The Current’s two-day birthday party kicked off Friday night in First Avenue’s Mainroom. The lineup included local artists deM atlaS, the Social Animals, and Now, Now, with the headliner for the night being Nashville-based band Bully — whose frontwoman Alicia Bognanno originally hails from Rosemount, Minnesota. The excitement built throughout the night, with each act bringing a unique energy to the stage.
Starting out the night was the versatile and athletic MC deM atlaS, with DJ Keezy handling beats. The Rhymesayers artist picked “Down in the Low” as his first song, impressing the audience with his cool dance moves and signature airborne leaps. His set got real with explorations of heavy topics (“Do you feel me Minneapolis? It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better”), but also included lighthearted moments, with songs ranging from “Watabout” to “All We Got.” He left the crowd with a positive vibe, playing “Perfect Day” as his last song of the night.
After opening with that hip-hop explosion, the night turned over to rock music with northland-based the Social Animals taking the stage. The young but seasoned band inspired singalongs to songs like “Misunderstood,” “Cheer Up Charlie,” and “Cold.” A particularly memorable moment was when they honored Prince with a slowed-down version of his song “When Doves Cry.” It’s a bold move to cover Prince at First Ave, and the crowd showered the foursome with cheers.
— Local Current (@LocalCurrent) January 20, 2018
Pop rockers Now, Now took the stage next, engulfing the Mainroom in waves of sound. Frontwoman KC Dalager admitted that playing shows in her home state made her nervous, but fans were quick to reassure her, screaming “We love you!” in reply. Their set featured songs spanning their decade-long career as a band, from recently released singles like “Yours” and “SGL” (both teasing a new album, TBA) alongside older songs like “Thread,” which they picked to end their set.
As the stage crew was setting up for Bully’s set you could feel a buzz of excitement going through the air — and the band did not disappoint. As soon as the projector screen lifted to reveal Mary Lucia and Mark Wheat introducing Bully, the crowd erupted in cheers as the band launched an intense set for their first time headlining the Mainroom.
There was even a mosh pit that started in the front of the main floor and got bigger and bigger as the foursome’s fierce set went on. After they finished their last song, Bully left their guitars still humming from feedback on the stage, portending the welcome encore. Bognanno started the encore with a quiet cover of the Replacements’ “Skyway,” before ending the night with a bang.
— Jay Gabler (@JayGabler) January 20, 2018
Tickets are still available for the second night of The Current’s 13th birthday party tonight at First Avenue, with JD McPherson, Ron Gallo, Lady Lark, and Reina del Cid.
The Social Animals
Writer Simone Cazares is a student at Saint Paul College. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene. Jeff Rutherford is a freelance photographer based in the Twin Cities.