Sky Ferreira and How to Dress Well at Triple Rock, 4/1/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Sky Ferreira
with How to Dress Well and High Highs
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday night's show at the Triple Rock featuring How to Dress Well and Sky Ferreira was a tale of what should and should not be done by emerging artists on the cusp of the Next Step, whatever that might be. HTDW's set unfolded in a loose, comfortable almost unplanned fashion, while Ferreira's was clinical and calculated -- ultimately almost sleep-inducing. The night ended with a bitter pill but there was, thankfully, much to feast on beforehand.

See Also:
Slideshow: Sky Ferreira and How to Dress Well at Triple Rock

How to Dress Well's Thomas Krell had a little help from the outset from a friend he identified only as "Aaron" and his ethereal, haunting voice held the crowd in rapt attention from the outset. The stripped-down, delicate, neo-R&B nature of the songs caused all in attendance to be funeral quiet as the songs progressed, allowing Krell to walk away from the dual-microphone setup on numerous occasions and still be clearly heard as he sang in a falsetto reminiscent of Justin Vernon.

By the time "Running Back" got started, just a few songs into the set, there was a palpable sense of awe that washed over the crowd -- even those back by the bar, where it's usually fairly noisy, were respectfully mute. Between songs, Krell had a few amusing stories to share including one involving doing ecstasy with R&B legend Maxwell and listening to "Talking to You" on repeat for two hours, of which HTDW then offered a fantastic rendition. The stories he told, all humorous and most involving drugs, had a way of breaking the tension that the songs built, most of which are on the heavily introspective side lyrically with music to match the content. It would have been a lot to take in without the small breaks here and there.

Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen

Songs like "Suicide Dream 2" and "Ocean Floor for Everything" built of the course of minutes and begged for a release that never materialized. While it definitely swelled emotions in the crowd, that lack of release or resolution would have been almost too much to bear. Krell found a way to strike a perfect balance, getting his point across while not, almost literally, crushing the crowd to death with it.

He ended the set with a daring, phenomenal acapella cover of Janet Jackson's "I'll Never Fall in Love With You Again," for which he stepped away from his microphones once again and stood at the edge of the stage, the crowd staying mum once more and his own "Set It Right" making for a stunning beginning to the evening. Things got weird very quickly though as Sky Ferreira's set seemed to be a mirror image in negative of Krell's -- which is to say it just never looked quite right no matter how long you stared at it.

Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Ferreira has had some buzz around her for a few months now due to some heavy praise from Pitchfork and a few other trendsetting publications, but watching her set on Monday it was hard to envision even the KDWB set giving much notice to her. "Bland" is the easiest word to describe it, as the set passed along as if almost nothing nothing had happened at all.

She began with the by-the-numbers synth-pop infused "Lost" and the angry rocker "Ain't Your Right," which was fairly catchy. However, by the time the ballad "Werewolf" started -- almost exactly at the halfway point of the set, which is usually the "slow things down a little" point in larger arena-type shows -- the set was already on autopilot and was headed for the side of a mountain. "You're Not the One" propped the set up a bit toward the end but other than that, it was just about as interesting as watching someone taking a nap.

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