The Blue Stones Impress With Their First Minneapolis Show


The Blue Stones played their first-ever Minneapolis concert at the Fine Line on a busy Saturday night. With temps hitting the 50’s, Spring was in the air downtown with many friends gathering at their favorite establishments to watch the Gophers playing Michigan State in the NCAA basketball tournament. Others headed to Target Center for the Minnesota state high school basketball championship. The walk from Ramp B to the Fine Line seemed much shorter than the last time I made the trek in January with a 20-below wind-chill.

Lavender Daughter was already into their set as we made our way into a comfortably full Fine Line just after 8pm. The local trio fronted by singer-guitarist Kalee Guenther have a great sound and were a nice choice for an opening band. You can find their self-titled 14-track EP on Bandcamp.

The Blue Stones show was promoted by local rock station 93X as one of their “Low Dough Shows” with tickets for just $10. The radio station has been heavily playing “Black Holes (Solid Ground)” and actively promoted the concert on-air but there was not even a 93X banner to be found at the Fine Line. If the concert-goers were 93X listeners then they were on the more mellow-mature side of the active-rock target audience. It was more of a twenty/thirty-something date night crowd which the Fine Line is set-up for perfectly with their reserved balcony tables.

Drummer Justin Tessier kicked off The Blue Stones’ first number, “The Hard Part,” as singer/guitarist Tarek Jafar readied his guitar. The song makes a great opening selection with plenty of energy and the catchy “Da da da daaah, da da da da daaah, da da da daaah” chorus. This was the “Be My Fire” Tour so it was no surprise that this was the next track featured from the band’s recent album, Black Holes.

Tessier explained to the crowd that although they had played at the Northern Invasion festival (Somerset, WI), this was their first “proper concert” in Minneapolis and they were really happy to see so many people make it to the show. While they weren’t sure if people were familiar with their older stuff, they played “Tire Tracks” next before one of my personal favorites, “The Drop.”

The Blue Stones are yet another great band from Ontario, Canada. Two of my other favorite bands, The Glorious Sons and cleopatrick, hail from this rock hotbed. Since cleopatrick is also a guitar/drummer duo there are obvious similarities with the combination guitar/bass parts that Jafar has to create or the increased importance of Tessier’s drumming needed to pound out low rhythm parts a bass player might normally play. cleopatrick is bold and brash with their lyrics and squeaky guitar accents and more along the lines of Highly Suspect and Royal Blood. The Blue Stones have a more polished depth provided by the background vocals of Tessier. They meld in more blues sounds and you may also notice more hints of The Black Keys and The White Stripes in their more mature sound. They are both great in their own way.

Before playing the slower “Magic” Jafar asked who came here with someone tonight. And after the throwback “I’m A Stereo” turned wilder, the sweaty Jafar finally took off his Starters jacket to applause from the crowd. Tessier then asked, “Pants?” This got a smile from Jafar and a chuckle from the crowd but the frontman remained decent.

Following two more songs from their new album, “Midnight” and “Lay,” Jafar said there was really one reason that they were here tonight. It was the success of this song, their single “Black Holes (Solid Ground).” I made sure to video it on my phone from my front row spot as I’m sure many behind me did as well. Without even pausing, Jafar moved right into the band’s fun cover of a different Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” It’s well done and they play it with their own sound-style is a perfect set-up man to their closer “Rolling With the Punches” which ended the short-but-sweet one-hour concert with a flurry.

While the fans would chant “one more song, one more song” there would be no encore. But even better, Jafar and Tessier headed back to the merchandise table and stayed to sign items and visit with fans for more than a half hour after the show. It was perhaps the longest line I’ve seen at a merch table. And having a chance to visit with these guys at the end of that long line, I must say they are truly nice guys. I wish them all the luck in the world and hope to see them again soon. It is northbound to Winnipeg for The Blue Stones next.

The Blue Stones Setlist:
The Hard Part
Be My Fire
Tire Tracks
The Drop
I’m a Stereo
Black Holes (Solid Ground)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones Cover)
Rolling With the Punches