Local Current Blog

Review: Strange Names come home to the 7th Street Entry

Strange Names. Photos by Bridget Bennett for MPR.

A sea of friends and fans—and a few moms—flooded the 7th Street Entry for Strange Names‘ highly anticipated reunion with Minneapolis. This was the first hometown show for the group since the new wave duo—now a trio—relocated to New York to be closer to their label Frenchkiss Records. They released Use Your Time Wisely on Frenchkiss this May. Their last Minneapolis show was in August, making it almost a year since they last played here.

With one exception, the group played songs from Use Your Time Wisely the whole evening, starting with an “Only Boy” that warmed up the crowd for “Ricochet.” Once “Ricochet,” the lead single from the new album, started the dancing, head bobbing and Snapchats began. Back in April the single also caught the attention of Yeasayer, who remixed it.

A few songs in, there were a few difficulties on stage. “This is the part in the show that we ask for a kick pedal,” said guitarist Francis Ximenez. “Does anyone have any jokes?” The next few seconds were filled with an attempt of crowd-sourced comedy. The microphone stared into my soul as it approached my face, but then brushed past my shoulder to the girl next to me. “Do you have a good joke?” My body was trembling with such fear at my brush with social death, that I didn’t even hear the girl’s joke.

Later in the set, “Brick City” and “Neighborhood,” songs about where you’re from and where you live, were appropriately played back to back. That was followed by a snack break, as singer/dancer Liam Benzvi ate a banana. The band then moved onto “I Can’t Control Myself,” a song that has been remixed by Doss into a jam that could keep you dancing for days.

The trio walked off for a few minutes, and came back on for an encore. Some members of the crowd began chanting, “Ten! More! Songs!”

The band came and closed the show with “Potential Wife” from their 2012 self-titled EP, the only older song they played. It was definitely a crowd-pleaser: a Minneapolis favorite and a great way to end their set. The group have yet to tour behind their most recent album, which would explain their excitement to play their new jams to their hometown crowd.

The banter between songs was filled with many thanks, and a lot of excitement about being back in the city where they started. If you missed their show at the Entry, you can catch them playing the Turf Club tonight with Carroll and a DJ set from Suzie.

Set list
Only Boy
Ricochet
Supernatural Silence
Return
Where and Why
Trespassing
Brick City
Neighborhood
I Can’t Control Myself
Potential Wife

Pornonono (openers)

Strange Names

Bridget Bennett is a student at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.