It’s that time of year when the Minnesota cold combines with the holidays to make touring acts that can fill First Avenue’s Mainroom scarce. So First Ave fills gaps with Minnesota based bands making for some great shows in December. Check out the Star Tribune article with more details. Saturday Night it was the Cactus Blossoms’ turn.
First up was Nicole Atkins a singer-songwriter from Jersey who was quite happy to have to show as a rescue from a Thanksgiving Dinner. According to her, she never was so happy for a 6 AM flight as this morning. She is working on a new album and introduced a few songs from it, warning the audience that it’s a soul album but would sound quite country with just Atkins and her guitar on stage. She was joined by Har Mar Superstar (not sure if he was still at First Ave after Friday’s show – stranger things have happened) for “Goodnight”. She closed her set with a killer rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Crying”.
Set List: Neptune / Maybe / Crazy / Cry Cry / Serious Night / War / Promised / Goodnight / The Way / Tower / Crying
At their heart The Cactus Blossoms are a very, very old fashioned country band with rock’n roll influences. One could close one’s eyes and be transferred back in time to classic diner or sock hop. And yet somehow, their sound appeals to a wide age range of fans, all of which had sent representatives to First Avenue last night. 2016 pushed them into the limelight of the Twin Cities’ music scene with their hit single “Stoplight Kisses” and performances at the Current’s Birthday Bash and Festival Palomino. The intro was a video of a horse drawn wagon on the dessert and a women’s voice “But you promised me, we would see cactus blossoms”
Their songs ranged from calm ones that remind me of sitting outside on a warm summer’s eve to danceable numbers that had several couples in the audience seeking free space to do just that. I found myself enjoying the Cactus Blossom’s set quite a bit.
Set List: Uncle John’s Bongos / Clown Collector / You’re Dreaming / Mississippi / Who’ll Be The Next In Line / To Late To Dream / Queen Of Them all / Change Your Ways Or Die / Tennessee Border / A Sad Day to Be You / Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line / Adios Maria / Please Don’t Sneak Around / If I Can’t Win / No More Crying The Blues / What Am I Living For / Happy Man / Powder Blue / Stoplight Kisses / Traveler’s Paradise Encore: Brown Eyed Handsome Man / This Boy / Everyday People