Photos and Words By Stephanie Nardi
After raining off and on for the majority of the afternoon, the gloom that shrouded Minneapolis was hard to dispel. That is to say, if you weren’t at The Fine Line Music Cafe. No, if you had the good sense to be there, you were reveling in the bright light and the warmth Christian French brought to the stage. After selling out The Entry on his previous tour prior to the pandemic, this Indianapolis native was back in full force, and better than ever.
Sarah Barrios, the opener for French, had a stunning set and certainly got the crowd warmed up and ready to go. With anecdotes about the origin stories of her songs and killer stage presence, it didn’t take long for the crowd to find that connection with her and get reeled in. By the end of it, everyone was jamming along to her songs, regardless of whether or not they’d heard them before. Needless to say, she gained more than just a few fans after that night; including us.
As his guitarist, Warren Russell, and drummer, Nick Ineck, built the tension with an intro, French finally took to the stage and kicked things off with his unapologetically optimistic bop, bright side of the moon. During his previous tour, this song became synonymous with his iconic moment of pouring a water bottle into his mouth and throwing the rest into the crowd (or Raisin Bran if you were at the Salt Lake City show) and to the delight of everyone there, the tradition lived on. The tone had been set and this level of energy from French as well as the crowd would be a consistent thread throughout the entirety of the show.
With bright lights splashing pinks and blues across the stage, French moved back and forth across it; letting the music carry him. He was just as much at home playing carefree tracks like “good things take time” and “breaking all the rules” as he was playing more heavy, melancholy songs like “heavy snow” and “paper thin”. He brought the crowd along for the ride, and no matter the song, there was never a loss of energy; just a switch in the way it was shown. Dancing and cheering turned into heavy head bops and raised hands, and back again, but the crowd stayed engaged in every moment.
He couldn’t help himself and played not one but two new songs; “oh well” and “all roads”. If you follow French on Instagram, you’ve probably heard him tease “oh well”; a catchy track that’s bound to be an anthem for those bad days. For a song that hasn’t even been released yet, the crowd sure knew the words and sang along in full force, something French had to marvel at. Along with these two new songs, he even played a cover of “Hold On, We’re Going Home” on the keys. A move the crowd was 100% on board with.
As soon as French left the stage after playing his final song, the crowd started cheering for an encore. They weren’t ready for the night to end, and as luck would have it, neither was he. He brought things to a fever pitch as he came back on stage and launched into his latest single Avalanche and the crowd went wild. Ending the night on a note that was almost as impressive as the one he hits on the final ‘yeah’ of the song.
Minneapolis was one of his last stops before everything ground to a halt at the beginning of 2020, so it was nice to see everything come full circle. He brought the same infectious energy to the stage we’ve come to know and love from this talented artist and we can’t wait for the next one.