This year’s Best New Bands showcase took place this past Saturday at First Avenue. Writer Colleen Cowie and photographer Helen Teague attended to check out each of the seven acts: Green/Blue, Under Violet, Loki’s Folly, FruitPunchLoverBoy, Mae Simpson Music, Muun Bato, and Nur-D.
It’s impossible to stand still during a Mae Simpson Music set. Simpson’s raspy, dynamic voice is larger than life — but not as large as her uncontainable energy that radiates from the stage.
Mae Simpson Music isn’t just a solo show; the project is rounded out with saxophone, trumpet, guitar, bass, and percussion. The seven-piece band lit up First Avenue’s stage at the Best New Bands concert and got the audience grooving to soul, funk, and rock-inspired tunes. Nearly every song included audience participation, and Simpson had the crowd jumping, clapping, and singing along.
This wasn’t the first time that the South Carolina native set foot on First Ave’s stage — she’s lent her powerhouse of a voice to the songs of Janis Joplin in a tribute concert — but this time, Simpson brought her own songs to an eager crowd.