Night Moves and Lord Huron at the 7th Street Entry, 10/16/12

Night Moves and Lord Huron at the 7th Street Entry, 10/16/12

Night Moves and Lord Huron
with Enola Gay
7th Street Entry, Minneapolis
October 16, 2012

Two promising young bands sold-out the Entry on Tuesday night, as local boys Night Moves were finally celebrating the release of their long-awaited debut album, Colored Emotions, in front of a supportive hometown audience, along with their L.A.-based tourmates Lord Huron. And while Night Moves certainly found a spark during the midway point of their somewhat uneven 50-minute set, the out-of-towners ended up stealing the show with a spirited, engaging hour-long opening slot during their first (and hopefully not their last) visit to Minneapolis.

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Lord Huron are a polished and road tested Los Angeles-based quintet who initially were playing to an audience full of Night Moves fans, but it only took the earnest Americana outfit a few songs before they fully won over the room. Their set drew mainly from their just-released debut, Lonesome Dreams, and the band's steady three-guitar sound really complimented Ben Schneider's vocals, giving an added grit and vibrancy to their material.

The set started just as the album does, with the wistful 'Ends Of The Earth,' which clearly got the attention of those who had planned to just wait out the opener until Night Moves got on. And by the time the band got to "I Will Be Back One Day," they had everyone's full attention. "We Went Wild" had a sprightly, Vampire Weekend riff layered throughout the buoyant melody, while "The Ghost On The Shore" just soared in the intimate club.

Night Moves and Lord Huron at the 7th Street Entry, 10/16/12

The well-paced set continued with a flurry of fervent country-tinged rock numbers, as "She Lit A Fire," "Time To Run" and an impassioned take on "Lonesome Dreams" all resonated strongly with the swelling crowd. And, after warmly thanking the audience, their set closed with a sprawling rendition of the Paul Simon-like "Brother," which found both the band and their new fans completely lost in the heartfelt number.

After a lengthy half-hour delay between sets, Night Moves finally took to the stage to a supportive hometown audience as Tuesday night slowly became Wednesday morning. And, in a bit of an odd move for a record release show, the quartet started their set with a couple of numbers that aren't on the album. And while those songs were decent, it seemed that the band were a touch nervous and worn out from the long drive from Chicago the night before. But they found their footing on the glorious transition from "Put Out Your Shoulder" into a stellar take on "Horses" that proved to be one of the clear standouts of their brief 10-song set.

They kept the good vibes going with a slow-burning take on "Country Queen," which opened up majestically during the soaring chorus. The band was truly appreciative of the strong turnout, with singer John Pelant joking, "Thanks for showing up on a Tuesday evening. I'm sure you've all got shit to do in the morning, but we're here now. Let's have some fun." And indeed, fun was definitely had on a triumphant version of "Family Tongues," which bassist Micky Alfano introduced as "Cosmic Titties" (a much better name, by the way).

Night Moves and Lord Huron at the 7th Street Entry, 10/16/12

The band really hit their stride during Colored Emotions' first single, "Headlights," but just when the song was about to truly take off, the speakers blew and all the sound immediately cut out, temporarily ruining the momentum of the show, and certainly flustering the band themselves. And to Night Moves credit, after the issue got sorted out a few minutes later, they launched into an elegant and assured version of "Colored Emotions" which made everybody forget about the earlier snafu.

And while the band had mentioned that "Emotions" was going to be their last track, Pelant didn't want to end the show just yet. "This is the last song for real, then you can go to sleep or just do whatever you want to do. We love you guys, thanks for coming to our hometown show." And with that, the band eased into a tender version of "Old Friends," which, while it didn't really catch fire, still was a nice sendoff to all of the people who have supported the band along the way.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: Having interviewed Night Moves for a City Pages feature recently, the band won me over with their friendly, relaxed demeanor, and I'm rooting for them to succeed on a larger stage. Lord Huron I knew very little about coming in, but was certainly won over by their absorbing performance.

The Crowd: Packed full of Night Moves fans, friends, and family and newly converted Lord Huron fans.

Overheard In The Crowd: "Now that is a sweet-ass Adidas tank-top."

Random Notebook Dump: People should pick up copies of Colored Emotions and Lonesome Dreams. They really are a couple of assured, accomplished debuts.

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