I Made It to The Suburb’s Party at First Avenue 40 Years Late


If the title of this review isn’t entirely indicative of my age, I am not sure what could be. I had heard of The Suburbs from music lovers and locals alike for some time. Never having put much thought into listening to them because despite my love for the music of the 70s and 80s I just figured they aren’t my jam and not a big deal for me. It wasn’t until my own mom said “what show are you seeing tonight?… OH! I have high school friends there!” that I realized, mmk maybe I need to give these folks a shot because I clearly missed the boat. Which I insist is because of my age and I am going to ride that excuse as long as I can. So, let’s get to my night of discovering The Suburb’s and their newest album. 

Being the focus of the night was their newest album, Hey Muse!, we’re gonna hit that first. I am going to just be to the point with this album and spare the beat around the bush discussion of this track vs that and how their sound has evolved blah blah discussion. I am honestly digging this album and the nostalgia. Growing up my family took road trips the likes of which only the Griswolds and their wood sided station wagon could fathom. Four thousand miles, no sleep, excessive Mcdonalds, you name it. And all the while we were jamming to the music of my parent’s generation like Matthew Wilder, Dexys Midnight Runners, the Eurythmics, Bowie, and the rest of the 80s hits. Hearing Hey Muse! is like a surprising trip down memory lane for me as a result. 

Which reminds me, a phrase I am a big abuser of I make no effort to deny, that The Suburbs interestingly enough have an album they recorded live from First Ave itself. I am not sure where I would find this info but it makes me wonder how many live albums have been recorded at the venue. Because it isn’t the place I would imagine to be a live recording hub, though when I think of it I have never heard a bad production sound wise at First Ave. 

Normally I would run through the entirety of the album but this go around I am limiting things to my favorites and will let you be the judge of the rest as The Suburbs are a band I respect enough not to take a fine tooth comb to with my minimal knowledge. The new album is a trip down memory lane none the less. Whether you’re a long time fan of The Suburbs or a new comer such as myself. Either you’re reminiscing over the days you first heard and saw them years back, or you’re like me hearing the sounds of the 80s you grew up with because your parent’s music were all you could dig up in elementary school. Either way the album to my pleasurably surprise is great.

My initial favorites so far include Je Suis Strange, Can’t Take You Back, and Butterfly. Not being a die hard fan of brass, despite my love for so much ska music, I love Je Suis Strange and Can’t Take You Back for their brass bounce. Particularly Can’t Take You Back, if you’re not at least rocking back and forth during that song I may fear you’re broken inside.  Butterfly takes a slightly different vibe but it caught my attention because of that. The tone in the album changes and Butterfly is a much more slow almost Bowie like ballad and shows of lead singer Chan Poling’s(Chan) voice incredibly well. If he wasn’t doing this style of music I could totally hear him doing a Berry White-esque love album. 

Queue the segue! Can’t Take You Back is probably the moment in the show at the album release First Ave show that the crowd came fully alive. I don’t know if these folks ever “lost it” but they definitely still have “it”. From guitar riffs and solos, to powerful brass, to smooth vocals I actually felt nearly stupid not knowing these local legends before. They’re no BS on stage and as I always hope to see in a show, were completely in the moment and with the crowd from the first song. And the crowd was there the whole way to soak it in. As I write this I am still listening to their newest and oldest albums to get my history lesson completed on their careers from 1977 through the present. To those who have been there the whole ride, a tip of the hate you know quality music I must say. To those of you who know someone who hasn’t heard The Suburbs or yourself is not in the know. Give them a try. I will be shocked if you don’t find a couple new songs to toss on your playlists.

My You BETTER Get to Know Them Recommendations: Can’t Take You Back, Je Suis Strange, Butterfly, Life Is Like, Love Is The Law

Setlist:Waiting/Mommy/Our Love/Voodoo/Spring Came/Dish It Up/Cupid/Dak/Je Suis Strange/Can’t Take You Back/Music For Boys/When We Were Young/Radio On/Lost You On the Dance Floor/Life is Like/Good Sign/Muse/Love is Law/Girlfriend/Rahk(?)/Cows