Useful Jenkins having fun at First Avenue – 7/22/2016


Some nights at First Avenue simply stand out from the rest; yesterday’s Useful Jenkins show certainly did. The self-described “Acoustic Jamgrass” band from Mankato is currently on their summer tour.

White Iron Band may call Eden Prairie home these days, but there is nothing suburban about them. From front man Matt Pudas giant belt buckle with the band’s name to their (non hipster) beards, it’s 6 badasses on stage to have a great time. And if the audience has fun to, that’s fine with them. Their music is outlaw country with southern rock and blues thrown in for good measure. Fans were dancing hard from the first song.  Energy was high through their set and the crowd pretty much lost their shit when White Iron Band played “Minnesota Pride”. I underlined “FUN” and “INFECTIOUS” on my notepad, twice.

Useful Jenkins split their set and started without percussion to have a drummer join them for the second half. An acapella version of Prince’s “All 7” started their show. the 7-piece band was joined on stage by painter Chuck Hues and an illustrator in a rather unique setting. One if the paintings was raffled off during the show. Their set was a mix of material from their albums with some nice covers thrown, including a killer version of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”.

What really stood out for me was the overall vibe of the show. I have rarely seen fans showing such a wide range of styles, fashions and ages at one show clearly there to have a good time. Boots and hats mixed with Summer Dresses, band merch, and Black Lives Matter shirts. There were tons of hugs, people dragging others on the dance floor and generally a ton of dancing.

Set List: All 7 / Fast Eddie / This Life / Wake Up / Thank You / Waiting to Die / Just a Lie / Easy Feeling / Another Brick in the Wall / Landmines / Fill me Up / There’s a Place / The Game / Left Hand / Along / Restless and Willing / Festival / Express / Life During Wartime / Forward Motion Encore: Minnesota Moon / Poor Man’s Blues