Normally I hate waking up for work on a Monday morning, especially after a holiday. However, today was different because the first thing that I thought of when I woke up was “I get to go to the SOLD OUT K.Flay show at 7th Street Entry tonight!” If that doesn’t get your gears going on a Monday morning, I don’t know what will.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know who K.Flay is. For those rare individuals who haven’t been blessed by hearing her music yet, I’ll give you a little snippet into what she’s been doing since the last time she was in Minneapolis back in 2017, when she headlined First Ave with accompanying act Missio.
K.Flay, aka Kristine Flaherty is an L.A. based songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist whose music features a blend of hip-hop, indie rock and electronic music. Inspired by artist ranging from Missy Elliott to Liz Phair, her sound is difficult to define. This has allowed her to gather a wide fan base that’s let to her being the featured artist on a number of songs lately, including Tom Morello ‘s “Lucky One,” Mike Shinoda ‘s “Make It Up as I Go” and Robert DeLong‘s “Favorite Color Is Blue.”
I could talk on and on about the achievements of K.Flay and what she’s been doing since her last show in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but I want to get to the good stuff and tell you how incredible this show was!
As I walked up to 7th Street Entry’s I could already hear the people inside, talking excitedly as they crammed into the historic venue waiting for the music to start. Typically, I’ll walk into a show at 7th Street right after the doors open and there’ll be maybe 15 people hanging around trying plant themselves front and center, but this wasn’t a typical day. When I walked in the venue was filled with a mass of people waiting eagerly in a spot they scoped out, doing everything in their power not move until K.Flay took the stage, I instantly started to grin as I knew this was going to be even better than I anticipated.
As it grew closer to show time, the venue continued to fill up and I took my place on stage right with camera in hand, ready to see John Chuck & The Class perform their hearts out like they have many times in the past.
John Chuck & The class is comprised of Rapper JC “John Chuck” Stroebel and producer Henry “The Class” Donato who have been making music together since their childhood. Growing up in the north suburbs of Minneapolis, they’ve modeled their talents and ambitions after the vibrant musical culture around them as they bring a fresh new sound and perspective to the already thriving hip-hop scene.
Once the lights dimmed, the crowd began to go wild as JC takes the stage with confidence and swagger. He begins to jump and dance around to the beat of the drums while encouraging the crowd to get off their feet and dance around with them. With limited space to move around the stage, JC had to get creative with how he showed off his moves while rapping on top of a killer track. He was grooving to the music so much in his first song that he joked with the crowd asking “Did anyone bring an inhaler? I might need you to give it to me if I end up down on the ground.”
John Chuck & The Class bring an intense stage presence that’s hard to match. I feel like it’s rare to see a hip-hop group these days who can successfully own the stage. They finished off their set with an absolute banger of a song, where JC hopped into the crowd and began to get everyone dancing along with him, another rare sight to see these days, as I don’t feel a lot of artist are comfortable doing that… not John Chuck though, he’s a badass.
Once the lights came back on, I moved to the left side of the venue where I ran into a old friend from college. As we caught up, I had to ask “How’d you like John Chuck & The Class?” He proceeded to go on and on about how great the group was, comparing the beats, as well as, JC’s lyrics and delivery to that of local legend P.O.S. To be honest, he’s completely right! I look back on their set and it stuns me how many similarities I hear in the heartfelt lyrics and backing tracks.
Enough about John Chuck & The Class, if you want to see how amazing they are in person, come out to their show at 7th Street Entry in June, where they’ll be celebrating the release of their new single JUNE.
I was lucky enough to grab the prime photo spot on top of the stage left speaker when K.Flay made her entrance from behind the jet-black curtain. Suddenly a single purple light filled the venue as we see K.Flay in all white picking up her bass to start off the set with her hit Giver, the perfect song, to start out her set. (It’s my favorites so I’m biased).
I scurried my way to the back of the crowd so I could get a better view of the whole venue and all of her fans, where I noticed that there was really no common age group. I was expecting to see a bunch of 20-year-olds, but what I saw was people from all sorts of age groups vibing to the music, letting K.Flay’s melodies it take over their mind and body.
Once she made it through her first few songs, she decided to chat with the crowd a bit about how she had the best potato salad of her life at Cecil’s in St. Paul, claiming that she doesn’t even like potato salad. She posed a question to the crowd the crowd “How’d you like to hear some songs that only 3 other cities have heard before?” The crowd screamed at the top of their lungs, begging K.Flay to start playing the songs so they could be inducted into what they believe is a sacred club of unheard music.
When you introduce unheard songs to a crowd you lose the ability to lyrically involve them in the music. However, that was not the case tonight, these songs got the crowd focused on the composition instead of the lyrics allowing the move more fluidly and let their body do the talking. With an accompanying light show of red, purple and blue these couple of songs put the crowd into a trance that K.Flay took advantage of as she jumped around on stage, whipping her hair back and forth and making each member feel as if the song is written for them.
The icing on the cake came during her last few songs where she covered Closing Time by Semisonic. She ended the song by letting the crowd sing the lyrics as she stepped away from the mic, I think it left everyone smiling from cheek to cheek to hear something so close to all of our hearts.
After a brief break in the music where she told everyone how special tonight was due to the fact that all the proceeds went to Tubman, a Minnesota organization that helps women, men, youth and families who have experienced relationship violence, elder abuse, addiction, sexual exploitation or other forms of trauma. After talking to the crowd about what gets them high (other than drugs, alcohol and money) she goes into another one of her hit song High Enough. She changed it up a bit keeping the mood low-key and intimate until the very end where she unleashed the full force of the song, jamming out till the very end.
I thought that was going to be it for the crowd, how could they give her any more than what they already had. Then came her last song of the night… Blood in the Cut. This was the first K.Flay song I ever heard and what caused me to fall in love with her music and everything she does as an artist. Words can only begin to describe how amazing this song is and it’s always a guarantee to get people jumping and singing their hearts out. I thought Closing Time would’ve been the perfect ending song, until she played this masterpiece! I work with a lot of female artist and I’ve never seen anyone of them go as hard as K.Flay did during her final song.
I left the venue on cloud 9 with a severe adrenaline high, it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at 7th Street Entry hands down. I could go on and on about how great this night was and talk you ear off for another couple of paragraphs, but instead I’ll just encourage you to see K.Flay as soon as possible, even if you have to go to a different city to do so. She truly is a one of the most talented artists right now and I can’t wait to see what she has in store these next few years.