Vacations and Last Dinosaurs Bring Australian Indie-Pop Charm To First AVenue


I won’t have any shows for the next two days. My mom is coming to town to see my brother’s new house and so we can go to the Vikings game. Although there are a lot of amazing shows in town over the weekend that I would love to be at, I haven’t seen my mom in months and am excited to spend some time with her. I’ve come to terms with the idea of having two days without concerts but I had to get some live music in the bank to help get me through so, like so many other nights, I found myself pulling double duty between First Avenue’s mainroom and the 7th Street Entry.

Let’s talk about the magic that happened in the mainroom first. Getting things started off in a beautiful way was Eliza McLamb. Friday night was Eliza’s first time in Minneapolis and, after just a couple of songs, she explained that she is so charmed by the city but, really, I think the audience that had shown up early to her set were charmed by her. Eliza’s voice is flawlessly angelic. It’s soft, sweet, and tender like a cozy blanket but it also has a very candid undertone to it. Her lyrics speak to so many people on so many different levels making her one of those acts that is for anyone and everyone. It was these lyrics that made forming a connection with this musician so easy and intimate feeling.

Eliza was joined on stage by a backing band that was great but, really, it was all eyes on Eliza throughout the opening set. There was just something so stunning and bewitching about her voice and overall being that there were times when I completely forgot there were other people on stage with her. That being said, the full band added to the depth that was already given by her real-life lyrics while allowing her to take the limelight. I honestly couldn’t tell if Eliza’s set was short as I wasn’t obsessing over time or if I was just that entranced by this gorgeous songstress but I felt like, after no time at all, Eliza was leaving the stage and making room for the next act.

Eliza had a sense of energy behind her music but it was very singer-songwriter feeling even with a full band. That style completely changed as the next band, Last Dinosaurs, took the stage and instantly leaped into their set. Last Dinosaurs have a flawless indie-rock sound that comes complete with a dynamic stage show. An Australian indie-rock band, I instantly wanted to compare this band to acts like Two Door Cinema Club and Walk the Moon but I feel like that doesn’t do the creativity of this band justice.

From the lights to the matching suitcoat outfits that the band was wearing, something about Last Dinosaurs’ set felt so much bigger than the room they were in yet it felt accessible. There was fun radiating throughout the venue due to all of the excitement that they were bringing to the performance but, at the same time, there was something oddly understated about their set. It was as if they weren’t even trying to give that much joy and excitement to the crowd and it was just happening. This came through in both the music and performance leaving me with a set that, although I knew nothing about the band, had me dancing around to the infectious beats in no time and truly wishing I knew more so I could sing along with the audience.

I got that feeling yet again for the headlining act, Vacations. As I was trying to get some photos during the first couple of songs from this final act of the night, I found that the people in the front couple rows of the audience were singing loud enough to drown out the actual band. Sometimes this would annoy me but there was something so passionate and real about the reaction of the audience when Vacations took the stage that it was hard to be annoyed and I found myself more disappointed that I couldn’t partake.

Vacations is another Australia-based band with a sound that is very situated in the indie rock scene but it comes with some twists and turns. Whereas I feel like Last Dinosaurs had more of a focus on the dance and infectious side of the indie-pop scene, I feel like Vacations spent more time exploring a lo-fi and shoegaze side of the genre. This made a cool relationship between the two bands while also making their sets distinctly different and keeping the night feeling fresh. Vacations got attention with their song “Young” went viral on TikTok. I don’t TikTok at all so everything this band did on Friday night was new to me but I could see the reason for their songs going viral. They were fun, bouncy, and infectious but also came with a raw vibe that related to opening act Eliza McLamb.

Again, I found myself impressed with the stage production of this band. It felt larger than life and a bit bigger than the actual venue yet it didn’t feel like smoke and mirrors. There were moments when the screens behind the band would show a texture that seemed to match the music which I thought was absolutely genius. For example, there was a moment where there was almost a velvety pattern on the screen and, at that very moment, the vocals seemed to take a more lush and atmospheric vibe. It was a small and subtle thing that I honestly don’t know how many people caught on to but I caught it and it was truly brilliant.