Rising pop artist Ryn Weaver seems older than 22. That could be attributed to her heavy eyeliner or confident stage presence, sure. But more likely, it’s her voice’s thickness that tricks the senses, lavishly coating notes all over the octaves. In fact, her vocals are probably the biggest draw for fans of this new, young artist with ties to Benny Blanco and Charli XCX. On Tuesday night, probably her last in a Twin Cities venue so small, she impressed a sold-out Triple Rock crowd with all 11 songs from The Fool, her debut LP from June 16.
At 10:10 p.m., Weaver sashayed on stage to a drum intro. She smiled and waved, beginning the show with album opener “Runaway,” a good sing-along song that twinkles with soft synthesizers. The crowd nodded along happily. Weaver has energy; she danced with bravura, swinging her hips and running fingers down her thighs, and those around me looked spellbound.
“Y’all are dope,” the San Diego, California-born told the audience during the first of several interactions. “I went shopping today — you guys have great vintage.” (Earlier that day, she’d tweeted, “Just bought my first plaid skirt since catholic school.” One guess reveals what she wore before the show.)
“I feel like we’re always on our phones,” she continued, talking about lives “with 10,000 Facebook likes and no one to call.” So she urged the audience to meet those nearby — by talking, taking a selfie, or even making out. The crowd laughed and obeyed. (Shout-out to my new acquaintance, Charlie.)
Right in the middle of the set, “Stay Low” intrigued me, wrapping Weaver’s breathy delivery into jangly instrumentation and presenting them both in a bow. Well-packaged if a little too glossy, “Stay Low” indicates Weaver’s overall style well.
“My grandfather was ... a homie,” Weaver said before her next song, which she dedicated to her recently passed relative. Kneeling on the stage, she held hands with a fan and started “Traveling Song.” For the first three minutes, I would have said it was a sweet testament to family, but nothing too impressive. That changed once the guitar strums faded; going a capella, Weaver dovetailed into a sophisticated segment with spoken-word speed and a swelling melody. She seemed to tear up while clutching the mic; I got serious goosebumps.
In future shows, she should seize that moment to play another emotional stunner, but she slid right back into party mode with “Promises.” Then, her last three songs were bright, but somewhat forgettable, except catchy penultimate song “OctaHate" — a viral hit. Closer “New Constellations,” Weaver’s “favorite song on the record,” featured appealing melodies in an orbit around production. She forfeited an encore, which was little surprise to the Triple Rock crowd; most either knew she’d played all of her album or stood close enough to read the set list upside-down (or both).Before the show, Weaver hopped in line to meet a few fans, her manager hovering nearby. The vibe felt more like “excitement” than “mania,” though I’d expected the latter because of strong “OctaHate” hype and the celebrity connections. After the show, those who’d purchased merchandise stayed for a meet-and-greet with the skilled, approachable artist.
To open the show, neo-soul/pop singer Sam Dew played his spoonerism’d EP, Damn Sue, plus an unreleased song with alt-J vibes and a maraca. Standout track “Air” led right into “Rewind,” which plays with syncopation and loops; Dew actually started the latter song with a few lines looped backwards, à la Missy Elliott on “Work It.” When a fan answered the artist’s “one more song” notice with an insistent, “Two,” he grinned. “Two more? That’s a lie, man. That’s not fair.” In answer, a voice called out, “Three!”
For me, Dew almost stole the show from Weaver. Find Damn Sue and look for this Roc Nation-signed talent to release an album — he promised it’s coming soon.
Critic’s bias: I only looked her up because of this show, but Weaver’s work falls right into my general taste. Sam Dew’s, too.
The crowd: A mostly white mix of guys and girls in their early 20s. Lots of messenger bags/H&M dresses.
Overheard in the crowd:
— “I’m totally going to cry during ‘OctaHate.’”
— “It’s not the Triple Rock without the asbestos,” said one guy after discussing the insulation sticking out of the venue’s ceiling.
Random notebook dump: Without meaning to, I made several notes about Sam Dew’s register. These include “supa falsetto,” “wow, falsetto,” and “THAT FALSETTO.”
Unreleased song with alt-J vibes
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