“We were in the right place tonight!” said a guy walking out of the 7th St Entry last night, past a crowd of artists and fans hugging and laughing outside the stage door.
He wasn’t wrong. After a bummer summer that concluded with a muted Minnesota Get-Together, it was heartening and cathartic to join a sold-out audience for a packed lineup of young artists who’ve surged onto the local (not to mention national) scene during the pandemic pause in live shows.
Like the recent Bully show at Fine Line, the screening process at the Entry’s entry reflected the necessity for ample caution, with a metal detector in place and vaccine cards carefully checked. Once inside the venue, fans bounced joyfully in the club’s little pit.
There was a familial vibe that wasn’t just emotional, but literal: Emily Schoonover, of opener bugsy, introduced her sister who was selling merch (and reading a book with truly impressive focus). Papa Mbye opened his set by delivering promised shout-outs to several relatives in attendance, and at one point headliner Miloe had the brilliant blue flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo draped over his shoulders by a woman who jumped on stage. “That’s my mom,” he explained.
Bugsy’s churning indie rock takes the crunchy sound familiar to generations of Entry-goers and updates it for the TikTok era, with Schoonover’s swooping voice front and center. When she sang “everything is overwhelming,” I felt that.
When Papa Mbye took the stage with a full band vibing so hard they practically vibed off the stage, the audience was absolutely ecstatic. For an artist whose story emphasizes his eclectic creativity and unconventional approach, Papa commanded the Entry stage like a stadium-ready rock star, seizing the mic and performing with the kind of conviction that makes you feel an artist is simultaneously in a world of his own and singing directly to you.
While Papa’s fans, pressing toward the stage, were amply enraptured by the numbers he described as his “sad boy songs” (“If you guys want to cry with me, you can,” he said, introducing “NEEDASTOMP”), the house really blew up for “NOFOODINMYTUMMY,” with guest Philli Irvin joining the artist for a rendition that turned the churning track into a massive chant-along.
Miloe’s set was similarly epic, with the initially unassuming set rapidly gaining momentum with a high-energy rendition of “Greenhouse,” ultimately building to a muscular take on “Winona” (a track from his 2020 EP Greenhouse, recently released as a remix featuring Jamila Woods and Vagabon), and a climactic performance of “Space and Time.” Even the self-titled track from Miloe’s 2019 self-titled EP, a quiet strum on record, turned into an epic anthem.
As had Papa Mbye, Miloe met the crowd’s demands for an encore by reprising a song, in his case it was “Greenhouse.” Slinging a gleaming Fender as bright as his contagious smile, Miloe capped the night on a high note with a promise of much more to come.