Petey Packs First Avenue For First Ever Minneapolis Visit


Photos by John Oakes

I went to two shows on Sunday night, and although they were vastly different as far as musical style and audience go, there was one major thing they had in common, and that was the connection the music had with the fans. The power of music is not something I need to preach on because I think we all know how real it is but to be wholly immersed in a world with the connection to the music was so blatant for an entire night and spanning two different shows truly just kicked my week off in the most perfect way.

Although I just told you about the connection I felt between the band and the audience at my Sunday night shows, sadly, that connection wasn’t felt as the opening act, The Slaps, took the stage at the legendary First Avenue in Minneapolis. There was something strange about the trio’s attitude as they took the stage. Instead of bouncing up there and storming the iconic stage, the trio showed up, grabbed their instruments, and started playing. Okay, that wasn’t super weird, as I have seen that before, but it was more of the attitude I felt between songs from this group that I felt was super strange. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little self-deprecating humor but The Slaps seemed to take it a bit too far.

“Did anybody come here for the music?” That was a statement said that really stood out to me. Sure, the audience was a bit rowdy as many people had been waiting years for a chance to see the headliner of the night, so the roar of conversations was a bit loud and, at times, over-powered the sound of The Slaps, but I just felt that was such a weird way to address it. Personally, I would have loved to see the band amp up their indie-pop sound a bit, almost to match the constant roar of chatter, but, instead, the band didn’t give in and continued to play a fairly soft and a bit too chill of a set for the setting of the night.

All that being said, I didn’t mind The Slaps’ sound overall. As mentioned, it was definitely a straight-up indie-pop feel but I also got slight country undertones and, at times, an almost psychedelic guitar style that spiced things up just enough to keep it interesting for me. I don’t think anyone in the audience hated what was happening, as no bottles were being thrown on stage (which I have seen before at this venue), but I feel like The Slaps acted more like background music, so that’s how they were treated.

What was the reason for such a rambunctious crowd on a Sunday night? Easy answer- Peter Martin AKA Petey. Petey may be a fairly new act to the scene, having really come into his own during the pandemic, but this TikTok star has been making waves in not only that world but the entire musical community. I know that’s a bold statement, but, personally, I don’t have TikTok (yes, I’m old), yet I stumbled across Petey on one of the random playlists that I let play daily, and it created an obsession with me.

Sunday night was Petey’s first time in Minneapolis, and that’s the way it felt with the excitement levels reaching soaring throughout the evening. I expected a super young crowd of mostly females but, instead, got a crowd that had a demographic that I won’t even try to explain to it other than to say it was all over the place. I was trying to take it all in through the first couple of songs and try to figure out what had brought all of these seemingly different people to First Avenue for this show in particular. That’s when I realized that absolutely everyone around me was singing. They weren’t just singing to the hits like I was, they were singing every word to every song as if they had no other choice to do so. Some people were shouting, others whispering the words to themselves, but, again, everyone was singing, and it created a truly beautiful environment.

It was no surprise to me that everyone was singing. It’s the lyrics of Petey that really got me hooked. They’re honest and address the daily struggles of life in a very heart-on-the-sleeve way. I won’t give away all of my favorite lines as I genuinely believe that all of the lines in Petey’s tracks are worth hearing, but I will say that they make me feel a certain way, and to be able to listen to the words sung live really just hit me right in the feels. It definitely helped that Petey’s voice and his backing band sounded just like they do on the recordings, but with that in mind, their live show was way more than I expected. It was more rocking and full of life than his otherwise indie-pop jams would lead you to believe. There were moments that I wanted to stand there and cry as the words washed over me hitting a bit too close to home and other moments where I wanted to raise my fist and shove the people around me a little bit. I refrained as it wasn’t that kind of show, but I loved that Petey brought both things to the table, creating a truly dynamic night.

All in all, my time spent at First Avenue’s mainroom on Sunday was amazing and, again, it was a great way to kick my week off.