Solid Gold at First Avenue, 12/7/12
Photo By Erik Hess
With Wild Belle and Moonstone Continuum
First Avenue, Minneapolis
December 7, 2012
A wintry snowfall couldn't keep local music fans from celebrating Solid Gold's record release or their grand return to the First Avenue stage on Friday night, as the Mainroom was filled with longtime supporters of the band who were anxious to hear material from Eat Your Young live for the first time.
There was a festive mood in the air all evening long, with people ready to shake off the lingering effects of the long work week and get a bit loose, and Solid Gold's new sound was just what everyone was looking to hear. Add in an enthralling opening set from Wild Belle, and you had one truly absorbing night at First Ave.
The Illinois quintet Wild Belle made a strong Minneapolis debut with their short performance, one which was originally scheduled for the Entry, but when their friends in Solid Gold found out they were playing the same night as their record release, they convinced them to open up for them in the Mainroom. But rather than seem a bit awestruck by the bigger stage, the young band charmed the full house with their soulful grooves and blissful, island-pop numbers.
Photo By Erik Hess
Singer Natalie Bergman and her multi-instrumentalist brother Elliot gave their bouncy, sax-laden songs some easy elegance, with Natalie's vocals containing hints of Lykke Li's style, just imbued with more outright exuberance. The burgeoning group has a debut full-length album set for release sometime in early 2013, and they previewed that material during their stirring 10 song set, with their three stand-out singles "It's Too Late," "Backslider," and dubbed-out closer "Keep You" easily winning over the room, while getting everyone primed for the headliners.
Smoke filled the Mainroom to set the mood for Solid Gold, and the close-knit group shared some last-minute congratulatory hugs behind the lowered screen just before the start of their triumphant 70-minute set. After a warm introduction by the Current's Barb Abney, the band seemed a bit taken aback by the large, supportive turnout that greeted them. Frontman Zach Coulter said a quick "Thank you guys. Cheers!" before the band eased into Eat Your Young's simmering opener, "Shock Notice," which helped steady any nerves the band might be feeling on their big night.
They kept with the running order of the new album over the next couple songs, as expansive, glorious renditions of "Six Days" and "The Pendulum" sounded simply massive on First Ave's new sound system. Coulter expressed the band's genuine appreciation to their fans throughout the entire show, "We feel so good that all of you people showed up tonight. Thank you so much, everybody. What the fuck?! I feel like swearing." And with that, the band dug back into Bodies Of Water material for the first time in the set, as both "Armoured Cars" and "Bible Thumper" took on added texture and rhythm due to the addition of drummer Jeremy Hanson and his brother Jake (guitar/keys) to Solid Gold's live setup.
Photos By Erik Hess
The band were obviously most keyed up to play their new songs, as Matt Locher and Adam Hurlburt both brought a moody ambiance to "Nice Flight" and a soaring, slow-burning version of "All the Way Until it Stops," which featured Coulter on keys. After a bit of a false-start from Zach on "Who You Gonna Run To?" the group settled in and delivered a tension-filled rendition which swelled to a dramatic finish. But again, the new songs were the clear stand-outs throughout the show, and a towering version of the title track proved to be one of the night's highlights, as Jake's backing vocals added a evocative touch to the mercurial number.
A hypnotic, electronic-laden version of "Laugh It Up" kept the strong momentum going, and was warmly received by the encouraging audience. So much so that Coulter had to again take a moment to thank us, "You guys are the fucking best. We all feel so happy that so many of you came out to see us tonight. My words are kinda shitty right now, so maybe we have to have a hug line after the show so we can thank everybody personally. Dudes first." Zack then took to the keyboard once again for a stunning version of "Elephants," which majestically closed out the main set.
Photos By Erik Hess
The band left a looped sonic sample playing while they took a brief break, which helped add to the mesmerizing nature of the performance. And if you weren't quite under Solid Gold's spell at this point, an adventurous, imaginative cover of the Beatles' "Love You To" gloriously drew everyone in. The band turned the saturnine number into a sprawling, free-form jam at the end, as each member added distinct, inventive textures to the track as the group truly made the song their own.
And, after allowing everyone to catch their breath for a moment, Coulter announced, "All right guys, here we go--last one. Thank you!" And with that, the band closed down their release show with a jubilant version of their older hit, "Get Over It," which got the crowd dancing, and brought the night to a rousing finish. Solid Gold triumphantly returned to the First Avenue stage as if they never left, debuting an exhilarating new batch of songs while reminding all of us just how potent a live act they have become.
Personal Bias: I've been a firm supporter of Solid Gold since I first heard Bodies Of Water. There really isn't another local band who sound anything like them, which has always appealed to me.
The Crowd: Full of longtime fans and friends of the band who were thrilled to see them back on the First Ave stage once again.
Overheard In The Crowd: Some surprisingly boisterous girls repeatedly demanding that Zack take off his jacket.
Random Notebook Dump: It was cool to see the neon Eat Your Young album art which Matt Locher created hanging over the merch stand, though it didn't appear to be for sale (as of yet).
All The Way Until It Stops
Who You Gonna Run To?
Eat Your Young
Laugh It Up
Love You To (The Beatles)(Encore)
Get Over It (Encore)
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