“Well… here we were thinking we weren’t going to get weird on a Wednesday” said Revere’s Bassist Sean McCarthy as the crowd finally settled down. We were two or three songs into the Ghost of Paul Revere’s set at First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry last night and things were already rowdy. After that comment, either Sean or lead singer Griffin Sherry made the follow up comment “it must be something in the water.” The crowd laughed, and then from somewhere in the back of the dimly lit audience, a voice erupted “IT’S WHISKEY.” The crowd absolutely lost it, and the entire band was cracking up. Sean shook his head and looked back out into the crowd, as if he were trying to find the source of the buzzedly confident voice, eventually giving up and joking “wow, you guys should put that on your license plates.” So here we were, in downtown Minneapolis on a Wednesday night with nearly all audience members holding a beer or whiskey drink in their hands, getting “weird” in the newly titled land of 10,000 whiskey lakes.
Things were not weird this Wednesday night so much as they were an absolute blast for a variety of reasons. First, while 7th Street Entry isn’t the largest venue in Minneapolis, it is surely the most intimate one I have ever been to and the intense crowd was there for the music and close-quarters with smiles all around, all the while packed like sardines. The thing with a band like The Ghost of Paul Revere is that their following may not be that of Mumford and Sons or the Lumineers, but what they lack in numbers they appeared to over-compensate in passionate, loyal fans. Secondly, with the close proximity and music-loving audience, it almost felt like a reunion of great friends, getting together to jam, drink, sing, and dance. It was like a Folk-Rave; is that even a thing? I am arguing this was close to.
Besides the crowd and environment, the band itself made an outstanding presence both musically and personality wise. Music wise, we were treated to the wonderful folk sound of the Northeastern United States, with banjos, guitars, and harmonicas. The addition of drums made things even more intense. As for personality we were given the opportunity to interact with the band between each song byway of their comical commentary and discourse between band members which managed to incorporate concert goers, as well. Again, I can’t exaggerate how personal this whole night truly was – I was close enough to Banjo player Max Davis that I could see the bubbles foaming on the top of the beer can resting at his feet. By the time the crowd favorite came on, titled “San Antone,” we had heard a variety of the newer pieces by the band, as well as a folked up cover of “Nothing from Nothing” by Billy Preston. Lead singer Griffin Sherry saying before “this one isn’t ours, but we love it” or something along those lines.
To tie things back to the beginning of it all, we must not forget how fantastic the opening act was byway of Animal Years. I don’t care who you are, or how well you know this band, but we were all going absolutely nuts for their jam “Caroline” and several others. Mike McFadden commanded the audience’s attention with his stunning voice and wildly intense guitar skills alongside a drummer that I have never seen smiling so much and so enthusastically smacking the sticks, Anthony Spinnato, who was often found jamming right next to bassis Anthony Saladino. Animal Years has fantastic music, a wonderful stage presence, as well as the coolest last names I have ever listed off in an article. In all seriousness, though, they were great and wildly entertaining.
These two artists really blew us away last night at 7th Street Entry. Shirts were sweat through on stage and in the crowd due to how packed we were, but no one cared. We were all singing along and for just that moment during the work week we seemed to forget about any stress that followed us through the doors. As for Paul Revere and co., their tour carries on, and eventually the Maine-based artists will return to the East Coast; we can only hope they will gift us a return again soon. I really hope The Ghost of Paul Revere and Animal Years return to our city again in the future and I truly hope you all join me next time.