Sunday night is a strange choice for a 6+ hour long show. But, hey, why not? We arrived at First Ave in Minneapolis around 6:30pm thinking that the show featuring around 15 acts would probably start on time–it was a school night after all. Wrong. We hung out in the upper level while endless DJ sets welcomed the slow trickle-in of a crowd. We decided we should probably get a bite to eat at The Depot, First Ave’s restaurant. By the time we got back, things were heating up. We wandered into the Record Room just in time to catch part of Dessa’s set. It felt like an underground hip hop show– dark, cramped, and smokey. But Dessa’s set rocked and really set the night off.
Next, we caught some of Leisure Birds’s set in the Mainroom as we made our way up to the very front to catch Megafaun. As the screen rose to usher in Megafaun’s set, we were shocked by the presence of a fourth Eau Claire musician joining them on stage- Justin Vernon. Was this the return of the pre-Bon Iver, pre-Megafaun Eau Claire supergroup, DeYarmond Edison? No, but it was probably the closest we’ll ever get. Ivan Howard from the Rosebuds joined the group on stage as lead singer. They played a lot of classic covers and ended the set with a slowed-down version of Megafaun’s “The Fade”. I had mixed feelings about this set. On the one hand, it was surely something we’ll never witness again. But on the other, I was sort of looking forward to seeing Megafaun, one of my favorite bands, play a bunch of songs from their new record. I guess I’ll have to wait for that and hopefully catch them at SXSW next week.
Next we took some time off our feet on the second level during Solid Gold’s set. A few hours standing in only slightly-comfortable boots can sure do some damage, and we needed to re-fuel for GAYNGS. After downing a Red Bull (gross, but necessary), we made way back down to the Mainroom for Doomtree’s set. Their set was exactly what I needed to get amped up again. It was high energy and Dessa just killed it.
Finally, around quarter to 1, GAYNGS, took the stage. This time, the band was sporting the black GAYNGS hoodies. As usual, they began with the sick beat from “Gaudy Side of Town,” and played through the first part of Relayed at 69bpm, stopping only for some semi-ironic cover songs. This was when the show got really entertaining. Sean Tillmann of Har Mar Superstar came on stage, dancing around in a white hooded sheet before drunkenly belting George Michael’s “One More Try”. I must say, considering he passed out on stage at the end of the show, he sure could sing. After Har Mar’s appearance, GAYNGS got back into Relayted. Everyone got crazy when Dessa took the stage for “Faded High.” That song is too good live– Mike Noyce just kills it. They finished up with “Last Prom”, then an encore of Sade’s “By Your Side”, during which Har Mar passed out with a bottle of Corona on the stage. It seemed like a fitting song during which to pass out– all of the GAYNG-sters helping out their friend–“by his side,” if you will.
Overall, it was a fantastic show, but a little overwhelming for a Sunday night. I guess getting through work and class the next day on 2 hours of sleep is the price you pay for hanging out on the gaudy side…