Twin Cities Best New Bands at First Avenue, 1/11/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Erik Hess
On record, John Mark Nelson is already a folkie wizard. The guy is still quite young, and last year's Waiting and Waiting shows the immeasurable promise of a guy able to express himself clearly both in lyrics and in complex arrangements. It's inspiring to see him lead a veritable orchestra onstage, but Nelson often played it like just another member of the ensemble. Sometimes his performances were so caught in concentration that the adoration lobbed at him from bandmates and the audience alike seemed to fly right past him, but there were enough moments of "Rain Comes Down" and "Reminisce" seemed to soften him.     
Photo by Erik Hess
"Get ready for your body to do things it's never done before," Radio K's Chase Mathey said prior to Wiping Out Thousands' set. And though Taylor Nelson and Alaine Dickman held up their part of that bargain with a set filled with dramatic bass drops, knob-twirls, and shimmering charisma, the crowd was almost entirely stone-still. Fortunately, Nelson and Dickman just kept plowing ahead through their fuzz-laced electronic rock and held their own on the stage far larger than their compact set-up.
Photo by Erik Hess

And then there was the Chalice. The three talented ladies -- Lizzo, Sophia Eris, and Claire de Lune -- ran through a set heavy on the familiar We Are the Chalice cuts with ease. With a DJ backing them, they had plenty of room to cut and weave through "Mama" and put it out to the back of the hall. Lizzo and Eris each exhibited tight-locked flow, and Claire hit her "Declaration" bars with full-throated emotion. A new twist came with a beat-boxed track towards the end of the set. After the closing notes of "Push it," they exited promptly. Being new has a quick expiration date, and they seemed hungry for a lot more.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: Constantly shuffling as the different acts came and went. It made it hard to build a unified intensity in the room.

Overheard: "Who on a date? Who single as fuck?" during the Chalice's set.
With additional reporting by Reed Fischer

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