Out of place would be the best way to describe it. Surrounded by doting parents, high-school seniors and wool capped youth, the scene at the Fine Line Friday night felt more like a twisted high school reunion than a live show in one of the Twin Cities' nicest venues. Even more surprising was that the seemingly overshadowed headliners Red Fox Gray Fox, roughly 10 years the elder of the opening acts, stole the show from recent upstarts Now, Now Every Children. Maybe this was no surprise to the bands or the handful of dedicated RFGF fans that came out in support, but it certainly placed a pleasant cap on an evening that displayed a colorful palette of sound.
To start the evening, Friends of the AMS brought a creative collective vibe reminiscent of Broken Social Scene. The six members brought a wide variety of textures, alternating between mellow passages and up-tempo tunes tinged with electronic flourishes. The King and the Thief followed with a passionately nervous set of melodic alt-rock. Drummer Kevin Goff's spontaneity and readily evident energy powered their set effortlessly. Aside from the ever-present distraction of lackluster lighting, both opening bands effectively supplied pop pleasantries and moody meanderings alike.
Coming off a spring and summer chock full of touring, it was evident that Now, Now Every Children were happy to be back home in the cities. The duo, now playing as a 5-piece (this show saw the debut of rhythm guitarist Jess Abbott) came out with a more dynamic and fuller sounding set than expected. Guided by lead singer/guitarist Cacie Dalanger's driving chords and drummer Brad Hale's quick hands, NNEC focused most of their set around their latest release, Cars. Aside from a road weary guitar that needed constant tuning between songs, their quick yet potent set appeared to be the high-water mark of the evening.
Headliner Red Fox Grey Fox may have drawn in some new listeners with their sincere and passionate delivery, specifically their second number, "Building a Building." Creating the most memorable song of the evening, the song began with five additional drummers on floor toms erupting in a simultaneous cacophony, enticing the entire crowd to clap along to their bombastic beat. It was a song so intense that at its conclusion, lead singer Peter Miller had to break out a head band to protect his eyes from the stinging sweat.