Black Keys, Blind Melon, Erik Koskinen, First Ave, First Avenue, Folk music, Indie, Indie Music, Indie Rock, John Prine, Live Music, Mayor R.T. Rybak, Minneapolis, Minnesota, MPLS, Muisc, Pretty Girls, RT Rybak, Temple of the Dog, The Allman Brothers, These United States, Trampled by Turtles
First Impression: Trucker hat, jeans, button up shirt with a dress coat and I thought, “what the hell, couldn’t be worse than Nickelback.” I was wrong to judge because Erik Koskinen stole the whole show (including TBT – which I will get to). With lyrics like John Prine and a that southern guitar sound like The Allman Brothers, Erik Koskinen completely stunned me (and yes I just compared him to legends John Prine and The Allman Brothers). “Pretty Girls”, which he played second in his set, is going to catch on, be picked up and it’s going to take off. Erik was joined by TBT for the last song of his set, to which he stood out as the lead musician on stage and completely sucked me in.
Make sure you check out Erik Koskinen any chance you have to see him cuz pretty soon, he’ll be headlining at Frist Ave. This was only the second time I have purchased an album directly after hearing someone perform (see The Staves).
I am someone who likes to be surprised by what I hear, so I usually don’t check out bands before I go see them. That being said, I was told These United States was a folk-rock group from out east: Okay, I’m ready. These United States controled the crowd playfully and showed their true passion for performing through their whole set. Having “guest spots” by TBT members come on and perform with them only made them seem like a band that I would want to see again (everyone loves when two bands come together – See Temple of the Dog). These United States are very strong performers and very comfortable with who they are.
Musically, at first I felt as if they were a mix between some of the not-so-well-known and earlier Blind Melon stuff with a mix and simplicity of some off-beat Black Keys stuff. That being said, after the set was done, there was something there saying, ‘well, that was a little generic.’ I couldn’t really put my finger on why I felt that way, but I think that’s just how I’ll wrap this up.
The highly anticipated headlines for the night. I’d give them a “C” if I was grading their performance. Sure, they jumped on stage with the other two opening acts (to which they both outshined TBT), but when it came to their own performance I was just, bored I guess.
Yes, they have made a name for themselves and yes they have a great album, but watching them perform live just didn’t do it for me. They took about a minute between each song, lights completly dimmed, nothing going on: literally silence (except for the “woo” and “play your one hit” from the crowd). I felt as if I was listening to an album where the group “hides” a song after the last song and you have to wait around for 2-3 minutes in silence as if the group was trying to be sneaky. Well that was a bit long-winded, but F-it, I was a little annoyed that it happened EVERY song.
Musically, they boys can play. Lord only knows how they can play the fiddle and banjo that fast and for that long. But, I get it: every song sounded the same. Sure, they slowed it down for a couple and featured their talented musicians, but overall, I truely wasn’t impressed.
Would I give them another shot? Sure, maybe at an outdoor festival but last night at First Ave, I was just bored with what Trampled by Turtles had to offer. The highlight of their set, was when Mayor R.T. Rybak introduced TBT then crowd surfed while the band just stood there and watched (which kind of made me feel awkward – I mean, play something, anything…not just silence again). There ya go, if I had to sum up the way this set made me feel: Socially awkward and bored.