The Violent Femmes have been playing shows for years, so as a twenty something seeing them for the first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the epic artists behind “Blister in the Sun” couldn’t possibly put on a bad show, but I had no idea what greatness was about to ensue.
Local band Teenage Strangler opened the show and brought out some big fans of their own. I had never seen them perform before but clearly many others had. Throughout their whole short but fun set the crowd was paying attention and grooving along. Their unique and melodic sound was the perfect appetizer to the Michelin star performance that Violent Femmes was about to serve.
As I waited for the main act to begin I looked around the crowd and was impressed, but not surprised, at how diverse the turnout was. Middle aged women wearing vintage band tees and holding ciders seemed to dominate the audience, but there were kid, teens, and grandparents, too. As I was appreciating the hip families I was surrounded by, the lights dimmed and everyone’s attention was directed towards the iconic First Avenue stage.
They started off their set with some fan favorites. Being midwestern themselves, the banter between the Femmes and the crowd was polite, interesting, and somewhat brief. There were some rarities sprinkled into the setlist, but almost the entire audience sang along the whole entire time. I didn’t notice many people leaving the floor to get drinks or use the restroom during their set. Instead, everyone was entranced and appreciative of the history that was being relived in front of them. “Blister in the Sun,” of course, got the biggest rise out of the crowd. While impressively intricate lights strobed across the room, everyone belted out their favorite folk classic.
After playing a well thought out, all encompassing set and encore, Violent Femmes left the stage with a wave and a smile. Everyone lingered around for a few minutes, wondering what to do with themselves since there were no coats to be picked up. I called an Uber and stepped out into the warm darkness, happy to check one of the most iconic folk acts off of my “must see” list. If you haven’t seen Violent Femmes yet, add them to your own list to “stop and check out.” You won’t regret it.