There were so many amazing shows last week but Sunday night’s show was the one I was most excited about. I knew it was going to be a great show and had a feeling that the crowd was going to be that perfect level of rowdy and excited but I honestly don’t think I saw the show being as amazing as it was.
THICK was the first band to take the stage and although it was still bright out as they hit the stage at 6 PM, this powerful band didn’t hold back. My introduction to this band was last October when I saw them open for Violent Femmes and Flogging Molly. I remember being thoroughly impressed with their overall sound and was so excited to see their energetic live show on a much more intimate stage. Although the trio’s sound hasn’t changed at all, experiencing their undeniable sense of energy up close and personal changed everything about them for me. All three of the women of this band brought a sense of personality to the stage that was their own and, with all three personalities meshing together, the audience was treated to a set full of attitude, energy, and a powerful message of woman empowerment. Basically, it was everything that I wanted to kick my Sunday off and, even when the band left the stage after their thirty-minute set, I wanted so much more.
Following THICK was Portland-based Mean Jeans. Although I have been listening to this band for years, I don’t recall ever having the chance to see them live so I was beyond excited as the trio took the stage and jumped into their set. Mean Jeans’ sound is a bit retro and in the vein of The Ramones. I loved that each of the three bands to grace the stage on Sunday had a completely different sound and I won’t say which one was my favorite (although I think you’ll be able to tell when this article is said and done) but I did find Mean Jeans’ sound to feel fresh. I know it’s not a super new style or anything but I feel like so many bands are trying so hard to be the fastest or hardest band out there so it was nice to hear a more laidback approach to music while still maintaining a high level of energy. Beyond the flawless presentation of their music was the number of laughs that they brought with them to the stage. They explained to the sold-out audience that they had been dabbling in the jingle world and proceeded to play jingles for companies ranging from Totino’s Pizza to Coors Light (which they are still trying to get picked up so if any of you know anyone that can make that happen, please let the band or I know!). A little cheesy, sure, but I loved how much fun the band was clearly having on stage and, in turn, the audience was having as they pushed and shoved their way through Mean Jeans’ quick set.
I think it was an ex-boyfriend who introduced me to The Chats and, although he broke my heart and left me in a dark hole of depression (don’t worry, I’m better now and with the best guy I could ever ask for), I do have to thank him for introducing me to this stellar band. Hailing from Australia, The Chats are one of those bands that has a distinct sound and style that is impossible to not enjoy (that’s not even my opinion, that’s just fact). They are fun and silly while having a very flawless yet garage-rock sound. The first song I ever heard from them was “Smoko” and I remember watching the music video for the first time and just thinking, “Yeah, this is my new favorite band.” Sunday night’s show was supposed to happen a while ago but, you know, a pandemic got in the way, so to say I was excited and anxious to finally see this young band would be an understatement and I felt those familiar butterflies I tend to get when overly-excited for a show start to work up inside me as the trio took the stage.
The Chats kicked their set off with “Nambored” and the crowd instantly went into a fury of flying limbs. What started as a trickle of stage divers quickly turned to more of a constant flow which just added to the undeniable energy floating throughout Amsterdam Bar & Hall in Saint Paul as the band powered through their lengthy but all-too-short twenty-six song set. That’s both one of my favorite things and the most hated things about this band. The songs are short and punchy which is great but, in a live setting, it leaves you wanting so much more from the band. The bursts of songs blaring from the speakers were mirrored perfectly by bursts of pushing and shoving on the floor. Although I knew the crowd was going to be rowdy, I think I definitely underestimated just how rowdy it would be. From the bodies flailing on top of others to cups being thrown and almost constant waves of movements, much like the band never letting the energy falter, neither did the audience creating a perfect Sunday night atmosphere.
I definitely had my favorite moments of the night from them playing that fateful song that turned me onto this band (“Smoko”), to their oddly entertaining and flawless cover of “Can You (Point Your Fingers and Do the Twist?)” from The Wiggles (yes, that The Wiggles), to the fact that vocalist Eamon Sandwith spent some of Mean Jeans’ set from the crowd– there were just so many moments where I found myself standing there and just thinking about how great this band is. Sure, they are young and their music is kitschy if you really want me to be honest about it but there’s something else about this band. They don’t take themselves too seriously and that reflects in both their music and performance. That’s something that I wish more bands had and something that I definitely think adds to the longevity of a band. I expect to see The Chats many more times but I think Sunday night was my one and only chance to catch them on such an intimate stage and I am so thankful I had the opportunity.