Frigid temperatures? Check. Warm and toasty 7th Street Entry? Check. Loud music? Check. Plenty of good vibes? Check. Wednesday night in Minneapolis may have been frigid outside but inside the 7th Street Entry had all the makings of a great evening thanks to Shamir and Peaer. Their stop in Minneapolis was just one of many on Shamir’s tour which continues through the end of the year well into 2018. It had been a few years since the Philadelphia-by-way-of-Vegas singer/songwriter made his way through the arctic tundra that is Minneapolis in December. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that was just the case at the Entry with a palpable anticipation in the air ahead of Shamir’s set.
If you’re not familiar with Shamir – first, stop reading this article and go give him a listen. At just 23 years old, he’s already making major waves in the world of independent music thanks to his luscious vocals that sound like something out of a different decade and his refusal to conform to whatever society dubs as “normal.” Shamir’s self-identification as non-binary (but comfortable with male pronouns) undoubtedly informs his music, his sound, his live sets, but gender and sexaulity asside – Shamir is one hell of musician. Watching his live set at 7th Street Entry, it’s evident why Shamir has drawn comparison to the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson. He’s absolutely riveting to watch, hilarious to listen to as he tells colorful stories and inspiring to be around as you catch a glimpse into the creative mind that is Shamir Bailey.
Shamir’s roughly hour long set toed the line between the light-hearted and the heavy so effortlessly. From the self-described feminist anthem Her Story which Shamir wrote because “I don’t his story,” to the boppy, breezy, millennial soundtrack 90s Kids it was an emotional journey of the best sorts at 7th Street. Shamir talked about only writing songs about people he hates ahead of songs like I Fucking Hate You and loosing his mind and swearing off boys on the track Straight Boys. Shamir’s set was sprinkled with clamouring percussion, tight harmonies, catchy, earworm melodies all wrapped up in an accessible, danceable pop package. And that is what the beauty of Shamir’s music is – it’s technically precise, the lyrical content is both profound and poignant, but it’s also just fun and accessible – which was evident in the eclectic crowd. It was an all-ages show, the bar was closed, there was families with middle-school aged children to older couples and everything in between. The tentacles of Shamir are wide-reaching to say the least – his acumen and prolific song-writing has the ability to resonate with an incredibly diverse audience.
In between sets Shamir and his, like any non-Minnesotans, bemused our glacial climate. “It’s cold y’all. You’re fucking me up with this cold. It’s not only cold, it’s like foggy and snowing. It’s like…pick one. It doesn’t do that in Philadelphia where I’m from, we almost turned around” he joked.
“Christina’s never seen snow before today,” Shamir said of his bandmate. “I didn’t have a childhood,” she laughed.
Just as Shamir was talking about his band being “way too excited to see snow and throw a snowball,” a fan came running inside with a snowball for Christina, which she loving threw at Shamir. “She wanted to throw a snowball,” Shamir laughed, covered in snow.
Shamir wrapped up his set before coming back out for a brief encore in which he played a track off his first album Ratchet. “I wasn’t going to play anything from Ratchet but y’all have been son nice. Don’t tell no one though.” Sorry Shamir…I won’t say what song though. You’re going to have to go see him live for yourself and hope for an encore.
Opening up the evening ahead of Shamir was a talented three-piece known as Peaer. This trio is self described “one piece-turned-three-piece subtle math rock trio based out of Connecticut.” Though I may not fully understand what math rock is, I can say these three are dripping with talent. Though the Entry was just starting to fill up during their set, that didn’t stop them from playing through with the energy of a packed house. “Thank you so much to everyone for coming out tonight, we really appreciate it,” Peter Katz said. “And thank you so to Shamir and crew for having us, we’ve had the best time,” he went on. Rounding out Peaer alongside Katz is Michael Steck on bass guitar and Max Kupperberg on drums. Peaer’s set felt all too short and we hope to see them back in the Twin Cities very soon!