins from the UK have been called “the best band you’ve never heard of” by none other than Tom Morello.
I took my spot in the pit, and remembered the words of Nova Twins PR Rep “These girls will melt your face off!”. I had been warned, but did not listen. The first notes of loud bass and their stage presence almost blew me out of the pit and into the crowd. Hoooooooooly CRAP!! Nova Twins describe their sound as urban punk. Punk is the core, it’s raw, it’s aggressive, it’s fearless. Rap and HipHop blend seamlessly in and the guitar work is a lot more interesting than what you usually get from a punk band (I can see why Tom Morello is a fan). Their short set left me impressed looking forward to seeing more of them.I have to confess, Royal & the Serpent were a bit of a mystery to me. Her major label debut came during the COVID hiatus and I heard their music quite a bit on Sirius XM but I never dug deeper. So I was curious what she would bring to the stage. Dressed in a Vikings jersey, her first crowd interaction fell a bit flat (not many football fans in the crowd I guess) but the energy that she brought to the stage erased the slow start in seconds. She had the packed crowd in her hands in seconds. Everyone was jumping through the set that kept high energy songs coming. A cover of the Killer’s Mr. Brightside blended into Eat Spit, and she closed with the song that pushed her in the public’s eye “Overwhelmed”
Set List: I Can’t Get High / Go Fuck Yourself / Phuckboi Rejects / Better / I’m Not Sorry / Alt B!Itch Poser / Happier In Hell / Mr. Brightside / Eat Spit / OverwhelmedMaybe it’s just me, but I feel musicians bring a bit of extra energy to the stage after being sidelined. In grandson’s case it was a perfect mix of artist, audience and venue. The low stage at the Varsity, the dinkytown crowd and grandson came together as a perfect storm. Turns out I know a lot of grandsong’s songs (without knowing that they are grandson’s 🙂 ). I had several “Oh, that’s one of his songs!” moments through the set. granson is a handful on stage and in the crowd. A trust fall from the Varsity’s balcony for the Grand Finale was a highlight for many fans. Grandson also shared a positive message with the crowd, “A grandson fan is a way of being”. He brought a couple of first time concert goers on stage – that’s one heck of a way to remember your first show.
Set List: 6:00 / Dark Side / Overdose / Apologize / Dirty / Kult / Bury Me/ Rain / Ballad Of G And X / Identity / Ww3 / Despicable / We Did It / Oh No / Stick Up
Encore: Stigmata / Blood Water