First Ave is a really good local concert venue - I've seen Bastille there, and Doomtree, and the Mountain Goats, and Against Me! I def approve of their band coverage, and they do a lot to promote local music as well. They did a few shows for their 45th anniversary, and a fencing friend and I went to this one which was all local acts. It was eclectic but also rad!
First - props to my friend for being tall (easily visible), game for following me around but not shoving other concert people, and completely on board with my 'get to venue early, stand around and talk forever' habits. I get super antsy otherwise. Also, props to First Ave for having free doughnut holes. ALSO, they did a slideshow of past acts before the first band came on, and they had a couple pictures of concertgoers as well., including one photo of my roommate, on the phone and glaring at the photographer. So that was weird.
Second - this was a great chance to wear my sleeveless snakeprint mini-dress, which is part of my campaign to build a completely snakeprint wardrobe. I like it a lot.
Third - there were SO MANY BANDS. My roommate (who wasn't there in person) said it was weird because they didn't bring back bands with a huge amount of history with the venue, but they were still four bands who have played at First Ave a lot and who also span several genres.
The first band was The Cactus Blossoms, who were... fine. They're very good folk country, but all of the songs also sound exactly the same to me. So I liked it okay but it was kind of on repeat? I just don't have the ear for it.
Then it was Sims!! I love Sims - he's part of the Doomtree collective, but he's also super fun in his own right. He's a rapper and he's played First Ave about a million times - apparently he was a late addition, because he mentioned a few times getting a call from the First Ave staff basically the day before asking if he would mind doing it and being thrilled. He also talked to the crowd the most, including telling a story about when he was 15 and tried to sneak vodka into the venue by putting it in a ziploc bag and taping it to his stomach. He got in, but the owner noticed him pouring it into a cup in the bathroom and kicked him out.
Then! Then was Sonny Knight and The Lakers, who were FANTASTIC. This band jumped up about two years ago, I think, when a old-school funk guy decided he wanted to restart his music career and hooked up with a group of young house-band types. And they are making amazing music and Sonny kills it up there - he;s constantly moving and by the middle of the third song he was dripping sweat. The Lakers (especially the front man) just look adoring and disbelieving at him all the time and asjafdjb. That's basically how I felt all the time, it was so CUTE. And awesome. Sonny does a lot of pointing to one guy or another and being like 'yeah! play it!' and at one point he made the front man show us how to jump up and down while the front man made a 'I can't believe I get to do this for a job' face. So frickin rad.
Unfortunately I didn't get a good picture of the Lakers, but here's Sonny:
At this point the show had been going on for several hours, and we still had the headliner to go. I was pretty close to the front, and this dude right next to me started blowing up balloons. Balloon man was basically the platonic ideal of a concertgoer - loud and excited, but not rude or rowdy. He danced really enthusiastically but in a contained way, he shared his sunglasses freely with other crowd members, he was wearing a pink tanktop and he made a ton of balloons. He also started talking to some guy during the break and proceeded to scream 'fuck K-Mart!' at the top of his lungs, which is such a common sentiment in this area that other people started screaming it back.
I gave him a high-five when the concert was over. What a great dude.
And then finally it was time for Har Mar Superstar! He's a pop-type-guy, with a bit more of a 70s sound lately. I really like Har Mar's most recent album, which was good because that's most of what he drew from. He also did a couple of new songs that he doesn't even have backing for yet, prefaced by dire threats against phone recordings (which were mostly pretty well-enforced by the crowd - I saw a lady slap a phone out of a guy's hand). He was also joined by Lizzo (local rapper/singer) as back-up vocals, which was the only surprise appearance of the night. She was great.
Also Har Mar brought a million ponchos.
At one point two women in the crowd threw him this beautiful gold and black shirt with a tiger on the back, which he wore for a while (it fit amazingly well). Unfortunately I didn't get a good picture, and none of the photographers there have posted photos :/ But there are some more professional photos, if you want to see more: here and here.
Overall, it was super fun and well worth the $20 tickets. Like... seriously. That's super cheap. The place was packed, but the crowd was fun and respectful, and the bands were all great. My one regret is that it ended pretty abruptly. The party continued in the DJ room next door, but my friend and I bailed after the show and I was really hoping that at least a couple of the bands would do a big combined song to end it. (I was spoiled by the Jukebox the Ghost show.) But I still got several hours of great music and a new story about fake vodka bellies, so I'm happy :)