Photos & Words by Stephanie Nardi
Jeremy Zucker made a stop in Minneapolis on his More Noise !!!! tour Wednesday night along with openers Valley Boy and Babygirl. Despite an early start, with doors at 5:30 and the show starting at 6:15, it didn’t stop the fans from hurrying away from their jobs and securing a spot at the front of the stage.
Valley Boy, an indie-pop duo hailing from Los Angeles, got the night started. As the first of two openers, you never know how you’ll be received or if people will know your music, but this duo handled that unknown beautifully and snagged the attention of the audience from the moment they stepped on the stage.
James Ghaleb’s velvety voice paired with Ian Meltzer’s smooth baseline produced a sense of warmth that permeated the venue and felt like a warm cup of tea. They may not have had many fans walking into the venue, but they most certainly had them walking out.
Following Valley Boy was Toronto based band Babygirl who’s expansive atmospheric quality to their songs drew you in and suspended you in time. Not so easily placed in a box, this genre blending duo produces music which sonically leans pop one minute then rock the next creating a beautiful dichotomy between hard and soft.
This theme carries into their lyrics as sometimes deeply poignant words are cloaked in upbeat melodies and vice versa giving the songs a complexity that may not be noticed on the first or even second listen. Bringing fans back time and time again.
Kirsten “Kiki” Frances’ voice had an undeniably airy and ethereal quality to it, but there is an underlying grit that could especially be heard in their songs “Homemade Holiday” and “I Wish I Never Met You”. This unexpected facet coupled with Cameron Breithaupt’s impeccable guitar skills pulls their music left of center and has garnered them the avid fan base they have.
After two incredible opening sets, which Jeremy Zucker would later go on to say in his set, “made him feel like a proud father watching”, the crowd was primed and ready for Zucker to take the stage. The lights went out and the fans were left with only the LED light panels illuminating the venue, showing shooting stars streaking across its surface at sporadic intervals.
The crowd threw cheers into the tension filled air, hoping to expedite his entrance on stage, and pop the anticipation that was ballooning inside the venue. When he finally stepped on stage, all smiles, the crowd collectively let out their breath they’d been metaphorically holding and released it in the form of enthusiastic screams.
Starting off slow and tender with “We’re Fucked It’s Fine”, he quickly brought the pace up by jumping into “Therapist” off his latest album Crusher. Zucker’s energy was contagious and was reflected in the crowd as they let the melodies and lyrics they knew and loved so much move them.
His setlist was solid and a perfect mix between old and new, slow and upbeat. Although “18” and “Honest” got rousing responses from the crowd, it’s hard to clearly say what was the crowd favorite of the night. Slow and poignant “Julia” had the crowd in their feels belting out the chorus while “Supercuts” had the crowd jumping and shaking the floor. He seamlessly transitioned from one to the next and brought the crowd along for the ride, not losing their attention for its entirety. He made not just one song the highlight of the night but rather the entire set. A feat that illuminates his prowess as an artist and his ability to write songs that move people.
The way he interacted with his fans was something I hadn’t seen very often from artists who perform in larger venues like First Avenue. It was more like he was performing to a large group of friends rather than fans as he bantered with them between songs; commenting on his “cool” shoes (they were UGGs by the way) and letting them tell their best dad jokes. There was a sense of camaraderie not only between the people in the crowd but between the fans and Zucker himself as he even commented, “I think we’d all be friends”.
He exuded a humble confidence you could feel as he traveled back and forth across the stage and the way he broke into a smile numerous times and received the applause from the crowd gave the impression he was genuinely having the best time and couldn’t believe he was able to do this for a living.
The More Noise Tour !!!! is one not to be missed, and with only a handful of North American dates left before he hops across the pond for the European leg of tour, we highly suggest getting those tickets before it’s too late. You won’t be disappointed!