Over the last couple months, I have been falling deeper and deeper into the rabbit whole that is local pop music. The chances of catching me without headphones in my ears dancing around as I work are one in a million. There aren’t many people I know who don’t enjoy attending concerts for artists they love when they come to town. That’s what sets local talent apart, when they perform the venue is always a quick Uber drive away. Plus, tickets range between $10 to $20. Talk about a bonus! So I jumped at the chance to see Yam Haus release their new album “Stargazer” at the Amsterdam.
To kick start the release party was Kaleb Lee. You might be thinking “that name sounds familiar”, if you watch The Voice Kaleb Lee is no stranger to you. Lee is country singer from Ormond Beach, Florida. Music has been a creative outlet for Kaleb since his childhood. The country singer gave up music to focus on taking care of his wife and children before being encouraged by family and friends to try to make it big on The Voice.
When I read that a Kaleb Lee, a country singer, would be opening for Yam Haus, a pop band, I was a little confused by the connection. Pop and country music have two very different kinds of fan bases. Having two very separate genres of music in one show is something that isn’t practiced very often. Kaleb came on stage with himself and a guitar. There was no need for anyone else. The country singer has that deep southern voice that reminds me of Chris Stapleton.
The crowd at Saturday night’s show had so much diversity. From younger children to older adults, Kaleb had everyone singing along with him as he covered song such as Boondocks and Walking in Memphis. Towards the end of his set Lee sang an original song written by himself and good friend Mark Heimermann. This was Kaleb’s first time in Minnesota and I’m sure it won’t be his last.
For many, me included, June 15 has been slowing approaching. It marked the official release party of Yam Haus’s debut album Stargazer. I first saw this pop band open for Bishop Briggs after the first original opener had to back out last minute. I was there covering photos and my friend/writer had asked me if I had heard of them before as we had previously discussed other local acts.
At the time I hadn’t but they come strongly recommended and for good reason. Yam Haus is comprised of Jake Felstow (drums), Zach Beinlich (bass), Seth Blum (lead guitar) and Lars (Lawrence) Pruitt (lead vocals and guitar). With a blend of pop, old-school rock, folk, and a hip-hop beat, Yam Haus brings an indescribable kind of energy to every show, no matter how big or small.
Some of you may know, Battle of the Bands for Go 96.3 took place on Wednesday at The Amsterdam Bar and Hall and Yam Haus along with three other groups competed. The winner will be the opening act for Go Fest 2018. Two hours before their performance, Yam Haus was announced as the winner. It was apparent all four guys were flying high from their win and the excitement of a sold-out show in one day. The word got out as the doors opened and the twitter page for the group was flooded with messages of excitement and congratulations. The added euphoria from the win could be felt in the venue as David Hurst hyped the audience up.
With anticipation thick in the air, Yam Haus took to the stage to about 650 screaming fans. The Amsterdam was flooded with people from the front of the stage all the way back to the entrance. Mixed in the crowd was family of the members, friends, Yam Haus Street Team members, and strangers who all came out to enjoy music and support an amazing group of guys.
Out of all the shows I go to every year, I have never met a group of such genuine and grateful people. Multiple times throughout their performance Lars would take the time to address those who helped them get where they all. During their shout outs the guys thanked their families for being patient and for “throwing their full support and energy into this project,” as Lars stated. He then went on to shout out Erin’s bachelorette party and even sing Happy Birthday to three audience members. For those of you that don’t know Yam is an acronym for “You Are Me” and it’s a phrase they try to live by every day.
I spoke with all the guys after show and we talked about all the hard work and the little details that went in to putting this show together. Jake spoke about their daily vlogs they had done over the last year and how important it was to them to show the people who supported them.
“As we developed the vlog it (You Are Me) became that feeling of the vlog and we were looking for those moments in every day. Where can we see the “You Are ME” in what we did today.” -Jake Felstow
They believe it is important to highlight the people they meet along their journey including family, neighbors, fans and those who are on their team that support them. I thought that was an important sentiment to have because without the support of family and fans, an artist wouldn’t be able to do what they love. Yam Haus goes that extra mile for every single person that comes out to support them and it resonates with every single of one them. While I waited for the venue to clear out I sat down with a Jen Crim (one of the birthday girls) and this is what she had to say, “You feel like you’re the most important and the coolest person and they just light up when their around you and its really special. They give themselves to people. The people of Hudson in love them and are excited to have them coming out of our town with something so positive.”
The connection Yam Haus and their fan base have, amplifies the concert experience. I don’t have words to describe. It’s something you must experience for yourself because no words would do them justice. If you missed out of Saturdays performance you still have a time to see them this summer with five other local shows.
Set List: Stargazer, West Coast, Kingdom, Get Somewhere, Too Many People, Right Now Forever, You Need Love, Bad News, Carry Me Home, We Are The Storm, This Won’t Be The Last Time, Groovin, and Something Better.